I’m not tech savy enough to figure out how to post a pdf of my Christmas Card…..so if I missed you send me your email, and we’ll call it a Groudhogs Day card instead
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:-)
So I have the entire month of April off to celebrate Thai New Year. We asked the locals in Phuket what we farangs should do with ourselves during the festivities and the unanimous vote was for Kohsan Road in Bangkok. We’ve made our way here and tonight will launch a 6 day city wide water gun fight to ring in the new year. If you want the who what when where why history google it yourself because all I needed to here was six day party and water fight….sold.
In the preliminary set up for this water fight I’m seeing some definite groups and alliances forming and it’s time to pick a side. Its a big commitment, kind of like the first day of school….who are you going to sit with at lunch? Everyone knows you can’t just go hopping tables in the lunch room without creating a societal uproar. That’s how this water fight is going to go, I can already tell. I’ve gotta choose my friends and enemies wisely cause I’m stuck with them for the next six days.
From what I can tell, I have a few options:
The Locals – Pro: They have access to free water supply and hiding places. Con: They are a tough nut to crack. Definitely the popular table.
The Children – Pro: You can use them as a shield and people will hesitate for a second before they launch an attack on you. Con: Kids have no loyalty, they’ll turn on you in a second. Kids are the mean girls.
The Farangs – Pro: We share the same aggressive war strategies. Con: I can actually understand what they are saying and they are really annoying to listen to. Farangs are the jocks for sure…but not talented ones….I’m talkin like someone who did one year of JV wrestling but still wears his letterman jacket religiously.
The Korean Hippies – Pro: Strength in numbers, there are a ton of them. Con: They are naturally un-athletic and take frequent smoke breaks. Hippies are…yeah still the hippie table except now their tattoos are real and they can actually grow facial hair (well, some of them).
I don’t know what side I’ll end up on in all of this, but I’m goin out guns a blazin in my ‘Merica bikini. Happy New Year Thailand, it’s playground rules from here on out!