Tuesday, March 12, 2013

fail blog

So, here's the deal. I have been a blogging failure. There is no way around it. I had lofty goals of documenting every step throughout this Peace Corps journey in Thailand but that has just not been happening. My personal journal isn't getting much more attention than this electronic version. This year has had it's highs and lows and been full of failure. As a volunteer in a new country and culture there is usually at least one thing you fail a day. Sometime they are epic lanugage failures which can lead to very funny stories (tonal languages are hard!) and sometimes its failing to teach a concept, activitiy or even a word. I have become best friends with failure. Its not a bad thing anymore. Its the new base point to build up from. Its a challenge to reassess how to address the issue. Its freedom to try again. And, that's what I'm going to go. I am going to try again with this blog. Keep your fingers crossed that it sticks.

In lieu of trudging through seven months of memories and activities with text only I'm just going to show you what I've been up to. A much nicer visual treat, anyway!
Let's start from the most recent and work backward. It'll be like time travel!

It's camp season! Last week I was able to travel to the province of Chumpon in sounther Thailand to help with an English camp for Kindergarteners. Needless to say it was adorable. After the camp we spent the weekend at Cabana Beach playing in the white sand and bath water waves! Sometimes I can't believe this is my life!
perfect beach day in Chumpon

 January was a pretty tough month for most of us over here. It was psychologically draining and few if any of us can put our fingers on the specific cause. Most days I questioned why I had even signed up for this adventure in the first place. Luckily I got over it. During training Peace Corps shows you a graph and tells you that this will highlight your emotional highs and lows in your service. It's spot on. Twelve months in? Hating your life? Stick it out. It gets better again. What is the treatment for bad moods and minor depression? Weekend trips with fellow PCVs. In February we went to the Erawan falls in Kanchanaburi province for a few days. There are seven levels to the falls and you can hike to the top and see the cascade which starts it all. The water looks like Kool-Aid and is full of little fish eager to suck your toes if you stay in one place too long.
Erawan Falls with fellow PCVs

Happy New Year! Letting off a good luck lantern over the Andaman Sea, Phanga Province
Reunited and it feels so good! Kait and Annie in Thailand at the same time!

4th Grade Christmas day Skype date with the rest of the family in the States.

Merry Christmas from Thailand! Mom even sent our stockings around the world so we could have a little taste of home.
Baby elephant Tara was so excited to play!

Pak Bung and Lucky, our chaperones for the day.

 December was great! My youngest sister stopped by Thailand on her way home from studying abroad in Hungary (not exactly on the way but totally worth it, right Kait?) and a week later my best friend joined in on the fun! We rode elephants, skyped with the family with the English classes, ate way too much food, explored Bangkok, visited another PCV's site, lounged on the beach and had a blast the whole time. It felt so great to have people, my people, back with me. I have made some amazing friends while being here but there is just something special about spending time with people you've known for more than 12 months.

November was equally enjoyable. The highlights:

Climbing a mountain in Sukhothai with a group of volunteers. It was quite the trek. The entire trail was only about 4k but it took us about 3 hours to get to the top. In this national park they didn't get the memo about switchbacks. It was a blast. We camped at the top and then ran down the next morning. A great community event that I can't wait for again next year!
The peak of Kho Luang, a mountain in Sukhothai province

 I went to my first monk ordination! one of my favorite community member's son became a monk and I was invited to participate. It was a beautiful event. They asked me to help cut his hair, bless him with water and participate in the family prayer and giving of good luck. Cultural activities like this are such an eye opening event. It was great to be a part of something so special for a family I love so much.
Community dance party on the way to the local temple for the monk ordination.
October was full of Nepal and that needs its own post. August and September were filled with adorable kids learning phonics and starting to read. Once I get a working computer again I'll be sure to load some videos I have from these events and more.

Timeline update: We're over 1/2 finished with our Peace Corps Service. It is crazy to think that I could be heading home at this time next year. The fact actually makes a little anxious. Who knows, maybe in a year I'll be ready to hop on the next plane bound for Washington but as for today, I'm very comfortable here... even if the 2nd graders just killed a 3 foot long snake outside of out classroom door. Life is good.

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