Whenever a friend has visited me in Thailand, my neighbor Lee (best friend and helper) has helped prepare for the guest by ‘setting up my bedroom’ for us to ‘sleep together’. Thai people don’t have the requirement for personal space that American’s have. Being together keeps you warm on a cool night. Families often all sleep in the same room, maybe with their own mosquito nets ‘defining’ their sleeping area.
Having a slumber party as a teenager was absolutely the best thing! Of course, we would not ‘slumber’ and we were quiet after a certain time in respect for parents in the house-hold. We listened to 45’s, danced with each other, giggled, ate popcorn and sometimes ‘played on the telephone’. (Is your refrigerator running? Well, you better go catch it!) Giggle, giggle.
In my adult life ‘sleep overs’ with girl friends continued. Usually just one friend. Maybe she had to work late in town that night. We’d get in our nighties, give each other foot massages, catch up, talk and ponder our lives.
The idea of having time with a friend – more than just meeting for lunch – has been a source of deepening friendships. The kind of intimacy and sharing that’s hard to have snips of time here and there.
There is a different version of this in Thailand. In one week I will leave my village and province. And now, I have a list of people who want to sleep with me. My neighbor, my co-teacher, my teacher friend, my first host family have all invited me to ‘spend the night’. In fact, I don’t have enough nights to accommodate them all.
Last week Kuhn Lee told me she had asked her husband and he said yes so she would sleep with me that night. She came over with her comforter which served as a sleeping pad on the hard floor and two blankets. She was cold so I aimed the fan at me, because I was hot. We went to sleep.
So, I asked a bi-lingual Thai friend what was ‘sleeping together’ all about. She explained it was an expression of ‘affection, love and attachment’. There is also a ‘supernatural’ or magic aspect to it. The invitations have all been from women and I’m trying to accommodate them. In fact, I’m the kind of person who likes to hug and cuddle, but Thai people aren’t. We’re talking about side by side “I love you my friend, goodnight.”
Another difference of culture.
“Please, let’s sleep together before you leave”
February 15, 2013 by lindaprinsen8