miles of wire

Who knew that 37 minutes of talk time could exude so many feelings?

The missing is 83745 times stronger after a really great phone call home. The girls have just started walking to a farm about 3 hours away. Now that our rice has been harvested, they are going to a nearby farm to harvest for extra money. They do this during the planting season too.

I am humbled at their willingness to do whatever it takes to make ends meet.

I’m instantly happy when I hear that initial voice on the phone. This time it was the middle girl. I’m laughing about something she said. She’s commenting on my laugh. This makes me laugh some more. She laughs to. The phone gets passed to the oldest girl. Usual formalities. She asks for my mom and I tell her that she’s not around. She passes the phone to my aunt.

Sabaidee. Sabaidee bor?

I ask about the littlest girl. She tells me that she’s so far ahead she’s oblivious. She asks about my parents. I ask her about everyone I know there. We start talking about the oldest girl and her desire to continue her education. She knows I support it 100%. I know money is tight and the rice this year has been the worst crop they’ve seen in their lifetime, but I support education and I want my cousin to continue.

We talk about resiliency. Fight for what we want. I remind her that I put myself through college and even though I have debt from it, it was what I wanted.

I can hear the sadness in my aunt’s voice and it makes me so incredible sad. The short silence overwhelms me. I wish I could do more, but she knows I’m currently jobless too. She tells me to keep searching.

She passes the phone back to the oldest girl since she has been waiting patiently for the phone to circulate back to her. I joke with her about a boy. She tells me he’s too dark and short and ugly. I laugh wholeheartedly. She goes on to talk about how he’s been interested in her since last year. She talks about how he constantly buys her stuff and lunches and how she allows him to. I tell her she surely is my cousin. I laugh again.

She’s a good kid. I tell her she will have plenty of time to fall in love. She’s not sure what she wants to do when she is done with school this year. Her last year. I tell her become a nurse, but she’s unsure. I tell her she can become a teacher too, if she wants. I want to support whatever dreams she has for herself.

The operator warns me of the final minute.

I tell her that it’s almost time for me to go. I tell her to study hard and she promises me she will. I know she will. I tell her that I’ll call her back in a few weeks and the line goes dead.

Even resiliency can be heard through those miles and miles of wire.

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6 Responses to “miles of wire”


  1. 1 Nye November 7, 2010 at 10:48 pm

    This made me think of the saying that ‘laughter is the medicine that heals a broken heart.’ It raises your energy level and changes your mood instantly. 🙂

    It’s good to hear that you’ve that kind of relationship with you cousin back home, it has been at least 3 months since I last called my cousin in Laos. She has a strong Paksun accent and sometimes it’s hard for me to understand her.

    • 2 Sao Joy November 10, 2010 at 7:18 pm

      I think my relationship with my family in Laos has developed a lot since 2007. During that trip I spent a lot more time with a girl cousin that was my age. We still have a great relationship and I missed her by a day before she returned to Thailand, but the younger girls have really grown into themselves and I could see the changes with their interaction with me. I only stayed a week in my village this summer, but seeing them again was wonderful. No matter how broken my heart is, I am grateful to not only have met them, but got the chance to see them again. I look forward to many more visits with them in the future.

      Is your cousin your age? I stopped in Paksun on the way to Savah. The dialects do change heavily from VTE to Savah.

      • 3 Nye November 11, 2010 at 12:00 am

        My aunt recently passed away, when we visited her she was ill. She has 9 children, some older than me and some younger but they all call me big sister since my dad is the oldest brother. The one that I call to talk to is younger than me, and since she lives next to her older sister she often passed the phone to her as well.

      • 4 Sao Joy November 11, 2010 at 7:31 pm

        You should call and see how they are holding since your aunt’s passing. It’ll be a year since my grandma’s passing this month.

  2. 5 Nye November 11, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    I will, they want to do a Boun 100 Vanh for her after Ok Punsa since it rained so much during the summer months. I’m just glad that my dad had a chance to see and spend some time with her.

    • 6 Sao Joy November 15, 2010 at 12:28 am

      Those are precious times. I’m so glad I got to see my grandma too. It was very sad and weird not having her there but I got to stop and visit her that on the way into the village when I got there.


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