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Volunthai’s Travel Diary

Thursday, 30 Jun 2011

Location: Thailand

MapKim, USA

Up at 5:30 for a cold shower (a little more refreshing than I had hoped for, but at least it woke me up) and to take in my laundry. My host has a washing machine, then the clothes dry on a line outside.
At 6:00 the monks came, and we gave them the food and got the blessing and a smile back. I’m getting a little better at this.
By 7:30, we rolled up to school, where everyone was dressed in their scouting finest. And instead of teaching my first two classes, there was a parade! And not just a little parade once around the school yard. No sir, this was a serious parade. All 117 students climbed into the back of several pickups and were shuttled into Ban Pho village, where they lined up with banners and everything. I’m not sure if it was an awareness thing for malaria (there were posters with mosquitoes painted on) or for a Buddhist holiday/announcement/??? (there were flyers with a photo of someone who appeared to be meditating). But it didn’t really matter – it was fun even not knowing. The students marched (to the beat of several very enthusiastic Pratom 5/6 drummers) all through the village and eventually back to school in time for lunch. I walked with teachers and parents, especially a few middle aged women who grabbed my hand and linked arms with me, saying “Suay (beautiful).” They got groups together for photos with me and even made a little toddler stand by me for a picture (which was kinda funny, because she kept looking at me as if to say, “Who the heck are you?”). Really really odd to feel like such a celebrity (but can’t say I didn’t like it). And on the tail end of the march, several little girls grabbed my hands and we all walked together. Now they do the same at school too. It’s really adorable. They also pet me and smile as I walk by sometimes, which I just find funny. They’re so cute.
Then I did end up teaching the class I had missed – the students came up to me just before the competition and said “Teacher Kim, English?” Aww! So I made up the lesson later.