As I stayed with my family homestay this past friday, I shared my interest of karaoking in Thai. I sang to them in Thai and one of them sang back to me in Thai. We sang together in somewhat of a hot-potato sing-a-thon and as the night got later, my group and i realized that we should be heading to sleep soon. Before we went to sleep, we gave back to our host family a different type of gift. Around my group were 4 women who we called Meih and then their names (Meih means mother). We got on the topic of nicknames because in Thailand, most people have nicknames and very often you can know people for years and years and still never know their last name or first name. So we asked if they would name us. I received the name of Nam Oi meaning sugarcane, saying that I am very sweet. Then in return for our requests, we were asked to give them a farang name (farang means foreigner or often times understood as American in my opinion). Mother Sally, Cathy, Phoebe, and Rosey. I don’t know what it was with names ending in “ee.”
I now realize that exchanging through spending time was my way of giving back. Giving back the intangible gift that is and I loved it! As one of my professors have taught me, giving back is as simple as answering a request.