Recently, I read an opinion piece which said that the key to successful blog posts that both engage and attract, is to include 3 truths and 1 story.
So, due to the fact that the last few weeks have been crazy, that I have totally dropped the ball on writing a blog post for May… and that I feel incapable to writing anything for June…. I will now lazily apply this apparently full-proof formula to submit a blog post that is engaging, attractive and successful, all without getting out of my pajamas.
Truth 1: I have lived in 2 cities in this country, and in both there seems to be a public love for 90’s power ballads… or corny love songs in general. They are played at loud volume in the shopping centres, cafés and department stores. I have heard more Celine Dion in the last 18months than I probably heard from her in the entire 1990’s. I get to sing along to Backstreet boys, Guy Sebastian and Jordan Sparks whenever I visit a public building and I kinda not-so-secretly love it.
Truth 2: Toilets in Sth East Asia are squat toilets on the floor. They are built up 1 step. There is a normal toilet ‘bowl’ section and 2 drainage sections on the side. Now, I always assumed that to use these, you are meant to place a foot on either side of the toilet and squat down with the toilet directly beneath me.
I will admit publically that I do not have great squatty success.
Many toilets cubicals are also 2cm deep in water, seeing as how the locals use a bucket to splash flush which then gets on the floor etc. I spent a long time baffled as to how the ladies ahead of me in the toilet que do it! What do they do with their pants? Take them completely off? How do they NOT pee on themselves?
Granted they are better at squatting than me – but come on. So I asked a close frend. Apparently the key is to put your feet on the step lower, both feet out in front of you and squat to hang your bottom over the bowl. She gave me a demonstration (not actually on a toilet though) and it looked simple enough when she did it.
Even now that I know the inside truth, I still find it awkward and… honestly… don’t always come away completely dry.
Truth 3: In a neighborhood – everyone knows everything. We went out for the afternoon to a swimming pool. There are not really any changing rooms at this swimming pool and so we left our house in our swimsuits and returned wearing them – wet. I wear long board shorts that fall below my knee and a short sleeve rash shirt. It is not as covered as most women but it is ok for swimming. I walked from my house to the car (about 2 meters, maybe). We went out for about 3 hours and returned home where I walked the 2metres back inside.
About 20 minutes after getting home there is a knock at my door. My neighbor just wanted to know where I had gone – wearing shorts like that.
She was concerned,
Did I realize how white my legs are – they get noticed.
Did I know that women don’t wear shorts if they want to be respected?
She has discussed it with other neighbors and none of them could think of where I could possibly be going in such attire.
I thanked her for caring about my reputation, explained that I had gone swimming and that yes… I am aware my legs are white. She seemed to accept this explanation.
The next day a 9year old friend of my daughter told me that she had recently heard about how I like to go swimming.
And now a story,
My (now 6yr old) was running around outside.
She, along with her siblings and some local kids were playing a run/chase game. Though, with language barriers, no one seemed to quite knew who was meant to be chasing whom and so there was just a blur of laughter and running kids.
In the chaos, Buddy stepped on a plank of wood with an old dirty nail protruding through.
It went through her rubber sandals and deeply into her foot.
As she squealed, lifting her foot with the wood now attached, the wood was pulled from her foot by a local boy who then carried her inside.
Of course blood was going everywhere, Buddy was screaming in pain and shouting melodramatic assurances that she would die, or need her foot cut off or that she could never walk again.
I was home alone, and as I tried to call Hoosband for back-up the signal was dead. I tried teammates and friends. All of whom did not answer their phones. So I patched up my holey daughter as best I could and sat covered in her blood hoping everything was just going to be ok.
There was an extremely old man working in our yard that day.
Apart from saying hello, I hadn’t paid him very much attention. He had worked for us for a few days already where he spent a lot of his time mumbling in 3rd person to the dirt and weeds. If he did come to tell us he was finished or ready to go home. He would just walk up to the outside of a window – any window – and start repeating (in very hard to understand through a 3-teeth and mumble language barrier),
“Uncle is tired. Uncle is going home. Uncle is finished. Uncle is tired. Uncle is going home”.
He would repeat this to the window until either Hoosband or I went outside to acknowledged him.
Then he would thank the window, hop on his bike and go home. He is a random friend-of-a-friend, he is little odd but he needed work and we were happy to pay him to pull out weeds for a few days.
So Uncle was working in the yard, the day Buddy stepped on the nail.
As she screams and the blood flows onto my lap and I hold various bandages to her foot – Uncle appears at the door. He has cleared the basket of his push bike, he points at Buddy and begins saying,
“Uncle takes her to hospital. Uncle will take her to hospital. Uncle put her in my bike. Uncle goes now. Uncle needs money. Uncle takes her to hospital.”
I answer him with, “No thank you Uncle. It’s ok”
“Uncle takes her to hospital. Uncle puts her in bike and takes her”
“No thank you. She is ok. I can do it. No thank you Uncle”
“Uncle needs money. Uncle will take her to hospital. Not too far. Uncle takes her in bike.”
As Buddy cries and begs to know if she will ever walk again, and I am trying in the chaos to examine the amount of swampy scum embedded in her foot – Uncle keeps edging into the room intent on taking my daughter to a hospital.
I don’t know which hospital and I don’t know how I would contact him once there or what they would do. I don’t think she needs to go. I keep thanking him (because it is genuinely nice that he really wanted to help her) – but insisting that I don’t think it is a good idea for this slightly eccentric man to take my daughter in this bicycle basket, to a unknown location for an unknown level of hospital care.
He keeps insisting.
Repeating to the floor or opposite wall, that he is taking her and that he needs money to do so and that she would easily fit in his bicycle basket.
I keep thanking him and insisting it is not needed. I keep trying to call someone for help, call my Hoosband for back up. I try to calm Buddy and find her records to confirm if she is up to date for tetanus.
And so, for better or worse (and you can judge me as either) I could no longer deal with the level of drama and oddity in the room.
I got up from the lounge and I thanked Uncle again, I said it clearly and loudly…. I said it twice… over and above his repetitions.
Then I slowly… shut the door in his face.
(I think he then stayed there, insisting to the door for a while and then… well… I don’t know. I think he must have gone home.)
As for Buddy and the hole in her foot, well I did get a hold of a friend via phone call.
Hoosband came home and I found her medical records -Buddy was up to date with tetanus injections.
She spent a while nursing a sore foot which thankfully (and honestly – surprisingly) never got infected.
And all was well.
And Uncle even came back the next day to pull more weeds and get paid.