‘Oh, you’re trying to sleep? That’s your problem!’

Karen Cultural Lesson – Karens have the view that you’re responsible for your own sleep. They won’t tip toe around the house if you’re napping any more than if it’s 4 AM. If you want to sleep, figure it out.

Now, I’m a morning person, so I’m not bothered by a rooster crowing at 5 AM directly under me (our bamboo houses, with their thin bamboo floors, are on stilts because we build on a hillside). Even 4:30 roommates cooking breakfast is fine. I taught at a school last year where the students worshipped at 4 AM, so I woke up to hymns in the dark morning hours each day (then, usually, promptly fell back asleep).

But one incident just takes the cake. One day one of the boys started playing music at 2:30 AM. Now, their dorm was across a sports field from me. Not close. At all. But the music was so loud that it was like a rave was happening in my hut (only with Karen pop music). It continued until after 5 AM. I tried listening to my iPod, covering my head, moving to a hammock further away, even glaring across the field. To no avail.

If you want to sleep, figure it out.

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