Yai Gong, my 104 year old grandmother in the host family I lived with in Northeast Thailand, is pleased. She speaks only “Issan’” and I barely speak Thai. Her days consisted of sorting chili, making sweep sticks and chewing beetle nuts. No spoken communication happened by we shared watermelon and everyday she would ask about my wonderful teeth. One day I polished my nails and decided to pamper her too. Soaking her hands, putting lotion on them and finally a pale pink color. All the time she was very interested what was happening as I jabbered on in English, Thai and Lao. Finally, a small, sweet smile came to her face. Cultural exchange in a manicure.
Peace Corps Education Volunteer Linda Prinsen