On 27 December, we took the bus to Chiang Mai with my parents. We saw them off at the airport that evening, and then spent another day in town in hopes of seeing The Hobbit.
We had originally planned to see Mom & Dad off on a flight out of Mae Sot, saving us another trip on the bus. This was very tempting after all of our travels recently, and the many trips that hang on the horizon.
However, it was The Hobbit.
And for Stephen, that was one of those small moments when you just don’t want to be here. You don’t want to be removed; you want to be able to see a movie in the theater and pretend you live in the West.
And so we decided it was worth it. And I think it was, because I really think it is some of the smallest things that make you want to give up and go home. It’s never the big frustrations, really; it’s the little ways you feel disconnected and the little nudges that you don’t fit here or there anymore.
We went to the mall on Friday afternoon to buy tickets for the evening showing. They had limited The Hobbit to one theater, with just two showings at 3pm and 9pm. While we were in a very long line, the 3pm showing sold out. And while we weren’t wanting to go to that one, it incited a small panic. We already had tickets out the next day, and we now could hear an English-speaking couple in front of us deciding they would just have to see the 9pm showing instead.
What if everyone wanting to go to the 3pm showing switched to the 9pm showing?
Stephen was more nervous than I’d like to admit, and I was just thinking how tired I’d be if we had to stay in the city much longer.
Without giving anything away, the general plot is that the dwarves’ land has been taken by a dragon, and a group of dwarves, a wizard, and a hobbit head out on a journey to reclaim the dwarves’ home. The hobbit is the odd ball that comes from a comfortable house on the hill and doesn’t really fit in the group of tough guys.
And as I write out the plot, I realize how ridiculous it sounds, particularly considering how much Stephen loves the whole Lord of the Rings trilogy. And how much of a nerd I am that I’m about to quote it.
However, I loved this line, and couldn’t have said it better. At one point the hobbit tells the others,”I know you doubt me. I know you always have, and you’re right. I often think of Bag End. I miss my books, and my arm chair, and my garden. See, that’s where I belong; that’s home. And that’s why I came, ’cause you don’t have one…a home. It was taken from you, but I will help you take it back if I can.”
My thoughts exactly. This is what I want to say when I am sliding down the muddy side of a mountain, spilling water as I try to do my laundry by hand, or smiling over fish paste. My version would be more of, “I know I look ridiculous and uncoordinated. You’re right; you are far more capable than I am. I miss America. I miss my soft bed, my books; I miss understanding what the heck is going on. I miss bread and salad. But that’s home for me, and we’re here to try to create a peaceful, safe home for you here. And really, we’re here to share a far greater hope than that. I’m doing what I can.”
And somehow, we both left the movie encouraged. As much as I hate the city, it’s really a blessing that we can get to food we recognize and sit in movies we understand. We can participate in both worlds for just a short time.