If Thai’s believe in reincarnation, than its my belief that they were Stephens girls in a past life because they really know how to extend a celebration. After being ambushed by two end of semester dinner parties already this week, the head of the Foreign Language Department came up to me and said, “Kah-Teee…..tonight, de-paht-men di-nah, our gues.” “Ok, what time.” “Ahhh maybe tree ow-wah? Maybe you go now and can wear nice dress, come back tree ow-wah.” Normally when a Thai person kidnaps you for dinner you get between one and five minutes warning, so advanced notice told me “dis special di-nah.”
I corned the Farang teacher who had been there the longest and asked him for the low down. He said you are basically there so Thai teachers can be seen taking pictures with you in front of the Director. Ok, well Poon did take 9 pictures of me eating Tom Yum at dinner last night…so maybe she was just warming me up for the main event.
When we got there they were in full party mode and greeted us with a wrapped present; an exchange that was photographed extensively. They said we had to wait until the end of the night to open it which was a relief because I had a sneaky suspicion it might contain an unflattering plastic hair accessory that I would be forced to wear for the duration of the evening…..and possibly the year.
Excessive photography ensued as promised, but beyond that I struggled to comprehend what was going on around me. There were some elements familiar to an event you attend out of pure obligation:
– An egotistical DJ who takes his “beats” way too seriously even though everyone knows he’s just playing iTunes.
– A funny but slightly creepy old guy who compliments your dress about a thousand times. (Miss you Bruce!)
– BAD…..and I mean bad..karaoke, and door prizes.
But overall, I kept looking around me and laughing thinking, how did I end up here?
A few Asian power ballads into karaoke, a squabble broke out between the MC and the DJ. I normally find a power struggle among people who take their roles way to seriously extremely amusing, but I got my karma real quick this time. The over zealous MC took control and was all the sudden speaking English…(kind of).
“Ahhhh mew-sack teacha….new mew-sack teach (looks down at notecards) Kat-rin. Ok sing. Now ok.”
I was only paying attention to this dude in hopes that he would throw the mic at the DJ and storm off and now he was forcefully escorting me onto the stage. He wanted me to “sing famous Thai song” but we compromised with Elton John.
I wasn’t even two bars into “I Guess That’s Why They Call it the Blues” when the aforementioned slightly creepy old guy came up and started throwing money on the stage. After about 30 seconds, it became clear that he was gong to park it front and center for the rest of the song. It’s a short song but it long outlasts my tolerance for awkward staring, so I pulled him up on stage and made him participate.
The Thai teachers went nuts. Nikons a’ blazin they rushed the stage as if Buddah was up there handing out Hello Kitty dolls. I think it’s safe to say that a few of them had to buy new SIM cards the next day. So 3 and a half minutes later I had a new work boyfriend, a rose, and 200 baht….which is like $7 so…yeah, I’m pretty much a professional now. I bet the DJ was jealous:-)