Sunday, November 22, 2009

GUEST POST : The Caretaker

Miss Daang had been taking care of the Li's house for many years. There was nothing she did that gave her more enjoyment that hanging up their laundry and then collecting the sun bleached and fresh clothes at the end of the day.

Dear Friends of Shokoofeh,
It is a strange yet comforting feeling to be asked to be a care taker of someones blog. How she must trust me. She has no idea what I might write or post, yet she asks. I love that about our dear friend. Total optimism and trust.

But on to the subject of care taking. I have a second home in Northern Thailand, in the hills north of Chiang Mai. My home is surrounded by hill tribe people of the Karen and Hmong tribes. I have not been here for a year, the last time being the day before the airport in Bangkok was overtaken by protesters. I was lucky and got out of Thailand five hours earlier. It has been a busy and difficult year for me and so I have not been able to get away and return here as I normally do. But I am now here for a week! Like Shokoofeh, I needed to get away and clear my head.

So I arrived from the airport, set my bag inside and immediately grabbed a rag and began cleaning and throwing open the windows. The house smelled so musty. Then I gathered up arm loads of clothes and linens and have now been doing laundry for the last 36 hours non stop!

There is a care taker. But it is only a home when I am here. Yet he does things to my house I wouldn't dream of. He moved my son's ping pong table from the outdoors into my old studio, a great improvement and which I will leave alone. He planted a teak tree in the back which is already 12 feet tall. He moved the potted plants around and detailed all the phones. My studio was on the ground floor, near the water supply and the outdoor garden, but over the course of this year, he has moved it up to the third floor. He has rigged a water tap and drain off the balcony. I was amazed to find my art supplies and easels all laid out as if he expected me to begin painting immediately. The light and air is infinitely better. And just in time, I might add, he added several bamboo poles to increase my drying capacity when doing laundry. His touches are unique to him. Every time I come here I discover some small thing he has done to enhance the beauty of the setting and make my life easier. I wonder, how does he know what I need? I don't know myself.

But he cares not a bit about musty clothes.



Shaista said...

Who wouldn't trust you?! I love finding you here - and such a beautiful story about your caretaker! What is his name I wonder?
I must read this to my father today :)

janis said...

what a wonderful post. really well written jeanne-ming. i love the comparison of your role as blog care-taker and your actual caretaker.

do you have your own blog jeanne-ming?


Rebecca Snavely said...

Absolutely beautiful art. I love your story. It certainly takes someone who knows and respects both you and your space to look for ways to enhance it. (And I too would like to see your blog.) Lovely. Thank you.

Jeanne-ming said...

Shaista`~~The caretakers name is Kuhn Niran. It is dawn now and I can here all the sounds of morning. I heard some scratching about and went to look out the window where I saw him folding the laundry I put out last night.

I had not seen him since my arrival as it was his day off. I hollered to him out the window and he gave me a big thumbs up pointing to the added poles. In his pidgin Englithai, "Madam...Goodt...bery goodt!"

I think he is marveling at the sheer poundage of laundry I did.

Janis and Rebecca~ thank you. Under the post there is a "you might also like this" that would direct you to my blog. Or here.