Delightful SE Asian Wife In Europe – Mixed Memories
On the corridor wall near the window, I spot a big black spider. I take immediate action:
1. I lock myself into the bathroom.
2. I shove a towel under the door slot.
3. I call my undeterred SE Asian wife. Fortunately we have a man in the house who can take care of serious threats like that.
"Nahlee, Nahlee – please come! There is a spider on the wall!"
My plan is that the wife gently takes the spider to its outside habitat, where it naturally belongs. (It's a freezing January.) I stay locked away, though, because Nahlee is known to pick two-pounder-12-legs-spiders off the wall, shove them right into my face and grin: "What’s wrong with a spider, sweetheart?!"
Nahlee approaches. "What – a spider? Where?"
"On the wall near the window."
"Where are you? Why you scream from the bathroom?"
"Nahlee – would you remove the spider NOW??"
I hear a very solid PHLAAAPPPP. I hear the corridor window opened and closed. The spider is outside now, in its natural habitat, but only in an unnatural 2D state.
I unlock the bathroom and peek out. I take immediate verbal action: "Why did you kill the innocent little spider?! The animal does no harm, right?! You’re a Buddhist, don’t you think this spider was people before!"
"Don’t know", she mumbles, "but if this spider was people before, now I helped him to come back as something better than a *spider*."
Slides of Memories
Nahlee likes to see the old slides I used to take on my world-wide wanderings. I say see, here I have two magazines about Denmark.
So after dinner we cuddle up in the living room to do a real, old economy slide show with real Fujichrome slides. I remember clearly the Danish beaches and cottages we will see. But then, on slide 1, I am reminded of something else we'll encounter soon: "Oh sorry, dear, there is another western girlfriend on these slides, I wasn't alone on that trip…"
This is not a problem for her, she can see my western exes, albeit doesn't comment a lot about them.
As much as she likes a cosy slide-show evening with nibbles and wine on the couch, she refuses to see slides that include any previous *Asian* exes.
We're in the car to visit Mary, John and their two kids. This will be a nice weekend with nice people.
Ten years ago, I loved Mary with every fibre of my body.
Only Mary dropped me, I discovered SE Asia – full of Marys, just that they are called Malee locally. I'd write back to Mary: "You know, Mary, you're Caucasian but you were my first Asian loveress anyway." Black hair, huge eyes, a very feminine frame including a baby friendly hip, and a soft, cat-like demeanour that had me down on my knees in no time. When we discussed things, she'd go, "don't reason with 'logic'."
Of all my western exes, Mary was the 110 percent female, and that's what makes me surrender. She finally swapped me for another guy because – in an unwelcome attack of reason – she said my wandering habits weren't compatible with her long-term family plans.
Gosh, all those Mary memories flood me while Nahlee and I drive over small winding provincial roads to visit Mary and family. I never told Nahlee about the flaming hot times Mary and I had. And why?
Funny enough, of all the nice westerners Nahlee knows, she seems to like Mary most. When she talks to Mary, Nahlee gets a confident, open voice that she uses with no one else, including me.
As I pull the vehicle into the last district road before we reach our friendly destination, I wonder if Nahlee somehow knows about Mary and me ten years ago? Maybe Mary has told Nahlee long ago?
But maybe not, because now Nahlee says: "Of all your lady friends, Mary is a full woman. A full woman! I like that. I don't know why you didn't marry her ten years ago!"
"Now you eat your cheese sandwiches without chilli", I remark over breakfast. "Why? You always used to put solid chilli on top of Brie and Gouda."
"Now I enjoy cheese more than before. So I don’t need the chilli anymore."
Thought For Food
"What would you like for dinner", she asks me – over breakfast.
We are just finishing off breakfast with a few slices of kiwi and apple and one last pumping espresso.
"For lunch", I go?
"Yes, I mean, no, tonight, I could make spring rolls and the sour salad you liked. Or do you fancy a curry over rice…?"
"Dear… now we just had bread with cheese and salad, yoghurts, tea, espresso, mixed fruit juice, these fruit…"
"… We could do steamed fish today, or spicy fried noodles…"
"…Oh dear… I’m so full after breakfast, it’s really difficult to think about what I want to eat for dinner. I am too full to even *think* about food now."
She looks very puzzled. "Or do you need the spicy omelette over ciabatta again? I have the cha-om in the fridge, and ciabatta I can bring from town!"
"Don’t you know this feeling", I ask? "You’re so full with one meal, it is difficult even to imagine eating something else."
"No – really not! I can always think about food. And why not: we had bread with cheese, yoghurts, tea, espresso, mixed fruit juice, these fruit – so it’s no problem to think about something else, like spring rolls and sour salad, curries, steamed fish, spicy fried noodles, Thai omelette…"
"Dear – I explode", I warn her, "full of breakfast food and with some more breakfast food in front of my eyes, I feel like bursting when I just have to talk about dinner food."
She falls silent and looks very puzzled. The cultural gap is there.
Finally she tries to explain:
"You know, in my family, while we have one lunch, we always discuss what we eat next lunch."
Great to see the return of an old favourite!