Category: Myanmar

I know in my past few blogs about Bagan I have mentioned Moe Moe.  I had too much to say about her to just write her into a paragraph.  Moe Moe is a very special little angel.  She single handedly made my time in Bagan absolutely unforgettable because she is someone I could never forget.  I will always look back on my travels and especially when I look back on Bagan and I will always think of her smile, her contagious laugh, spunky and spontaneous personality and her infectious aura.

I met Moe Moe on my first night in Bagan.  Joseline and I had rented E bikes and were looking for a good sunset spot.  With the help of a local we found the Mahazedi Pagoda in old Bagan.  This is a smaller pagoda but has been very well preserved.  When you enter the pagoda there is a small child sized stair case that leads you up onto the second level.  Luckily I carry a flashlight cause it's dark and spooky.  The first thing I saw when I emerged from the rabbit hole of a staircase was little Moe Moe dancing in a little blue skirt and matching top.  She had an over the shoulder bag that was nearly the size of her that was swinging around her as she spun circles.

When she almost tripped over herself out of dizziness she saw me and threw her hand over her mouth, threw her head back and started giggling, the most innocent child like giggle.  All I could do is laugh with her.  She was the most adorable little human I have ever seen.  Her eyes were light with happiness and adventure.  She had short hair, cut like a boy but was the prettiest little thing.  After her fit of giggles she waved and said Hello.

As I toured around the second level taking pictures and admiring the view I could see her crouched on a ledge in a corner watching me.  As we watched the sun fall she would come stand with me and show me her hand colored postcards.  I'm a total sucker for anything a child has made themselves.  We sat and talked about her drawings, she had great English and was friendly and chatty with me.  She would get up from time to time and tell me she would come right back and then disappear around a corner.  I couldn't help but be fond of her.  She had so much energy and when she talked she would cock her head a little to the side with a little twitch of a smile in the corner of her mouth.

When we left just after sunset I bought one of Moe Moe's colored postcards and told her how nice it was to meet her and that she should keep dancing because she is so lovely.  She smiled this heart wrenching smile and told me I was beautiful.  I thought about Moe Moe later that night and wondered about her life and where she lives.  I was so touched by this little human and her unwavering happiness for life.  I didn't plan on seeing Moe Moe again but ended up back at that Pagoda everyday.

The following morning I went for sunrise and part of me wondered if I would see her there as if it was her home and she inhabited it.  But she wasn't there, actually no one was.  Later that day on my E bike tour our tour guide brought us to this same temple.  Apparently its quite popular because it's one of the few that you can still climb up.  There was little Moe Moe.  When I saw her I yelled out a "hey Moe Moe" and her face instantly lit up.  She grabbed my hand and led me upstairs.  She had her own flashlight in her shoulder bag and took it out to light the way for me and even told me when to duck my head so I wouldn't hit it.  She showed me all her secret spots and we hid from others and laughed until we were caught.  The tour didn't stay for long so I said goodbye to Moe Moe again and gave her a quick squeeze and told her thank you for being my friend and showing me all her hiding spots.

The day that Joseline left I was pretty bummed.  She had been such a wonderful travel buddy.  I didn't much feel like talking to new people so I decided to just ride my E bike around.  I found myself back at that temple playing with Moe Moe again.  It was early afternoon when I arrived and I was the only tourist there.  We ran around for a good hour climbing up the different levels of the temple.  Everytime we would climb she would go first and then assist me by placing my feet in the right spots or guiding me down backwards and was always so proud of herself when I made it to all her little spots.  Being the giant that I am, this was a true accomplishment.  We played on my phone and took pictures with all the filters and layed down flat in the shade and giggled when people didn't see us when passing by.

I asked Moe Moe about her life and she told me her Mom was the woman selling bells down below by the entrance and her brother the one selling the sand paintings inside the temple.   She told me that they come everyday to the temple to sell their things and that their home was nearby.  She told me she was nine years old, which I couldn't believe because she is so tiny.  I thought maybe she was six, but now that I think about it she is so bright and intelligent that nine suits her.  She said that she doesn't attend school because they need to work, I didn't press the subject.  I asked her about her English and she said she learned it from other people.  I'm assuming foreigners and her brother, who also spoke good English.  She held my hand and took me to meet her Mom and her brother who I also became very fond of.  I could tell she was the apple of their eyes.  They would tease her in Burmese and I could see her dish it out just as much as take it.

I could tell her Mom was asking her questions in Burmese about me and I could tell that Moe Moe was sweetly telling her mother that I was her friend.  She would smile at me and then squeeze my hand and scoot closer to me as if I was hers and no one else's.  Then she would turn and pull me along behind her as we went to find some other mischief to get into and her mother would just shake her head and laugh after us.  We played endless rounds of thumb war, which she was surprisingly good at.  We would play hide and go seek and she always had a way of jumping out at me that always caught me off guard and made little screams escape me that would send her into a riotous laughing fit.  Every time she laughed she threw her little head back as if declaring to the sky that life is so wonderful and beautiful.  It was simply the cutest thing ever.

The next day I was out riding E bikes with a new friend I had met named Cornelia.  Of course I stopped by Moe Moe's Pagoda to show her around and introduce her to my little best friend.  We were becoming a bit inseparable.  We played with Moe Moe for a short time and then left to do some more touring, but promised Moe Moe we would come back for sunset.  That night for sunset Moe Moe sat with us the entire time making us laugh and entertaining us by singing and dancing.  She would clutch onto my side and sit on my lap.  She would tell us jokes and had everyone around us enthralled as well.    That night when I left I gave her a hug and promised to come see her again tomorrow because it would be my last day.  Her face frowned but then broke into a smile and she said "see ya tomorrow" with her cute little wave.

I wanted to do something nice for Moe Moe because at this point I love this little being.  She has touched my life just by being herself and showing me friendship with no limits in such a short time frame.  She is wise beyond her years, probably due to having to grow up too fast.  I wanted to buy her a new life, even though she seems more than happy with her current one.  I don't have much but I had a coloring book and a nice collection of colored pencils that I had brought with me for my travels.  Yes, I love to color!  However, I hadn't all but once colored and I was just lugging them around at this point, so I decided to give them to Moe Moe.

My final night in Bagan I returned to see Moe Moe one last time.   As soon as she saw me, I could tell she had been waiting for me, she ran and jumped into my arms.  My heart nearly broke, she's just the sweetest girl in the world.  We played and watched the sun go down together for the last time, chatting and laughing.  I didn't even really watch the sunset that night, I just wanted to hang out with Moe Moe.  When the crowd had left and I was sitting with Moe Moe and her Mom down below as her Mom packed up, I gave her the gift I had brought her.  She was so elated and gave me endless hugs.  I'm guessing she has never owned anything nice like that before or even seen a pack of pencils with so many colors.  She was so grateful and ran over to show her Mom who I caught with a tear in her eye.

As I left I gave Moe Moe one last hug and also her Mom, who hugged me back like I was a sister.  As I rode back in the dark I couldn't help but fight back a stream of tears.  Because that's just how wonderful life is.  You meet so many people who can have such an impact on you as a person.  I hope Moe Moe will remember me forever because I will truly never forget her.

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