Parallels with Ti Ti
A Part of Which Are Genetic

It seems like six months ago that I was playing Scrabble with a cute kid named Ti Ti. Ti Ti was nine years old at that time. That cute kid has become a beautiful young lady in less than a decade. She and her two younger sisters are my granddaughters.

Ti Ti just started her second year at Gusto University. Due to COVID-19 and the coup, she is taking her classes online. Academically, she is doing quite well and is her class president.

While Ti Ti is an excellent student, she is also teaching English as a Second Language to young students online. She is driven. I have mentioned in many essays that her IQ and good looks came from my side of the family. I try not to write about that too often so as not to offend her parents. Nonetheless, there are other striking parallels between the two of us. While attending Muskingum College, I was a teaching assistant and president of my class in graduate school.

Fortuitous would describe our meeting during winter break a decade ago. We have benefited from our time together, and our lives were radically changed. During this winter break, I would have returned to visit Ti Ti and the rest of my family but for the coup and the coronavirus.

Hopefully, those two problems will be resolved soon, which will allow me to spend time with my family. In the meantime, I spend my days in America teaching online and writing. The only thing that pulls me away from the computer is taking care of Ginger. I get up in the early morning take Ginger for a walk around the lake, which takes an hour. We have breakfast, and I sit down in front of my computer to teach and write while Ginger sits at my feet. A week ago, I got this email from Myanmar.

Sir Allan Campbell, 

      Hello Sir, How are you? I hope you are well, as for me. I’m fine. My name is Ma Hay Mon Thaw From Teacher Nang Hsu Yati class.                                              

     Yesterday, I read your article about ‘Yourself’ and ‘A little about your travels’. That was really interesting.  

      I want to tell you about Pindaya, who I visited about a year ago. It was a pleasure to visit.  

      Pindaya is a town in the Shan State of Burma. It is located in the west of the state in Pindaya Township in Taunggyi District. Mainly Famous for its limestone caves called Pindaya Caves where thousands of Buddha image have been cansecrated for worship over the centuries, it is also one of the towns that host on itinerant market every fifth day.  

      According to local legend, the term Pindaya is a corruption of the word Pinguya, which translates to Taken the Spider in Burmese. The name arose from the legend that there was once a large spider which resided in the caves and it had captured a local princess. The princess was rescued when the giant spider was spain by a prince using a bow and arrow. The princess was rescued when the giant spider was spain by a prince using a bow and arrow. When the spider was killed, the prince was said to have exclamied that he had taken the spider, that is to kill it. Thus, the exclamation became the name of the regions, and from it Pindaya received its name.  

        The Pindaya Caves, a mild 45 minute walk away from the town, are the most famous attraction the town has to affer. Another lesser known attraction is the PlanBee Beekeeping Center. Visitors can test and buy pure organically made local honey and other bee products while enjoying a cup of coffee and the gorgeous view of Pone Taloke Lake.  

        Thank You very much for your kindness and reading my email. From Myanmar, I wish you good health and happiness.

Initially, I glanced at the length of the email and thought it was from one of Ti Ti’s classmates at Gusto. As I started to read it, I was surprised to find that it was from one of her students. I assumed that the student was around ten years old. Nonetheless, she amazed me at her writing ability in English.

I replied to Ma Hay Mon Thaw about her English language skills and asked for a photo for this article. She sent me two. The first one is of her holding an academic award.

This photo is of Ma Hay Mon Thaw flashing her victory and happiness gesture.

It was interesting how much Ma Hay Mon Thaw knew about the Pindaya Caves and the legend about the prince who killed a giant spider. Two years ago, my family and I visited the Pindaya Caves. The official name of the Pindaya Caves is Shwe U Min Natural Cave Pagoda of Pindaya.

Actually, Ti Ti wrote captions for the picture of the Pindaya Caves for my website.

A visit to the famous PinDaya cave, entrance with the row of Buddha and his disciple statues

PinDaYa means I got spider (prince conquered the spider to save seven princesses who were trapped in the cave)

Snow is watching their uncle rescue Fatty from the giant spider.

The Buddha statues were curved on wooden plate

Stalactite column was being shown by my younger sisters.

The bee-hive Buddha images on the wall

Guilting the gold leaves and making the wishes is the custom in Myanmar

The beauty of stalactite and stalagmite with the Buddha images

There are 9,000+ statues of Buddha in the Pindaya Caves and have been there for several centuries. Many of the statues were given by Buddhist devotees to get some sort of blessing like escaping from samsara. Samsara is the cyclical birth, life, and death. This reincarnation process takes a seemingly endless number of rebirths until they reach Nirvana.

This is a video of the Pindaya Caves.