Backpackers Need Not Apply

I’m in the process of re-doing my website and of course when I say “I” I mean Carlie is in the process of doing it. “I” maxed out my wordpress publishing for dummies skillset a long time ago.

Several people have suggested I throw up an FAQ section for people who are interested in teaching abroad. I’ll do that, but I’m warning you right now, if you’re looking for answers you’re going to like you need to skip right on over to the sunshine and rainbows world of Lonely Planet and Gap Year trips. They’re happy to take your money and you’ll have a great time, seriously you will.

What's not to love.
What’s not to love.

However, if you are truly interested in living and serving God abroad here is the briefest and best advice I can offer you without directly answering any one question…helpful I know.

If you plan on staying past the honeymoon period of 5 or 6 weeks you will need to fall in love with everything that is unlovable about your new home. And while you are at it, try to give yourself and others the same respect. You’ll hate the smells and the noise the same way you can’t stand your friend (or mom) who asks too many questions during movies. You’ll scrunch your nose and throw a tilted glare in the direction of the offender but to change it wouldn’t please you as much as you may think in the moment.

You’ll feel alone and deflate a little when people tell you how lucky you are to travel. You’ll tell white lies to your family and friends as to not burst their bubbles or keep them up at night. You’ll experience some of the most beautiful moments of your life, but they won’t belong on postcards and it’s unlikely you’ll ever be able to share them.

It will be the lingering, curious stare of a person who has never seen a person like you. A cautionary breeze before a dangerous storm, and the moment in the day when you give up. Your unfamiliar surroundings and being the minority will beat you and yet you will wake up feeling at peace the next morning.

"The world is a monumental beast, frightening and discouraging but in small doses it is the most beautiful thing you will ever discover. Beautiful moments L to R:  My student helping a boy who does not speak her language The day I realized my babies spent the weekends lonely or afraid  The day my business students opened their coffee cart.
“The world is a monumental beast, frightening and discouraging but in small doses it is the most beautiful thing you will ever discover.
Beautiful moments L to R:
My student helping a boy who does not speak her language
The day I realized my babies spent the weekends lonely or afraid
The day my business students opened their coffee cart.

You’ll experience the paradox of not understanding a persons language or beliefs yet not shaking the feeling that you can read their eyes and their heart for the struggles and joys that are universal. Some will give you a gracious smile for a kind gesture and some will resent you without reason. You’ll need to be able to love them equally or you need to leave.

It will become clearer to you which masters people serve home and away. The status quo, money, pride, fear, vanity, bureaucracy. You’ll have to decide for yourself what roles these things are going to play in your own life. It will mean letting go of things you never thought you would; people, jobs, homes, personal goals. In letting go you may also lose the need or simply the ability to explain yourself. It’s ok, if you are letting your heart lead it is to be expected that it will take your head awhile to catch up.

Trading one life for another is transformational in the way that anything of significance in life is. Love, loss, abuse, grief, marriage, children, divorce, moving, will take you to a place, location or otherwise, that you won’t ever come back from. Not because you don’t want to but because to try and do so would be dishonest and a discredit to the good that God is trying to do through you.

L to R: The day they asked if just one..ok 2...ok just three of them could live with me; Easter morning; using Olaf to learn to give hugs because many of them raise their hands over their face when I try to high five.  they think I'm going to hit them.
L to R: The day they asked if just one..ok 2…ok just three of them could live with me; Easter morning; using Olaf to learn to give hugs because many of them raise their hands over their face when I try to high five. they think I’m going to hit them.

So, to those of you who are seriously considering a life change, not just a change of scenery, I probably won’t answer your questions but I will pray for you. The same prayer I wrote for Teacha Megan when, with a heavy heart, I left her and the Munchkins for the summer.

Lord if she faces the choice between being happy and being useful, let her choose to be useful.

Give her company when she is lonely, your word when she is afraid, and rest when she is tired.

Let her follow you blindly, but give her glimpses of your glorious plans should she get discouraged.

Most of all Lord, let her be a vessel, going where you lead to bring your love to those who need it most, home or away.

Amen

Megan and Munchkins say HUUURRRRYYYY!!!!
Megan and Munchkins say HUUURRRRYYYY!!!!
Writing love letters upon departure to Bob, Koe, Jan, and Megan.  If I was better at Instagram I probably could have made this oceanfront writing session look super pretentious...something to aspire to, or not.
Writing love letters upon departure to Bob, Koe, Jan, and Megan. If I was better at Instagram I probably could have made this oceanfront writing session look super pretentious…something to aspire to, or not.

Make Our Day Shop – SALE

Thanks so much to everyone who shopped the Make Our Day Shop on Instagram last month. We raised $1,000 towards my goal of $20,000 to open a tutoring center in Thailand.

Below are the remaining sale items, if you know anyone who wears this size (tops small, bottoms 4) please share it with them and I’ll move onto our next round of fundraisers.

Just leave a comment on the blog to purchase and I’ll invoice via paypal, ship next business day.

SALE Romper $24
SALE Romper $24
SALE Top $18           Skirt $24
SALE Top $18
Skirt $24
SALE $24
SALE $24
Sale Top $18
Sale Top $18
Sale Top $18
Sale Top $18
Sale Top $18
Sale Top $18
SALE Top $18
SALE Top $18
SALE Top $18           Skirt $24
SALE Top $18
Skirt $24
SALE $18
SALE $18
SALE $18 (black or white)
SALE $18 (black or white)
SALE Top $18            Shorts $24
SALE Top $18
Shorts $24
SALE $18
SALE $18

Summer Lovin’

So I’m dating a 16 year old ladyboy named Bob. A May December romance
that no one saw coming, except maybe Bob.  See Bob’s parents needed a little
Bob break, so they sent him to stay with his uncle in Phuket for the
summer.  His uncle promptly enrolled him in the nearest English
school with the longest hours….sensing a theme?

Us fighting off paparazzi and reporters after our relationship went public
Us fighting off paparazzi and reporters after our relationship went public

Bob’s real name is Nong but after about the 100th time of him correcting
my pronunciation of the impossible “ng” sound, I said, Ok you
know what, you’re Bob now.  Post name change, his peer approval rating skyrocketed, you’re welcome Bob.
Bob’s class is from 10-12, but he gets to school at 7am
regardless of rain, locked doors, or subtle hints about operating
hours and says “I am ready.”  He then harasses anyone in sight until
they are forced to also be “ready”.  After one day of that I taught him how to make coffee and told him no one is in any way “ready” until you do this.  He did it every day.
About a week into summer break, Bob started making some demands of his own.  Fed up with people’s refusal to match his enthusiasm for morning selfie sessions and not getting to do much vacationing on his vacation, he took matters into his own hands.
“Teacha, I want come to your house for dinner.’

I said, Bob do I look like Kathryn Pfieffer** to you.  Well Kathryn Pfieffer is exactly who I looked like to Bob.  With sociopath like intensity he stared at me and said, “Yes, Kathryn’s house for dinner.”  Dammit Bob, my name is Kathryn and Mamma P** would love you so I guess this one is out of my hands.

** Kathryn Pfieffer / Mamma P as we call her, despite having just the two feisty red headed twink a dinks is never lacking for
dinner guests…and brunch…and well you just never know when they (Kayla or I) are going to leave.

“Ok Bob, I’ll pick you up at 6.”

This was met with jumping, an ear drum shattering scream, and of course…..a selfie.
“Thank you Teacha, thank you Katy Perry, I go get ready now.”  He immediatly left class and ran out the door.  It was 11:30.

 He has a staring problem to begin with and the confusion of my frequent rhetorical questions really exacerbates it.
He has a staring problem to begin with and the confusion of my frequent rhetorical questions really exacerbates it.

I picked Bob up for our first date at the pier just before sunset and
already it had the makings of an alternate universe Bachelor where the
contestants are less attractive, the premise socially unacceptable,
and the suspense lacking as neither of us has the prospect of getting
another dinner date.

He was wearing a straw fedora, faybans, and
shorty shorts waving anxiously at me with one hand and taking my
picture with the other. “Teacha I am heeeeeeeeere.”
As I feared, the afternoon had given Bob way to much time to scheme
and dinner was no longer the only thing on the menu.
He presented me with a 1/2 Thai, 1/2 English extensive list titled,
Travel in Phuket with Teacha Katie
-Go to buy the sunglasses the same at Naka Market
-Ride motorcycle in mountains with boyfriend
-Eat romantic dinner seafood
-Go to every beach every day
-Yoga at rock
-Yoga at beach
-Yoga at park
-Travel to airport
-Eat ice
-Splash Jungle
-Take a bus
-Talk with tourists
-Be brave be beautiful

We did all these things and more minus the production quality and
wardrobe changes of a reality TV show and plus some minor compromises.

I sang the song from The Lion King when we got to the top of the rock but he didn't get it.  Should have been my first clue, other than his sexual orientation, that this wasn't gonna work out.
I sang the song from The Lion King when we got to the top of the rock but he didn’t get it. Should have been my first clue, other than his sexual orientation, that this wasn’t gonna work out.

For example, number 2: Ride motorcycle in mountains with boyfriend in reality turned out to be Bob and I on a 250cc scooter along the beach road but he held on to my waist and screamed everytime we rounded a corner just the same. During our candlelit seafood dinner on the beach, he giggled repeating, “it’s so romantic” over and over.  We did “Yoga” in the loosest sense of the word but we’ve got no less than 200 pictures of it.  We spent hours making playlists for roadtrips and at the waterpark he took a GoPro video of us on every waterslide, enclosed slides included.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
Every Beach Every Day
Eat Ice - with corn and potatoes in it..what I don't do for you Bob
Eat Ice – with corn and potatoes in it..what I don’t do for you Bob
He was so shocked when he saw this picture that neither of us can actually do a handstand.  He blamed the photographer.
He was so shocked when he saw this picture that neither of us can actually do a handstand. He blamed the photographer.
More lunch dates with gross food that I can't pronounce or identify
More lunch dates with gross food that I can’t pronounce or identify

He cried when summer was over and called me 5 times on the way home,
each time sounding completely shocked to be speaking with me.  The
Munchkins facetimed him from the orphanage and he cried again.  After
being home and seeing his old friends he called in real crisis mode.

“Teacha my friend tell to me Nong is not same from Nong in the past.
Have thinner, and tanner and more polite.  Some friend say, ok yes you
are different now is good but some friend not like says not ok…..want to have
Nong the same from the past. Everyone liking name Bob though, want to keep”

I said well Nong, you’re not Nong anymore, you’re Bob and you’re a man now…kind of.  No more Old Nong, only New Bob.

After I talked him off the ledge, I broke up with him but it’s nothing New Bob can’t handle.  He told me he wants to “focus on his studies” anyway.

Blarin our song and singing on the way to the airport,
Blarin our song and singing on the way to the airport, “I’ll love you long after your gone..gone..GONE” How appropriate

Zayn Said Whaaaaa?

In the hopes of keeping the shop alive for the rest of their summer break, the Minions were all to happy to send me off to BKK on a buying trip. But as we finished lunch, one Minion started to change her tune a little.

Bible and I two days ago off on a completely differnet tangent, fridge art for Corey's new house......some say A.D.D., we say multitasking.
Hotter than selfie sticks at a K-Pop concert
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Bible and I the day before the trip, off on a competely different tangent…fridge art for Corey’s new apartment. Some say A.D.D. We say multitasking

 

Bible: Teacha I think you cannot go Bangkok.
Teacha Katie: Why Bible?
I think going alone you cannot. How do you go to the airport and hotel.
I’ll drive my motorbike to the airport and walk to my hotel.
But very far and very much raining
Yep, its not ideal
And then when you get to Bangkok, how going to Chinatown? Make taxi?
Nope, I’ll take the bus.
Local Bus?! Oh no I think you cannot only Thai people and wary hot, smell bad.
Well I would have to agree with you that it smells like a sun baked sushi buffet and I’m somewhat unwelcome, but its sitting right in our price range at .50 cents.
(Silent laughing, hand over mouth shaking head) I cannot imagine you ride local bus in Taylor Swift outfit to The Chinatown. Will you take a selfie?
Only of someone else does it first.
Yesterday I am playing on the Twitter and I see One Direction make fighting. I am amazed when this happen……but now today I think I am more amazed about go to Bangkok.

There you have it folks, more amazing than One Direction. I’ll add that to my resume should I ever need one again.

Zayn is yesterday's news, Teacha romp around The Chinatown after dark and ride terrible bus....dont try this at home kids.
Zayn is yesterday’s news, Teacha romp around The Chinatown after dark and ride terrible bus….dont try this at home kids.

Thanks to all of your support, the trip doubled our sales for the shop. The Minions are very anxious to see what you liked and get to invoicing but it will have to wait because tomorrow is Munchkin time and we need to prep, pray and (hopefully) sleep.

While I was at the airport bookstore I read JK Rowling’s book Very Good Lives (It’s her commencement speech from Harvard graduation 2008 can be read in about 15 minutes). Her themes were the importance of failure and imagination, which coincidently (or not) were also the takeaway points for our wacky half baked experiment of pursuing the shop.

She said that while failure is by far one of the most important of all human experiences, it’s also often and easily avoided through apathy, which is a failure in itself. And that imagination gives us the ability to empathize, which drives us to enact change on behalf of those who for whatever reason, are struggling to do so themselves.

She described literal nightmares about her own helplessness in combating injustices she witnessed through working with Amnesty International. And in a sentiment I share, says she would envy people who close themselves off from failure and imagination except that she doesn’t believe those people have any fewer nightmares than she does. Leaving your world small and self centric is a monster of a completely different kind.

So while I am not under any delusion that you Make Our Day Shop shoppers couldn’t have found similar clothes at the mall this week, I am grateful that you actively chose to exercise your uniquely human ability to empathize with someone you have never met (and likely never will) and imagine a better life for them. Profit or not, there is no failure in that.

You Made Our Day in more ways than one. Khap Khun Kaaaaa Shoppers.

Still up for grabs:

Tops 2/$40 Shorts 2/$20
Tops 2/$40
Shorts 2/$20
Tops 2/$40 Bottoms $32
Tops 2/$40
Bottoms $32
Tops 2/$40 Rompers $32
Tops 2/$40
Rompers $32
Tops 2/$40
Tops 2/$40

Minions Meet Munchkins

While Munchkins wander about at their leisure eating candy and looking huggable, Minions help carry out plans for world domination. This week the Minions met the Munchkins and it was a match made in Happy Buddha Land.

It all started with makeup. I couldn’t get any takers to model my wares for the shop, so the first round of photos were taken of me, by me on a timer in my very hot kitchen slash living room slash my house is small…2 days before I had to move out.

This means I had to get out the makeup that’s been on hiatus since….well and literally go dig my hair straightener out of the trash can. I stayed up all night wrestling with chargers, websites, apps, and all things I hate. After being up for 40 hours straight, my original aesthetic vision for the Make Our Day Shop had been severely compromised, my house destroyed and I had to head off to teach the Minions.

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I arrived with day old make-up melting off my face to a room full of happy high school students anxious to see me after 2 days apart. “Ohhhhhhhhh Teacha wary be yoooooo tee ful today.” I burst into tears. “Oh no teacha wary sorry is beautiful every day.”

I showed them what I was working on and they immediately offered up Bob, our resident ladyboy, as a model. He was ready to answer the call and I thought, Bob you may have the posture and poise of Grace Kelly but you have the BO and sweaty 5 o’clock shadow of the 16 year old boy you are and I need these clothes to sell. He was smiling at me and I said, “I wish you could Bob, but these clothes are for girls.”

After that idea was out the window, the Minions had a little pow wow. Teacha…why you want to make a shop? You not like to have your job as Teacha? You want be model? I assured them I wasn’t trading the chalk for the makeup bag anytime soon and that contrary to opinions of local shop owners, I hadn’t been missing a ton of calls from Maxim.

We talked about the Munchkins, their school, their family situations, and looked through pictures of all the holidays and birthdays we’ve spent together the past year. They asked questions and immediately wanted to learn Fear Not. After another pow wow they said, Ok…..we going to help you.

Here are my interns! Prim (17) copywriter, Peaw (14) photographer, Bob (16) entertaining, Speed (18) accountant, Bible (16) translator
Here are my interns! Prim (17) copywriter, Peaw (14) photographer, Bob (16) entertaining, Speed (18) accountant, Bible (16) translator

They gave up their last Saturday of summer break and showed up 3 hours before playdate time to do the prep that normally takes me hours to do alone every Friday night, photographed the rest of the inventory for the shop AND made the Instagram and Shopify ads.

 

After some Tom Yum and green tea, I took them to Munchkinland along with volunteers Megan and Chareese. They continued to impress me with their positive attitudes and willingness to get involved. The confidence and joy it brought them was unmatched by any other project we’ve done together. On the ride home they were talking a mile a minute about their new little sisters and brothers and asking if they could plan next week’s lesson. I wanted to cry again but I can’t imagine how much that would have confused them.

It has always been my goal to have my private students volunteer but because I am not fluent enough to communicate my plans with their parents, it’s never really panned out. After seeing the Minions meet the Munchkins, I know Big Brothers Big Sisters has to move to the top of the list.

So here is what my Minions have for you today. Next week I’ll teach them invoicing and balance sheets so they can see what we earned and decide how to best spend the money.

I realize the readers of my blog and the market for these clothes are not one and the same….(we may have been having snow cones for breakfast instead of pursuing the market research phase of this plan) but if you would like or share our FB page ( http://facebook.com/makeourdayshop ), we may be able drum up a sale or two that way. We also won’t turn down any contributions of cash, crayola, or cash to buy crayola. Link to donate: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_donations&business=XZC7FPFWTY8FN&lc=US&item_name=Teacha%20Katie&currency_code=USD&bn=PP%2dDonationsBF%3abtn_donateCC_LG%2egif%3aNonHosted

Special thanks to Megan and Jocelyn for hosting me and helping out and Brooke for picking up hashtag duty…..that’s where I threw in the towel.

Love from Munchkinland, see you all wary soon.
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“The Body”….hash tag Jazzercise

Like most people, I tend to get rather uncomfortable when a stranger assesses my body composition and become downright flustered….yes, flustered….when they feel the need to compliment it. Compliments in general turn me into a very awkward, mumbly human being.

There are only two compliments I will not immediately attempt to deflect. One, I’m a world class singer (Prestige Worldwide) and two, I’m a skilled scooter-ist. Saying I am the best teacher doesn’t count as a compliment because it falls in the category of (soon to be) universally accepted fact.

After today, I’m willing to make an exception for any compliment delivered in broken english by an elderly asian woman.

I found myself in the touristy part of town yesterday and thought I better take the opportunity to stock up on chopstix and elephant mating ceremony postcards. With encouragement from a particularly fun spirited shop owner, I veered off that original game plan quite a bit and came out with a new nickname and a plausible explanation for some of the daily struggles I encounter.

As I said, I just wanted a postcard but this lady was looking for big money from white laaaydeee and was willing to work for it. She talked me into kimonos and silk children’s dresses with relative ease but when she rounded the corner to grab some shorts, I put the brakes on.

Shorts and pants on any continent are not meant for me. In Asia in particular they’re a physical impossibility. As you may recall from my encounter with The Madam, most Thai shop owners agree that I shouldn’t have shorts and yell “not for you” before kicking me out of their store. I’m not alone in this struggle, almost every western female I know has been turned away from a store.

It matters very little what size you actually are, all foreigners are fat. To quote the sage advice of a guest speaker at the all Thai English Have Fun Diversity Day, “You cannot call your foreign teachers fat, even though they fat.” I would spend more time being angry about it wasn’t such priceless entertainment value. Kayla has had clothing ripped from her hands by a man in Bangkok who explained his actions by shouting, “Not for you King Kong!”

Not this lady though. Bless her canned sardine loving heart, she was blind to my non asian physique and ready to sell me some shorts. I tried dropping their own line on them and said, “I need big size, not have big size.” She grabbed my love handles (as is standard operating procedure) and said “nooooo not need, small size ok try on”.

I got small size about 4 inches past my knees and the smile dropped off her face.

“Oh…..I was confused about The Body. I think The Body look small…..but now not small. Ok I get big size.”

I knocked her down and she got right back up with a pair of size 34 used jean shorts that were left in a taxi years ago by a fellow fat, freckled farang. At first glance they were not looking like a slam dunk but I was willing to give them a shot because I liked her attitude.

This time the shorts made it almost to my butt before the wave of disappointment came back over her face.

“Oh….I think….The Body is…..too sexy.”

I laughed so hard, I bought 2 “free size” dresses I didn’t want. She’s right, why didn’t it occur to me before, I’m too sexy for this country. It’s unclear as to wether it was meant as a compliment or not but she got her big money and I got a great story.

One size fits all is all mine and can be yours too. $38 colors: red, purple, or pink. 100% of proceeds go to my charity. Email orders to info@makeourday.org
One size fits all is all mine and can be yours too. $38 colors: red, purple, or pink. 100% of proceeds go to my charity. Email orders to info@makeourday.org

Legally speaking, I believe Heidi Klum has trademarked The Body but this is Thailand, and we are nothing if not fast and loose with the copyright laws. (“real cucu chanel we not copy” in lowercase sharpie on yellowed paper….sprung for the real cucu but cut some corners on the sign)

Here it is folks, The Body. It recently replaced “selfies while driving” as the leading cause of traffic accidents among Phuket taxi drivers.

Disclaimer: when combined with bike shorts The Body may induce temporary blindness in teenage boys
Disclaimer: when combined with bike shorts The Body may induce temporary blindness in teenage boys

Sidenote. For fundraising purposes I am going to become a person who wears headbands while exercising and you should too provided you buy that headband from Make Our Day. #jazzercise

……..Jazzercise has nothing to do with this post but not a day goes by where someone from a random country doesn’t click on my blog post tagged jazzercise. It that’s you Im sorry for the bait and switch and I do not know where the nearest jazzercise location is.

Cupfake Wars

In honor of my golden birthday this weekend (28 on the 28th) the Munchkins and I are partying all week. It kicked off after school on Monday with “Cupfake Wars” 4 teams, 30 minutes…..victory, defeat, camera crew, an annoying host, and glitter, just like TV.

Buddy Bear here is in charge of casting.  He gave me a good mix, 5th grade boys vs 4th grade boys and 3rd vs 2nd grade  mixed teams.
Buddy Bear here is in charge of casting. He gave me a good mix, 5th grade boys vs 4th grade boys and 3rd vs 2nd grade mixed teams.

Call me a monster, but my favorite part of any craft time is when a little one is dissatisfied with their work. They walk over to me holding their subpar creation away from their body like it’s going to bite them, and look up at me with the saddest eye, like “how did this happen?” Today was no exception. This cupcake business is tougher than it looks and Lek just did not have the masters’ hands.

He just mumbled....Teacha not beautiful.  Notice the third grade crew in the background just waiting for the jusges to nail him on presentation.
He just mumbled….Teacha not beautiful. Notice the third grade crew in the background just waiting for the judges to nail him on presentation.
I said....ummm maybe add some glitter? He still wasn't feelin it.
I said….ummm maybe add some glitter? He still wasn’t feelin it.

Another facet of human behavior that amuses me is when one member of the group is way more into the subject matter than is normal or expected. Like when Jared and Jay put the movie RV on repeat days or Corey asks if anyone else is excited about Banana Republic’s hundreth sale of the year. I’ll never understand their fascination but I love to watch the obsession in action. Cupfake Wars delivered on this front and found a real friend in Teoy.

Look at him trying to make a dainty little cupcake with those big mits....I had to let him go over on time workin with a handicap like that.
Look at him trying to make a dainty little cupcake with those big mits….I had to let him go over on time workin with a handicap like that.

With his ill suited King Kong hands and questionable eye for aesthetics, he was the first to get a team together and dive into the competition. First cook in the kitchen, last one out he was not up for any distractions. He declined to join F and Fanta when they went for crabsticks, he isolated all other team members and actually imposed a quarantine on his workspace towards the end there.

When he finally gave me his cupcake, he said ok do tomorrow. No....no we won't Teoy everyone is over it except for you.  I think we can arrange for another pack of neon clay to find its way into his desk though.
When he finally gave me his cupcake, he said ok do tomorrow. No….no we won’t Teoy everyone is over it except for you. I think we can arrange for another pack of neon clay to find its way into his desk though.

While my translation skills still are still in infancy, the Munchkins’ body language comes through loud and clear. I love to watch them go on a roller coaster of emotions trying to figure out what we are doing and if they are going to get to play or not.

Gin mai? (Can you eat it?) No. Exaggerated shoulder shrug. Can I have it? Yes. Day made.

Baikee's friend really wants to learn from experience wether its edible or not.
Baikee’s friend really wants to learn from experience wether its edible or not.

“Teacha mot lao? (is the clay all gone?) Tap into reserve stash and add a 5th team. Day made.

It's gone
It’s gone
HAVE MORE!!
HAVE MORE!!

Reach into a pink bag that holds the worlds greatest treasure, glitter. (Gasp) There are no words for glitter, eyes just widen to five times their normal size and get stuck like that. Week made.

Gollum moment
Gollum moment

When outlining the birthday plans for our number one benefactor Aunt Kayla she said, “I think you might have more fun than the kids.” Dear, sweet Aunt Kayla is correct. If for slightly different reasons, I always have the most fun, no mights about it.

Peyton from the blue  team is making his way to the judges table with a top heavy cupcake! Will he make it! ......find out after the break
Peyton from the blue team is making his way to the judges table with a top heavy cupcake! Will he make it! ……find out after the break

Wan Dek

Thai people live in a perpetual state of party preparation. If it looks like they are going to go a week without a holiday, they’ll borrow one from the Chinese or, in a pinch, just make one up. This Saturday was wan Dek or “Children’s Day”.

I found out about it a little late in the game and asked my private students if they thought I needed to bring the kids anything special. They said, no their parents will get for them. Well that answers that question, so off to MUNCHKINLAND I went to get the 411 from the munchkins themselves.

Straight from the horse's mouth.  If you want to know what's going on in MUNCHKINLAND Benz is who you need to talk to.
Straight from the horse’s mouth. If you want to know what’s going on in MUNCHKINLAND, you need to talk to Benz.

I’m working with some big personalities over there who know exactly what they want and within a matter of seconds they laid out the whole plan for the weekend with specifics. They said on Friday they want me to come to their dance recital at school and bring Oreos and BBQ Lays. Saturday they want to “make a party” with balloons and gum. Done. As it just so happens this is the perfect outlet for a donation from my aunt who has been know to invent reasons to “make party” herself.

Make party took wan (everyday)
Make party took wan (everyday)

I walked the munchkins home and was about to leave to go get started on the party prep when they ran back out with one last request. “Teacha can you look beautiful tomorrow?” I laughed and asked what do you think is beautiful? Again, they knew the answer immediately. “Lip red color, shoe (hand motion for tall)”. Parents are invited to the dance recital and they want to make sure mom looks pretty. Can’t be embarrassing my babies on their fictitious holiday.

They've requested lipstick before because they want lipstick smudges on their cheeks.
They’ve requested lipstick before because they want lipstick smudges on their cheeks.

I was less than thrilled about this makeup request first of all because, as later pictures will prove, Joe wears makeup better than me and he’s a 9 year old boy. Second because I had to acquire this altogether unflattering cosmetic which meant a dreaded trip to the Korean Beauty Supply. Ever since I purchased some “big money” face cream for my mom last fall, I’ve been on the owners radar as a VIP customer and potential wife for her grandson in Chicago.

I arrived to the dance recital all ladyboy-ed out and the munchkins were thrilled. “Ohhhhh Teacha so beautiful!” Crybaby had been saving me a seat by the other parents for hours, which I may as well just call a booth because it ended up seating five of us. It also served as home base for storing the children’s day gifts they acquired, a “Fisney” princess doll named Elfa, and an “Interchangers” robot. Don’t worry, we not copy.

Teacha here!
Teacha here!
Full house.
Full house.

I wanted to take a picture of the packaging on the toys but Benz had run down the battery with her 17 minute video capturing everything except the dance performance. Which, to her credit, was much more interesting. Turns out children’s dance recitals are long, boring, and loud in every country.

There's Joe on the right. He sees my lipstick and raises me glitter, blush, and cat eyes.
There’s Joe on the right. He sees my lipstick and raises me glitter, blush, and cat eyes.
They love having something to pass out to their friends and it's a good thing we had snacks because the dance was nearly 4 hours long.  It's a good thing they left that detail out or Teacha may have been MIA
They love having something to pass out to their friends and it’s a good thing we had snacks because the dance was nearly 4 hours long. It’s a good thing they left that detail out or Teacha may have been MIA
Em just knows she can get closer to my face.
Em just knows she can get closer to my face.
Until tomorrow munchkins, the balloons and gum are waiting for you!
Until tomorrow munchkins, the balloons and gum are waiting for you!

Your eyes they shine so bright, I want to save their light

5 Days of Christmas

Twas the week before Christmas and all through the island,

not a munchkin was caroling, Why? Cause it’s Thailand.

Not a candy stuffed stocking or sweet cookie platter

With all of your help Teacha fix this sad matter

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Away to the workshop she flew like a flash

After 5 hours of wrapping, she had quite a stash.

Set off the next morning, presents in tow

You sent so much cheer, the sleigh wouldn’t go

When what to her wondering eyes did appear

But a grumpy-ish elf who will work for beer

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Teacha arrived, called the munchkins by name

This week with your help, Gods’ love overcame

The struggles of language and money and loss

Reminding us why Jesus died on the cross

To show us that love is worth any plight

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night

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