One small step for mankind, One GIANT LEAP for Tonya Jacks.
When arriving in Laos, I manage to set a few goals. On purpose, I made these goals small. I had no clue how I was going to be living in a third world country, since I have never done it before. Unfortunately, I forgot to write them down. But there has been one goal, I have had it in my mind and heart since we moved into the house. From the very beginning this goal has been a huge mountain that seemed impossible to move. When I tell you what it is, you will think “that is so simple” you might even laugh a little. Here it is,
My goal was to go to my neighbor’s house and visit with them. This is such a silly thing to be worked up about. I mean Noah has already been to their house many times. Either by way of his nanny, Duang, or my neighbor, herself, coming and taking him for a visit, and to stuff him full of sweets!
As silly and simple as this goal maybe, I have found myself at many occasions, standing in my living room looking at their house. Trying to work up enough courage to walk out of my door, across the road, into their gate, and knock on their door. I have always had a rough time talking to my neighbors in the states. Now you add, language barrier, etiquette differences, and the great possibility that I will be offered to eat something in which I have no clue what it is and/or sit there for countless hours having no clue what type of conversations are going on around me.
I am probably working this triumph up to something way more than it seems. But to me… It was a great feat to accomplish. So there I was, our neighbor just helped us out. We had a random lady knock on our door and walk into our house. She was asking for money but Josh and I had no clue as to for what. Our neighbor came in and talked with her, I caught on that she was telling the lady to come back when our Nanny was here since she speaks Lao and English. After that, my neighbor stayed and chatted with me for a while, most of it not understanding each other. Then there she went off with Noah to go and spend some time at her house.
Josh came to me and told me I needed to go over there and visit with her. I then proceeded to stand in the living room like many times before and look at her door, hoping she would bring Noah back before I had to take the leap.
I knew today was the day, so finally after about 20 minutes of talking with Josh, crying (being transparent here), and then giving myself a pep talk, I walked out the door, across the street, and into her gate. I knocked on the door, only to my surprise to have an old man answer and it not being the right house!
No worries he politely pointed me next door. And who is there to greet me? None other than bright eyed Noah! He was so happy, with a big smile and hands full of sticky rice, it occurred to me that I had waited way too long to jump over that mountain. It was one small room, a small tv with Garfield in Thai playing, and 3 women sitting on the floor talking and eating. Noah was just acting like it was home. I was more comfortable than I thought. I smiled and stopped Noah from knocking down their clock, fan, and well, anything else he touched. I smiled and spoke the only Lao I knew as the other women carried on with their normal conversation. Then after about 30 minutes I politely thanked them and Noah and I headed back home for lunch and a nap!
I am sorry if this post bored you. But I must admit, it takes A LOT for me to feel proud of myself. So in an effort to feeling this way more often, I thought why not brag a little!
Before I close, on a side note, here is a Lao culture lesson for you. During the whole time of writing this blog, I have had a mosquito teasing me. Every time I try to kill it, it seems to slip past my hands smashing together home free, just in enough time to quickly fly past my sight in a mockery of sorts. I think I am forever changed in my vengeance towards killing mosquitos. It might look a little weird when I am stateside. But there is a sense of accomplishment when killing one of those boogers. You think “take that, I just saved my family from malaria!” Here is to hoping that mosquito goes down tonight and I come out the victor! Until next time, I got me some skeeters to kill! Haha!