Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Dinner: Deodorant, Toothpaste and Cheeseburgers

First of all, happy Thanksgiving to everyone back in the USA. It's been two years now since I've started this blog 'Leaving Amerika', which from the very beginning was occasionally called unpatriotic. For one thing, I was leaving. Second, I spelled America with a 'k'. Even in these times of unrest amidst prosperity back home, I still frequently miss my home country. On holidays like this, that longing for family, friends and familiarity looms large.

I've been here in Myanmar almost nine months. Today was one of those amazing days which I don't get enough of. Any day could be like today; it's just a matter of having the time, getting out there, investing in the mindset of exploration and opening my eyes. All those things came together today.

Mind you, there's one more factor: the weather. It's getting to be beautiful here right now. The Monsoon season has passed. Although we're tropical, it's still the Northern Hemisphere, and so it's getting to be 'winter'. Yeah, in the middle of the day, it's still 89F and humid, but the afternoons and evenings are paradisiacal, and as it gets even cooler, it's going to get even better.

I woke up groggily. Last night was Beau's bachelor party. A friend and fellow teacher here is getting married next week to a wonderful Myanmar woman, and last night... well... suffice to say I saw sides of Yangon I never knew even existed. I probably shouldn't become too familiar with them. That could be dangerous.

As I've mentioned before, I love the product quest as a means to explore this foreign country. This morning, I needed to go find something! Something I couldn't buy at the local market. Speed Stick deodorant from America. I was out and I've used it for decades. Bought my last stick here in Yangon, so I knew it was out there, but only in specialty stores. I noticed a place about a mile or so from home recently called 'USA Mart', where
they sell just American made products. Just the kind of specialty store I needed!

Jumped on the bus, got there and found no Speed Stick. Actually, they had Lady Speed Stick, but no Guy Speed Stick. Oh well. They did have Crest 3D toothpaste, the most effective toothpaste ever and something I've missed since coming to SE Asia, so the trip wasn't a total loss.

I really should seek out a product placement endorsement here on my blog to earn some money for my hard-earned readership of tens and tens.

I leisurely walked home, stopping for an avocado smoothie (they're delicious) and then about a quarter mile from home, I realized something: I had to be at work in half an hour! Oh..huh? Right! Thursday is my day for being the placement testing evaluator. Easy to forget about these kinds of little things. An extra day off (my one corporate class today was canceled by the clients) turned into a work day. Quick change into work clothes and off to Edulink.

Four hours later, it was I was back on the streets of Yangon, once again in search of deodorant. It was late afternoon. The weather was perfect. I jumped on another bus that I thought was going to take me to the Taw Win Center, the place I'd bought my last Speed Stick. I'd asked the bus steward if it would get me there, and he'd said yes, but as I got further and further away from where I wanted to go, I got to think maybe he'd just misunderstood my question.

I know a lot of Myanmar language vocabulary; my pronunciation is still rough.

Got off the bus. Walked for a while though an unfamiliar neighborhood. Grabbed a taxi to take me the rest of the way. Bought my deodorant. In the setting sun of an oh-so-pleasant tropical dusk, I set off towards my Thanksgiving dinner destination: Harley's, the only California (In-N-Out) style burgers I've run into in Yangon. Fortunately, it was just a mile or so from the deodorant source, and so again, I hoofed it.

Even after nine months, I still get such a sense of novelty from this place. I try not to gawk at everything. As foreigners were extremely rare here just a few years ago, people still gawk at me, but they too try to limit it.

I saw lots of cool things on that one mile walk through another unfamiliar neighborhood to the Thanksgiving burger.

I miss America, but I'm really happy I'm here. If experiencing new things keeps you young, I'm like 12 year old.

Your obligatory ukulele video...


  1. Loved the song! It was just right for your vocal range. You did it justice.

    We are muddeling thru a traditional Thanksgiving with a Bbq turkey. It is at times like this I miss living in a house. I guess we have an unconventional family right now.

    Someday we may all be together again. Until then you are in ourthoughts.

    Love Mom

  2. Happy Thanksgiving -- great performance. Enjoyed it very much. Junie

  3. Hopefully, you enjoyed your Thanksgiving... By the way, I adore your music videos! Thank you. Blessings, Lynn


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