I was a missionary for the Mormon Church in Thailand from 2004-2006. During that time, I had quite a few enriching experiences and a good number of simply interesting experiences. When I first arrived to Thailand I was sent to Nakhorn Ratchasima, better known as Korat. Korat sits in the north-east region of Thailand, often called the “praduu heeng isan” or the door (gate) of the Isan because of its geographic positioning as the first city in a succession of cities in the north-east region called the Isan. I was young, barely above the age of 19. Most of my life had been lived in a very much different way, converting a few months after my eighteenth birthday. 9 months later I found my self in Thailand, diligently studying the Thai language and working hours upon hours each day, rarely breaking to even eat. One experience that occurred during the beginning of my time in Thailand still makes me laugh. There I was, young and trying to do my very best to be a good missionary and keep my thoughts, words, and actions clean and presentable. A retired judge had recently approached us and decided that he wanted us to teach him the missionary lessons. We began teaching him. Each discussion was filled with increasing confusion, despite the fact that we occasionally brought native speakers to attend our conversations. My companion spoke Thai fluently, I spoke Thai terribly but still wrestled through each conversation. One night, we traveled to this man's house through the rain to sit and try to explain (once again) the basic principles that we were trying to communicate. The night began the same. The judge retrieved water from his kitchen for us. We slowly sipped our water and began our discussion. The rain was falling extremely hard, nearly muting our voices. As I was struggling to push cluttered Thai sentences out of my mouth, the power in his house went completely out. I continued to struggle, explaining passionately my views and feelings on spirituality and the mission of Christ in the darkness of his house. I’m not sure he understood a word that I said to him. Suddenly, the lights came on. We continued our discussion, still disoriented from the power outage. I was sitting facing the kitchen, the judge was in the middle, and my companion was sitting on the other side of the judge with his back facing the kitchen. I heard something move in the kitchen any my gaze was automatically drawn into the kitchen. There stood a woman, with a towel around her waist and her upper body fully exposed. I felt terrible! I had been working so hard to clear my mind of any impure things, feeling that my mind was naturally predisposed to some extent to this way of thinking. Not to mention the fact that I was 19 years old. I instantly started attempting to rid myself of these thoughts, frantically grasping for alternative thoughts. I had seen a naked woman and the more I tried not to think of it, the more I thought of it! The discussion ended soon after with the judge explaining that he simply didn’t understand and had no more desire to learn with us. While my companion was probably contemplating the discussion, or what we could’ve done better, I was racked with horror by the image of that naked woman. I decided that the best thing to do would be to tell my companion. I thought that perhaps by telling him, I might be able to relieve my burden through verbalizing my secret. I felt embarrassed, but eventually got around to telling him. I turned to him and said “back there at the judge’s house I saw his daughter naked”. Surprisingly, my companion responded with a puzzled look on his face. He asked “did you say his daughter?” I responded instantaneously and confidently “yes, of course, his daughter!” He looked at me with a straight face and said “umm…he doesn’t have a daughter. However, he did tell me he had a son who had a sex change”. My jaw dropped. All of a sudden I started to piece together previously ignored indicators like the detective at the end of the film The Usual Suspects. Why would a woman wear a towel at her waist? Why would a Thai girl (typically modest despite what you hear), walk into the kitchen naked knowing that there were two younger gentlemen sitting in the dining room. What a great introduction into the wonderful, yet interesting land of Thailand.
i'm kind of addicted to media, all of the arts, religion, culture, traveling, politics, communication, music, academia, and breathing. Sometimes i talk about them here. Mostly i just post stuff i think is cool. The title our.eclectic.world is an excuse to leave my blog unfocused and post whatever i want. It kind of makes my blog cool. It kind of makes it suck. Oh, i also am trying to make films and was in a rap group for ten years.