Monday, November 19, 2012

Loy Krathong??

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving!! It is so weird being in a country where no one cares about getting together on the fourth Thursday of November and eating a bunch of food. We're a little sad about it, for sure, because we will miss spending all that quality time with our families and eating all that D.E.licious food. Alas, it's the price we pay for going on this crazy adventure! :] We're also planning on having a Thanksgiving "feast" (we haven't quite figured out what it's going to include) on Thursday, which should prove to be interesting. So far we've decided to buy a whole chicken, sweet potatoes and pumpkin. That's as far as we got. Hopefully we can come up with some other things, but we probably won't eat too much since we do have to work Friday and we don't have the luxury of a day to sleep off our turkey "hangovers."

So this week went by quickly somehow. Maybe we are finally getting used to being here and our daily grind. Who knows? Regardless of how it happened it did. Even though it went by fast there are definitely some notable stories.

Skye and I helped make som tum (papaya salad)
Monday went by without much happening, but Tuesday was Caitlin's 22nd birthday! She said she felt old, which made us feel really old. We tried to plan a surprise birthday song in one of her classes, but it didn't work out. But we did eat lunch with the English department who bought her a cake and we got to sing then. The cake was delicious and we ate wayyyyyy too much of it. We have also recently discovered that we like a lot of Thai sweets, so that on top of the cake has made us feel like we are gaining a few extra lbs. That night we went to one of our favorite places to eat in town called The Living Room. Thais have very creative names for their restaurants. Anyway, we ate some food and Ethan drank some strange rice wine in Caitlin's honor. We also got to talking about the upcoming Thai festival Loy Krathong. We were told a few weeks ago that it's not a public holiday, so we still have to work, butttt we decided that night to hatch a plan in the hopes of making it to this most glorious of festivals.

Loy Krathong is a festival that takes place on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. So this year it falls on November 28th. Unfortunately, this is a Wednesday and Loy Krathong, as I mentioned, is not a public holiday in Thailand. BUT we have heard amazing things about the festivals that are held in Chiang Mai and believe that if we missed it, we probably would never ever see it again. Two of the big parts of Loy Krathong are making a krathong (a little boat made of leaves and flowers with a candle) to float down the river and sending a big lantern into the sky. How cool is that?? So our plan was actually pretty simple although, admittedly, we made it out to be much more complicated while deciding what to do. We decided on two options. Option 1: Ask for Wednesday and Thursday off to go to Chiang Mai with the possibility of using sick days to compensate. Option 2: Ask to miss the English Integrated Studies conference that is mandatory (even though I'm certain we will get nothing from it) on the 24th-25th of Nov to go to Sukhothai, where they celebrate Loy Krathong on the weekend too. The 25th also happens to be my birthday so we decided to throw that at them if need be. This is also the reason I volunteered to be the group spokesperson. So we had our plan! And our doubts. It seemed unlikely that our coordinator would be OK with Caitlin and Kristin missing so much class because they don't have co-teachers, but we had to try.

A giant spider web, I promise. Tilt your computer if needed.
So Wednesday morning went by with a few missed opportunities to talk to Kru Rin about Loy Krathong, but finally my moment came. I started talking to her about other things, mostly our bathroom (or lack of bathroom I guess) and school things. Then I asked about Loy Krathong. It was like ripping off a bandaid and I honestly don't know why. I executed flawlessly and when I finished my speech I sat back and waited for the bad news. But it never came. She said that she understood why we want to go and said that we should go, buttttt (here's the iffy news) we had to ask the director first. So the first part is done with and she seemed confident that he would be OK with it. So now we are still waiting for a chance to talk to the director, but we are still hopeful that our Loy Krathong experience is still out there waiting for us!

Wednesday night I was feeling really great about life, but Thursday morning I was brought down from my little high quite quickly. The day started per the usual, except we forgot to get more yogurt from 7/11 the night before for breakfast. We had bananas though, so I thought this would be enough for me to take my antibiotics with, butttt I was sadly mistaken. We were sitting in the math office on our computers when suddenly I started to feel nauseous. At first, I thought it was just a random occurrence - it happens occasionally when I don't eat enough - so I brushed it off. But then it came back, but worse. At this point I was 65% sure I was going to vomit, but for some reason decided to try and make it go away. It didn't work. It was going to happen. I got the keys from Ethan and walked as fast as I could back to our room. I was NOT about to toss my breakfast in one of the squat toilets at school. So I'm walking and sweating and looking at every tree and bush to see if I could just go behind it, but there were too many kids. They had just been released from the morning assembly and they were EVERYWHERE! I kept my head down so none of them would say hi to me. I felt bad because they always say hi, but I just couldn't look up. I got to the apartment and there were some kids behind the stairwell cutting class I assume. Well... I hoped the sounds of barfing wouldn't gross them out because you can hear everything in or around this apartment and there is not enough time to tell them to leave!  I got upstairs and flung open the bathroom door. But I got nothing. Nothing at all. All that work and sweating and no vomit.

Buddha statue at our school
Well I suppose it was a good thing, but I was still feeling terrible. I sat in front of the van trying to gather myself for a few minutes. I just felt awful and knew I couldn't sit in a steaming hot classroom for an hour. So I walked back and told one of my co-teachers to tell the teachers I was with that day that I wouldn't be there. Ethan walked me back to the room and then went back to tell Kru Rin, but she already knew. She offered to take me to the hospital, but Ethan assured her it was unnecessary. I stayed at home all morning and Ethan brought me crackers and Sprite for lunch. After eating I felt much better, but stayed home the rest of the day just in case. :] I officially learned my lesson with malaria antibiotics - always eat more than a banana!!

Thursday night we made plans to go to Pua and have dinner/ hang out with Tristan, Kelly and Colin. I was feeling loads better so we hopped on the motorbike and made the 20 minute journey. We had a big dinner with them that was super delicious. A bit on the spicy side, but very satisfying. After that we went to Colin's house to hang out for a while. We had a great time swapping stories and talking about strange animal behaviors with them and before we knew it, it was time to go home. We got home pretty late, but the next day was Friday so we weren't too worried about it. (Ethan- Colin has it made in Pua. He lives in a 3 bedroom tree house type thing with an open air hang out spot. It puts our studio apartment to shame.)

Friday went by fairly uneventfully. Instead of watching a movie before bed, like usual, Ethan and I decided to chat about things. This is good for us to do occasionally because we get really wrapped up in the moment sometimes when we're deep in an adventure. We have to take some time to talk about life and our plans to make sure we're always on the same page. And if we're not on the same page we have to figure out how to meet on one of the pages in between - or at least try :] Anyway, it was a good talk and we made some plans for when we leave Thawangpha. We are very excited to travel southeast Asia! We got to bed as early as possible because English camp started bright and early the next day...

The view from the far side of the football field/grass track looking back at the school

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