An Unexpected Invite

So like I promised I’m going to update everything from where I left off before. I’ll try to give as much detail as I can for the really inspiring parts and then just make a summary of the rest of the time. I wish I could write every detail of my whole week, but that would be like a part time job.

Last Friday in the office Caroline brought Lauren, PoP (Pencils of Promise, the organization I work for) media staff, from New York and the two movie staff of Deltree, from New Orleans, to meet the office PoP Laos staff. The Deltree crew consisted of Ben, who was the creative director of the shoot, as well as Abby, who was also the creative director, but more of the talent control I guess you could say. Ben was the person who creates the shot from thing around and tells people how to move and what to say with which kind of lighting to make the shot look the best. Abby in her day job is normally a producer, so she takes care of all of the logistics in a normal shoot. They used a funny analogy that Abby is like God and Ben is like Jesus. Abby can make anything happen and controls basically the whole environment, while Ben is the inspirational leader who works with the specifics of what is going on. Lauren is the one who is brining the PoP vision for the shoot and is basically the voice that makes sure they create a story that will fulfill exactly what PoP is paying to get. Our idea was to create an “evergreen” short movie that PoP could always use to represent our affect in Laos even as our organization might grow and change.

So, last weekend on Friday I decided to go out and walk across town. I was actually looking to find the yoga place in town to see if they had classes the next morning. I looked up the direction on the Internet, but all directions here are used with landmarks and not streets. I don’t know this area well enough, so those didn’t really help at all. However, Caroline and I passed it on my first day around town the weekend before, so I kind of remember the general direction it should be. I had an idea that it was down the street one back from the night market. I walked down the main street and thought I passed it, but went all the way to the night market just to make sure. I found the correct path and just was trying to soak everything in and look all around at the buildings and people. I pass a group of people who call out my name and it’s the film crew (include Lauren if I ever just say film crew) walking down the street in the opposite direction. They told me they were looking for the night market, where I just was. I had a quick thought that I wanted to continue to find the yoga place so that I had could still go in the morning. A voice in my head tells me that I need to walk with them and show them where the night market is and then I should just spend the rest of the night with them and take advantage of this opportunity. After all, the yoga place will always be there.

We walk through the night market and they buy some pants to wear as we go around and shoot the movie. I tell them the restaurants are on the other side of the market and that we should walk all the way through get something to eat and then walk through on the way back. About half way through my throat starts to itch and then I notice everyone around us starts to cough. Lauren and Abby turn around and head out of the night market and we follow them. I can’t confirm this, but it felt exactly like the beginning of the feeling of when I was in the crowd that was tear-gassed in Ghana. We get back to the front and then realize that we still need to find the restaurants, so we head back through with no ichyness this time. Abby pulls out her phone to use trip advisor to find a good restaurant. We get to the end of the market and go to a restaurant called blue lagoon. The whole place was very upscale and looked like someplace I didn’t belong and didn’t bring enough money for. We go and sit down and are immediately greeted by two servers. They gave us these tiny little glasses for water and I was a bit disappointed because I knew I would drink it quickly and it would just sit there empty. I also got an idea to test them and see how good of a restaurant they were. I found out later that Abby had the same idea and we both were blown away when right as the glass was finished someone was over to fill it up again. One of the servers is extremely nervous and you can tell he is trying his best to get his English correct and make sure he remembers all of his training. They were waiting just far enough way from the table to not rush us, but close enough to swoop in when all of our menus were closed. Well I didn’t catch on because I wanted to remember the place in the menu to make my multiple part order. Abby noticed that they thought we were done, but were hesitating because their training told them that they had to wait until the menus were closed. We place our order and he asks if it’s alright that he repeats the order. He carefully reads everything back and then with a nervous smile tells us he will get everything to us shortly. We all agreed right there that he might be the cutest man we’ve ever seen. Then as the food came out each dish was carried by one server. After they came out and made a synchronized swimming move to circle around us they put the food down. Then the adorably nervous man walked over and made sure everything was alright.

We spent the night ordering drinks and food for everyone and just enjoying good conversation. I told them that if there were too many people then it was no problem, but that I would like to come with them tomorrow (Saturday) and see what it was like to shoot a movie and to see our villages. They gladly accepted and told me to come along. They told me to meet at our PoP office around lunchtime to eat and then go out to scout out some areas to shoot.

Then we got the check and Ben and Abby checked the price. They were shocked to see that our whole dinner was only a little over $40. For the service and quality of food, I was quite amazed. We all got a tuk tuk (a truck with a cover over the bed that acted like a taxi) back to our guesthouses. I got back to my room and was just engulfed with an amazement and appreciation for life and the crazy random things that are thrown at me. If I hadn’t walked down that street or stupidly decided to continue to the yoga place, then I would have never have gotten to know these amazing people and been invited to come along with them on their Saturday brainstorming session and scouting for shots.

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