Marital Misunderstandings and Utopia

Successfully navigating that “getting started on Monday morning after a lovely weekend” speed bump is a lot easier when you have an office to go to, I’ve decided. Oh, and when coffee doesn’t taste like rat droppings. I miss my morning caffeine.

I have already pushed past the initial resistance to doing anything remotely resembling hard work once this morning. But now, an hour and a half down the track, I find myself stuck. I’ve finished editing one chapter and I’m just not sure where to take the next. So a break. Or a blog post. Same thing, really.

After a week of unusually chilly weather, the temperature in Laos is back to normal (read: 90 degrees by 10 a.m. and climbing). I loved the cold snap. I left air conditioners off and doors open and even had to wear to wear socks and long sleeves on a couple of days. I smiled at the very odd sight of cold rain falling from the sky in the middle of the dry season. I was as happy as a hippo in a muddy pond.

At least, I was happy until I learned that the freak cold weather combined with the even more freaky rain had killed thousands of cows and buffaloes in the northern villages – dramatically exacerbating the already problematic issue of food insecurity in these areas. It’s been a tragic couple of weeks for those subsisting in villages at higher elevations here.

In light of all of this it feels quite wrong to say that we had a great weekend, but we did. After the busyness of last week it was lovely to relax over dinner at Utopia by the Khan River on Friday night, sleep in on Saturday morning, then enjoy breakfast together.

Well we enjoyed breakfast together after Mike and I weathered the sort of misunderstanding that I would have thought we might be past after being married for more than two years.

During dinner on Friday night I checked out Utopia’s breakfast menu and was quite intrigued by the promise of cinnamon French toast topped with fresh mango and papaya compote with just a hint of chili in it. So I casually suggested that we should have a breakfast date at Utopia sometime.

On Saturday morning Mike woke up at 6 and went for a long bike ride. On his way back, at 9 he rang my mobile phone.

“Hey,” he said. “Do you want me to stop and pick up eggs so we can make breakfast at home, or would you like to walk down to the Khan and do breakfast at Utopia?”

“Um,” I said, still groggy from only just having woken up. “OK, sure, I can get ready and we can go to Utopia.”

Now it was Mike’s turn to hesitate.

“Are you sure?” he asked. “It’s already pretty hot out here.”

“No, no, I can do it,” I said.

“Alright,” Mike said. “I’ll be home in ten minutes and we can go.”

So I jumped in the shower, threw on some clothes, slapped on some sunscreen, grabbed my big hat, and was all ready to walk out the door when Mike arrived.

“Are you sure you want to go?” Mike asked me, again, before we set out. “It’s not too bad in the shade but it’s quite hot in the sun.”

“I think I’ll be fine,” I said bravely. “Let’s go.”

So off down the sunny street we went.

Five minutes into the walk I noticed Mike wasn’t saying much.

“You OK?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said. “I just rode 50 km though and I need to eat something before I get the hangries.” (In case you don’t know this most useful term, hangry means “hungry angry”).

“Why didn’t you grab something before we left?” I asked.

“Well it was already getting late,” Mike said.

By the time we were another five minutes down the very sunny (and indeed warm) street we had figured out two things. Mike’s preference had been for making breakfast at home. And so had mine.

“What are we doing here then?” I asked.

“Well, you said last night that you wanted to go to breakfast at Utopia,” Mike said.

“Yeah,” I said. “I meant… sometime. Like next weekend, or the weekend after. Sometime when we’ve planned to get up well before nine.”

“Oh,” Mike said.

“And when you present me with two options – one of which is to stay at home and one of which is to go out and have an adventure,” I said. “I’m always going to assume that your preference is to go out and have an adventure unless you tell me otherwise. I was doing the good wife thing and having a weekend adventure with you.”

“I don’t really like eating breakfast out,” Mike said. “When it comes to breakfast my preference is almost always going to be staying in. But I know you love having breakfast out, so I was doing the good husband thing and suggesting something I thought you would like.”

“Oh,” I said.

So we laughed and turned around and came on home and cooked up Spanish scrambled eggs and had a lovely, cool, breakfast at home after all, followed by a long and unusually lazy weekend that included massages at the Lao Red Cross and taking a couple of pregnancy shots while we thought of it. I’m at 22 weeks pregnant now, a fact that is getting harder and harder to forget as the baby has taken to squirming away in there like a small sackful of eels at regular intervals. Below are some shots from this weekend.

I hope you had a great weekend too, and thanks for dropping by.

P.S. If you’re in a long term relationship, what types of miscommunications are you surprised to find yourself still having this far down the track?

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10 responses to “Marital Misunderstandings and Utopia

  1. Can’t believe that you are already 1/2 way there, you look fantastic!!!!!!!

  2. your baby bump is so cute. . .

    • Thanks Susan! I saw on either yours or Leanna’s blog that you had coffee recently in San Diego. I was jealous! I’d love to be able to live close enough to have coffee with either of you (or both).

  3. You look fantastic! Beautiful.

    And yes: Isn’t that funny? I have those misunderstandings too. Where I’m doing something because I thought he wanted to. And he’s doing it because he thinks I wanted to. And we’d both rather not. =)

    It’s good. It means you’re trying to anticipate what your partner wants, and accommodate. But sometimes, we miss.!

    • Thank you, and, yeah, I guess it is good. Better than the type of miscommunication (or willful misunderstanding) that comes when we’re both being selfish.

  4. You look beautiful! Please continue posting photos of life in Laos – I so look forward to them!
    As for miscommunications, they happen with us all the time. It’s primarily a result of my being a terrible communicator – I hold everything in until it bursts into a cloud of resentment. I do it with the intention of avoiding conflict but it’s rarely the right way to go. I’m working on it…

    • Ah, yes, I know well this conflict avoidance of which you speak. It feels safer at the time, but in the long run… I’m getting better too. Hope you guys are well. Think of you often.

  5. I hope you do remember me. We met in Nairobi in one of the trainings. Have a look at my Facebook. My names are the same there: Piet Evert van Altena

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