Tag Archives: Christmas

December

Christmas break from school has been many things. Relaxing, no. But interesting, educational, and enlightening, yes. It’s hard to believe that I am in my third week of Christmas break already.

I had been hoping to be able to get into one of the refugee camps along the Thai/Burmese border over my Christmas break. This has been a dream of mine for a long time, but I’ve never had the time off long enough to do it, whether it was time off from work or from school. This didn’t work out for this break, though, so I was left with a variety of other options.

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One of my first ideas was to make donuts to sell over my Christmas break. Has it been successful? Not sure how to answer that question. Yes, I have made some money, but it’s been more tiring than I expected. However, it’s been delightfully refreshing to my brain to be able to do something with my hands while letting my brain wander, pray, or listen to poetry or music.

Then there was our Christmas party with our Thai cell group from church. We had it at our house and invited friends outside of the group, played some games, shared a short version of the Christmas story, and ate tons of amazing food.

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I also picked up several hours of teaching during the break. A friend knew of a young woman who was wanting to study English. Next one of her friends wanted to study as well. So, along with some of my regular teaching, I also had some extra one on one teaching. I have loved getting to know these students; they are young ladies who are very interested in learning English and are lots of fun.

My friend Amy is back visiting in Thailand too, after moving home last year. Getting to see her again and have some good chats with her have been fun.

There are several highlights that especially stand out from my Christmas vacation. It’s not over yet, so some more highlights might still pop out. However, in looking back, I can almost narrow it down to three main favorites: the EMA student graduation, my trip to a Kachin village in Northern Chiang Dao with a college friend, and a 4 day bike trip into the mountains that my sister and I did. I hope to blog more extensively about these in the next week or so, so look for some posts on these in the future.

But for now, here are a few peeks of photos.

EMA graduation:

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Baan Mai Samakki, the only Kachin village in Thailand:

Dten Rom Manao is a festival that happens once every several years.

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Not far from the Kachin village is a Chinese village, Arunothai, about 15 minutes from the Thai/Burmese border. While these people live in Thailand, their children’s first language is Chinese and they still practice many aspects of Chinese culture. Below is a boy from that village.

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My friend’s grandfather beside their fire.

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A sister trip from Chiang Mai city to Doi Intanon, to Khun Yuam to Mae La Noi, and from there to Mae Chaem:

Coffee made on the fire at Baan Mae Klang Luang, a Karen village on Doi Intanon.

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Drinking more coffee on Doi Intanon.

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A sister shot early in the morning as mists were rising from a valley close to Mae La Noi, Mae Hong Son.

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On a morning jaunt through the mountains of Mae Chaem at the Karen homestay on the last day of our trip.

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Donuts

The gray December day is muted around me

Silence, healing silence, blankets my world

Of tile floor and brown dog and bare feet

And yes, even the rats scratching in the gutter.

 

I roll the dough swiftly, punching it;

The tightness inside me oozing out slowly

Like bubbles of air escaping pummeled dough;

Hands shape and cut and shape and cut again.

 

I have been running too long, and panting;

The noise has pulled the guilt and sharpness

Taut, too taut, inside of me

But donuts are forgiving creatures.

 

The gray December day is muted around me

Silence, healing silence, blankets my world

Of tile floor and brown dog and bare feet

And yes, even the rats scratching in the gutter.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

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Tonight is the night. Christmas will never be the same.
This is how a normal practice goes with a 2-4 year old cast for the Nativity scene. Once we get everybody quiet or at least a resemblance of silence, the story starts and the angel comes to see Mary, who is sweeping the floor with great vigor. The angel appears and Mary, in an effort to look startled according to the coaching of the teachers, stomps on her broom, trips over it, straddles it like a witch, and performs all sorts of un-Mary-like broom tricks.  After the angel is finished, Mary is hustled off to another room and Joseph comes to dream, folds his blanket in fourths and proceeds to try to go to sleep on a tiny bit of blanket. While the angel speaks with him, Mary peeks out of the room with great giggles, as if pleased and embarrassed by the developments of Joseph’s dream. Once Mary and Joseph are supposed to go travel to Bethlehem, Mary is found chasing Joseph around with a broom, while Joseph fends her off with the blanket. The donkey takes them to Bethlehem while a pregnant Mary hangs on to his side and Joseph trudges way in the back as if reluctant to face what is going to happen next. When finally they reach the stable, Mary tumbles into her chair in a decidedly unpregnant fashion and dramatically pulls out from under her shirt, a sweater that has been knotted at the hood to represent a baby. While the angel appears to the shepherds (who are too busy talking and/or playing air guitar with the sash of their shepherd costume to notice that an angel has appeared at all) Mary is busy bopping the baby’s “head” against her own, and Joseph is out of his seat checking out what is under it. The Wise Men appear, following a star, and get distracted in their journey and begin waving to the rest of the children who are sitting not so quietly watching. After the Wise Men are coerced to kneel down at the side of the baby, and Mary yanks the gifts from their hands, Joseph decides now would be a good time to try out the flavor of the frankincense.
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After this, everybody is put in a line in a haphazard fashion and we manage to sing, “It’s a Gift to You.” The first part is usually fairly quiet since most of them are busy poking their neighbor, or or are covering their eyes, or doing other mad sort of tricks. The last part of the song crescendos into a thundering roar, as each child tries to outsing   outshout the others.
If we keep on at this rate, we will be vying for Oscars alongside The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Which is fine, too.
Just one more day….!
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