We've decided to rename our house "Little Burma." At any time, you can come inside and smell (for better or worse) real Burmese food cooking, and you can find people wearing longis and sandals and wraps that they use to carry their babies on their backs, and you can hear little boys yelling short Burmese phrases and mothers singing Burmese hymns. Sometimes I feel like maybe I am in Burma.
The morning after our special snowed-in sleepover this week, we were having a late brunch and looked out the window to see Lian and Cing shovelling a path from Little Burma to 711 House. We felt bad for them, considering all their progress was quickly being covered again by the still-falling snow in sub-zero temperatures, so Pam tried to tell them to go home and stay warm, and we'd come over soon. When we did go home, Lian was there waiting for us with a look in her eye I hadn't seen before... was she angry? or offended? I realized then that she was worried about us! She came in and tried to explain that when we didn't come home that night they all thought we were stuck and couldn't get out, and they resolved as a group that in the morning they would shovel us out. I felt guilty for having so much fun while they were so concerned... and it kind of surprised me that they cared so much. I didn't bother to tell them our plans because I assumed they would stay upstairs close to their space heaters and never even realize we were gone. But Lian is much more of a mother hen than I gave her credit for.
And when that hit me, something inside me changed... I had this mentality that I was the "house mom," teaching and helping the internationals in a new situation - and granted, I think Hannah and I are doing that, just not in the maternal way that Lian and Cing care for us. They have just as much (if not more) to contribute than we do. And its nice to have a "mom" away from home... oh, these mommas won't make us snickerdoodles or strawberry jam, though... more like ramen-type soup and quail eggs! But they really care about us and love us, and it feels so good to be so loved.