Invasions of Various Kinds
I woke from a sound sleep to hear Paul yelling and slapping. Ants in the bed — biting ants. He jumped up and turned on our lights — to reveal a nightmare scene. Our room was inundated with ants. Not just a few ants, or even a lot of ants. There were THOUSANDS of ants, all over the room and climbing into our bed. They were little black ones with a vicious bite. Poor Paul! They had come in on his side of the bed and started chewing on him.
We went right into action. I had two spray bottles of vinegar water I use to disinfect things. We each grabbed one and started disinfecting those ants! I remembered my mother commenting on Facebook that ants don’t like vinegar. They for sure didn’t like the treatment we gave them. We sprayed them and swept them out and sprayed another batch. Since they were everywhere, we had to move everything out of the room to get them all. What a job! I had the bright idea of scrubbing the floor while it was empty, but had to give it up. They turn the water off at night in order to build up water pressure for the day. Hard to scrub the floor without water. It got a good dousing with vinegar, though. When the spray bottles ran out, I started pouring straight vinegar on the critters. Good thing I bought that extra gallon when I was at the Makro store.
Finally we had every ant out of the place. While Paul swept our mattresses clean of them, I got out the cinnamon and poured it along each wall. They hate cinnamon and won’t cross it — so I made sure there was no point of entry for them. Poor Paul is sensitive to smells and particularly dislikes the smells of vinegar and of cinnamon. He made no objection to my efforts, though. Finally we had all our stuff de-anted and back in our room. We were hot and sweaty and felt crawly, but no shower for us since the water was off and we used all the extra as artillery against our mean little adversaries.
We flopped back into bed to dream of ants. But we survived. In the morning there wasn’t an ant to be seen, and there hasn’t been but one or two strays in our room since then. I don’t know what made them swarm into our room that night — but sure hope it doesn’t happen again! Brother Anond offered to spray for us, but we are leery of toxins, especially here where there are even fewer regulations on poisons than at home. (There are many poisons on the shelf at Walmart that are outlawed in Europe because they cause brain and nerve damage.) However, if we have any more experiences like that night, we may be willing to sacrifice a few brain cells!
I slept in until six after that short night, and got ready for my first class with the ladies. I had nine ladies who came. They were thrilled that I wore the La Hu skirt they gave me the last time I was here, but disapproved of the improvements I made. I could not get the thing to stay on, so I sewed ties on it. I pantomimed my trouble with the skirt falling off, and they nodded their heads and showed me how they wrapped them and tucked in the top. Guess I won’t improve the next one, if I get another present.
We had a lesson on Eve, which I will post in a separate blog. The ladies seemed attentive and participated as much as they could with our language barrier. Anond did his best translating for us, but it is sure difficult talking to the ladies by way of a man.
I fixed lunch for Paul on one of my snazzy electric gadgets and had just cleaned everything up (making sure no crumbs or drops of grease were left behind to attract ants) when Ma Ta and Ja Hay came over. This is a different Ja Hay than the pastor who is in my class. This one is Anond’s brother-in-law who “fixed our electrical problem.” However, the outlet only worked when the light was on. He worked on it again while Ma Ta helped me with La Hu. At length he finished. After they left we discovered, to our sorrow, that it now doesn’t work at all. It took some creative juggling of extension cords to use the microwave to heat up our supper later.
Paul and I were both feeling sluggish in the middle of the afternoon so we took a long hike up the steep, curving road that runs in front of the mission. There are houses going up all along the road. This area is a popular tourist area and people are beginning to build vacation homes around here. There is also a resort up the road a ways. We’ll have to check into it. It would be handy to have any guests who come to see us stay there rather than in a hotel in Chiang Mai.
The property has increased in value since it was purchased. Back then it was just a piece of bare land on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. Now this part of Mae Rim (Hoe Nam Rin — I memorized it for the next taxi ride) is building up and there are a lot of tourist attractions around. I wrote in earlier posts about the Long Neck Karen village and the Orchid Garden and Restaurant. There is also a Tiger Kingdom and an elephant camp nearby. We haven’t been to those yet.
We made it back from our walk just in time for English classes with the children. I am happy to say that it went MUCH better than my first attempt. Bro. Anond had asked me to teach the kids, and I readily agreed. I was under the impression that we were talking about the high school students. I had about half a dozen in my class when they were out of school and enjoyed them. I had Anond tell them to bring their homework and we would work on it.
Everyone came to my class. Everyone. Every. Single. Person. The three-year-olds were there, and so was So Pic, the taxi driver. All the grade school students came and all the high school students. The cook came. The men who are staying here to attend Bible school came. I had a packed room full of people who spoke no English. And Paul left me alone to cope. (The rat!) How on earth could I teach such a huge and diverse group? I still don’t know! We muddled through for an hour, but I don’t know how much they picked up.
I suggested to Anond that we split them up. I would take the elementary kids first, and then teach the older kids. I would be happy to teach the adults in the afternoon. We haven’t got the adult class set up yet, but Monday night I taught the kids. We had a good time and made much more progress.
After the last class, the kids brought out their homework. One poor boy (Was it Su Pa Chi or Su Di Chi — or something different?) had homework w-a-y beyond his ability. He was supposed to read about Tiger Woods and answer questions. It took a long time, but we worked through all six pages of homework to the end. It was going on ten o’clock by the time we finished and I fell into our ant-free bed.
What a day — but it came to pass!
That we might break the language barrier and really be able to communicate.
That we get WiFi soon.
Blessings from Thailand,