Friday, January 9, 2015


We arrive in Yangon full of expectation, misconceptions, and excitement (with just a little bit of know, about the whole somehow finding strangers and then staying with them thing). Sometimes you can tell by an airport if you're going to like a place. I knew at once, in this small international airport that reminded me much of the Vava'u airport, that I was going to get on well in Burma.

As we rode down the escalator to get in the immigration line we saw three people waving frantically in our direction. We cautiously waved back as we tried to decipher the signs they held. Once we got closer, I didn't need to see the meticulously printed "Mark Cooprider and Alissa Cooprider" sign accompanied with our wedding photo, I would have recognized Wonderful as Maung Way's youngest brother anywhere.

We exchanged hellos and introduced ourselves, and before we knew it we were in their car and leaving the city to meet Maung Way's mother and four sisters.

It's funny how things can be so foreign and yet so familiar all at the same time.
It is strange to think these people were all strangers to us only a few weeks ago. We felt so at home, as if we'd known them for years. We have a home in Burma now, and a huge family waiting for us there. I am certain we will visit many times.

We drove a few hours outside of the city to the small village Maung Way was born in. A village is a village is a village. So when the generators kicked on and choir practice began (at 10 pm, of course), we looked at each other and laughed- this was not our first rodeo. We visited (literally) every house. We knew when we met the ofisa kolo Village chief that it was important to eat every scrap of soup they served (approximately our 15th meal that day), and we posed for more pictures than you can imagine. Oh, and we were forced to sing at the Christmas pageant, you can imagine my delight.

We made memories and we wondered at the life we have lived. But mostly we loved fully this dear family who dearly loved us. We heard stories of Maung Way as a naughty child and we answered questions about his life now. We felt the unfairness of our privileged life as we acted as the link between a mother and son, over 20 years separated. And we decided that week that it just wasn't right, so the schemes and the planning have begun.

It was a very merry Christmas.

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