Wednesday, December 24, 2008


I didn't end up getting ribbon.  

I called my mom to notify her that our yearly, unspoken competition to have the best dressed gifts is off.  

She was out of ribbon too, so it worked out.

This morning I noticed that I am nearly out of straws. Unlike ribbon, straws are not a frivolity.  They are essential to the smooth running of our house.

Somewhere in the last year or so, Andy and I both developed the habit of drinking out of straws. 

When you come to my house and I offer you a drink and you say, "Oh just some water please." I always ask, "With ice and a straw?"

Every morning when I wake up I make a cup of cold chai and drink it through a straw.  I like that the tea is not hitting my front teeth, leaving unsightly stains.  My dentist likes that too.

In the same way that I picked up fancy from England, I do believe our straw habit started on a trip to Thailand.

The summer after we were married we went with a small group of friends from church to Thailand.  Our good friend Leland had visited a church there and arranged for us to come help at an English camp.

It was a lovely trip and left a lasting impression on our lives (many of you know just how very lasting - but some things are just too personal for a blog, don't you think?)

So you are probably wondering, where do the straws come in?  

I'm getting there.

Our first week in Asia we participated in a cultural orientation.  We had classes each morning and then spent the day with some of the amazing Thai friends; seeing Bangkok and learn from them.

I loved listening to their beautiful voices, hearing their jokes, learning their animal sounds (a rooster here says, "cock-a-doodle-do" a Thai rooster says, "eggy-eggy-AY") and catching some of the "slang" of our international peers.

One of the most entertaining phrases was, "Hi-so." An abbreviation for "high society."  Anything rich or fancy was "hi-so."  The term could be used with admiration, scorn, excitement or simple factual descriptions.

The van we rented was hi-so.  It had twinkly interior lights and flip down tv screens.  That was fun.

During our meals together and trips to 7-11, we all noticed that our Thai friends used straws for any drinking occasion.  A bottle of Gatorade? Drink it with a straw. A can of Sprite? Drink it with a straw. A bottle of water? Straw. Everything.

The explanation was simple. Straw-drinking is much more fashionable, hi-so, than drinking straight from the can/bottle/glass.

Drinking without one was, not rude, but almost.  Definitely not cool.

So, while there, we drank with straws.  When we got home we didn't adopt the practice immediately.  It sort of happened gradually. I probably bough straws for Ellery or because I liked the colors, or for some silly reason.  Then, since we had them, we used them.  

And now, we use them every day.  

I love it. 

So, if you want to be FANCY and HI-SO use a straw.  I think you will be happy with the results.

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