Blue House Remodeled…
With Drive and Determination

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about Ko Ko and Moh Moh adding an addition to their Blue House. It is their dream home. What fascinates me is how things affect me emotionally. I grasp that photos of my family caused me to remember just how lucky that I am to have found them due to a serendipitous event seven years ago. I met Ti Ti who was 9 years old at the time and greeted me with this question, “Hi! My name is Ti Ti. Do you want to play some games?” She was the bridge that united my family in the States to her family in Myanmar.

I have been back two more times to visit my family. When I left Myanmar during winter break last year, Moh Moh and Ko Ko’s mothers each gave a special bag of two types of coffee mixes. Moh Moh gave me bag of Royal Myanmar Teamix. While I love both tea and coffee, I tried to parcel out the tea by intermittingly enjoying the coffee. The Royal Myanmar Teamix is an emotional tie to my family and don’t want to use up the tea too quickly.

Royal Myanmar Teamix

It wasn’t long before my rationing of my two types of coffee and my tea dwindled down, and I ran out. What did I do? I went to Amazon hoping to find Royal Myanmar Teamix. Fortunately, they sold it. I’ve ordered four more bags already this year. It is a very pleasant way of remembering my family. It is like the time on my second trip that I went shopping with my granddaughters. Ti Ti wanted something that I picked out for her…so that she could remember me. The Royal Myanmar Teamix is one of my means of remembering my family.

If I love the Royal Myanmar Teamix, can you imagine how much I love their Blue House? The memories abound and swirl around in my head. Whether eating there or playing games with the girls, the Blue House is a type of a utopian moment in time for me.

That is the backstory. I returned home in early January to the States. All was well. However, the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread in America and throughout the world. Moh Moh and Ko Ko are tour guides, and the coronavirus has stopped tourism in Myanmar and the rest of the world.

Facing the effects of the pandemic, Moh Moh and Ko Ko decided to expand their teaching English as a second language. They taught during the rainy season in Myanmar. They are teaching now due to COVID-19. In fact, Ti Ti is teaching English as a second language online. To accommodate students coming to the Blue House, they decided to build an extension.

This is what it looked like a couple days ago.

The opened doors, at the center of the picture with the red steps, is the front door to the house.

You can see the front door again, but the other double door is to the classroom, which measures 15x22 ft. Moh Moh said that it will be completed in a couple of days. I can’t wait until I can return and see the educational wing of the Blue House. Maybe, I can teach art history to the children.

In the meantime, Moh Moh, Ko Ko, and Ti Ti are examples of drive and determination in trying times. The three of them remind me of Theodore Roosevelt who gave speech at the Sorbonne in Paris over a century ago. The following part of that speech is a single paragraph called by historians Man in the Arena.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Ko Ko and Moh Moh have learned a great deal in their journey down the yellow brick road of life. They have also taught their children about drive and determination. Hopefully, we all can learn from them as we journey down our yellow brick roads of our lives.