John and Jane in Thailand

J and J have escaped the hurly-burly of life in the USA.

December at the Beach

with 2 comments

I returned to Thailand on Tuesday December 13 having left Seattle on the 12th.  No, it didn’t take me 24 hours plus to get here, I crossed the International Date Line.  Coming East a traveler looses a day but going West is great fun because you gain almost a whole day.  About 12 years ago we flew from Thailand back to Seattle on January 1st so we got to say and experience “Happy New Year” twice, once on land and once in the air.

Even though I had been in Thailand for seven months before going back to the States, I always felt like a visitor. Upon returning to Seattle, I hadn’t been gone long enough to truly experience culture shock, but I did find myself yearning for “home”.  Without my realizing it, the house, friends and acquaintances, beach, restaurants, heat, bicycles, birds, landlords, bougainvilleas had wormed their way into my heart and I missed them.  When I arrived back in Thung Wua Laen, I embraced living here and was determined to make it mine.  I bought a sewing machine and made new curtains for the areas that needed them and took down the ones we didn’t need.  We rearranged the furniture to make our house friendlier, more accessible. We bought very comfortable lounge chairs for the veranda, where we spend most of our time.  I rearranged the kitchen and bought items for it to made cooking easier.  I got John to talk our wonderful landlord into buying us a new and bigger refrigerator.  In other words, I turned our house into a home.  In other, other words, I committed.  Maybe it will only be for another year, maybe two.  Maybe we will live here part of the year and in the States part of the year.  I don’t know and I don’t need to know. Right now I am happy to be where I am and that’s good enough for me.

To get back on track  . . .  shortly after returning to the beach a British expat friend approached me about teaching English at a school in Chumphon City (about 15km from here).  A fellow Brit had quit and there was still four months left of school.  This particular school has 1200 students and is supported in part by the Chinese government.  Among the usual subjects are also Chinese, English, and of course Thai languages. I decided to spend a day at the school with Nigel to see what it was about and I took my camera.  As you will see in the photographs, it was scout day – once a week they wear their scout uniforms and presumably do scout things at some point during the day.  A week later my camera and I were back at the school to photograph a Christmas celebration. Thailand is about 95% Buddhist and only 0.7% Christian but Thais love to party so they’ve adopted Christmas as a secular celebration.  Or maybe I should say their equivalent of Madison Avenue has done a good job of promoting Christmas as a marketing tool. By the way, Christmas Day is not a holiday – work goes on as usual.  Nigel and several other British expats arranged what we would call “an assembly” to sing carols and to present the school with a Christmas present of a 32inch flat screen TV to be used in the English classroom.  During the assembly, the history and significance of Christmas was read to the students by one of their Thai teachers, in Thai, and Jingle Bells, in English, was sung with gusto.  After going to the “Chinese School” we went to the public hospital where we handed out toys and bags of “sweeties”, as the Brits say, to the kids in the Children’s ward and to the kids we could find in the waiting room.  Did I neglect to say that we had a Santa doing the handing out? After the hospital, we traveled closer to our beach area to a resident school for Down syndrome children.  I’m not positive about the number of students at this school but I believe it is approximately 150. Here Santa and his helpers (Thai wife and girl friends of three of the expats) passed out a bag of sweeties to each of the students and sang Christmas carols with them.  You will hear more about this school in a future blog; I am involved with another project for the school which is a work-in-progress.

I hope you enjoy the photographs, there are a lots of them but I believe they are worth looking at.  All these children were a joy to photograph.



Written by Jane Estes

April 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. The photos are lovely. I would love to leave work tomorrow and come join you on the beach and spend some time teaching but work keeps me here for another 3 years. I forgot to ask, wWhat was the ortho experience all about? Cheers, Kathy


    April 10, 2012 at 7:52 am

  2. Your update was a compelling read. I am sorry I missed you when you were here in Dec. Love to you both! Julie

    julie somers

    April 18, 2012 at 3:07 pm

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