This is a time of celebrations. Christmas is a few weeks out, the long weekend of New Year’s, a student’s birthday this weekend, two co-workers’ birthdays within the next week, and Kelly’s completion of her B.Ed today. But in all that, there was something that caught my ear last night. A celebration that I often walk past, and even more often overlook.
In the house across from my apartment, there is a group of people who sit outside every day and night, drinking and talking, and seemingly just enjoying life. They’re the type of people who invited me, a random foreigner who works down the street, to join them for drinks one night, even though the only way we could communicate with each other was through attempting charades.
I walk past this group at least once a day, but it wasn’t until last night that I really reflected on what I take to be their approach to life. What was different last night was the singalong happening to the tune of an acoustic guitar. Seeing and hearing them last night made me realize that the attitude they take toward life is one of joy and celebration. Their nature as individuals and as a group is to offer of themselves and to invite strangers in to enjoy life with them.
While this time of year can be a marathon of celebrations, it’s this attitude of celebration that we should be focusing on.
I don’t want to lose sight of that in my life.
There is much in Bangkok that jumps to mind when talking about waiting. There is sitting in a car in a traffic gridlock, sitting still for an hour over the course of a regularly 30-minute drive. Or waiting in lines in one government office or another. Or any number of other travel or traffic-related waits.
In this case, though, we see parents lining up, waiting to pick up their children at the end of a school day. This line of cars winds down the road and into the side-streets around the school twice a day, like clockwork. It then feeds into the gridlock of rush hour I mentioned earlier.
Living in Thailand presents some interesting challenges when it comes to eating your favourite Western meals. While breakfast itself has often been an optional meal in my life, breakfast foods have been anything but. I remember fondly the years of 3-am runs (or six-hour sits that turned into late-night food orders) to our 24-hour Perkins for bottomless soft drinks and — for me, at least — pancakes.
I’ve expanded by breakfast repertoire over the years to include quite a few other standards, but I still love using my pancakes as a syrup sponge from time to time.
In Thailand, the option of Western breakfasts is always there, but sometimes there actually means way over there, or if you happen to live near a joint that offers “American breakfasts”, it will be at best very expensive.1 So in Bangkok, my breakfast on the way to work typically consists of a grilled ham and cheese sandwich and a personal-sized container of yogurt. And coffee.
Not having a kitchen severely limits what you can make for breakfast, but I’ve recently come to enjoy the simple breakfast of muesli on yogurt. The comfort of a nice cup of coffee is always a good addition, as well.
When the opportunity to have a cheap(ish) American or English breakfast comes up, I’ll still take it as a treat, but when it comes to breakfast I’m learning to not underestimate the small and simple.
This post is participating in The Daily Post’s #postaweek2011 weekly photo challenge. To find out more, see:
I just bought a new Asus Eee PC with Windows 7 installed, and while the vendor was nice enough to set the default language to English instead of the local Thai, there were still some programs where Thai was the only language displayed.
One example was a photo program that came pre-installed. Another was the Asus LiveUpdate installer, which I downloaded for checking on firmware updates for the netbook. These programs offered no option for changing the language, so this was obviously a system setting within Windows.
If you’re using Windows 7, there are six simple steps you can follow to fix this problem.
Note: If you have any documents open, save them now, as you’ll be asked to restart the computer in the final step.
Press the Windows key on your keyboard OR click the Windows logo at the bottom-left of your screen
- type “Region and Language” in the search bar and select that menu item. This window should open:
Click on “Administrative” on the top-right
- Click on “Change system locale…” (as seen below)
Choose the language of your choice and click “OK”
When asked, click “Restart now” (you can still go and save things at this point before clicking the button)
Presto-chango it’s legible again!