Christmas week was quite busy at school. Devon and I spent our class time having students listen to Christmas music and color decorations for the Christmas program. It was probably my favorite week of classes. I did notice that my “smarter” classes tended to be more creative than my “other” classes, but that aside, all the students really got into coloring their ornaments and devoured my colored pencils! Between classes and after school Devon and I helped decorate Christmas trees and teach some M6 students carols. She stayed at school helping out a bit longer, as I had to get back home in the afternoons to tutor Fay in English. Then, on Friday we had our Christmas presentation. I’d been in the sports hall when assemblies were taking place, but never on stage helping lead them. It very much reminded me of camp, if camp were on steroids–possibly in part because I opened up by screaming “Merry Christmas!!!” until the entire student body exploded in cheers and/or laugher at my ridiculous gestures. We read a story about Christmas, gave away prizes and had students both singing and dancing. It was very festive. Funny story: When we were giving away prizes to the students and teachers, it was a “lottery” type setup. I was in charge of holding the box with the names in them… The student drawing was fair, but when it came time to draw teachers’ names, they only put the names of the teachers they wanted to win the drawing in the box. My conversation with Ajarn Prawnee went something like this:
(Ajarn Prawnee selects a name and reads it over the microphone.)
Me: Ajarn Prawnee, this is a rigged system.
Ajarn Prawnee: Yes.
Me: Well, at least pretend to stir some names around.
Ajarn Prawnee: Oh, yes! Good idea. (Waves hand in box, calls another name.)
Though I wasn’t able to spend Christmas back home with my family, I was so fortunate to be able to have work off this past Saturday to go visit friends and celebrate in Sungnoen. Sungnoen is located about 30 kilometers outside of Korat. What should have been a 4-hour trek for me turned into 8-hours because I think the nam tuam (flood) is getting bad again. It’s typically supposed to take about an hour to an hour and a half to get from Krathumban (where I live) to Bangkok, but the combination of detours and Friday afternoon traffic caused it to take about 3.5-hours. I’m not typically in any hurry when I travel, so it doesn’t really bother me–especially when there are only five people in the minivan–but while I was laying in my seat, the guy in front of me decided he wanted to recline his seat… It didn’t quite work out in my favor. His seat broke and I got a lovely smack in the face. Fortunately my nose is alright, though it was sore for a while. Finally, I made it to Sungnoen late Friday evening. Only a few of us arrived on Friday. We spent the evening out on Melissa and Steve’s balcony catching up, admiring their decorations and talking about the weekend’s activities.
On Saturday morning, more people began to arrive. Someone thought it would be a good idea to write directions to Steve and Melissa’s house with chalk on the road, and since Michele and I were the ones who found chalk, we took it upon ourselves to graffiti the town–at least from the 7/11. Since most of us had to travel back home Sunday to work on Monday, we celebrated Christmas on Christmas Eve. It was a fun evening filled with friends, caroling, feasting, and white elephant.
I spent a good portion of Christmas Day in transit, but I was in good spirits, so all was well! Wore my Santa hat all day, which came in handy when I wanted to sleep, as I just pulled it down over my eyes a bit. It didn’t take near as long to drive back home from Bangkok, which was pleasant. Once I got home, I went to Tesco and bought myself a “Christmas pizza” which was a veggie pizza I thought looked Christmas-y. Then, I got to Skype with all my family which was the best part of my day. Since my dad got a webcam, I can now see them which has become very entertaining.
That’s all for my Christmas update! Stay tuned for a New Year’s one soon!
P.S. Check out the goodies I got in the mail!