My Savannakhet Family: Day 2

My Savannakhet Family: Day 2

IMG_1471Late Sunday morning, we woke up and laughed as we recounted our previous day’s adventures.  Together we wondered if Ping, Sort, and Meow really wanted us to visit again.  We went to Cafe Lin to have another incredible breakfast complete with delicious coffees.  While we ate, we discussed what might happen today with the family.  As we walked down the street towards their house, I was a little nervous because I knew I felt I made a strong connection with them.  However, I did not know for sure if this feeling was mutual.  We walked up to the house cautiously and it was a very different scene.  Ping greeted us and gestured to the chairs situated around a table.  Her mother was sitting on the other side of the room with one of the girls who was being very shy.  Meow and Sort were not around and we quickly felt as though they were not expecting us.


Then Ping brought out food and laid it out in front of us.  She gestured for us to eat as one of her friends came to join.  We were full but knew it was rude not to eat some.  It was not until Rosie ate something that Numnueng grabbed some pork balls.  I had thought she was not hungry because she refused when I told her to eat, but then I realized they would not eat the food until we ate first.  This must be one way to show respect, later in the day I noticed this same situation with the beer they bought us.  Yet when we bought the beer, they helped themselves first.  It is these small moments that I appreciate for helping me to experience and better understand different cultures.


Anyways, we munched on some food and Meow joined us.  I tried to ask them about their jobs and exactly where they lived, but it was pretty hard to communicate these ideas.  Soon Sort joined us, I think she had been working, and out came the small glasses, ice, and Beer Lao.  Kristy and I decided to indulge again as we only live once, right? When I was researching about the festival we participated in the night before, I read there would be boat races and we asked about them; by gesturing rowing a boat.  They agreed to take us down to the river around 2:00 to see them.  While we waited, the girls warmed back up to me and played with my phone and sunglasses.  I braided their hair and we all enjoyed one another’s company.

P1000648  P1000647  Soon we started off down the street towards the river.  The street was just as packed as the night before.  I walked hand in hand with the girls and took in the sights and smells.  After some searching we found a table along the river at a food stall restaurant.  We sat down and of course food and beer was immediately ordered.  I could hear announcements similar to the ones I heard at the boat races in Hua Hin. Suddenly Numnueng was grabbing my arm and pointing.  I looked out to see two boats racing by; she gave me the biggest smile after they passed.  IMG_1446The first plate of food to arrive was dried jellyfish.  They were alright, but since I do not really like the taste of seafood I did not really enjoy it.  Then they brought two bowls of small quail eggs and some soup.  Numnueng grabbed an egg, cracked it, and turned around to me with the small bird fetus and shouted “Ahhhhh.”  I jumped back and cringed as she popped it in her mouth to eat.  You have to love that she knew her eating that baby bird would get a reaction out of me.  The second bowl were non fertilized eggs, so we enjoyed them!  At this point, Kristy and I went to the bathroom and we racked our brains about what we could buy them to thank them.  We tried to think of something to bring that morning, but we were not sure what would be appropriate.  As we were walking back from the bathroom, we saw some bags of popcorn.  We bought two bags and everyone loved it.  They ate it up.  We left shortly after and bought two more bags.

IMG_1451                   IMG_1450When we returned to their house, they poured the popcorn into bowls and shared it with Ping and Meow’s mother and father.  We were so glad they ate it.  I wondered if it was a treat that they do not normally allow themselves.  Although they eat a lot, they always bought food that was for a meal or sustenance.  Perhaps they do not spend their money on sweets.  Kristy and I paid for the next few bottles of beer as well.  We all sat on the mat inside together just laughing, eating, and drinking.  The day carried on and soon we were outside with many other friends and family.  Together we all sat on the floor mat or at the table with music blaring through the streets.  Clearly the festival was continuing today.  Next we ate some plates of fried chicken feet and fried dragonflies.  Again, they were both very delicious!  The dragonflies were not as good as the gee lor from the night before, but we still ate it up.20131020_174348As the sun began to set, we were all dancing in the streets together.  The kids were having an incredible time.  My mouth was hurting from smiling and laughing.  We continued to communicate through “cheers” and our music selections.  Sort, Kristy, and I had a few moments where we all teared up a bit as we thought about our impending goodbye that night.  



Before we knew it, it was nearly 8pm and Meow, Ping, and Sort wanted to take us back to the festival to do some dancing with a live band.  Off we went to the river again, we passed a huge bouncy house and many street games.  We walked up to a large open space with a live band playing Thai music.  Sort grabbed us and we went to dance.  She showed us how to move our hands to the rhythm.  Men kept coming over to us and she kept pushing them away.  She was getting very frustrated with them and was adamant we not even look at them.  I just followed her lead.  Suddenly her husband was there and then the men backed off a bit.  At the end of the song, everyone waied instead of clapping.  Kristy and I quickly picked up on that difference between our two cultures and then waied at the end of the rest of the songs.  We danced for a while and then settled down at a table with the rest of our newfound friends.  I looked around at their faces and saw their exhaustion, I thought about how tired I was and how we had to catch a bus in the morning.  I suggested leaving and they all happily nodded their heads while saying “Ting tong!!”IMG_1538

We slowly walked away from the river, away from the festival, and back towards their home.  In the street we hugged and said a tear-filled goodbye.  It was hard to express our appreciation to them and I am still not sure that they will ever know how much meeting them meant to me.  I still message with Ping every once in a while.  She sends me pictures of her, Meow, Sort, and the girls.  I send her pictures back in reply.  One day, I hope to return to Savannakhet so I can reunite with them.  It has been almost two months since this incredible weekend, and I still remember every moment of it.  If nothing else happened on this round the world trip, I would be okay, because I met this family and I experienced life with them for two cherished days.IMG_1559 IMG_1560

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