I Love My Family
With Some Caveats

I discovered a part of my family in Myanmar a decade ago by sheer happenstance. On my first journey, Moh Moh was my tour guide. Ko Ko, her husband, was my guide on my second trip. On my third trip, our family went on our family tour to places that most tourists had never seen. To say that I love my family doesn’t need saying.

However, I have some problems with my family of five: Moh Moh, Ko Ko, Ti Ti, Snow, and Fatty. Here are examples of the problem. Ko Ko and I would argue about my backpack while he was my tour guide. He insisted upon carrying it himself all the time, whether we were looking at pagodas or in open-air markets.

Snow watched her father and decided to replicate carrying my backpack.

Apparently, she felt bad not allowing me to carry my backpack. We have a special relationship. She and I love to go on walks together. This is a drawing of the two of us walking together. Snow gave me her artwork as a gift.

Moh Moh and I had a slight tiff over Ti Ti going to work after high school. When she told me that, I said to myself, “Over my dead body.” During our third trip, I told Moh Moh what I had thought about her comment that Ti Ti wouldn’t go to college.

Fatty is the youngest of my granddaughters. However, she can identify reincarnated people. When she first met me, she yelled to everyone, “Bo Bo Gyi!” She recognized me as the reincarnated nat, Bo Bo Gyi, which I am.

However, when we were on our family tour, Fatty announced that she was the reincarnation of Harry Belafonte. For a couple of minutes, she sang and played the drum.

As for Ti Ti, we argued about her intellectual ability all the time. I finally could get her to say that she felt that her IQ grade was 80% B-. Man, I jumped upon that teaching moment. Before we went on our family tour together, I attended an honors assembly where she received First Place in Math in Shan State.

Aside from some problems that I have with my family, I will always love them, even with their shortcomings. However, they fully understood what Randy Pausch said in his Last Lecture, “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the game.”

When I returned home two years ago from being with my family during my winter break from teaching, COVID-19 rear its ugly face and all the variant expressions. If that wasn’t bad enough, the military staged a coup the following year. My family had to shelter in place to avoid either problem. Gone were the days of tour guiding.

Ko Ko, Moh Moh, and Ti Ti started to teach English as a second language online. This is their Facebook page for Let’s Talk. They are teaching four dozen students.

This week, I got an email from Moh Moh that they are now distributors of packing material, like cords and ropes, for the Taunggyi area.

This is from Moh Moh’s Facebook account.

Discovering my family near Inle Lake a decade ago was a serendipitous moment in my life. I love my family, and they have made me the happiest person in the world.