Over a month ago, our Thai landlord came to our house while we were out and trimmed our banana trees.
This wasn’t really a big deal to us. The trees weren’t as pretty without the huge overhanging branches, but I didn’t have a strong opinion. However, our Karen and Burmese neighbors, who we had told they could have the banana bunches when they ripened, were quite upset about it. They felt that this ruined the trees.
The Karen woman we talk to quite often, Mong Ey, was really, really upset by the whole scenario. We spent about an hour outside, attempting to calm her and reassure her that the bananas would still grow. She did end up hacking one whole tree to the ground in anger, and they had the banana stalk for dinner.
And then weeks went by, and I didn’t think much more of it.
Until yesterday. We had some friends over for dinner, a few of whom are learning Burmese. One of the girls greeted Mong Ey in Burmese and they began to talk in Burmese for quite awhile.
My friend then came in to tell us that she had been told the whole banana tree story, and Mong Ey was apparently still very, very upset.
This I feel quite bad about.
However, in the recounting of the story, Mong Ey told our friend that she came over to talk to the Thai man, shouting at him that he couldn’t cut the trees because we are her family and those were our trees.
…And I don’t remember much else of what she said. But she called us family.
And now, every crayon mark on the wall, the spilt soup on the couch, countless hours spent in a grungy hospital, and the Q-tip stuck to my wall, they are all worth it.
Because we’re family.