Thursday, July 03, 2008

A Little Rambling, A Little Culture

When I started this blog 2 years ago, my intent was to keep in touch with friends and family and to “show” you Thailand. I had all kinds of ideas about what I would post. It was going to be a class in culture. Then we moved here. For quite some time, life has been just about all I could handle. Call it culture shock or whatever you want, I just wasn’t able to process my new life and share it at the same time, as simple as that should have been. Someone told me before I moved here that I should give myself 2 years to adjust. They were so right. Twenty-two months after moving to the Land of Smiles, my smile is feeling more and more natural and less forced. There is, to be sure, so much more that I don’t even know that I don’t know, but I am more or less at ease here. I suppose ignorance is bliss. While visiting Utah, I worried that I would dread returning. But it wasn’t like that. Of course, I was sad to leave everyone, but speeding around the streets of Bangkok again felt familiar and even a little comfortable.

Thailand is a wonderful, interesting, amazing place to be. I haven’t been able to truthfully say that until recently. I want to share it with you. Living here is changing me. It is changing my thinking. Culture is such a funny thing. I don’t think you truly understand your own until you have been taken out of it. Even then you still may not. It is so inherent in us that we have trouble separating ourselves from it. So as I learn about Thailand, its history, culture, values (on and on it goes) I am seeing my own American culture in a new light. I am comparing the two. I am questioning both. It is unsettling and enlightening. And then I begin to think about how Christianity should look in this setting so that it is truly Biblical and truly Thai at the same time. I have more questions than answers but once again I find peace in knowing that God knows how it all works together. I have been reading along these lines lately. It has given much food for thought.

Boy that was heavy! I didn’t intend to go there, but now you know what is on my mind. On a lighter note let me introduce you to the King and Queen. Of fruit that is…


If you have ever seen it you probably wouldn’t forget it. And if you ever smelled it you would never forget it. It has the most intense smell. That would be because it is full of sulfur. It is so bad that some hotels place signs around their grounds restricting it.

But if you ask any local, they will tell you they love it. Pun has nostalgic feelings when he smells it. To be fair, it tastes better than it smells. It is incredibly rich, and if I have to eat it, I prefer it to be boiled into soup and eat it over sticky rice with coconut milk. There is no other taste that I can think of to compare it to. Really, it’s not too bad, if you can get past the smell.

It is rather on the large side of fruits and you wouldn’t want someone to throw one at you. Maybe this is why it is known as the king of fruit.

Mangkut….ahhh…good stuff. Also known as mangosteen or the queen of fruits. When I was pregnant with Sam, this was one of the things I craved. Every bite leaves you wanting more. Not only does it taste wonderful, it is delicate and pretty to look at. The leaves on top look like they are straight from a Mary Engelbreit drawing. The outside of the fruit is a deep eggplant color. On the bottom is a cute little pattern that I am sure could be turned into a stamp by some crafty person. You can use your fingernail to pierce through the skin into the meat of the fruit. The inside is fuchsia purple until you reach the edible part which in contrast is bright white. If you ever get the chance to try one, do. It’s yummy!

(I apologize for the terrible pictures of the mangkut. I have a new camera and I promise to read the manual on how to take better pictures soon! So I found some nicer pictures to show you here where you can also see what Queen Victoria thought of mangkut, and here. Apparently, mangkut, has its own website. Who knew??)


Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading your blog this morning. It has been a real comfort to your mom to know that you are feeling at home in your new country/culture. We miss you terribly, but would be very sad if you weren't adjusting to your new life. We know God has taken you there and praise Him for helping you to adjust and feel at home.
On the lighter note, I am excited to try the Queen of fruit when we come. We have tried the King and liked it fixed as you described.
Also, the caterpillar you posted is beautiful. Amazing!
Love and prayers,

Brian Megilligan said...

Hey--thanks for the two part blog, Merri!

I hope someday to try the King and Queen fruit while experiencing your culture with you!

Merri said...

Thanks Mom! Can't wait for you to come. And Brian, if you and your family make it here--we will give you all the fruit you can eat!! :)

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