Although I am more than a few jet hours away from family in the far east, I love to keep in touch and hear what is happening in my homeland. It helps ease the homesickness that creeps over me now and then. Although I love my teaching job and the students are wonderful, I consider my family to be close friends. I don’t miss birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and special events if I make and receive video calls. This is an ingenious invention that has helped me cope with hard times, bad weather, misbehaving students, or a loss of face if I do something strange. As a foreigner in Thailand, a glorious country with pristine beaches and crystal clear water, you never know how your words and deeds will impact others. You learn the customs over time, but in the beginning it is easy to make a big faux pas.
Recently, it was so much fun to see a pool party in my uncle’s backyard. I told the cousin who initiated the call to clue me in on the occasion. A cousin had received a wonderful job offer and everyone was celebrating to the max. I could see that it was a sunny cloudless day, much like that I was experiencing at the moment. It is more typical in Thailand than back home. The party was in full swing and I almost felt as if I were there drinking a cold beer on the patio. People were splashing about in the pool and acting like kids—dunking each other under. Smoke was emanating from the big barbecue grill, implying that hot dogs and hamburgers were in the making. I felt I could taste the sauce. A few small tots were jumping up and down on the outdoor trampoline. It was not the standard recreational gym size, but a smaller one that accommodates one person at a time. They were ecstatic and their laughter rung in my ear as I watched. Obviously their parents had made a great Trampoline Choice.
I love to show off the beautiful region in which I work with people back home too. I have sent photos, picture articles, all kinds of historical information, and the like. I bring handicrafts and special foods of the region when I return home for a vacation. With a video call, you can take a movie of the scenery for all to see and enjoy. I can describe it all I want but there is nothing like a video if you can experience the real thing. A video chat is just what I need at the end of a long, tough week. Sometimes the kids ask frustrating questions or don‘t perform well on tests. Most of the time, however, I just miss my cousins and want to hear their voices. We grew up together in the bosom of our big family, and being miles apart is a cross to bear.