Saturday, November 28, 2009

The early years: A fricking genius is born

Disclaimer: Obviously, I do not remember these events first-hand, but I've heard about them all my life. If I get something wrong... get over it! ;-)

A long time ago in a galaxy very close, a Southern Baptist medical missionary family moved from Georgia/North Carolina to Hong Kong. Officially, my dad was supposed to be heading to HK to work in the Baptist Hospital, however, he got there and found that the "Baptist Hospital" was literally still blue-prints. So, being the guy he is, i.e. Mr. Multi-Talented-Just-Get-It-Done, my dad the surgeon became my dad the building administrator and got that hospital built so that he could work in it!

About three years after they moved to HK, my parents were taking language lessons (Cantonese), going to the Chinese church and sending the older kids to British school, and I was due to be born on April 1. My dad was playing piano on a tour with a Christian singer named Claude Rhea, so he was in Malaysia in the middle of March when I displayed the first evidence of my genius by proclaiming "I ain't no fool!" and deciding to be born in Baptist Hospital just after midnight on March 18th. (Surprise!)

Mom says she was trying to get me born on St. Patrick's Day, but it just didn't happen. If I had been a boy, I would have been named "Patrick Sean". Yeah, we're just a tad Irish. And now that I live in the US, I use the international date line to my advantage and celebrate my birthday just after 12n on March 17th... and very rarely buy my own beer on St. Patrick's Day!

Anyway - fast-forward a couple of years and we're on vacation in Thailand. We had traded houses with another missionary family for a week, so we had full maid service, including a cook. So, I'm about 1 1/2 or 2 years old and I'm in my favorite place in any house, the kitchen, chatting with the Thai cook. My mom walks in and watches, then runs out into the living room yelling to my dad, "She's a genius! She speaks THAI!!!" My ever-sceptical dad went to the kitchen to investigate and saw me having a voluble conversation with the cook, hand gestures and all, and she was responding in Thai. He asked her if she could understand what I was saying, and she looked at my dad like he was crazy as she shook her head, "No." ;-)

But it's nice that my mom had so much faith in me! And, btw, I don't think I've stopped talking... but hopefully it's not all gibberish anymore!

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