You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after. -JRR Tolkien
Okay, so the title Queer Lodgings is a little bit tongue-in-cheek and I hope it does not offend, but I chose it because of the two important things that happened this weekend: I moved into my first house, and the Supreme Court decided that it is unconstitutional for a state to ban same-sex marriage.
On Friday night (Friday morning back in the states) I was at Oi’s house celebrating his sister’s 46th birthday. She is the mother of Trumpet (so named because his father is a music teacher), the little nephew I wrote about in one of my earliest blogs. Trumpet was there, singing and dancing “Let It Go,” as he often does—many times after school in the past few weeks I have seen Trumpet prancing in the streets in dresses that probably once belonged to his sisters. While we played with Trumpet, Oi told us that his sister, who had two older daughters, was very happy when Trumpet was born because she had wanted a son. Now, four years later, Trumpet seems more like a third daughter! This was not said in a derogatory manner whatsoever. Everybody seems to enjoy Trumpet’s nature (although his mother seems somewhat exhausted by his inexhaustible energy).
At the party we had much Thai food, a cake that Oi’s sister’s students bought for her, and a little too much beer, which meant that eventually I had to go to the bathroom. I hopped across the street to my apartment and while I was there I checked if I had any messages from home.
I did not, but my Facebook account was ablaze with the incredible news about the Supreme Court’s historical decision! When I returned to the party I excitedly shared the news with Ben and Hannah, and then we all did our best to explain to Oi why the news was so monumental.
And it is monumental. This decision is a huge victory. Unfortunately, just as the Emancipation Proclamation did not end racism (as recent American history can prove), this event will not end homophobia…but it is an important step in the right direction.
Yesterday, us three farangs (pronounced fuh-longs—it means foreigners) moved just down the street from our old apartment building in a house. We made the decision to move less than two weeks ago when we were told (by Patrick: the farang grandfather of one of our fourth grade students who will be the subject of a blog very soon) that a house in Pak Thong Chai goes for about 5,000 baht a month. Well! The three of us were paying 2,000 a month each for a little one-room apartment. It made logical sense to upgrade our living situation and downgrade our payments.
So we spent the day carrying out meager supply of belongings from our old lodgings to our new ones, and we are now comfortably settled!
The house has four bedrooms: three upstairs; one downstairs. Two with double beds; two with twin. One with air conditioning; three without. Three with wooden floors; one with tile. It has two bathrooms. The bathrooms are even less American than the bathrooms in the apartment! In Thailand, most toilets do not flush. You simply poor buckets of water into the bowl when you have finished…this is how our bathrooms work. We have an enormous patio space with lovely wooden furniture, as well as a nice living room upstairs.
Ah, the living room! This might be my favorite thing about the house. The walls in the living room are not solid but wooden grates covered in blue tarp. When the weather is bad, the tarp stays down. But when it is nice and windy, we can roll up the tarps to enjoy the view and the breeze. It is a most wonderful place to, as the Thai say, sabai sabai.
More on everything to come!