I have discovered that so much happens here in any given week that if I don't write about it quickly in this blog, I won't want to write about it because too much experience accumulates, making me feel overwhelmed and lazy about sifting and sorting through it all, looking for a common thread with which to weave a tale for you. Alas it has happened again. There's too much going on to report it all, but there are a few things that stand out in my mind as being the most impactful. To wit:
I have finally finished my semester teaching at the university, turned in my grades and received my final pay check and it feels good. My experience was less than satisfactory, to say the least, and now I am on to better things. Next month I will start teaching at the school that is our rock here, where Jess and the kids have gone every day. Soon, we will all get out of the car together each morning and literally spend every waking minute together! I have been hired to help the younger kids at the school with different aspects of English literacy and to continue my classes in ESL with the (mostly) upper elementary classroom. From my post in the school's library, I will shush noisy kids and assist the more bookish ones with appropriate selections for their perusal. I will be a children's librarian!
In other news, Radd has begun his career as a Muy Thai fighter. After learning the basics of the sport in gym class, he took a few karate lessons, until his sensei broke his hand in a motorcycle wreck. So, now he training under our neighbor's expert tutelage. He (our neighbor) is a former Muy Thai champ, with the most wins of any foreigner in Thailand. He's also a really great guy, so Radd has fun in his gym and feels very encouraged.
Suni is continuing to take violin lessons at school twice a week for an hour each time. She's got a ways to go on her technique, but she is picking up notation reading and her understanding of the instrument quite quickly, in my humble and most objective opinion. On Friday this week, she will have her first performance playing Silent Night and Jingle Bells for the whole world to enjoy.
Speaking of Jingle Bells, the school is preparing for their Christmas Celebration and I must say, I'm a little surprised by how enthusiastic everyone is. In the school of 100 kids, probably 98% are Buddhist, but I guess Christmas Spirit is infectious. Who can resist a Christmas tree, lights, ornaments, carols and good cheer? Jess' class is even doing a Nativity play with Radd cast as the wise man who brings myrrh (the wisest one, if you ask me).
And finally, in the last week, we have had dinner with two Thai families on two separate occasions, and are truly feeling the love of this country. Last Friday, we spent with the parents of Radd's school buddy. After a delicious meal, we had dessert and a great conversation about life, culture, politics, the future, you name it. We even made plans to go camping with them in a few week's time, such was our mutual enjoyment of each other's company.
And last night, our friend's from Bangkok, Bow and Ake, came up to Chiang Rai for a visit to the north and met us at a popular Thai restaurant. We enjoyed many northern dishes and shared a couple beers too, along with the aforementioned conversations about life, culture, politics, the future, etc. etc. It also filled our hearts with happiness to spend time with them and their precious little girl Neptune.
All this and next week is vacation time! It's hard to believe it, but it gets better. We are planning on going to a place called Pu Chi Fa to watch the sun rise over a sea of clouds and then to a quiet little spot on the Mekong River for a day or two to relax. With the weather being what it is, we are trying to spend as much time outside as possible while we watch web cam footage of Bozeman's deep freeze. You have no idea how much joy it brings to see these images with a cold beer in my hand and flip flops on my feet. Bwahahahahaha!!!!!!
Peekaboo! Radd sticking his head out of the back of the Big White Buddha's head.