an expat living in bangkok for the holidays

Stories as containers

She lives with unusual stories. Eclectic fantastic interesting intelligent fucked up virulent sarcastic sweet loving thieving sexy ridiculous argumentative creative musical Chinese, Indian, Thai, Japanese, Irish, Polish, German, American, Iranian, Pilipino, Norwegian, Swedish, English, French, Scottish, straight, bisexual, Ladyboy … transience.

They live in a humid, tucked back narrow winding Bangkok Soi. The narrows hug a Buddhist temple, a Hindu temple, and a Mosque whose prayers echo in a weave through the cracked cement. Stray dogs and kittens play on the tin and tile rooftops. Some yell at the public prayers over the intercom, some giggle at the finale which undoubtedly says, white bum.  Let us not forget how they are cupped between their respective cemeteries.

This home is a serviced apartment. They get visitors, get yelled at, and smile at rumoring questions from the neighbors. They have dance parties with portable speakers and smart phones, and Miss Universe pageants in drag for Christmas. They achieve, joke, fail, fall in love, cry, and confide. They have concerts sitting on the burgundy front porch tiles and place fallen magnolia blossoms from the trees in their hair.

Some arrive and cannot wait to leave. Some stay for the night, some for internships, some have lived there for years. Some sew and sell hot pants internationally. Some teach and some work in hair salons. Some are bank tellers, some students, some cook, some play music, some audit, some work with jewels, some write, and some design type. The rooms are as diverse as their verse. Some have posh decorations, some do not clean their apartments for weeks. Some have fish tanks, and some take care of flying monkeys secretly as their pets. The rumors are true. Some of the rooms do not have windows.

The kaleidoscopes of these stories confront and address the insecure nostalgia and hyper aware exquisiteness of experience. Their families are equally as diverse. Some have had incredibly nurturing pasts and others have dealt with abuse. They are over and under achievers. They work together, sleep together, move away, we move in. They laugh too much and little, drink too much and little, sing, smoke, and eat too much and too little. They have yoga and aerobics on the roof and guacamole potlucks. They scissor and gel and dye their hair. They fall into canals, ditches, and the front entrance steps. They Skype for hours, converse for hours; express and share themselves in all respects.

Their stories structuralize who they are in addition to what they define as home. Home is anywhere they have this feeling. Of acceptance, of community, of the strangeness that grows the perspective of what is considered to be both love and working together.  Their home could be considered as temporary, but what are homes, but ones that cultivate and then change as we grow. Home necessitates growth. This is a moment to build, to cultivate, to acknowledge in both the gorgeousness of its temporality and the strength and power in the honesty of the encounter; to come home either today or someday.

Time is limited and they are forced to face, encounter, express, and heal. They further home, and community, and acceptance, as they cultivate love and empathy. This expression reveals a spectrum of world community; in a bend of light honest in both its failure and accomplishment.

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