Before I left California, one of my cousins asked me, "What do you do in Burma? Just go to temples?" Well, yeah. There ARE a lot of beautiful gold-laden pagodas in Burma. That's true.
But there's so much more to Burma than just the temples.
Being back in Burma has been great for me. For all its faults and wrongs, I love it here. I really do. There's something about its peaceful chaotic-ness and the novelty in the everyday that I love about Burma. Every day, every thing, every moment is a (mis)adventure!
Taking a ride in the cars in Burma is a constant source of amusement for me. I find such joy and hilarity in sitting like packed sardines, bumping around in the cars whenever we hit the many potholes in the streets that I'm pretty much just laughing the entire time I'm in a car. Chinese fire engines have nothing on the Burmese! I've never seen cars and trucks filled to the brim like this before! Most times, I'm laughing through the fear that the people (myself included) will just come spilling off onto the road.
A majority of the homes in Burma do not have hot water to shower with. There's a basin filled with water and you take a small bucket, douse yourself with water, lather and rinse. Given that the air is rather hot and sticky, this is a refreshing treat. The only problem is that the first couple of douses are usually a bit shocking to the body. My aunt calls it dancing around and it's true. You're quite literally dancing around for the first few splashes until your body gets used to the cool water. Then it's pure bliss.
My favorite thing about being back in Burma though is definitely seeing my family that lives here. Since I rarely get to see them, it's always fun to hang out with them, especially my younger cousins.
© Connie Hum 2010