Tuesday, 17 March 2009

beautiful, like jewelry

I've not taken the best care of my body and brain these 33 years. Generally, i've cared less for my physical safety and well being than for my mental state. This disregard for the physical is likely responsible for an often somewhat muddled mind that doesn't always have the tighest grasp on chronology. That being said, i'm pretty sure that my next destination after Mexico and Belize was a return to Thailand and a brief dip into Laos; this time as a traveler and not as a teacher.
Funny story for ya:
I have a tattoo on the back of my neck that I picked up on this particular trip. Years earlier, when i was teaching English in Lamphun, Thailand on a co-op program, my host family had given me a Thai name: Po-ra-dee. loosely translated as 'beautiful, like jewelry'. Since tattoos are also 'beautiful, like jewelry' i thought this to be the perfect addition to my body doodles. When i spoke this name to my friendly tattoo artist in Ko Phangan, he wrote it down in Thai letters for me to see. Though my spoken Thai is fairly decent, my reading skills are virtually null, but i recognized the first character as 'po', and so we proceeded with the tattoo. Let me just say that this is one of my favourite tattoos. I love this tattoo.
Kay, so, leap forward a whole bunch o' years and i'm back in Toronto, working on a film set for a TV movie. I'm all excited 'cause our lunch is being served at a nearby Thai restaurant and I haven't practiced my Thai in ages. Sure enough, the owner is there, he's a very nice man, and we strike up a conversation in Thai. He wants to know more about my experience there and then asks me if I have a Thai name. 'Pora-dee', I tell him. 'Ah', he says. Perhaps my accent is bad, because he doesn't seem to recognize the name. 'Actually, I have it tattooed on the back of my neck', says I. I show him. 'Aaah, Pawn-dee', he says.
- Pawn-dee?
- Ya ya
- Seriously, it says Pawn-dee, not Pora-dee?
- No no. Pawn-dee
- Wow.
- No no. It's very good. Very lucky.
- What does it mean?
- It's like...good witch. Very lucky witch.
- Huh.
Who knew? I'd been walking around for eight or nine years at this point, thinkin' I was 'beautiful like jewelry'. Funny thing is, it really didn't bother me that I'd essentially been rendered an idiot like so many other idiots with Asian tattoos they can't read themselves. In the end it isn't what the tattoo says to others that's important, but what it says to me. And besides, who needs beautiful jewelry when you got a lucky witch?

2 comments:

kgirl said...

beautiful story, like jewelry.

one of my tattoos is a stylized phoenix. it's been mistaken for airforce wings and a nazi eagle, among other things.

Poke Salad Annie said...

Haha! I have one that's totally abstract, not s'posed to be a picture of anything at all, and more than a couple of people have told me it looks like there's a big ole penis in the middle of it :)