I’m Always Glad I Went


Caitlin Navratil, 131 YinD 

I’ve already tried it and I don’t like it
I say, as I scoot away
From this drunken grandpa
Slurping snails in my ear
I just don’t want to hear
His snail “kisses”
Here, I’ve found myself here
A new home, new faces
And I brace for the same
“where are you from?”
All over again.
I didn’t want to come,
But then
It’s an evening that ends
With laughter and new friends

I’m always glad I went. 

It’s 3pm Saturday again
How does that keep happening
Between the sleeping and
Introverting the time always
It’s time.
Family time.
I drag my feet
Wish I was asleep,
Then I go.
To the first place I called home
Here in Ngim.
To grandmas who “accidentally”
Fondle my boob and then call me fat.
To little boys in soldier uniforms
Covered in snot and dirt.
To chim du gone and gin yurt yurt
To when my heart could burst
I’m so happy. So loved.
Among all the chaos,
The dirt, the too-fast Thai,
A small voice talks over cartoons.
You don’t have to go home,
The little one tells me.
Because Poohpah loves Naam Wan. 

I’m always glad I went. 

I have so much planning to do,
I swear it will never get done.
Who signed up for this, anyway?
I can’t go, it’s not their day-
I only have this half a day to plan.
I sigh, buckle my helmet,
And peddle to Children’s Day.
I’ve been invited –
I go out of courtesy.
I want them to keep inviting me.
even though
Then I don’t want to go.
I didn’t know the invite was for
Baby boogie time,
karaoke for beginners,
And class coordinated dances.
The kids smile at me as they run to be on stage,
Grinning like a dance mom,
Beaming like I love them.

I’m always glad I went. 

This school I’ll probably cut
I think to myself as I ride up,
Dread filling my stomach so
It drops like a lead balloon,
But maybe said too soon
The balloon of my heart inflates
I leave on cloud nine,
Well, I think, fine,
I will have to keep this school,
I love these crazy kids.
Another school, same fate
Times eight.

I’m always glad I went. 

I think about a year ago
How hard it was to go.
To say goodbye for a while,
For my family to be miles and miles
Every day I decide to stay.
I knew I’d miss cooking,
I thought I’d miss snow.
I’d miss out on dating,
But still wanted to go.
I remember red wine evenings,
The freedom of a car,
The familiarity of a routine
In a house not far from home.
This blue house is somewhat far
And I’ve altered the day to day.
My new red wine is sticky rice,
So glad I took my own advice,
I can’t not do it because I’m scared. 

I’m so glad I went. 


Read Caitlin’s previous articles and contributions. 

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