Last week, I told you a little bit about a little German/Swiss toddler, Simba, who I got to know a little bit while living here in Thailand. I am fascinated by the toddlers I see being raised here in Thailand, a country that is different than their nationality. Today, I want to tell you about another missionary kid here in Central Thailand…
Let me introduce you to Spiderman…Spiderman is a 3 year old action-packed missionary kid (MK) here in Central Thailand. His dark eyes always seem to be opened wide, and his white baby teeth shine when he smiles. His skin is a handsome dark shade reflecting his Indian heritage, but he and his parents have come to Thailand from their home in South Africa. Spiderman’s 1st language is English, but I think he can understand some basic Thai phrases. I have not seen him speaking Thai as much as the other missionary kids here. I am not sure if he knows any other languages.
Above Picture: Spiderman playing with flour while his mother makes Indian roti
When I first met Spiderman, he was in the child-care room, scribbling on the chalk board. I took a piece of chalk and drew a smiley face. He asked me to draw a dinosaur, and though my dinosaur was not very ferocious, we have been friends ever since.
Spiderman has a backpack AND a shirt featuring his favorite arachnid-themed superhero…(hence the nickname), but he also LOVES dinosaurs and things that go “roar!”. Though at first he seems to be all about action, Spiderman has a soft side that is seen in his love for little puppies, bunny rabbits, and in the way he clings to his parents when he is tired or upset. When he would like to play with you, he will take you by the hand and lead you to the activity he has chosen for you. Sometimes, you just sit next to him while he plays a game, or sometimes he will insist that you color a picture while he observes and kindly offers advice as to which area should be colored next.
His wide imagination makes him a blast to play with, especially when have to hide from dinosaurs in the garden, or when Peter Rabbit is running around the kitchen floor. I haven’t had a lot of time to play with Spiderman, but he is one cool kid.
In South Africa, Spiderman spent most of his time with his mother at home, but here in Thailand, Spiderman attends childcare with two other missionary kids while his parents study Thai in the morning. How strange that must have been for him to move from being in familiar home, always having access to a parent, and then moving to a completely foreign country and having to go to childcare where the workers are not even able to speak English. I think there are still some difficult times when he does not feel happy saying goodbye to mom and dad in the morning, but when he finds something he enjoys playing, Spiderman seems to forget his worries and enters his own little world of dinosaurs, monsters, and little puppies.
I wonder how Spiderman will do adjusting to Thailand in the next year. Being 3 years old, he is able to understand more of what is happening than little Simba. Will Spiderman learn Thai better? Will he miss South Africa? What does he think about being in a different country, or how aware is he of his current situation and what is yet to come? I love Spiderman’s energy, and I hope that he finds peace and joy in the years that are to come. Though he doesn’t know it yet, Spiderman is a TCK.