The weekend edition of the WSJ has an amusing Peace Corps story entitled, “My Mom the Adventurer. Myself, Not So Much” written by novelist Dina Nayer, who’s debut novel, A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea, was released last year. The article is about how Dina went to visit her mother, who at the age 56 was a PCV in a rural Thailand village outside of Chiang Mai back in 2012. Anyone who has had parents or friends, etc., visit their site knows what happens next.
While Dina grew up in America from the age of 10, her mother had been a doctor, a volunteer health-care worker, a radio personality, a pastry chef, had served time in a Iranian jail, and then reaching the U.S. she became a PCV.
Daughter Dina went to Harvard.
Well, Dina comes to visit to stay for a month in her mother’s thatch-roofed hut (she lasted one night) and she needs to go to the bathroom. (I know you know what’s coming!)
“My mother pointed to a door past the kitchen, a look of concern passing over her face as if she had just remembered, ‘Oh yes, my daughter is a little pampered.’ The toilet, I discovered, was a hole in the ground next to a bucket of water and a bowl. I ran out in shock, about to explode. My mother, hiding a smile, said, “See? Just like Iran!”
Later that first night, PCV mom gets under the mosquito net with her daughter, puts a plate of watermelon on the wooden platform and told her stories of when she was a child in Iran and played with snakes and rodents. She then talks about the ‘toilet issue’ and asks her daughter: “Do you want to be more than just a weak woman with a pen. Don’t you want to write stories from all over the world, gathered from all kinds of people, not just the ones you already know?”
My mother, she writes, “knows what words move me. Yes, I wanted all those things. I mustered my strength and prepared to conquer the hole. Afterward, I couldn’t stop congratulating myself. “I can’t believe I did that,” I said. ‘I swear, that was harden than Harvard.”
Ain’t that the truth.