I didn’t expect today to be as incredible as it was. It has been a long week, I think the honeymoon phase is over and I was ready for a day off. However, I got dressed, put that smile on my face (it’s almost usually on anyway) and hopped on my bicycle and went to work! I got to the SAO and everyone was getting dressed in traditional Thai wear.
Mine looked a little something like this:
We spent most of the morning participating in cultural exchanges from traditional Thai dance and modern Thai music to American dances through the years. Everyday is a chance to learn something new and today was definitely not an exception. The group I was in chose to present the Cupid shuffle, we thought, something easy and fun that everyone can participate in, but also something that teenagers in America like to do. Since we are Youth in Development volunteers it seemed very realistic to do it. It’s something that we could do with our youth in the future. I loved it because I enjoy dancing! We went through it once and then invited everyone else to join us. After we finished, the Ajaans taught us how to give the instructions in Thai! I appreciate the diversity of 126 because each group shared something different.
Here we are dancing:
Honestly, for me, one of the best parts was when our Ajaans (our Thai language teachers) performed a song that they had written just for us as well as a dance to New York New York (by Frank Sinatra). The song they wrote was all about letting us know that we are doing just fine, we will get through training together and that they’re there for us! Training is intense for us but also for our Ajaans, they work very hard for us and for that, I am extremely grateful. (You all would be impressed at the language I have after just three weeks)
After all of our dancing, it was time for lunch. Each group was responsible for bringing a traditional Thai dish or kanom (dessert). My group was in charge of bringing Nam prik ga bpi bplaa tuu- Fried fish with a delicious shrimp paste, chili pepper sauce! I have such an incredible family here, Daa and Yaai offered to make it and deliver it to the SAO Saturday morning. So Paw showed up with this gorgeous silver dish (Bintow) with it in it. It was so fancy. It’s what they use when they’re going to give merit to the monks or are going somewhere more formal. Apparently now many people just use plastic bags…not my family though! Anyway, each group presented our meals and then we sat together to enjoy our lunch Thai style sitting on the floor.
A bunch of us knew we needed to hit up the ATM and since we knew there was only one relatively close, we decided to bike together. I had to stop at my house to drop off my families beautiful silver dish. Once we got to my house, I of course had to ask if it was okay and my Paw offered to pile us all into his truck and take us into the city so that we could go to Robinsons to get the money we needed. We couldn’t say no, we were all actually really surprised and thankful for his offering since we would have been biking 10 kilos in the middle of the day and it was hot! We piled into the truck and away we went. Once we got to Robinsons, we found our bank and dealt with our banking that ended up being a mess!
Honestly, even though I speak limited Thai and Paw speaks even less English, we were able to communicate and he without hesitation was on the situation like we were eight of his own children. (PS, my Paw is so cool, he wears New Balance sneakers, carries a Harley Davidson man bag and rocks the Porsche shirts)
After our hour at Robinsons, we headed back home, making a pit stop at the Gao Hong Market in Bang Pla Ma. My friends had shared with me (but I think Paw understood) that they had never been there before but had heard about it. Paw stopped there and gave us a brief tour and a chance to see the place and take some pictures. We climbed to the top of a watch tower that was built so people could watch over the market! I was nervous that we were stopping because we were running on a tight schedule and my friends still had around a 40 minute bike ride home, but my friends were really cool about it and were enjoying Paw being such a great host and tour guide!
I spent the evening getting my nails done by one of my little sisters friends, hanging around the house, exploring our families garden, doing yoga and working on some Thai! Just what I needed after a long week. Did I mention we grow Bananas, Guavas, Papayas, Peppers, Sapotas and Coconuts!