Archive | August, 2010

Invasion of the body snatchers

26 Aug

I had the strangest lesson ever today at Moo 10 child care. Normally at child care, our biggest problem is keeping the kids calm enough to teach them. These kids are usually running all over the place, jumping around and yelling at the top of their lungs. Today was so different. So very different.

When we got there the teacher was trying to get them to dance while they just stood there with blank faces. There was no response when we came in. None of the usual mix of excitement and terror at seeing the farang. Not one kid smiled or cried. We began the class by singing. Again, no response. We then started to dance. Alone. Our lesson pretty much went out the window at that point. Our only mission was to get the kids at least somewhat interested in SOMETHING. We tried coloring to no avail. Some of them wouldn’t even hold the crayons. Likewise, duck duck goose and musical chairs were both busts. Finally, we tried a story book with a little bit of success. At least they were looking at us.

About halfway through the class a bunch of health care workers came in to check the kids’ teeth. After that we totally lost them. The teacher put on a cartoon movie and we tried to keep them from being too scared of the dentists.

This was probably the weirdest teaching experience I’ve had my entire time in Thailand. It wasn’t that the kids were bad, they were just totally uninterested. I would have felt better if they had been falling asleep or something, but they just sat there wide awake, staring at us like they were in a trance. It was more than a little bit creepy. I guess I can just chalk it up to another unique experience here at Mirror.

Ice Cream Monster

23 Aug
I have lots to report on, but for now I will just share the most wonderful discovery that I made in town this weekend: ice cream fondue! And believe me, it’s as amazing as it sounds. I shared it with another girl (although it’s meant to be split between 4 people) and I was in heaven. Unfortunately, I gained 1.5 kilos this weekend. Mai pen rai, I will hula hoop it off this week 🙂

Ice cream fondue: 9 scoops of ice cream, 1 brownie, banana slices, melon balls, waffle cone wafers, whipped cream and a cherry all dipped in amazing melted chocolate.

Sometimes I forget I can make lemonaide

16 Aug

This weekend was a much needed respite from the dismal feeling at Mirror this week. Nothing really bad happened. There weren’t any “incidents” and nobody was fighting or anything. There was just a negative feeling everywhere you turned. For me, it started last weekend. Everyone went to town and got crazy drunk. One of the Thai staff came with us and got so drunk he literally passed out and we had to carry him up the stairs of our guesthouse. And it was only midnight at that point. It just got out of hand, and those kinds of nights really start to wear on me.

It also didn’t help that we had three days of canceled classes because of Mother’s Day (aka the queen’s birthday).  We spent those days making teaching resources (flashcards, memory games, etc) and doing some random outdoor work. We cut the grass on the side of the driveway with machetes. Quite possibly the most inefficient method ever. Morale was just low, and I definitely wasn’t helping. I’m normally not a huge complainer here, but little things were really getting on my nerves. I freaked out because someone took my mug for 2 days. Basically, negativity breeds more negativity.

This weekend, instead of staying in town, Stacy and I came back to Mirror. We did lots of sleeping, talking, a little bit of working out, more sleeping, massage, and planning the upcoming Mirror Foundation talent show. It was just the kind of weekend I needed to regroup. It sounds cheesy, but I needed to recenter myself. I even meditated today for like an hour. Oh yes, I’m very new age-y these days. The power of the mind to heal itself is pretty amazing though. During the last 6 moths or so I’ve really come to appreciate what self-reflection and emotional detox can do for you.

It’s my goal this week to boost morale and be a positive influence on the mood of the volunteers. I’m in charge of the talent show, which I’m pretty excited about. Ok, excited is an understatement. I’m totally psyched. I wanted to make participation mandatory, but I figured that might kill the mood a little. So I’ve just been doing my best to help people think of every random talent possible. So far we have hakka dancing, recorder playing, singing, writing, cooking, karaoke and dancing.

As I re-read this post I hate to leave the impression that it’s been a terrible week. Again, nothing specific has been really bad. I’ve actually had  some really good times and amazing conversations with the other volunteers. People are just down in terms of energy and emotions. Hopefully the busy week that’s ahead will improve everyone’s spirits.

Pip pip, cheerio!

14 Aug

Well guys, I fear that among the many good things Thailand has done for me, it’s also made me irresponsible with my money. I just booked a flight to London. Although it was only $500, it’s money that I have no idea how I’m going to get. It will all work out though. At least I’ve retained enough sensibility to be thinking about how I’m going to pay for (even though I haven’t figured it out yet.) Let me know if you have any million dollar ideas that you want to share with me. I’m all ears.

I’ve made the switch

12 Aug

Well guys, as you can see, I’ve made the switch from blogger to wordpress. There are many reasons for the move, photo captions for one, but basically it’s just a better blog host. Please bear with me as I figure this thing out. I’m sure there will be many formatting problems and such.

I didn’t know it was possible to get kicked out of a bar in Thailand…!

11 Aug

Today the entire Mirror Foundation flooded. It poured all morning, and within a few hours, this is what the walking path looked like. There are 3 steps to the bridge that are under water.

Last Saturday we did karaoke at a bar in town. Unfortunately, the fun didn’t last long because we got kicked out of the bar. A volunteer had bought a few bottles of whiskey for everyone, and by about 11:00 everyone was pretty smashed.

Alex singing Radiohead’s Creep with Mike on the drums.
Steph and Britt
Sam, Britt, Kaitlyn, Aaron, and Adrienne

Mike rocking out on the drums.
Dancing at R&B bar.

Party at P’Noi’s. Everyone usually shows up there on Saturday nights for a barbeque, but this week it seemed like an especially large crowd because of all the new volunteers.

The clock tower in Chiang Rai changes color every night at 8:00. This isn’t a great picture, but it’s really beautiful.
All of us crammed into a songtow on our way to Big C.
Riding on top of the songtow. You can’t tell, but we’re actually sitting on the roof of the truck. It was really fun, but we had to dodge branches the whole time.

25 Things I LOVE About Thailand/Mirror Foundation

7 Aug
  1. Fisherman pants. Greatest invention ever.
  2. You can get your laundry done for 40 Baht and it comes back neatly folded and smelling fresh.
  3. It has forced me to overcome my fear of animals. I have embraced the natural world and all it’s critters.
  4. Waterfalls abound.
  5. Movie nights in the orientation room.
  6. Knowing the words and actions to every children song known to man is considered a valuable skill.
  7. Discovering the healing powers of Tiger Balm.
  8. Working with little kids and watching them actually get what you’re teaching.
  9. Craftiness is next to godliness.
  10. Mangosteens = heaven.
  11. Playing charades is mandatory.
  12. Thai massages. Enough said.
  13. Barbeques at P’Noi’s tattoo shop.
  14. Modest is hottest.
  15. Even the boring parts of the country are some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.
  16. The kindness and generosity of the Thai people.
  17. No makeup is required.
  18. I get to teach monks. Who else can say that?
  19. Sweet sticky rice with custard.
  20. Baby Buddha aka Ouan (meaning fat in Thai) aka the cutest kid ever at Mirror. No one knows what his real name is.
  21. Shaved ice at Baan Jalae hilltribe village. Amazing.
  22. The pancakes at the shop next to P’Noi’s.
  23. Riding on top of a sontow.
  24. The ice cream man who rides up on a motor bike with the freezer attached to the back.
  25. Everyone LOVES the banana song.