The Colours

The change in weather here is just fantastic! I am very sensible to light, so with no curtains in my room I wake up very very very early. Sometimes i cover my face and go back to sleep. But the first light is just “unmissable” as the sky goes red, and pink, and golden, and it is just sooooooooooo beautiful! Out of my window I see anything but green fields, and trees and the occasional buffalo. Then the sun goes up, while the temperature rises, the sky becomes completely blue, everything is bathed by light and then suddenly the wind blows, and the dark, heavy, clouds seem to appear from nowhere, and they suddenly burst, strongly, washing it all….it almost feels like a painter painting a picture on a canvas, shade by shade, tone by tone, detail by detail and then when it reaches perfection the painter tired with so much beauty just pours water all over it, and then starts all over again.

Everything seems more alive here. The storms, the sun, the clouds, and the animals. I sat today in the little straw hut in the garden, i was supposedly going to do some yoga but as I sat the wind blew, and I decided to instead pay attention to the sounds. the birds were just so lovely, that I dozed off. And when I woke up the sky was dark, not because it was night, it was just the “painter” tired again.

Have I told you about the geckos? They are “GINmormous!!!” And they make the funniest noise ever. And they are actually sooo beautiful. When i first asked what is that? as I was hearing a loud and strange noise, Non Nan ( Oh I go back to explain who she is in a second, in fact I will explain the name thing, which i finally get it!) took me by hand to show me… I followed her till she pointed to the wall, I looked and saw nothing, she placed my head in the correct position, and when I saw the size of the gecko I almost fainted.. it was at least 40cm. Do they bite? I asked? She said yes. Well, after one fell in my foot one of these days i lost part of my fear, and could observe from up close how beautiful they actually look. Nature that lively and noisy is not a total surprise to a brazilian, but geckos that loud, and big, and fat are 🙂 (at least to a Brazilian from Sao Paulo)

Non Nan lives here in our house. Her mother abandoned her when she was born, and her father does not care about her, so Horm ( I have all this time been misspelling her name it is with a M and not N) took her in. She lives here, goes to the same school where I volunteer and is quite lovely. Before I came to Thailand, one of my very dear friends in England, who is actually Polish, gave me two little books with pictures from Brazil, when I showed my surprise he explained me it was to show the Thai “nothing better than pictures when you cant communicate!”. I have written about how moved I was in my Blog, but only now can I actually understand how right he was! Only Maciek could think about that. I showed Non Nan as we can barely communicate, and you know what she looked at the most? Not the cities, not the people, not the beaches, but the fruits and animals. We have so many alike. I thought it was just beautiful to look at her looking so attentively to the herbs, and fruits, and animals, from such a distant continent and smiling when recognizing them. Non Nan is 12 and is in the last year of our primary school, she is the one who teaches PE. In Thailand parents are obliged to send their kids to school from when they are 4 till 15. School provides meals, and i guess a somehow nationalistic feeling, and some Buddhist teaching as we do go to temple and do a short meditation before school starts. I am in a part of Thailand called Isaan. It is in the northeastern part of Thailand, and I just learned that what they speak home is actually something much closer to Laos than to Thai. In school they learn Thai and English.

They have names and nicknames. And the calling thing goes as folllow: everyone who is younger than you you should call Non and then nickname. So for instance older people call me Non Ju ( sounding more like Non tchu) Everyone that is older you should call Pi. Non means little sister, and Pi older. So that basically means people always ask your age when they first meet you. If you are the same age you just say the nickname. I have been by the way been given a longer name : Kunkrun Ju ( Tchu) LaiArat, which literally means teacher Ju the lovely lady 🙂

The sky is going pink again, the sun is setting. I should not miss that.

Thai Dancing

The rainy season is usually frowned upon by many prospective travellers to South-East Asia. Only now however, do i understand how great an enormous storm in the middle of the day can feel. The weather cools off, the stuffiness of the air disappears, and it feels like you’re starting anew. The storms themselves are just great. Rain pouring down, blasting thunders, lightning that seems to divide the sky into a million different pieces. unfortunately, however, even now during the rainy season these storms do not happen that often. In fact, this weekend the Hae Tian (a candle parade) is going to be celebrated. A Buddhist holiday marking the commencement of the rain’s retreat. That is why yesterday in class we spent half of the day practicing Thai traditional dancing. It was mayhem in school. Out of the 4 teachers there were only 2. One had missed school because of the funeral of her mother, while the other had a wedding of his son. So instead of teaching 2 classes we had 4. It was quite nice to see how caring Thai kids are. A couple of older kids took care of the kindergarden class, while Horn and i stayed with grade 1, 2, 5 and 6.

As it was sports day everbody was dressed in blue pants and red shirts. I realised this time that in the beginning of the day, apart from the little meditation and Buddhist prayer, they also sing the national anthem while the flag is being raised. The PE class was taught to the whole school by three 12-year-olds. It was basically some kind of dancing aerobics. In fact they are crazy about music. At some point during the day Horn made them all sing different songs. It was surreal, and i wish i had had my camera with me to record everything. Inside of a little classroom, with lots of echo, grade 1, 2, 5 and 6 were singing on the top of their lungs, drumming on everything that was around. Horn sometimes even conducted them so that one side of the class, grade 1 and 2, would compete against the other side of the class, to see who sang louder. I cannot describe how loud this was! All i could think of was about the very cranky teacher in the English primary school where i volunteered. Not allowing the children to sing loud. Here the kids had lots of fun.

We also played games, and i was invited to play chess and checkers, and even a very modified version of monopoly where nobody ever gets too rich, and the bank is always paying you money whenever you stop at a place. When i had to pay 4000 Bhat and didn’t have it, a litle Thai girl paid it for me. When i had more money i paid her back, even though she didn’t want to accept it. Thai dancing was defintely the highlight of the day. Most kids sucked at it. But the few girls that were really good spent an enormous amount of time teaching me. The other highlight was when during lunch time the cook brought me two large turtles to show me what they were going to eat for lunch. I seriously almost fainted… My heart raced, and i felt the blood drain from my face, and i could not contain my shock. I obviously did not eat the turtle! As they all know by now i am ‘farang’ and ‘Te’ (vegetarian).

On the way back home (did i tell you guys we ride a little motorbike with sometimes 4 people on it) we had to stop by the teachers house to Way her dead mother. In a big room there was a very shiny coffin looking like a big box wrapped with golden paper. There were ‘Christmas’ lights all around it that twinkled the whole time. There were candles, flowers, insence, and i was taught how to Way the dead person. I knelt by the coffin, lit a big stick of insence, held it in my hand in a Way position, said a little prayer, put the insence stick in a pot full of other insence sticks, and bowed my head on a little cushion put there for that purpose. It was actually quite nice. As i wasn’t feeling entirely good at night i didn’t make it to the Thai wedding, which was a pitty. Today, there is going to be a Hae Tian ceremony in the temple here. And this weekend Horn is taking me to Ubon Ratchatani to watch the biggest Hae Tian ceremony on the whole world! I will let you guys know how that goes.