Went out for 2 days, with chiangmai trip friends for group reflections followed by movie outing to watch Quarantine (man it's the same as Rec but Rec's scarier), with mom to get ipod nano and pouch and with Roz to celebrate her birthday at night. Was fun fun fun, but initially I thought to just wanted to rest all day at home. And just got to know that I have to wear retainers until I turn 21. !!!
And this post I have procrastinated for quite long, have already finished staying at my ah ma's house and trying hard to decipher King Lear and do homework...curse the revision! Okay, here goes, try my best to go by events (too many photos):
Right after arriving at Chiangmai and our Thai friends welcomed us with garlands. =) And I felt much better after vomitting at the airport toilet. Oops. And I was already a tiny bit homesick mentally. And, it was so hot when we alighted! Like 31degrees instead of expected 20. And their sun is like so strong. [no sunblock!!]
This kind of sunset can't be seen back here! So nice, right after arriving, see sunset~~~~~
The view through the coach window and I remember the Thai helper (Pi-Jyap) saying Thai people like to call one another by nicknames...nice, felt like holidaying
First hostel room without family =) Cooool~~
First Thai food at hostel, didn't try the spicy soup though [stupid stomach]
First gathering with the Thai helpers, Pi-Jyap and Pi-ku, they taught us some local dance and song and some of their culture using games to teach. =)) (Sawadi ka, Sawadii one-knee ma-pop-gun..) And reminded us not to touch lil kids' heads and not point our soles! =) And then we split into our groups to prepare for our items, cultural skit/performance/hosting...
The first night was bad. Was frustrated packing things in the small luggage, some flu..Played games with Thai helpers in the morning, had some snacks, danced and sang, learnt more about Thai culture before going for shopping
Nice yellow flowers outside the hostel
Local transport (Song-theaw)
Rather excited and forgot about sleepiness in the song-theaw during the first ride to shopping~~
If you've never been up the mountain, you've never been to Chiangmai...haha really want to go back again =)
On the high road, scooters and song-theaws
Shopping in the afternoon at...umbrella village =)
Painting everywhere, literally and they can paint beautifully in 5 mins!
Hot day, even after shopping inside
Nice ambience, the red umbrella, their local coffeeshop
Damn shiok not-so-spicy-sour noodle-so-slurpy and ice-tea-so-milky! Ate like almost 2 bowls~
Went to the high school to meet our Thai friends and play some games with them and interact with them. Luckily they can understand our Thai from the lil self-help booklet that came in useful...
The blindfold game, really cannot see..learnt something from it =)
Work was up next, discussing of the activities to be done in the village
Had a good bath and went by coach for Khantoke dinner with performance and all...very very nice ambience, all in all, the day felt like a holiday!
Took photos even before entering! haha and we went in barefooted =)
Kneeling down to eat, but I guess the food tasted rather weird for me...I think I like the ambience more! =) Dancing, acting, some traditional drama, chatting with new Thai friends, lantern lighting at the end! And the night was windy and cold in a good way...and then preparation for cultural performance the next day, got cold feet because I was going to share-host...
Went to the high school in the morning, witnessed their assembly and gave us a warm welcome, serious it was like a bit over-the-top and then...our performance!! Well, I paused quite a lot and a bit awkward but the finale dance was successful, luckily and our skit went well lol...hosting ain't so bad after all! But weird to hear own voice so loud~
During the skit performance lol...
A normal school day in the high school
Learnt traditional art craft and later on playing the ang-klong with Thai friends before the dreaded long bumpy journey to the village (3 hours)
Before seeing this, was feeling very sick [ate the stupid medicine for motion sickness but still vomitted twice during the journey and the driver had to stop and the teacher made me sit in front with yucky suan-mei that will make me puke more...and the sun was so hot it shone on my face all the way, felt like a nasty fever, and going round and round in a dizzy circle and steep and bumpy, will not ever forget =(]
Luckily that day we did simple chores like running errands, clearing stuffs, preparing area...was a short day and then when I saw the toilet, I couldn't imagine bathing in that for a week lol, even thought of not bathing =) All cement, some algae, some random insects on top, at the side, big pail, bucket to scoop ice-cold water, flush manually, squatting toilet kind...bathed while screaming [abit] and luckily didn't have constipation ahah~ thanks to my SSS partner (sleeping shitting snoring) =)))
Next morning discovered something, ant attack at my area nearest to the entrance. Didn't zip my luggage and ants were crawling all over so many of them, quite small. Was like okkay, just make them die but was like howw!! so many freaking ants...took like 2 days to fully clear them off my luggage. Luckily there's no cockroaches anywhere...was really homesick at night when dunno why my sleeping bag's zip went hay-wire, so uncomfortable to sleep and so squashed and then the next morning, cried like dunno what and didn't felt like going down for breakfast but in the end still went...with red nose and tearing eyes [Thank you Yi-chen, for letting me cry on you lol...and still remembered what you said:'Be strong, the kids need you', it's really true]
Went for paddy field work like that, looking really like farmers lol! The sun was really hot and thank Pi-Jyap for the hats! Walked to the field site armed with gloves and long pants and long-sleeved shirts because of leeches, they're like stringy worms, so small, got one around my shoe and I shrieked and anyhow kicked it away lol..tried harvesting rice in the dry area with Ethel, man I couldn't tie the wheats together and was cautious at hacking them off for fear of insects and leeches lol, paranoid [and Ethel was like why you so gentle! -_-]. Now I'll never waste any rice anymore! So difficult to harvest~~~ at the end, after so long, we didn't even harvest 1kg I think... And then we saw huge cows/buffalows lazying around and the foggy mountain and tall grasses...oops, not forgetting the powerful mud! =)
Then we went to do some more manual work, felt like the dirtest day of my life lol..went down slope really slowly and then gave up and stayed at the top to do the human chain while the rest went down by the river and scooped soil into buckets, and buckets into sacks...back-break man! The teachers were tired too but they still helped =)
Next morning witnessed the kids' flag raising and they sang songs in harmony, unlike us, mumbling school song haha and they were like so still and silent. And then we did a run-through of our english lesson later and then we first talked with the kids by the window! In Thai haha, and they sort of understand though they talk in their mountain language and they were dressed in their sports attire [girl guides, scouts..] *Favourite Thai pick-up: Chan naarak mai ka?? (Am I cute or not haha) Started off the lesson with the Thai dance (sawadii-ka), another Thai dance, whacko and then taught them numbers...mostly they know the name, but they don't really recognise the word, and pronounce the alphabets properly and spell...=( But what really saddens me is that one of our teachers said the stuffs we teach they can't really apply next time, they have to work as farmers if they can't further their primary education...we were like, what?? They're so small and skinny, how to work as farmers...and then tears start to roll like that.
And then we went to wash the toilets, ahem...I couldn't bare to see while scrubbing, felt a bit nauseous, so loser...never wash toilet before lol, and I thought wow, I should help my mom wash toilet rather than wash this toilet =) And then we prepared lunch, the cooking team for that day
Hey yo, traffic light colour haha~ wasn't intentional at all
Next day taught the children shapes and emotions, played games with them...still remembered their studying environment, really bad...so sandy, ant's nest in the kindergarten, torn floor wallpaper, somewhat broken floor and then in a room, I thought it's full of flies flying around, but it's really bees...but they don't really notice all these do they?
Went up quite high up in the mountain area to do the water tanks~ nice nice scenery so foggy and vast with mountains and then camera low batt but managed to catch this precious gift
The cementing part of the water tank
The finished product of our team's water tank. We did the cementing of the water tanks first, the soil was used to make cement and then we painted under the hot sun but it was okay because it was windy and cool =)
Went for home visitation at night and we were travelling in the song-theaw in almost pitch-black darkness to the local village near the village school and after that we were walking in almost pitch-black darkness despite our torch-lights...and our team went to visit this old man's house, so rickety and fragile coz' it's made of small bamboo shoots and the trail to the house was edgy? and difficult to walk?? And then we got up the rickety platform and entered the house and got a shock. Was so dark we could barely make out the face of a man/woman...but when he lit the fireplace, it was more okay and we could squeeze fortunately in his house. He was reluctant to talk to us though and he looked unwelcome, but we managed to squeeze out some of his life story and it's really depressing to hear it. And he looked ancient, though he's only 70 and it was all so surreal I thought of this kind of thing on TV. =(((
Had a sharing session where we talked our hearts out and a group cried and damn, crying was contagious. But was rather excited about our mass dance performance for the campfire and we practised after the sharing. Didn't feel so homesick after that night.
Cooked breakfast and lunch for the whole village school, our cooking team. Really had fun preparing the food items and stirring and doing the cooking haha. And I thought vegetarian food's only vegetables and rice but was totally wrong! It's actually yummy too and like normal food, without meat lol.
Ate with the children too =)) Sat with them near the song-theaw, on the song-theaw, they fidgeting around while eating...[a-roi mai ka? =)]
After that went to do handicraft workshop with the kids, taught them how to fold some hearts, colour/paint/draw on pictures to make bookmarks and wooden pegs to sell at the high school. Bought the above pegs for myself haha =)
At night, starting to get colder and colder by the last few days (14 degree, breathing cold air/smoke), sleeping with socks on and thick sweater hoodie on in sleeping bag lol...oh and the roosters don't fail to crow at 3am and 5am I think nice! Peaceful in a weird way. And at night didn't see much insects, luckily haha see no evil?? =)
Miss the foggy mountaineous scenery and peaceful atm and the cold air we breathed
Last few day shots of the village environment:
The foggy mountain scenery with the 'treehouse bunkhouse'
The kids' playground and bullying Sarah haha! =)
Actually I have no idea what word I was pointing at with Bao Bao haha =) teacher mode
Sarah Sarah Sarah =) SSS oops! mutual dependence eh =))
Yi-chen Yi-chen! Haha very nice girl to be with, comfortable, snuggy haha oops =)) Thanks again for the hugs and crying together lol..
And then, Sports Day on Sunday! SSS again =) Was in charge of the muscial chairs game haha and it's really nice to see the kids really having fun, running around, team spirit on the real high! =)))
And then we gathered them in a classroom and the handicraft team gave the kids our handcrafted gifts as souvenirs
This lucky boy got my hand-made photoframe! Haha so shy don't wanna smile...=)))
And then the campfire night! =)))
Fire, fire burning bright and it was soooo unbearably hot with sweater and all hot stuff!~~ just a few foot away I guess
Like this photo a lot! Gives me the warm fuzzy feeling~~~
Joanne who likes to sing song with me lol =)
Fellow Han Xian, who made the phrase "It's unbelievable!" hot stuff man! =)) And Sze How, who never fails to blush lol
Yong Keong, funny and blur and everything nice and funny I guess =)
Ethel, paddy field partner and who beat me so hard my legs turned redduring ice-breakers haha! =))
Bahiah Bahiah, awesome
Nice spirit going here...
We performed the fusion dance for them while our Thai friends did their greeting dance, the hot Low dance and the villagers performed their traditional dance...so it was eh a bit awkward like a cultural gap? =( Other than that, it was really good. Roasted marshmallows and did the lantern lighting in teams. Afterward, music and freestyle dancing and we danced again our performance dances and then everything was so hyped up but it was so dark and we went to our bunks. Lol.
Lantern lighting! Sang song to stall time for the huge lantern to puff up and I was intrigued that I forgot to make a wish -_-
Oh yeah also had the finale dance where we danced the traditional Thai dance =)))
The last day of the village:
Packing was like so easy I was thankful because I threw away my manual clothes and shoes and donated 2 tees and this was the early foggy morning after our luggages were all ready and sleeping bags were miraculously stuffed in
And, it's saying goodbye to the village kids...no one likes to say goodbye, because for our lifetimes are too short to say goodbye?
I guess before we met the kids, we were quite happy and taking last photos for remembrance and I think everyone had mixed feelings about leaving too
Got this from the photobucket album, whoever took it is like woah! Totally captured the moment while almost everyone was crying
The going down part of the song-theaw from the mountain area is actually much much better than the going up part...but had 2 doses of motion sickness pill just in case and it made me so drowsy and then we stopped over for the elephant village and elephant ride.
Camera died while capturing the last shots of the village so I bought the photoframe instead lol actually the elephant ride was not as bumpy as I thought it would be like horse-riding but it's slow and quite comfortable except for the boiling sun at our faces but I felt less drowsy during the ride =) Our female elephant is like always asking for bananas and more bananas and when we ran out of them, she still asked for bananas like that- raising the trunk. So we bought more bananas lol and we crossed a river and downhill and uphill quite thrilling coz we're clinging dearly to the handle we're like almost falling we thought.
After the elephant ride, went back to the high school to sell handicrafts and we sold all! Lol and after that we went downhill by song-theaw to the hotel! And it was a smooth ride for me coz' I ate 2 motion sickness pills and actually fell asleep at the front seat with my head nodding lol...
Didn't have time to have a really good bath at the hotel but got to relax at the cosy bed finally...and then we went out to have a good vegetarian really nice lunch and then it was night
Isn't it breathtaking? Photography's all about capturing the moments I think...cool~
And then it's time for real shopping! But too bad we were not allowed to shop at their night
market, it's either paranoia for the teachers or it's really not that safe lol so we were brought to a tourist-like shopping mall with departmental stores and were quite upset that things there aren't cheap lol but luckily M could bring us around and tell us about the mall there! Like where to buy Thai chilli, snacks, the nice iced tea, the cheapest lol. Bought 2 bags, kept seeing bags lol so yeah. And then I got to buy the mango sticky rice with coconut milk my papa asked me to try haha thanks to M again. We got to shop for only 2 hours though but I used up all my bahts by that time lol.
Back to the hotel it's so nice and high-class and so clean suddenly, maybe it's because of one week in a village that made everything change like woah, have my own sleeping space and quiet and a nice hotel partner Shermine who kept me entertained =)
Bathed real good and had milo with biscuits and slept well in no time, and it was morning too soon and there, my luggage with two extra baggages excluding my backpack lol ready to go
And it was morning buffet! Ate like 3 helpings dunno why the more I eat the more I felt hungry like ravenous and we secretly ate some bacon and sausages teehee
Went out for morning walk to see Chiangmai for the last time and bought some bubblegum lol~
Outside the hotel and quite ready to go..
Really going soon but writing on cards for our Thai friends first...
Last shots by the coach window before reaching the airport and I remembered what Pi-Jyap said, "This ain't your last OCIP, but your first"...
After checking in of our passports, photos photos photos with our Thai friends, group photos, individual photos, mass photos...took so many photos it's like we really can't bear to leave, it's so hard to leave~~~~~tears everywhere, didn't cry until they were singing this departure song for us while we went into the area to wait and board the plane~~~~~
P.S. And looking back on the village conditions, sleeping almost on the wooden plank and mat with sleeping bag and couldn't get up everytime because of hurting back, dirty feet everytime no matter how much we wash because of the sandy/sooty floor, made me realise how materialism is all the more superficial. And after 2 days of living in the village, I could sleep well despite the poor sleeping condition lol. Which means, necessity for living, not superficiality.
[And I finally did it!!! Omg, I finally finished posting the longest post ever after so long]
If I could, I would want to sieve and retain the memories I want to remember ever.
If I could, I would want to not lose those memories and keep them for life.
If only I could, stop the passing of time.