For Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge #151, where we write about the image below from Darius Bashar at Unsplash.com.
20th April 1928
Dearest Aunt Dorothy,
I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to write, but you can imagine how much effort it has taken to get this place into shape. I finally seem to have found the time to relax now, although it will not be for long, as I shall explain…
The journey here was rather eventful. I spent almost the first half of the voyage seasick – I am afraid I do not make a good traveller. Then, just as I found my sea legs, the ship sailed into a full-on typhoon as we navigated the Bay of Bengal. I feared for my life and your niece might well have ended up with the fishes.
But, either by luck or good judgement, we arrived in Burma. I have never been so relieved to set foot on dry land.
The embassy has been immensely helpful. They found us this colonial house, only ten minutes from the town centre, which allowed Charles to take up his post straight away.
It has taken incredible effort, however, to turn this place into a home, and Charles has been so busy… he is already complaining how short-handed the embassy are… that I have mostly had to fix our accommodation on my own.
Rangoon is a strange place. It is hot here, of course. We knew it would be. We have been warned about the rainy season, but we have not seen any rain yet.
The place is unmistakeably oriental, though, and frankly I miss London, although I will not allow myself to become one of those hysterical women who yearns for home. Fortunately, the embassy staff tend to stick together, and some of the women whose husbands have been here a while have been helpful. We play bridge sometimes when our men are at work, and somebody even lent me a Fortnum & Mason catalogue, so hopefully I can have a few luxuries shipped from home.
One of my first tasks was to hire some assistance. People here are happy to work for the English and, compared to home, they will work for nothing. She has a frightful Burmese name that I can’t pronounce, and so we agreed that I would just call her Anna.
In fact, Anna is due any minute so I will close in a moment.
I just wanted to tell you that the reason life might become hectic is because Charles and I are expecting. Mama knows, of course, but has been sworn to secrecy. But I am far enough along that I don’t mind close family knowing. And I consider you to be close, my dearest aunt. Charles is as proud as punch and I’m just hoping that I can present him with a son and heir. The baby will be born out here and is due in August. We have already made enquiries, and the hospital here, while nothing like home, comes highly recommended.
Anyway, with that news, I shall close. And not a moment too soon – I think I can hear Anna in the courtyard.
I can’t wait to hear how you are, my dearest aunt. Let me know soon.
Yours, as always,
I’ve tried to write this “of the time”. Until 1948, Myanmar was a British colony known as Burma. It’s capital was Rangoon (now called Yangon). Yangon is still the largest city, although the capital has moved to Naypyidaw.