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Letters From Myanmar ~ Hello From the Equator
Hello from the equator!! I hope this potty reading material finds everyone as regular as can be!!! All is well here. We've been busy this weekend.
On Saturday, the Sakura hosted a "Back to School" party out by the pool for the all the kids. What a nice thing to do. About a week ago they put flyers under everyone's door inviting them to attend. The kids and I went down yesterday to partake in the "Back to School" Burma style party!!! They had a buffet of chicken fingers, potato chips (more like fried potatoes), little pita pizzas and sodas, all you could stand and eat. They were giving out ice cream cones with your choice of vanilla, chocolate or strawberry ice cream. There were games such as ring toss, basketball throw, and skee ball. They had a magic show which was very entertaining. The magician did his magic trick and then told everyone when to clap. It was so funny! There was a man who was drawing caricatures of everyone. He drew Zach and Zoe, gave them really big heads and they turned out really cute
.Looking forward to having them framed and hanging them on Cresview Drive. The cotton candy machine was what really made the day for me. It was a hand crank! The Burmese man stood with a stick in one hand and turned this huge crank with the other hand. He moved the stick around and around the big bowl collecting up all the cotton candy. That's what you call, hand made cotton candy!! I didn't know there was a such machine. I thought they all just plugged into the wall!! ha ha
This morning (Sunday) we got up and went to Shwedagon Pagoda. Several of you have seen the pictures. It's the biggest attraction in Yangon. This pagoda can be seen from just about everywhere here. It is so huge and so gold. I have a wonderful view of it from my balcony at the apartment and let me say that at night, It's just about one of the most beautiful sites I've ever seen. I catch myself
staring out the window at it. I have taken pictures of it at night, during the day, during the rain, when it's cloudy and when it's foggy. I want to remember what it looks like in all the weather because with each changing weather pattern it takes on a different look and I can't really decide which I like the best. You would think a perfectly sunny day would be the best but I find myself looking at it
most when there are really big clouds hanging just behind it. It seems to glow when there's a big black cloud coming up from behind it. And YES it is pure gold. The stupa rises 98 meters above it's base and it is covered with 60 ton of pure gold! (the last sentence came from a postcard)
Anyway, we went for a visit today.
No one wears shoes at the pagoda SO, I left my Clarks in the truck and walked around barefooted all morning long. As the pigeons flew by I couldn't help but think to myself....."How am I gonna get all this bird flu out from between my toes?"
It was very busy today as it Sunday. In the Buddhist religion, they don't gather to worship like in
a traditional church in the states. The people go there to give an offering and to pray. There offerings consist of flowers, money, and food. There are many Buddha statues at the pagoda and the offerings are laid at many of them. The Buddhists believe the day that you were born is important. I was born on a Sunday so I would go to the area where people go who were born on Sunday. There are 8 areas. 7 days but 8 areas because Wednesday is broken into Wednesday morning and Wednesday afternoon. Zoe was born at 9:30a.m. on a Wednesday so she would go according to the time of day she was born. David was born on a Monday and Zach on a Thursday. Each day of the week is also represented by a symbol. Zach's symbol is a rat, Zoe's is an elephant with a tusk (elephant without a tusk if you were born on a Wednesday afternoon), David's is a tiger, and mine is a magical box.....oooooo!!! Whatever that means!!! In each of the areas for the different days of the week,
you'll find these statues, elephants, tigers, and rats. Tuesday is a lion, Friday is a guinea pig, and Saturday was a dragon. You would also see many people pouring water over the Buddha's head, hanging flowers around it's neck and kneeling down to pray. It was all very fascinating as it is far from the traditional worship that I'm accustomed to. We hired a tour guide to help tell us about the things we were seeing. His name was Maung Aye. He told us all this stuff and surprisingly spoke pretty good English. He let us have a small look at Buddhism.
Of course, the weldon's never get out of the apartment without a crowd gathering. While we were out at the pagoda, on three separate occasions, dark people came up to us and ask us if they could have their pictures made with us. The first was a family. They had someone take their picture with us while the entire family stood with the Weldon's. Then the mom and dad broke away and they wanted a photo just their kids with the weldon's. Then they pulled the kids away and had just their picture made with the weldon's. Next, a man had a baby who looked to be about 2 or 3 months old. He wanted to know if he could have his baby's picture made with Zoe. So the man stood and held his baby while david stood and held Zoe and someone took their picture. Just before leaving a young girl came up and wanted to know if she could have her picture made with Zach and Zoe. Of course, Zoe wouldn't go without David so David held her while that picture was snapped.
We are freaks in this country. It is unbelievable how much people stare and point at us. I've been here a while and I'm getting better at just looking over it but when they come up and want photos....that's hard to look over!
Eventhough, I have learned a little about Buddhism since being in this country and can appreciate the craftsmanship that went into all the fine arcitecture here...I just don't get it!! They need to quit worrying about the day they were born and just be thankful for the day that they have. AND be thankful for the dirty feet God gave them to walk on!!!
I wore my longyi today. These people are kinda funny about what is worn in their place of worship. I thought that maybe people wouldn't stare at me as much if I were dressed like they are dressed....WRONG!!!
For all of you Luke and Laura fans and Bo and Hope fans....Don't feel bad for me! Even though I have been unable to see a soap opera for 7 weeks and 5 days, I'm doing okay. Here in Myanmar we have Wen Koo Koo and Moe Moe Myint. This little love affair is for Bill Harbert
employees only. As it turns out Wen Koo Koo is Pam and Steve's driver and he seems to be having an affair with Nate and Danni's housekeeper, Moe Moe Myint. Apparently, all of Bill Harbert's American employees know about this however, Wen Koo Koo's wife and children do not know!!
So let's keep it between you and me. See....People are just people, no matter what color they are!!! I have to wonder if Wen Koo Koo and Moe Moe Myint get married would she then become Moe Moe Koo Koo???? ha ha ha ha ha ha ha Sometimes I make myself laugh!!! It's not
funny!!! This is bad...
I hired a new housekeeper last Friday. She started today, Monday! She came in today and did all of my ironing, washed all my dishes, and asked me did I like BROWNIES!!! Now that's what I call the international language of LOVE!!! She said she was going to make me some brownies from scratch!! She speaks english sometimes so that's helpful. It's really hard to find someone here who speaks southern so someone who speaks english will just have to do. Maybe I can teach her some southern. Her name is Jennifer and she is 33 years old. she is married with no children. I'm hoping this one is a keeper!

We are all doing well. David works a whole lot and the kids and I mostly stay here at the apartment. We get out to go to the jobsite. most of the people there know us and don't stare at us anymore. We try to go out on Saturday night to eat at a restaurant. Sometimes, that goes well and sometimes it doesn't. On Sunday's we try to get out and see what Myanmar has to offer. We are all counting down the days til we get to come home. Our plane tickets have been taken care of and we will leave here Dec 17 and be home Dec 18 if nothing changes. That's in four months and 4 days if you were wondering. I want you all to know how much I appreciate the emails. Sometimes I save them for weeks at a time and read them over and over. I also appreciate you not blocking me from your email list. Typing these emails is proving to be a bit therapeutic for me. I feel closer to home when I can talk to you all...I miss you all terribly and can't wait to see each and every single one of you!!! Take care of yourselves and each other until I get home....

Dannielle

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