Sunday, November 21, 2010

Loy Krathong

Today is Loy Krathong Day in Thailand. It is a major holiday here that celebrates a good rice harvest and is completed by wishing your sins away and making wishes for the new year as you float your Krathong in the water.  At school we celebrated Loy Krathong on Friday. We all dressed up in traditional Thai costumes, played Thai games, and families were invited to bring Krathongs to float in our swimming pool. My class performed a Loy Krathong song with a traditional dance. While it's not something I believe in, it was neat to take part in with my students. It was my job to help each student light the candle and incense. Here is a link to some history of Loy Krathong. 
My first students to show up on Friday. Tyler was kindly told to put in Rock -N-Roll Sunglasses in his bag.
4 of the 5 teachers. Me, Tracy, Katie, and Abby. As you can see, the assistants go all out decorating school for each holiday.
Ayako, Annika, Riri, and Izzy :-)
Rehaan and I
Going to the Big Assembly! That's a pretty good line!

Every Friday we have a Big Assembly with the whole school.

Trying to stay cool! Me, Ms. Pom, Ohm, Ms. Tracy, and Ms. Pu!

Doing our Loy Krathong song and dance!

Ms. Pu, Ms. Nor, and Ms. Pom floating our class krathongs.
Edward and his mom letting his Krathong in the pool.
Riri's turn!
Holly and her mom.
Izzy and her proud mom.
Hannah and her mom.
Ayako and her mom. 

Thailand, Once in a Lifetime

If you ride the MRT (subway system) in Bangkok you've heard the song, "Thailand, Once in a Lifetime" one too many times. Last Monday though, I did have a once an a lifetime experience (I think). Greg and I were invited to my school secretary's wedding reception. She is of Indian nationality, but grew up here in Thailand and considers herself Thai. Her reception was day 5 of wedding events and we were two of hundreds of guests. Nitty and her groom Micky wore traditional outfits and looked beautiful. It started at 7:30 on a Monday night, so we didn't stay long. The food was great, half Thai and half Indian, and it was neat to see people from work outside of work.
We had our picture taken with Nitty and Micky as when we arrived.
They sat up front :-)
My co-worker Tracy and her boyfriend Rowan (from New Zealand)
All dressed up on a Monday night!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hosting Dinner

In Hutchinson, it felt like we were were always having people for dinner. Here, not so much. It's not that we don't have people to invite. With Greg working an hour away, by the time he gets home it's late and on weekends people are often away.  Friday was an exception though. Greg, Erik and Melanie, and I hosted the Thai Engineers for a yummy dinner. Erik and Mel brought down their card table and chairs and all 10 of us fit nicely around the large table. We served pork chops with pineapple/mango salsa, mashed potatoes, Mel's homemade bread, and watermelon with brownies and ice cream for desert. Aroy!

Suwat (standing), Kai (white shirt sitting down) and Nid (sitting on the couch) are enjoying watching Aor  giving it her best at Wii boxing!
Suwat and Greg go up against each other as we are waiting for the potatoes to boil.
Kai's wife and son Captain are entertained with the Wii sporting event

Captain had a really cute fish hat. He liked looking at his reflection in the window.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Weekend at the Beach

The weekend of 5 November- 7 November (that is how they write the date here) we headed back to Jomtien Beach. (see post from September) We made reservations at a cheap, but decent hotel and made the most of the cooler (80's and low 90's) weekend. We made excellent time on Friday getting out of Bangkok. Greg was craving a hamburger and since we were headed to the beach I was skeptical of the possibility of finding a good one. After we checked in we decided to explore and see what we could find. Just our luck, there was place called Just Burgers. We met the owner, a guy named Justin originally from Tacoma, WA and enjoyed our grilled burgers and beer.

Part of Saturday was spent at the beach under umbrellas sitting on the chairs we rented for $2. With the cooler weather we'd been having and a change of seasons the water was actually cool. We read some of our books, caught a little sun, and enjoyed some quality people watching. This also included listening. Evidently, Jomtien is popular with Russian vacationers and it was the language we heard most.

Saturday afternoon we ventured down the shore a bit to discover a small fishing town Justin had told us about, Bangsaray Beach. The waves were crashing in and it was hard to get too close without getting soaked.

You can see the mountains behind me.


Saturday evening we enjoyed a night out on the town, visiting many local establishments and Sunday we spent some time by the pool before heading back to Bangkok. On Sunday evening we joined our church during the evening service. We joined along side another couple about our age who are in Bangkok with his job at the embassy. Small world, he has family that lives in Orange City, IA.

Overall, it was great weekend at the beach.

Chinatown and Floods

Chinatown is an area we went exploring to a few weekends ago. It is just a few stops away on the subway, but we had not been there yet. We were lucky it wasn't too hot because it was one crowded place.  Like many of the market areas, you can find just about anything here. We saw everything from Hello Kitty hair bows to electronics, to fresh fruit. 
 A small alley in the market area.
Walking into a market area.
Small Road, Lots of People, Big Truck = No problem
Typical day of traffic..
Look closely at the men are doing on the street corner.
Yup, they're gutting and filleting snake-head fish right there!
Blue Crab? 25 Baht= less than $1
More traffic

While in Chinatown, we got an up close view of the river's rising waters. 
I'm not sure I would park my car on this car park... The water was rushing under it.
River Taxi's make their way down the river.
The water was really moving!
While Bangkok has not been badly flooded, much of Thailand has been effected by floods this year. At work, Greg has multiple engineers whose trips home on the weekends have included boat rides to their homes. It started in the north, but is now in the south with the death toll over 200. On the way south, the city Greg's company is located in was not spared. One day Greg saw people walking the elephants out of the city, here is a picture of elephants helping people evacuate. We keep updated with the floods and other news through The Bangkok Post or The Nation. Feel free to add these online editions of these English Newspapers to your favorites to keep updated on Thailand and other SE Asia news.

Happy Halloween!

I started this blog entry a few weeks ago, but it just took me awhile to finish. At school we celebrated Halloween. It was a fun filled day complete with costumes, games, and a parade. Here are some of the highlights!
Annika with her trick-or treating bag
Getting ready for trick-or-treating!

This is like bobbing for apples, but it's jumping for donuts! No hands please!!

My student's Edward, Rehaan and Hannah. Can you guess what Hannah is? She's told me she's a bee! 

In the library waiting for trick-or-treating. 

My teacher friends Katie and Tracy. Katie is from the UK and Tracy is from New Zealand. 

Isn't that a good picture for a 4 year old? Great Job Riri!

As you enter school.
By the pool and playground
My student Ayako and me.
L to R: Ayako and Riri (dressed in Japanese costumes), and Alexander are in my class. Snow White is a year younger than my class.
3 boys in the class below mine. 
Ms. Pu, my assistant
This is a nursery 2 class (2 and 3 year olds) My boss is the one on the far left.