Part I: The Beforehand.
The past few weeks have been sort of a non-stop-cram-in-everything-you-can sort of period. I guess that's what the remaining two months (!) will feel like as well. So before I get into what y'all really want to hear about, I'll cover a bit of the lead-up.
Candle Festival (as you have seen from previous posts) came and went. Then suddenly, I was looking at a ridiculously small amount of time with the boys—just about two weeks. Leaving Thailand was hard for the boys. James and Lorcan both had a different experience than I do here. Theirs was much more akin to that year abroad where you fall in love with both your independence and everything a country has to offer—potential faults are quirks and weekends are for massive adventures. Because of the university schedule, the boys had to leave before the Thai semester was over; a feeling of incompleteness doesn't help not wanting to leave somewhere.
So those two weeks were spent in attempts at doing everything! All the time! DTEC was hosting odd events, classes were (as always) being canceled at weird times. There was an English Day with that changed at the last minute from 40 students to 400. There was mother's day (the Queen's birthday) canceling classes. The boys were trying to get in all of their testing/grading/packing. I used this time to teach a selection of my students some culture. (Think explaining diversity, Cajuns, jambalaya, Mardi Gras. The classes did end with some Cajun dancing. Kind of.) There was a goodbye ceremony, a goodbye party, a last trip to Piboon's village, a return to DTEC for packing and then they were on their way… and I was on mine to Bangkok to pick up Daddy.
A few notes:
- Watching a goodbye ceremony that you know you will most likely have in a few weeks is odd.
- The string tying ceremony in general makes me tear up. I'm in love with the concept and will probably bring it home with me.
- Tying the knots in a bajillion strings before they get tied to wrists makes you appreciate the ceremony a whole lot more
- The number of teachers that came to the goodbye party (be it for the food, karaoke, or the company) was a good reminder that the campus knows who its foreign teachers are. And cares.
- I will never fully understand karaoke. Especially when it becomes mor lam towards the end of the evening and most of the words are in Isaan.
- The boys mainly got clothes as gifts. Another incentive to throwing away ALL of mine here and starting over when I get home. That and the fact that Thailand devours clothing…that I have worn over. And over.
- Two songs were sung for Mother's Day, both seeming as if they were personal anthems of sorts. One sounded fittingly regal. One sounded like carnival music.
- However fickle of a presence Piboon might be on campus, when he takes us to his village, it is always wonderful.
- Walking back down the mountain after a brief tour that ran into the night, though, I was hit with one of the most beautiful scenes I've ever witnessed: Standing on a mountainside, can't see my feet anymore, but we look up at there is the slimmest of crescent moons, one or two bright stars, all hanging in the loveliest of twilights. After staring at that picture for a bit to fix it in my mind, I continued walking down.
- A walk at night amongst flooded rice paddies, watching the sky grow darker, a crescent moon to your left, lightning off to your right, lightning bugs wherever they pleased, all being reflected in puddles is probably the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced. At least in the top five.
- Sometimes it is better not to have a camera.
- It is possible to be so emotionally confused you have no idea what feelings should be taking precedence. (see boys leaving, daddy coming.)