Saturday, January 4, 2014

A Saturday Dinner

Every Saturday, my family eats dinner at the beach and I have an open invitation to join them whenever, which I try to make good on at least once a month. However, I've been a bad son and haven't talked to them for a number of weeks now until last night. My school director had a New Year's party at his (beautiful traditional Thai) home and invited his staff and friends. My father and director have been friends for twenty odd years, so of course my family was in attendance as well.

I was certainly a little sheepish to see them without having talked to them for longer than I'd like to admit. They were nothing but kind and happy to see me once again, so my fears went unacknowledged, at least in the moment (as I'm sure they had to have discussed this at some point). As we spoke, and it being Friday, I asked them if they would be going to Pak Nam for dinner [tomorrow], assuming it would be a forgone conclusion. To my surprise, it wasn't, and Meh asked Paw, and it was quickly decided that they would.

I felt a little bad, hoping they didn't greng jai me (feel obliged to put themselves out to accommodate me/my expectations or wants- this concept deserves its own entry, actually). A couple weeks ago, Nadia and I had discussed that the next time we go to the beach for dinner with them, we should have a cultural exchange and make some food for them as well. Unfortunately, Nadia was unable to attend the New Year's party, being mai sabaai (not well; ill), yet I still volunteered (voluntold Nadia) making spaghetti for our dinner. Again, having not seen them for a while, yet wanting to, it was a perfect opportunity to ask. Even if Nadia wasn't able to go, I knew that I should do this. However, I believe something got lost in translation (or most certainly cultural translation), as my/our offer to cook spaghetti for them turned into them inviting whoever was still present at the party to come to the beach for dinner tomorrow because Jay and Nadia were making spaghetti for everyone.

Needless to say, I wasn't the happiest I've ever been during that moment, and my initial feelings of happiness to spend time with my family were replaced with feelings of obligation and work, but the plans were set in stone, and, as with all things Thai, they would work themselves out shomehow.

The next day, Nadia and I performed the necessary duties (shopping, cooking) and joined my family (Paw, Meh, Nong Gaeo) and picked up Pii Nongyao from her home nearby. We drove to the beach, found our parking spot (after Pii Nongyao moved some other person's motorbike because it was taking up too much space in our would-be parking spot), prepped all the eats (as Meh cooked kaao kook kapi- rice mixed with fried egg, pork, sour mango, baby onions, chilies, carrot, and uncooked green beans- my favorite Thai dish), and dug in! We received many "sa-paget-tii aroi." ("It's delicious!")

We were excited  they enjoyed it. Meh pointed out she had thirds of it, which is awesome because she's not much of an eater. Nong Gaeo had thirds, too, and this made me happy. Every time I'm even in my family's presence, I feel really at peace. They're such kind-hearted, easy going people, it's impossible to not ease into a contented state when being around them.

Here are some candid, and thus not too flattering, photos of our meal! Also, the market pictures are blurry because I was trying to be sneaky (read: not look like a tourist), and wasn't patient enough to hold the camera still for long enough to accommodate the night photos/longer shutter speed. But still, you get the idea about the market. Sadly, you don't get to see the splayed fish, whole birds with beaks, or random animal parts for sale in detail. Another time.

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