After having friends over for dinner, we spent our Saturday evening showing the kids Google Earth. We had opened it to find a shop in town, at which point we learned they have street view in Mae Sot. We pulled up a picture of our neighborhood, which the kids saw and were enthralled with.
And before you know it, the “stay in the community space” rule was out the window. We had eight kids piled around the laptop (another rule broken) amazed at the capacity to “walk” down the street with the click of a button. They showed us where different parents work, some as house cleaners in homes around the area, others in small factories along our road. We looked at their school and friends houses. They showed us the three churches that they go to for different activities.
We showed them our office and our home church. We showed them where we go to swim. They asked to see the market, which I think was the farthest, craziest place they could think of. They loved to see the storefronts and comment on how beautiful the things were inside. It was a new version of online window shopping.
We showed them America, trying to show them our parents houses since they have met my mom and dad & Stephen’s mom. They kept asking and pointing, if this was in fact America. We said yes, but then decided that they should see another side of America, since West Little Rock isn’t exactly a balanced view. We pulled up New York City. It was here that they started pointed at all the blurred faces of people saying, “Anglais! Anglais!” (White person! White person!) And then, for the quote of the night, Yedi said, “My name is…” and pointed to one of the white men, trying to recall his name. She was clearly thinking so hard trying to remember his name, and I didn’t know how to tell her she probably didn’t know this random man in New York City on Google Earth…
I really love these moments. The unique ways that we get to see more of their lives and they get to see a taste of ours. The silly ways we can communicate and the odd instances where I am reminded of just how much I love them. God has really broken us for them, in a way that I feel very vulnerable. I really love them, but we are just here, together in this friendship, for such a short, unique moment in time. We don’t know when we will go or when they will go. We, as foreigners living in this home, are replaceable. We, as friends that drive them to the hospital, are replaceable. We, as expatriates, are temporarily here. They, as illegal migrants, are temporarily here.
So it is all so temporary, so unknown, and ultimately so odd. But God has really broken us for them, so that a chance to look at Google Earth together is a privilege and a great joy!