Where did December and January go: trips, holidays & Theatre Camp

Where did December and January go?

From about mid-March 2012 to November, time crawled. Not any more. Time flies so fast, I have fallen behind in my documentation. The biggest factor I attribute to the increase of pace is I have been teaching English regularly at the schools (or what you would call regular in Thailand). It gives my time here direction, and gives me purpose.
Not only did work get a lot busier, but also weekends and holidays for about the past two months have been busy. Here is a Recap.
* December 1st-The election for the new Nioke-explained in previous post. All my coworkers got paid overtime…I just got the joy of witnessing this cultural, political process.
* December 8th-was frustrated that I didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, so went off on a whim and climbed a mountain with some other volunteers. The climb was straight up. Took 4 hours to climb up 4 kilometers. We camped on the top. It was beautiful, and there was a bonfire! All in all, a lot less expensive than a trip to Bangkok and a better work out.
* December 15th-cleaned, family coming next week
* December 18-19—My Tessaban took a New Year’s celebration bpia tio (vacation). We went to the biggest dam in Thailand which is just about an hour north of my place. First, we listened to a monk and did team building activities. Then, we all got on a boat to spend the night. It was interesting in that the boat was run by ladyboys and the late night entertainment was a lady-boy cabaret. That is a part of Thailand I guess. There was a gift exchange (I got a toaster), gambling (which is technically illegal in Thailand) and LOTS of dancing! The trip really made me feel like part of the group. Coming home, my bus decided that we hadn’t danced enough the previous night, so all the way down the mountain was spent dancing in the aisles to Thai music. It was one of the best things I have experienced since I have been here. (Side note: 1 hour is the perfect amount of time for loud music in a bus).
* December 22-Jan 6th—vacationed with family. It was fabulous. See previous post.

* January 10th—Peace Corps boss from Bangkok came to see what I have been doing.
* January 12—Children’s Day in Thailand. This is a day in Thailand where the Thais celebrate the children. It reminded me of a county fair. There were booths with prizes and a big stage for the Gangnam Style dance off competition. I had an English booth. There were pictures of appliances and food up on the wall. If you could name them correctly, you got a prize. I had two days to prepare (Thais tell you everything last minute), but it was fun.
Immediately after the Children’s Day, I went to Chiang Mai to meet my cousin. He just let me know that week that we could meet up…usually, I like more of a notice, but this is Asia. We went to the highest point in Thailand. Good time.
*Jan 19 I had been so busy, that I thought I was going to be gone again this weekend. Time for a break and unpack.

*Jan 25-27 Thai Youth Theatre festival
This will definitely be a highlight. It reminded me a lot of State Thespian festival in high school; there were drama workshops and schools performed various skits they had previously rehearsed. The festival itself was two and a half days. There were around 200 kids and 20 volunteers from all over Thailand.
On Saturday, we had all led the different drama workshops. There was Dancing, Voice, Puppets, Costumes, and Stage fighting…I was with the stage fighting group. IT WAS AWESOME! I got to demonstrate how to properly kill a person on stage and pass this useful information on to the Thai students. It was great seeing the students get out of their shells and embrace the stage and sword fighting. FYI, stage fighting was my favorite workshop at Thespian festival. It was great to have something to offer. You never know when a piece of information will come in useful.
Sunday, the students performed their skits, think of them like the One Acts. Some examples of performances were Cinderella, Snow White, the Wizard of Oz, and Thai folk tales. You could tell the students had put a lot of energy into their skits; the acts were complete with costumes, backgrounds, soundtracks, fighting scenes, and dancing. It was really fun to watch. I was helping out back stage…it brought back good memories from high school.
In conclusion, I had a blast at the Thai Youth Theatre Festival. It was super fun and very fulfilling. I left with the feeling “Yes! This is what Peace Corps is all about!” Theatre always has brought out something special in me, and it brought out something special in all the students. I really hope I can help again…and maybe next year I can bring a group too!

Finally, things have begun to slow down. I didn’t do anything big for the past two weekends. Now, I just need to figure out what I am going to do next!

Other News: Being sick in Thailand is not fun. You feel lazy just sitting around, but are too exhausted to be productive. Last week was the first time I was out pretty sick for a couple of days. I threw-up more in two days than I had in the past 10 years combined. My only intake was water with rehydration salts. However, it was comforting knowing that everyone at my office noticed I was gone and was concerned. They brought me food (That I couldn’t eat because I had zero appetite), checked on me twice a day and said I should go home and rest when I was not quite all better yet. Sometimes the Thai over-concern is a little suffocating, but then it super nice to know they care.

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