Than Just Dreaming
I have written many articles about what I call my hauntings. Hauntings are things that I can’t explain or understand, and they haunt me until I comprehend the situation. This is the backstory of one of my hauntings. I had returned to visit my family in Myanmar two years ago. We had fun during my visit. I was able to reconnect with Ti Ti. She was nine on my first visit.
Additionally, I was able to get to know Snow and Fatty who are Ti Ti’s younger sisters. Four years prior, they were in a preschool daycare center. Snow was four, and Fatty was two. However, on my second trip, both of them were fully aware about the guy from America.
Moh Moh and Ko Ko, their parents, told them about me. However, Ti Ti surely spent a lot of time talking about PaPa Al, which she named me. I have written about Snow and I holding hands on one of our walks. I have also written about Fatty rebelling at Ti Ti’s naming me PaPa Al. She insisted on calling me Bo Bo Gyi, which is a Buddhist guardian called a nat.
After an all too brief visit, I needed to begin getting ready to fly back to America. I went Ngapali for a couple of days and then flew back to the States. The evening before my flight early the next morning, we had a family dinner at our favorite eatery, the Nyaung Shwe Restaurant.
Then Ko Ko drove the family to my hotel, and we said our good-byes. However, I gave a short note to Ti Ti that she was to give to her parents the next morning. It was about us being a family. Why I had to write a note, about something that we talked about while I was with them, is beyond me. I guess that I needed to remind them. I know, it wasn’t necessary.
I woke up the next morning, got packed, had breakfast, a met my driver who would takee me from the hotel to the airport. There is one thing that you need to know about traveling in Myanmar. If you are told that your driver would be at the hotel at 9:00am, you better be there by 8:45am. Wherever you go, the car and driver are always on time.
I got into the car and didn’t say much other than hello to the drive. I just sat back remembering the fun that we had while I was with my family. I was not a very happy camper or rather tourist at the moment. I was sad. I had a wonderful time and was reluctantly accepting the reality that I was leaving.
To be honest with you, I have no idea how long the ride to the airport took. I was in a fog and in an incredibly sad state of mind. I really wondered whether I would see my family again. I didn’t know. And since I wasn’t sure, I grieved the possible loss. However, halfway to the airport, my driver pulled to the side of the road. Why was he stopping? The airport was still miles away. I was bewildered. The driver didn’t say a word and just sat there as he starred ahead. I tried to grasp what the problem was. I looked up and saw Ko Ko standing next to the car. Surprised doesn’t express my feelings.
Ko Ko thanked me for my note that I had given to Ti Ti the night before. He gave me the envelope had my note, but it now contained this note from Moh Moh.
We thanked each other, said good-bye, and my driver took me to the airport as I read and reread Moh Moh’s note as I cried. Amid my tears, I resolved to plan my return trip to visit my family again in two years.
Two years later, I did as I had promised. Moh Moh and Ko Ko planned our family vacation. One of our points of interest was the Kakku Pagodas and the restaurant at the entrance. I had been before on my second trip. It is a large restaurant, which large areas open to the outside. It is a very nice restaurant and breathtaking location. We were sitting there enjoying relaxing, laughing, and chattering away as Moh Moh ordered for all the family.
I don’t recall Ko Ko leaving the table where we were sitting. However, almost like the time that my driver stopped on the way to the airport, I looked up and there was Ko Ko. He was anxious to introduce me to the driver that I had stopped by the side of the road two years prior. The driver’s name was Zarni. This time we all were happy.
After lunch, we had to wait until my three granddaughters got all dressed up with the area’s traditional headdress.
Then off we went to the see about a million pagodas.
There the girls sang Auld Lang Syne at the reflecting pool. Bobby Burns and Rod Stewart would have been proud of them.
Then Ko Ko drove to the hotel where I stayed two years ago when I left my family. It was a nice way to round out my emotional journey.
This essay is about making decisions. My story is merely an example. Think about what is important and then act. Had I not decided to return on my third trip when I did and waited another year, I wouldn’t have bad the time of my life due to the coronavirus or what is now called the Trump virus.
Our family plans ahead. We are already planning my fourth journey to Myanmar. We will travel again as a family to Yangon, the Golden Rock, and the Great Pagoda. My fifth trek will be to see Ti Ti graduate from college.
Remember, dream dreams that never were…and then act. Bobby Kennedy would be proud of me.