After months of fighting off the pressure to get a “real” job, I’m glad to report I successfully drop-kicked that 9-5 slut in the face and reverted back to my previous notion that the real world can suck it because I’d like to screw around a bit more before I button up my starchy business suit. So I decided to accompany two of my friends to the other side of the world, where I will spread my creepiness onto the people of Pattaya. I plan to solicit my services on the streets of Bangkok at night and package rice patties during hours of sunlight as a legitimate occupation. Kidding, I will be teaching the Thai people the American language for an entire year. Now, I find it mildly offensive that when I told people of my future travel endeavors, 50% of their responses were along the lines of “but you hate Asians.” I would just like to go ahead and set the record straight by stating I don’t hate the Asian people. Does it make me uncomfortable that they travel in packs and sometimes swarm in public places, encompassing me in a pod of tiny foreign people speaking very quickly and making wild hand gestures? Definitely. Does it completely irritate me to be stuck behind an Asian operating anything with wheels? Indeed. Does that mean I HATE Asians? Absolutely not. But then again, I’ve done my fair share of research and the Thai people—in addition to being a remarkably bronzed breed of Asian—are considered the most “euro” of the Asian population. Will I still experience some anxiety when plagued with a large crowd of these brown Orientals? Certainly. But I intend to take full advantage of the fact that in addition to being 7 inches taller than the average Thai, with my pale skin, light hair and sparkling blue eyes, I will undeniably be able to convince them that I am of Western royalty. I’ve already designed what I’d like my crown and scepter to look like, but I figured the materials for the construction of my royalty indicators would be cheaper there, not to mention explaining the jewel encrusted weapon-like object in my suitcase to customs might be an issue.
For those of you who have never opened an encyclopedia or aren’t aware that the internet can display photos of other geographical locations, Thailand boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The movie “The Beach” with my estranged husband Leonardo DiCaprio was actually filmed in Koh Samui, Thailand. However, for those of you that have seen “The Hangover 2,” which is probably a bit more, all of Thailand is not like Bangkok. Although, Pattaya is often referred to as the prostitution capital of the world (yes, the world). Mom, if you’re reading this, please stop crying. And although I will be travelling with two other blonde-hair, blue eyed beauties—making us one enormous target for the next shipment of sex slaves—I’m not worried. Why? Because first of all, my second dad is a threatening Jamaican ex-cop and I’m making him re-watch Taken to brush up on some pointers should the need arise. Secondly, though my mom stands a soaring five-foot-three and has never played a sport in her life, if she smelled danger on the horizon for her first-born angel, that broad would suit up Catwoman style, nun chucks in hand, hijack an airplane with my Jamaican cocoa crispy and those two would wreak havoc on the underground slavery ring. Plus I’m pretty scrappy and I took TaeKwondo last year… as an extracurricular class. And I’ve done my fair share of Billy Blanks DVDs until his wandering eye meandered into my nightly visions and scared off all the dancing sugarplums and I was forced to dispose of my TaeBo DVD collection. I do think I’d be a little upset if I was kidnapped and sold into slavery, especially since I turned down a job in Cali for this gig. The first four weeks of our excursion begins in Cambodia, where they teach us to teach English to people whose language we won’t understand. I actually tried to learn some Thai online, but the only thing I could make out of the little pictures were some McDonald’s advertisements, soliciting the sale of the ‘Chicken McRice Burger,’ which I am shuper duper exshited to try as my first drunk munchie abroad. In Cambodia, they take us on three excursions, one of which will involve elephant rides. I’m going to channel my inner Mowgli from Jungle Book and coax the world’s largest land mammal into being my taxicab and best friend for the next year, like that giant flying dog in A Neverending Story. I will ride around the streets of Thailand on my elephant chap with my crown and scepter, demanding the loyalty of my pint-sized subjects. Joking – I won’t actually exploit the Thai people with my intellect and lofty stature.
Believe it or not, I actually have a soul. I’m eager to be living in a place where I have the opportunity to give back while also learning about the culture and practices of a country completely foreign to anything I’ve ever known. The one drawback of going to Thailand was that I wouldn’t be able to accompany my BWOB crew back to Africa next week where they will construct a school building for the people of Burundi. Some of the kindest, most interesting people I’ve ever met were in Africa. It’s amazing to go to a place where the people have no running water or electricity yet continue to smile, dance, sing and be genuinely happy despite the fact that they have so little. Instead of basing their happiness on material things, which they don't have, they celebrate the little things in life that they do have and are completely content simply being alive. I’m ecstatic to experience the feeling of teaching people that truly desire to learn, instead of children whose privileged asses remain parked in front of some awful video game, where the only human interaction they engage in is with the 45 year old man on the other side of that creepy headset. I always encourage people to travel to places where they can remove themselves from their charmed lives and submerge their minds and bodies in someone else’s reality. It’s difficult to imagine the lives of people in underdeveloped countries and pictures cant compete with tangibly touching, tasting, hearing and feeling the poverty and pain that people endure on a daily basis. The last day of teaching the kids in Africa, we were saying our goodbyes and a little girl ran up, hugged me, handed me a brown paper sack and scampered off. I opened the bag and inside, covered in plastic, sat a card that read: “congratulation (the 's' was lost in translation) on your new baby girl.” At first, I laughing, knowing that this girl couldn’t read English and probably just picked the first pink card written in English that jumped out at her. Then I pictured her walking miles into town to buy a card for me with what little money she had and a feeling of unknown gratitude rushed over me. I received countless gifts that day and each one reminded me that although I have so much, there are people in the world that have so much less, yet still yearn to give what little they do have. I really encourage anyone that has the opportunity to travel to a place where they can experience a little about true poverty as well as true happiness through helping people to definitely take advantage of that opportunity--or at least commit to making such a trip in the future. Just two weeks in Africa completely changed my perspective-and while Thailand isn’t as impoverished-I’m know in a year I’ll be able to find even more opportunities to help improve the lives of people less fortunate there and meet countless more amazing people.
This entry is a far cry from my normal posts oozing with mockery, sarcasm and cynicism, but I hope my holier-than-thou Oprah-like sermon resides with some. And while that broad with the giant cranium annoys the hell out of me (much like I annoy others) she’s got good intentions, which I also hope that I do. But then again, I think my aversion to Big Head Winfrey stems more from the fact that she refuses to sign the adoption papers I continually send to her lawyer.