While showing me several video clips on YouTube, my Chinese friend Karen asked me if I like bubble shows.
“You think he’s cute, yeah?” she’ll ask.
Of course, I’ll agree. It’s hard to argue that some of these men are very attractive. I’m not gonna argue if a handsome Asian man is walking around without his shirt on. (Sorry, I’m single. No regrets.) Every time I admit the man is attractive, she’ll tell me, “You have yellow fever, huh?” Sure, Karen. I have yellow fever. Really, I just think attractive men are attractive men.
I digress. Once I began to think about the clips she’d showed me so far and she hesitantly added the word “opera,” I realized what she meant.
“Soap opera!” Karen and I both died laughing when we realized the misunderstanding.
It’s been amazing to get to know all of the interns that I didn’t know before the trip. Especially the foreign ones. Karen is Chinese, Mit is Malaysian, and Mahya is Japanese. P’Ball and Na are both Thai, though Ball isn’t exactly an intern. We just all live together in the same building. Which is good and bad.
It’s like having a roommate or, I suppose, a spouse. There’s always someone who leaves the dumplings out on the counter, or doesn’t refill the toilet paper when they use the last of it, or something, et cetera, et cetera. (Please enjoy that King and I reference. I am in Thailand, after all.) We’re also getting closer and closer to each other. We’re enjoying the bonding time we have and growing into our spiritual gifts. We take silly pictures and have inside jokes (especially when Karen says something hilarious, like “bubble shows”). We are all working together for the service of others.
However, two months is a long time to be with a select group of people. We’ve only gone two weeks. Before I came overseas, my dad wrote me a letter that reminded me 5+ times to avoid drama. It seemed like an easy request, and I still think it is entirely possible. I’ve just begun to realize that traveling so far from home can bring out unseen characteristics in others. This is good! You get to know all of their traits! But it can also lead to tension over time when traits don’t coincide well.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying there’s drama among the interns. They may read this and think, “What the heck, Renee?” But that’s not what I mean. This is more of a post about thoughtful prevention. I just know that drama can tear a close knit group apart in seconds flat and I don’t want any of us to feel like we’re stuck in the middle of a bubble show. We head out to displacement camps in Mae Hong Son tomorrow and will basically be roughing it for four days. Not to mention, cramming 17 people and their luggage in to a truck for a trip through the mountains. These are the exact conditions that make for a brilliant bubble show.
Bubble shows are hilarious to watch: tense, overdramatic, and often intriguing. Real life drama, on the other hand, can quickly be devastating. This intern team has a positive purpose in Chiang Mai and should not be brought down by negativity even for a moment. We have too much to do to waste any time bickering. We have too many blessings to spend time complaining. We are on an adventure together and need to maintain our joy, camaraderie, and friendship.
Drama always has negative consequences. I hope we continue to stay away from real life bubble shows.