…are like gold.
My day started off with Swiss Miss hot chocolate (the kind with the marshmallows) with candy canes in a Christmas themed mug. I received a care package from my friend yesterday with the hot chocolate and the mini candy canes. It reminded me of a year ago hanging out at her apartment sitting on the couch watching Boys Over Flowers drinking the same thing.
As I was preparing my cup of water I made sure to ask if the water heater had bugs in it today. The manager likes to remind me that bugs are a good source of Vitamin A. But lets be real, if I cared about that I’d be taking a multi-vitamins. To be sure I wouldn’t waste a good cup of hot chocolate by pouring bugs into it, I poured a test cup in a different glass. Satisfied that the water had come out clear, I went out to the front steps of the museum to pour it out. To fully understand what comes next I have to give you a little background: there are chicken here everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Chicken:Laos::squirrel:anywhere, USA. As I tossed the hot water over the railing I caught sight of movement. “Woops, sorry chicken! That was probably really hot…” I exclaimed, walking back to the office having accidentally splashed some innocent chicken. Sometimes I catch myself saying things I never thought I would and other times, I feel like Dr. Doolittle.
Today, I asked one of my staff how old he was and he said “26, actually, now I am 27.” I asked him if it was his birthday today and he said no. He went on to explain that his parents couldn’t remember when he was born and weren’t even exactly sure of the year either. His ethnic group is in the middle of celebrating their new year so he’ll be 27 in the new year. As for what he puts on official documents, he said he just picks a date.
I’ve discovered a new delicious dish at the museum cafe! This whole time, whenever I ate in the cafe it was either pastries, an olive/bacon/brie sandwich, or stew. The cafe serves ethnic minority food as well as some western sandwiches and dishes. I would have never ordered this new dish I’ve fallen in love with if I had been looking at the menu, but during a lunch meeting with a guest speaker my boss ordered it and I had some. So so good. It is pork belly and greens and it tastes like soul food! I had some for lunch today and then felt compelled to go get some pumpkin pie for dessert. So yummy!
Behind the shop today one of the staff mentioned Gangnam Style and I asked him if he could do the dance. Instead of him doing it though, another staff member—an otherwise kind of shy guy who used to be a monk—bust out with the dance before bursting into a fit of giggles and running back into the shop.
In the afternoon I sent out the December newsletter and after sending it, my boss’ friend messaged her to say there were some typos. I felt really bad about it and kept kind of pounding my desk saying “I’m so stupid! That’s so embarrassing.” Just then, the manager turns to me and says “Buffalo have four legs and even they fall over sometimes. It helps me to think about that.” I hope that is a lot more encouraging in Lao, otherwise it might be time to retire that proverb…
After work I stopped by a jewelry shop to buy some earrings and the owner asked me in Lao where I was from. I answered very clearly “America” and he said “Oh, South Africa?” I corrected him, I’m from America. “But why are you so dark” he asked, “People your color are from South Africa.” I sighed and told him, “Actually most people from South Africa are white.” “So then what countries do people your color come from?” He continued. “Everywhere, there are even Lao people this dark.” Ever quick, he explained that the dark Lao people are dark because they are out working in the fields. I asked about a specific ethnic group that is darker. His response: they are farmers. So he reprised his earlier question, “so where do black people come from?” I answered, “I don’t know.”
After dinner I walked around town with my Korean friend. During a discussion on music he unknowingly said the five magic words sure to send me to an alternate reality where singing and dancing around the streets like you’re Julie Andrews using tree branches still attached as microphones is perfectly acceptable: All You Need is Love. Cue Elephant Love Medley from the Moulin Rouge. I swear, anyone walking behind us was probably completely convinced I had had too many Beer Lao and not enough food for dinner. What fun I had, though, singing my favorite medley under the stars along the Mekong as my friend tried to figure out how to make it stop!