I made Mong Ey mad this week.
On Monday I came home from to find Yuh Meh Oo sitting outside our house, when she should have still been at school. Her eye was red and puffy, shockingly similar to mine just a few days before. This infection spreads easily, it seems.
I went to the pharmacy to pick her up the drops I had been prescribed and returned to give them to her mom. I needed Mong Ey to translate for me, since she needed to understand how often to put the drops in and how contagious it was.
Mong Ey & Yuh Meh Oo’s mom had had a fight the day before. I knew about it from my house, because our lives are pretty close to theirs. I heard the screaming, we saw the swinging fists; we understood very little.
In my opinion, whatever the argument was about didn’t seem a reason not to give the little girl the medicine she needed. So I decided ignorance was bliss and went on as though an argument I didn’t understand was no argument.
Mong Ey did consent to translating, but she kept her scowl prominent throughout. There was no mistaking her frustration.
Last night, I was cutting Stephen’s hair and he was trimming mine. This is quite a mess here, partially because our bathroom is wet and small and kind of gross, but the easiest place to clean. It’s also quite a mess because I have no idea what I’m doing, and neither does he. We had wet hair, chunks of hair all over us, and we were focused.
That’s when the yelling started from the front door. They yelled our names, banged on the door. I shouted back that it would be just a minute, but apparently that went unheard. The yelling and pounding continued.
This wasn’t helping our stress. After a few minutes I dripped through the living room in my sarong with hair all over me.
There was probably no mistaking my frustration. And it’s very difficult to think in another language when you are frustrated.
It turns out a woman I helped a few days ago was back for some more medicine. It wasn’t urgent, but they thought I was cooking and couldn’t hear them. I helped them with the medicine and we sorted things out. My own frustration wasn’t a good reason not to give this woman the medicine she needed.
And I think it all evened out. We both pushed each other to frustration, but for the sake of helping someone out. And in some ways, it feels like a more true friendship, as if we love each other enough to be frustrated and still push each other to do what is right.