My host mother is a practical lady.
I’m pretty sure she’s upper-management at Siam Commercial Bank (also known as SCB, or the “purple” bank). She’s light-skinned, Chinese-Thai, and she always sounds a little like she’s yelling, even though she may have a smile on her face or be laughing.
Eva, my German host sister, had a train to catch at 7 pm on Saturday night. She spent all day packing, but of course, time seems to always slip away fastest when you need it the most.
We had to eat dinner at my host family’s house before going to the train station. It was 6:30. There was a going-away party the night before, so there was nothing really special about this dinner, but all of a sudden, Eva burst into tears, realizing it was the last time she’d eat a meal at that table, with all the family there.
I scooted closer to Eva, put my arms around her, and gave her a hug as she sat there, sobbing. I tried to reassure her. “This isn’t goodbye. You’ll be back.”
Khun Mae (my host mother), on the other hand, came in from the other room, saw Eva crying, waved her hand and said, “Gin kaao gawn,” which roughly translates to “eat before.” Not in a mean way, simply giving the best advice possible: eat before you cry; you’ve got a train to catch.
When what she had said sunk in, we all burst into laughter. Next time Eva will know better, and she’ll gin kaao gawn rong hai – eat before she cries.