Groupings, Personal Space, Garden Art, and Color forum: Nap's Travels in Thailand

Views: 12, Replies: 8 » Jump to the end
Imagevic
Jan 10, 2017 6:36 AM CST
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
http://cubits.org/bluegardens/thread/view/83845/
NATIONAL GARDENING ASSOCIATION Purslane & Portulaca ~ Garden Art
Imagenap
Jan 10, 2017 8:28 PM CST
Name: Nancy
Buffalo NY
Here's where I'll be continuing to blog my association with my Karen friends from Thailand. I won't be posting often, just occasionally when something occurs that I'll want to share or just remember.

Imagevic
Jan 11, 2017 4:47 AM CST
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Thank you Nap!
NATIONAL GARDENING ASSOCIATION Purslane & Portulaca ~ Garden Art
Imagenap
Feb 25, 2017 10:35 AM CST
Name: Nancy
Buffalo NY
I have a follow-up on Moneygram which I want to record here so that I have a record of what happened.

After all the frustration of being placed on a "blocked forever" list, I sent a formal complaint to the New York State Financial Services Dept. A month or so later I received a phone call asking me for more details of the problem and if I still wish to pursue my complaint. I said yes.

Then last month I finally got a letter from NYSFS dept which explained that they had forwarded my complaint to Moneygram and asked them what they could do to resolve the situation. They did receive a reply and kindly enclosed a copy of it for me. The reply from Moneygram was largely an effort to defend their decision to block me, but concluded with an apology and a promise to take my name off the "blocked forever" list. YAY! Sounds like I won!

But no. A few days ago I tried to send $250 to someone in Thailand - one of the teachers at the school I am supporting. It was blocked! I spent 1 1/2 hours total on the phone with Moneygram, consisting of 3 separate calls because I was "disconnected" twice. At the end of the hour and a half, nothing had been accomplished. I was told to send them a copy of my letter and wait for a response. I asked how long would that take and he said 5 business days. I said that's unacceptable. He said it's all they can do.

Later in the day a call came from Moneygram but I was in the dentist's chair and couldn't answer it. They left voicemail saying please call them back. Half an hour later, I did. No answer. Also called later, and again the next morning. That was yesterday. I had to leave voicemail each time.

Then I looked at my letter again and there was a phone number on it that was different so I called it too. Had to leave voicemail. Grumbling But thankfully she called me within an hour. She was from Moneygram's auditing department and she definitely wanted to help me. She found out that my name was indeed removed from the bad list, but she said there was some other factor which caused them to block my transaction. They have multiple triggers for suspecting fraud so that if one is missed, another will catch it. At least that's how I understood the problem.

She gave me a reference number to get a refund for my $250 and said I should try sending it again and then immediately call her back so she can thwart the blocking before it happens. I went to where I had sent the money and did as she said and it worked. She was very nice and very apologetic and said she would continue to try to find a way for my transactions to go through without a hitch in the future, but in the meantime if I need to send money I should follow the same procedure. Send the money and call her right away so she can expedite it. I can live with that.

So all is well. But later in the day I got a call from Moneygram, only it wasn't the good lady who helped me. It was from the person who called me in the dentist's chair. She obviously didn't know about my successful transaction earlier beccause she was calling me to say that she is sorry for my inconvenience but they have rules to follow and they "don't feel comfortable" (there's that same old line) with my transaction so all they can do is refund my money. Rolling my eyes. Sigh. I tried to explain what had transpired earlier but I think she thought I was arguing with her because she kept interrupting me and repeating the same things. When she finally heard me say the words "Moneygram Auditor" she started to listen to me. Her tone changed and she was suddenly in a hurry to go. She said that my case is closed and thank you for calling Customer Support.

But it wasn't Customer Support who was the hero. It was Moneygram's Auditing Department and New York State Financial Services. My thanks to them, and to God.
Imagevic
Feb 25, 2017 10:40 AM CST
Name: Vicki
North Carolina
Good Grief - all is well that ends well but it sure took a long time to there.
NATIONAL GARDENING ASSOCIATION Purslane & Portulaca ~ Garden Art
Imagenap
Feb 25, 2017 11:35 AM CST
Name: Nancy
Buffalo NY
I know, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that nothing else goes wrong.
Imageirisarian
Feb 25, 2017 12:38 PM CST
Name: Lucy
Hamilton, MA
irises
Good luck & it seem great that you were in touch with a 'higher up'.
Imagenap
Feb 25, 2017 2:56 PM CST
Name: Nancy
Buffalo NY
You've got that right, Lucy!
Imagenap
Mar 7, 2017 5:14 AM CST
Name: Nancy
Buffalo NY
As I mentioned in the other thread, there's a man I became friends with in Thailand who is now living in Buffalo. He came here last week. This is what I wrote of him before.

"Yesterday I had a very nice day with Athida in her shop. I spent a lot of time on the computer, showing her pictures and videos of this trip, playing some funny Youtube videos for the little boy who spent his whole day with us (just a neighbor), and enjoying my ice water in the 100 degree heat.

Her neighbor across the street is a man who speaks pretty good English as well as 4 other languages. His wife is actually in Buffalo, New York right now, coincidentally. He is very smart and works with Athida at the shop, which is how she was able to leave work early and arrive late the next day during her visit with me. It happens rather often that families will be separated, usually because they applied for relocation before they were married. I do not know his chances of joining her. He lives with his family now, and they are well off by refugee standards. His grandfather is influential and apparently knows someone associated with the King somehow. He has a big pig in a pen that looks way healthier than any I have seen there. He says it was a gift from the royal family. He breeds it and sells the babies. Their living area is much larger than anyone else's and I saw they have jars of food stored on a shelf. He took me to his garden. It is quite large and he has tomatoes, beans, guava, mango, strawberries, eggplant, coconuts and other plants that are not currently producing anything so I couldn't tell what they are and he didn't know the English translation. He has a small smartphone and connects to Athida's wi-fi for free because he works there. So he is constantly learning more English. He hears "Apple. A fruit grown in....." and "Ki-wi. A small green fruit ...." He sees the pictures and repeats the English. He's also cute. Smiling

Thumb of 2016-05-09/nap/d4c42a

The big hanging thing he called a pear. The long thin green thing he called eggplant. ( They have a small round green/white thing they call eggplant too.) And pineapple and strawberry too. I don't know what the bumpy one is.

Thumb of 2016-05-09/nap/ce9d60 Thumb of 2016-05-09/nap/bc8818 Thumb of 2016-05-09/nap/dfec97

Thumb of 2016-05-09/nap/741c53 Thumb of 2016-05-09/nap/dcb40e Thumb of 2016-05-09/nap/c42310

This is the guy talking to his wife in Buffalo while he's working (very little business yesterday). She told me where she lives and it's not far from us. Here's also a view of the shop from the other direction. It is about 3 feet higher than the office part. In the back is the cooking and bathroom area of the shop. There's a small private room on the other side of the left wall. The see-through walls let the breeze go through the houses. It made it comfortable in there yesterday."

Thumb of 2016-05-09/nap/953f5e Thumb of 2016-05-09/nap/b8da72


And this is what I wrote about his arrival.

"Thursday Lay and I went to the airport to pick up a newly arrived refugee from his camp. It's a guy I think I wrote about in my journal on Sharon's thread. Lay knew him only in passing and did not even remember what he looks like, but I spent most of one whole day with him and Ko Gyi's wife and his English is quite good so I remember him very well. Ko Gyi had asked if we could please meet his plane so he would feel more comfortable so we did. His case worker was there too, but when he saw me his face smiled and he came right over to me.

It's been cold in Buffalo, but we had no snow when he arrived. However, it snowed overnight so everything was white in the morning. He slept at Lay's house so I went there to see him. He had not looked outside so I took him to the window. I smiled at his reaction. His eyes got big and he smiled. We sat and talked a bit, then I excused myself and went out with an empty bowl from Lay's kitchen and filled it with the fluffy, cold snow. I took it to him and he felt it. He was so curious about it. He said, "Like ice." As we talked the snow melted in the bowl and he saw that it is only water.

I haven't seen him today but I know Lay took him shopping. His first ever trip to a supermarket. And I think they went to KMart too. So many "firsts" for these people when they come to America. We are all so fortunate. We don't even know how blessed we are."


There, that's Tun Lay's story so far. So yesterday Lay asked if we could take him to see the car wash. My car was filthy, inside and out, from Lay's soccer boys. (I must have mentioned before that he has about 20 teenage Karen boys that he is teaching soccer to and uses my Chevy Traverse instead of his little Chevy Cruz whenever they get together.) So we took Tun Lay with us. Another golden "first" for him. He was so excited to see the deluge of soapsuds and water being thrown at the car as we sat inside and were pulled along on the conveyor belt. The car wash is always one of the first things we do when a new friend or family member arrives. They are always impressed.

When we got home, Lay had to go help a Karen friend whose English is not so good. The guy needed to talk to his car insurance agent so he asked for help. And since Tun Lay was alone I asked him to come see my house. The boys had just gotten home from school and were eager to "show off" their (my) house to him. Tun Lay enjoyed the tour, with the boys saying, "Show him where we sleep", "Show him the cats", etc. And he was impressed by all of it. But what made him the happiest, I think, was the toys!

Each boy has his own toy chest and Tun Lay sat on the floor with them and played! He ran the trucks across the floor with them and pushed the buttons on the tops of the emergency vehicles to make the sirens go. He also like the dinosaur models whose feet moved with the push of a button and who gave out a roar with another button. He was all smiles over all of it. I told the boys later on that in his whole life, he never owned a toy. Unfathomable to these 2 Karen little boys who are being raised as Americans. (Well, they actually ARE Americans. But the other American Karen children are being raised by Karen cultured parents.) I wish I could pack up a box of toys and send them to the camp. I really ought to do that.

The boys even invited him to live with us! I quickly said, "Tun Lay lives with Daddy, remember?" We told Lay if he needed a temporary place to stay we could put him up for awhile, but not permanently. The agency that brought him here set him up with an apartment, sharing it with another single tenant, but he doesn't know the guy and asked if he could live with Lay. Truthfully Lay's house is pretty fully occupied already, so the guy is sleeping on the couch. We'll see how long that lasts. We'll figure something out.

I asked Tun Lay what he does and does not like so far, after his first few days in America. Without hesitation he said, "Water." He was referring to running water in the house. And HOT water too! Remember, in the refugee camps they had to fill buckets of cold water from a pipe leading down from the mountains, carry them to their home and dump it into a large barrel. Then scoop out bowls of that cold water to pour over themselves. No bathtub, just on the ground in a bamboo shelter. Now he loves showers!

He also mentioned the food. It is abundant here, and you can keep food fresh with refrigeration. The only negative comment was the weather. The snow was interesting, but the temperatures are a good 70 or more degrees colder than he is used to. Yesterday we had a beautiful sunny day with an uncharacteristic 60 degrees. It was much more bearable for him.

He also commented that in Buffalo, there are so few people walking. I understand what he means. I explained that there are a number of reasons. It's a nice day today, but it is still winter. And our stores and houses are much, much farther apart than those at the camp. And we have these big huge buses that go everywhere, all day long. It's just not feasible for people to walk. But at the camp the houses are only a few feet apart from each other and you could fit 2 or 3 of theirs onto the distance of one average Buffalonian front sidewalk. He also said that all our houses are the same. That was something I didn't understand because some are sided, some brick, some big, some small, etc. And where he's from, all the houses really ARE the same. They are all bamboo. He had trouble finding the words to describe his thoughts, so I just changed the subject.

Enough for now.



« Back to the top
« Cubits.org homepage
« Sharon's Friends cubit homepage
« Groupings, Personal Space, Garden Art, and Color forum

You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Sharon's Friends

A place where friends of Sharon Webb Brown can gather to chat and share memories.

» Home
» Forums

Cubit owners: