I think God must have read my last blog post, gently shook his head and softly uttered, “Oh sweet child, there are more ways to connect than through words.”
Emma and I went perusing through the Bung Kan market last night as I stopped to pick up various fruits. I have been enough times that the vendors recognize me and we all prepare ourselves for yet another round of ‘what’s the farang trying to say in Thai?’ It’s usually pretty fun. Emma and I walked up to one of my regular stalls and as I glanced over the papayas the guy behind the table came around and carefully selected two of the perfectly ripe fruits before placing them in a bag, smiling as he handed them to me. Fortunately I wanted to buy them anyway so I asked, “tao rai?” (how much) His smile broadened as shook his head and waved his hands in front of him, repeating the phrase, “mai pen rai” (no worries) He then gave me a discount on the apples I purchased and after thanking him profusely in Thai he responded in halting English, “thank you very much.”
Now, I know its just a papaya. I know getting handed some free papayas is not an earth shattering event. But after spending the last couple of weeks lamenting over missing out on the lives of everyone I know and love and craving the feeling of connectedness and belonging, these papayas are so much more than just delicious fruit. I got so caught up in the idea that I have to be able to connect with someone through conversation that I forgot the simple definition of relationship as depicted through the universal language of smiles, laughter, and giving. So far integrating into Thailand has not been easy, but the gift of papayas has opened my eyes to all the ways I am getting woven into the Bung Kan community rather than all the ways I am standing outside of it. Simply realizing these interpersonal relationships are beginning to form in this small town I felt so alone in has made a world of difference on my outlook of living here.