Bye, bye Thai

One of the things I’ll miss will be the Thai girls I work with. I have come to know a few of them quite well now. It’s taken some winnowing along the way, but the girls now working here are pretty well a delight one and all. They’re good at what they do, they’re professional, and they’re just good people.

The Thai’s are one of the friendlier races on earth, and inherently graceful in the way they conduct themselves. I find them humble, hard-working and honest. To me, the boss, the Anglo outsider 20 years their senior, they are courteous, helpful, and often much more.

A couple of the girls have returned from their trips home to Thailand with gifts for me. It’s not unusual for one of them to drop some tasty tidbit on the front desk for me to enjoy. And they love to share the specialties of their culture. They have a generous, sharing nature.

I guess one of the things I’ll miss most are their morning feasts. Get a few of them together and soon after walking in the door the rice cooker will be cranked up, and on the little table out back will be an array of Thai delicacies they have bought on the way in, or cooked overnight, which they all tuck into amid a happy jabber of voices and laughter.

I’ll wander by often with a smile on my face and invariably they’ll invite me to join them. It’s rare that I do, but only because I haven’t acquired the Asian habit of big, savoury breakfasts. In that regard I’m totally western – eggs are my breakfast of choice, and nothing I might construe as being a lunch or dinner meal.

Still there’s a modest delight in watching them enjoy their feast with such relish. It’s a great insight into the Thai culture. Though they have come together as strangers they leave this place as friends. They meet each time and their voices rise in pitch as they greet each other with genuine pleasure. They’ll catch a tram home together, and defer to each other to make sure everyone gets a fair go. The Thai cultural network is very strong here in Melbourne.

To me, as their boss, they have always been very generous. They’re happy to help out when I need it, and to go the extra mile when the job has demanded it. They are uncomplaining and always warm-hearted. I trust them completely.

I will be sad to move on from this. Life will seem different without it. I hope to make an occasion of it when we do part, and perhaps to retain some contact when we go our separate ways.

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