Ah, where to begin? The fact that I’ve been involved in celebrating the dawn of a new year — for the third time this year? The fact that I’ve been volunteering my time to help teach Thai kids English at a non-profit learning center in northern Thailand? Or that I went with the same non-profit to visit kids at an orphanage that specializes in children with HIV/AIDS (some of the loveliest children you’ll ever meet)? How about the fact that I’ve also been helping said non profit — Isara, by name, which means “freedom,” in Thai — get their computer lab into shape, pretending I’m an admin?
Once a nerd, always a nerd.
Or how about the fact that In a few weeks time I’ll begin my first paying job as a teacher, teaching kindergarten and first-grade Thai kids English, math, and science (ye gods, what have I gotten myself into this time)!? Or maybe the fact that it routinely hits 100 (Farenheit — say 39 Celsius) or more here, and I drink liters of water per day yet never have to pee because I sweat like a yak constantly. Or perhaps that I’m surrounded by geckos that bark and other strange, exotic critters (not to mention the strange, exotic, people, culture, and food)?
Ay caramba. I’m too tired for a lengthy, meaningful entry. A city-wide water fight — this is how the Thais celebrate their New Year — that lasts for hours throughout the heat of the day and on into the early evening, well, it takes it out of ya, even if it is hellafun. Let me just say that while protests in Bangkok have lead to bloodshed, out here in the Thai hinterlands, it’s life as usual.
Also, a reminder: GO to Isara and make it your homepage, as well as the start of all your google searches; your clicks help fund this most worthy of charities. Better yet, come over here and volunteer your time; it is free to volunteer at Isara, unlike all of these other places that make you pay to “volunteer” (at that point, you’re a customer, not a volunteer). And yet, Isara still manages to give you a comfy place to stay, and Ming will show you all of the good Thai (as in non-farang-catering) places to eat. She’ll even go with you to the optometrist to help you buy new contact lenses.
Now here’s some interesting photos in lieu of my usual prattling on at length:
Celebrating the New Year Thai Style:
A Barking Gecko
Tokay Under Glass
Big Momma and her Brood
Funky Thai Spider
The Deck at Isara (HDR Makes Everything Look Fab)
Mali and the Sarnelli House Kids
English Camp at Isara