My first day in Bangkok I stopped by Citibank and talked with Whit(citi customer service agent) about the city, the floods, and made him laugh with some of my dry humor. He seemed very worried about the floods and having it hit his condominium, but I tried to provide him some reassurance. I told him that I want to volunteer and asked if I could use the phone to call the evacuation volunteer center. I called and a girl answered the phone in a shy and awkward manner saying, "No we do no neeed any volunteers, if you provide your email I can let you know if something comes up." Whit was standing in front of me and was shaking his head in confusion. This was a place that just posted the day before that they are in extreme need of volunteers. The phone call was quite bizarre and it just gave me a werid feeling during the call.
After this weird call, Whit mentioned the Red Cross to me and told me exactly how to get there and off I went to the Thai Red Cross. I was not planning on going into Citibank that day, but I did and that simple interaction brought me to the Red Cross. Perhaps God would have brought me there in another indirect way, but it happened quickly and I am thankful for that.
I stopped by the Thai Red Cross and they were very sweet upon arrival. They asked me what hours I was available and I told them full time everyday. I joked sunshine to sunset and they were laughing and smiling. She said I can come back tomorrow, but I insisted on starting now. They initiated me packing a bag as a "trial run." That "trial run" became a full beautiful day of volunteering.
I started packing and I was the only foreigner that day. A group of high school girls were laughing and smiling at me repeating, “Thai people say Thank you.” They were so happy and appreciative of my presence and I equally felt that feeling for them as well. We packed and packed and packed and packed and loaded and loaded and loaded and loaded. I met such wonderful human beings that smiled so big and I felt it in my soul. We ate dinner together while I was teaching English and learning Thai. The dinner was crispy pork, a vegetable curry, and rice. I do not eat pork, but I did not want to decline food and be rude so I just ate it. It was the most amazing pork ever and I went back for second and thirds!
At dinner, I met Jiap and Mr. C who gave me a ride home and we went for ice cream. Jiap said she wanted us to be friends and she would be there to help me with anything I needed. She was so sweet that it was hard to believe sometimes that people can have such beautiful ways about them. We laughed while sharing vanilla ice cream with fried apple dumplings. Mr. C says that he does not speak English, but throughout our conversation I walk him slowly through words, sentences, and he does just fine.
Never underestimate your human potential PRIS
He reminds me of Mr. Unagi from the Karate Kid-he is adorable-love him! We talk about the Thai culture and how it is in their blood to be kind and warm people. Jiap compliments the color of my eyes and skin many times. Mr.C sits and smiles while eating his eggs and ham. It is a Kodak moment of us three: the American girl with her new Thai friends learning about each other’s cultures and teaching one another new languages.