Continuing the writings of my wife Thip, when she wrote about her family and growing up in the Isaan. She did this as part of a series of short essays for her ESL (English as a Second Language) classes in Santa Barbara, California, during the first decade of our marriage [2000-2009]:
(Photo of Thip at the time she is writing about, 1970s)
Village life by Thiphawan Suphannaphoowong Gault-Williams
The life in our village was very simple when I was young [in the 1970s and early 1980s]. Children didn't have any toys. We used to play with banana stems. We cut banana stems and made a shape like a horse. We rode banana horses around the village. It was very safe because our village didn't have any cars in those days.
Now things have changed in my village because children don't have to play with banana horses any more. Children play with toys or ride bicycles around the village. It is not safe like it was before because there are too many cars now.
Children used to go to school together. We walked to school. We played together, we shared food and ate together. Now things are different. Children go to different schools depending on how much their parents can afford to pay. They ride bikes to school or some kids' parents drive them.
People used to go to temple more. For example, when I was young I went to temple with my mom to give food to the monks. I would see around ten to fifteen people at the temple [every morning on non-special observance days]. But now it is different because I see around five to ten people at the temple.
People used to spend time together and eat together often. For example, the Pawet family had lunch with my family often and spent time together with us. Now things are different because people have to buy food. This is different because before people used to hunt. People have their own televisions but before they didn't have any TV. People have to work to pay bills but before they didn't have bills, except the bill for gas to light up at night. We didn't use to have electricity.
I miss my life when I was young a lot because I think it was so simple and people were not too busy like now.
(Our family friend Tah Long, in front of our village home,
walking his buffalo while on his cell)