Ti Ti…
The Amazing Young Lady

I have told the story of meeting a nine-year old girl near Inle Lake, Myanmar over six years ago. She wanted to play Scrabble with me. Some kid wanted to beat me in my game, in my language, and in her country. Imagine that.

Well, she accomplished more than beating me in Scrabble; she was the one that bonded my family in the States to her family in Myanmar. What a great serendipitous event!

Ti Ti is smart, fun to be with, charming, beautiful, artistic, poetic, etc. When I was visiting my family during winter break from teaching, her family and I went on a family tour of various sites in their country. I wanted to visit some places that I had been on previous trips when I had had Ti Ti’s parents as guides. Moh Moh was my guide on my first visit, and Ko Ko was on my second trip. However, they added many places of interest that I didn’t even know existed. Moh Moh knew that I would love Taung Kwe Pagoda located in Loikaw.

Ti Ti mentioned, while we were visiting the pagoda, something about ships docking at the mountain that the Taung Kwe Pagoda was on a long time ago. The pagoda’s name means broken mountain. Sometime in the past, there was a sea surrounding much of the broken mountain, which accounts for the legend of ships mooring to the mountain. This is an artistic expression of that legend where long ago a ship docked. My granddaughters are standing on the bow of the ship.

Since I didn’t recall the details, I emailed Ti Ti for more data. This was Ti Ti’s response.

Dear Papa Al,

Sorry for the late reply. I have to learn more about the history since it is not from my state.

The most famous religious landmark of Loikaw is the Thiri -mingalar (name) Taung Kwe pagoda.

Taung Kwe means "Broken Mountain.” There are all together nine hill locks and the highest hill is 387 ft. tall. Each hill locks has pagoda. Earliest pagoda was built by Kayar King at 1895.There is no detail legendary 'bout that pagoda. The boat shaped one is called "Kyauk Thamban " built at 1914.The legend said that when the people first found the mountain, the king used a boat to go there and built the pagoda. About the sea as you can see there is no prove or evidence. It is just a story told by older people. We have no accurate information about that. Sorry.

There were a prophecy that one day the nine pagodas will be unified into one omniscient pagoda in the propagation and perpetuation of the Buddha faith. The name of the scared hill was also changed into Thiri-mingalar Hill in 1970.

This is all the information I can give you. I hope the information. I give you will be useful.

How's the weather in your country. In my region there is a storm last night. But not too violent. Just a small lighting storm and rain.

By the way, Papa Al, I think you are a camera. Because every time I look at you, I smile.

Have a nice Day. 😊

Yours Sincerely,

Ti Ti

In Myanmar, the students start college two years earlier than we do in the States. It would be like eleventh graders beginning college. When I visited my family during my winter break from teaching, Ti Ti was taking what we call college boards. She is truly amazing. While I was there, they had an awards ceremony for students that did well academically. She placed first in Shan State in math. However, she is gifted in art, writing, and the humanities in general.

There is a pleasant idiosyncrasy that my family and I have. We have had a running argument for years about who has benefited the most from the other family. I promised my family, when I return for my fourth trip, we will argue again about who is receiving more joy…them or me. However, in the many arguments in the past, I have said to the parents and my granddaughters that I am the one who has received more.

Therefore, when I return, I will use Ti Ti’s closing comment about me to prove my point. Ti Ti and her family have made me smile due to being happy. By the way, Papa Al, I think you are a camera. Because every time I look at you, I smile.

Life is good.

The writing, in the background, is in Myanmar. I’ll translate it for you, “Let the world know that Ti Ti is the smartest, most artistic, nicest, sweetest, most caring, and beautiful young lady in all the world. She will change the world for the better.”