December has been an adventure in and of itself, considering I’ve had many more days off than actual work….if only every month were this easy.
The first weekend was the King’s Birthday. Seeing as I live in paradise, I had five friends from Hua Hin come to visit little ole me (okay, and maybe the beaches as well). It was absolutely wonderful to get some of the old gang back together, and was as though no time had passed. We swapped stories of our schools, our pain-in-the-ass students, and our cultural slip-ups (inevitable, living in a place where you understand exactly 1% of what’s going on).
We were on Banlga Road for a couple of nights, where we spent too much money and danced our faces off; we lounged on the beach every day; we went kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkelling; we hiked and swam at a waterfall. It was a fun filled, exhausting weekend. The one day we spent at Patong Beach (aka tourist central), we ran into probably 20 other people from our course – obviously we weren’t the only geniuses with the idea of partying in Phuket for the long weekend. I was happy to see that everyone is enjoying their time at their placements. While we were all dealt a different hand, we are all making the most of our time here in The Land of Smiles.
I really lucked out my birthday week: I had the whole week off because my kids went on a field trip to Bangkok. I decided to do a bit of adventuring to pass the time. I went to Krabi for one night, and then I headed to Koh Phi Phi for the next two nights. I wasn’t expecting Phi Phi to be quite as rowdy as it was; in one word, it was bonkers. I spent one day snorkelling and boating around the islands. I toured Shark Reef, Bamboo Island, Monkey Beach and Maya Bay. The evenings I made some friends with whom I shared buckets and watched some Muay Thai (always with a bucket in our hands, of course). I may have made a bet with one of my new friends and he may have gotten a tattoo as a result. His first tattoo, to be correct. Of an elephant….on his inner thigh. Whoops, sorry Jared….but that was hilarious!
After Phi Phi, I took another bus down to Songkhla to visit my dear friend Janie. It was good to see where she lived, to meet her friends, and to go exploring with her. The best part was just seeing her and talking with her, which we did plenty of, because texting just isn’t the same.
Christmas in Thailand was very different from celebrating back home, of course. It didn’t really feel like the holidays -probably because every day here feels like mid-July. On Christmas Day we sang carols, danced and played games with the kids. It’s kind of surreal to watch these kids prance around in Santa hats when they’re all Buddhist or Muslim. Of course, they know that there’s candy involved, so they don’t care what religion they’re celebrating at the time. Other than that, there wasn’t much of a Christmas celebration for me. I missed being with my family oodles and zoodles, but the fact that they were opening presents on a snowy Christmas morning feels so foreign to me right now.
Finishing this month (and year, I suppose) off with a bang, I’m headed to Chiang Mai in a couple of days to reunite with some friends. Everyone here speaks so highly of Chiang Mai, so I’m excited to go back and experience it again. I’m hoping to do some more hard-core adventuring while up North. White water rafting, anyone?
A very happy belated Christmas and Happy New Years to you all,