(A Journey of a Leap of Faith)
What a fun day yesterday was- it was such a good energy. We had English Class for the first time in 2 weeks (last weekend we had off due to some meeting in the village the kids had to attend) and we also had some guests- friends who teach at the university here- come and help out. We had a good time and the kids were in good spirits (although my level 2’s struggle with understanding the difference between she/her and he/his but we will get there).
It’s interesting/challenging to teach English to children without the benefit of having a big enough grasp of their native language to explain the more intricate rules. For instance- how do I explain “is” and “are” to them? Thai has a word which they use for “is” (bpen) but they don’t apply it when using adjectives i.e. “She is pretty” in Thai as a direct translation is “She pretty”. Thais use a different variant of “is” (yuu) when talking about a place/location. English doesn’t. How do I explain you use “is” for she/he but “are” for you and we? I talked about it with Tom (one of the university teachers) and he said to go ahead with how I am teaching it right now- which is basically memorizing which pronoun goes with ‘is’ or ‘are’ and not worry about explanations at the moment. It’s a touch and go process, but then again, so is everything.
After class we all headed out to a local place for lunch (the best laab moo around!) and then headed to the furniture store to meet John. John is a gentleman whom we met at Le Merdien (one of our favorite fancy spots to go to when we need a change of pace), he is originally from Scotland, has lived in Thailand 8 years and is a kind well to do man. As he and Rachel talked at Le Merdien he mentioned his wife wanted him to make a charitable donation in honor of her birthday and he asked to see the Resource Center. Last week the Rachel’s brought John to the center and he told them he would like to furnish the bedrooms as his donation!
This furniture store we met him at was a trip. It was a huge cavernous place and everything was new and up to date (a rare thing here in Chiang Rai) and the owner was a hoot (more on that in a moment). John walked in with a big smile, his beautiful wife and son and in 30 minutes bought us two bedframes, two mattresses, a bookshelf and a dresser and arranged to have it delivered. As he left with a big wave goodbye, Kevin turned to us and said “Did that really just happen?”.
After John left we picked up a few more purchases (thanks to the kind donations we have received recently for The Freedom Project). After paying for them, the owner (a short (shorter than me!) older spry woman) invited us into her AC’d office where we were served coffee, water and cookies. Cheerfully inquiring about our lives (and if we had boyfriends as she has two sons, one of which she pointed out to us as we left) she whipped open a bottom drawer and pulled out three beaded bracelets which she put on our wrists. As she walked us to the door (holding Rachel’s hand all the while) she reminded us to about next month, she had invited us to LamPang, (a “fun market with elephants”) when she goes. Quite a businesswoman eh?
Later that day Rachel GC and I took a motorbike ride around the lake close to the house and watched the sun start to set. We then headed to our local market (tucked away down an alley behind shops) where we picked up the ingredients for the khao soi Rachel was making for our friends Jan and Barry that night. The market is such a cool place- I will try to get pictures next time (although I am sure the photos of the meat will send the Whiffen women (aka my mom and Aunt and their sense of cleanliness) into hysteria). It’s all these folding tables laid out with fruits, vegetables, spices, sweets, eggs, sauces and freshly slaughtered chickens and other meat.
As I strapped all my purchases to my bike a tiny Thai man, with a sheaf of purple tickets, stepped up to me. Apparently I owed 2 baht (6 cents) for parking my bike there. As I handed him 5 baht (15 cents) and told him I didn’t need change, he morphed into my own personal traffic guard. Pulling parked motorbikes out of the way in each direction he stepped out into traffic to allow me to pull out. Wheeling around into the other lane (a feat I was able to accomplish thanks to him) I shouted “KhrapKhunKha (Thank you)” over my shoulder as I headed down the road towards home.
“There are places I(‘ll) remember all my life…”