As you can imagine this past week was a little different for me in Thailand. Pulled between wanting to feel Christmas joy when I was actually feeling 90 degree F weather.
This past Monday I settled on being the Grinch, like my school since they were giving Midterms on Christmas! I figured I’d just say bye bye to the X-mas spirit this year and act as if were any Thailand day. By the end of Monday I was an emotional mess. I not only wanted but NEEDED Christmas! I love Christmas, I love giving, I love being Santa’s helper, wrapping gifts, receiving gifts, going to Church, all in all the joys of Christmas.
Here is proof of Midterms … on xmas eve and day… @ least my grading is done and my students did pretty good!
The next morning I talked to the parentals and le boy fren and probably worried them all sick with my negativity and overwhelming emotions. (Thank you for always being there!) Little did they know that talking to them helped me out of another rut. Tuesday morning I decided to put on my santa hat and be the most cheerful Christmas elf Sawankhalok had ever seen. I biked with the santa hat, taught with the santa hat, ate with the santa hat from the 22nd- the 25th of December.
As for my schedule, everything was the same. I taught and tutored as planned, but I was observed by Fulbright on Tuesday. I was under the impression my classes were canceled until the morning of. I was of course nervous. Luckily they observed my 6/01 aka English honors class and had only compliments with few suggestions. Really it was mostly nice to have old company from P’Kee who I feel really comfortable with from the Fulbright Staff.
On Wednesday I got another great idea: GIVE GIFTS! Sounds silly, and like a lot of $$. Well I budgeted really well this last month and had a little extra to give about 22 gifts. It was yet another factor that helped me get over my Christmas-less hump. I loved it. By the 24th I felt as if not being with loved ones for Christmas wasn’t bad at all. I conquered Christmas in Thailand and felt amazing. I also got to teach my students Feliz Navidad. A very easy Spanish-English Christmas song that is always a good time in Mexican Family Christmas parties.
By the end of the 24th I gave the first batch of gifts. P’Buddy, I could tell thought I was silly because he knew I knew he could care less of gift receiving and Christmas, but giving gifts was entirely for me. As for Sue and the girls they were much more excited and surprised. Sue having husband in America and having lived there for many years felt embarrassed for not having anything ready for me. She continuously had her eldest grand daughter ask me how much everything was. All I could say was: Mai Bpen Rai! (No Worries!) I also told them my Christmas plans which were finalized that evening too -Take a bus ride and crash Edie’s Family’s Christmas! -I saw Sue take a note but didn’t think too much of it.
Christmas Day: I woke up early and was so excited! I got ready, and made sure my Santa Hat looked extra snazzy. I got to school at 7:30am (normally 8am like all the other Thai teachers) and went desk to desk placing nicely wrapped gifts. It was a lot of fun. Exciting when they’d smile and say thank you, but also a tad bit disheartening when they’d look at the gift and smile like, ‘Silly, don’t you know I don’t care about Christmas, nor this lame gift.’ Of course they said thank you but I could read their expressions pretty well. Oh well; again, IT WAS FOR ME! Like a child’s first birthday party, it’s for the parents never the baby -off topic but you get my point.
Also pictured is P’Buddy who took me out to coffee, my first cheesecake I liked, and my Christmas lunch-.56cents
I got to Skype with my mom,aunt and uncle for an hour while I was at work. Skyping with my mom is a very normal every other dayish event, as for my aunt and uncle, I hadn’t seen them in a while and didn’t think I would until I returned. It was nice and as if I was at the dinner table with them like old times.
It was time to go to the bus station to head north to Si Satchanalai. There I found Sue. She looked at me with relief. “Aliza, I went to your house and the school and couldn’t find you. Here, Merry Christmas” OMG OMG OMG! A GIFT! I got to open a gift! I was excited because I expected absolutely nothing. After she sat and waited for the bus with me and shared pictures of her husband.
EDIE! After my little Christmas town fun I was at Edie’s town. I met her and her sister then her father and mother. The Wilson’s. They were a really awesome bunch and even if I was nervous of intruding in their family time, they made me feel a part of their family the entire time I was there. To celebrate we went to one of Edie’s P’s houses, had dinner, good photos, good laughs, karaoke, a Christmas tree, puppies, and tamarind picking. Such an awesome Thai Christmas.
Once we got back to the hotel they said they were giving gifts. -BUT BUT BUT… Maybe I should go outside- The gift exchange was fast but nice and to my surprise Santa visited me in Thailand too! With a nice stuffed stocking filled with Michigan mints (so delicious!), socks, and a Coach key chain. Truly blessed to have had the opportunity to meet Edie’s Family they were so much fun. Now I have to visit Michigan.
The day after Christmas was spent at the Si Satchanalai Historical Park. Featured are: The Wilsons, bikes, and minor heat exhaustion.
This week was great and Navidad was the best possible turnout Thailand could have given me.
Feliz Navidad, Prospero Año y Felicidad! Elaine ❤