medieval day

today was the fourth grade’s big end of school year hoorah.  they celebrated with a medieval festival and spent much time preparing.  they’ve been studying this time period for a while.

they’ve broken into groups and built castles.

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*s9’s group’s castle had octopi in the moat and a lovely pond inside the walls – excellent for fishing and picnics*

they picked a play and assigned and memorized parts and presented it today’s audience of parents and family friends.

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*s9 was the king.  and a very fine king was he*

they researched the foods that were eaten during that time and brought a list home of dishes that parents could provide for the feast.

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*i’m not completely convinced that tropical fruits would have been the fruits of the day, but i could be wrong*

and – my favorite part – they even made sure to have an authentic serving wench on hand.

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it was an afternoon enjoyed by all and a lovely way to celebrate a year of hard work.

there was still an hour of school left at the end of the feast and what better to do than a few hands of cards.

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no, they’re not playing poker.  they’re playing slave.  it involves kings and queens and noblemen – a very appropriate medieval day game.

today we songkran!

as soon as michael told me he was going to be out of town for all of songkran i started to dread it. that meant i would have to escort the kids out and about all on my lonesome. and i didn’t want to. i was coming up with any and all excuses not to have to go. like today we were going to make deviled eggs. i was certain that the kids would find that to be a suitable diversion. and they did. they were all for making deviled eggs and completely distracted from the water fun to be had.

but then the c15 and his friends decided to make a day of songkranning.  and it was my job to get c15 to the meeting place that was only about a 10 minute drive from the house.  it took me an hour to get him there and to return back home.  traffic was horrible, water being tossed everywhere, roads backed up – or just flat out closed down to try to help control traffic.  and it looked so much fun.  and that’s how we ended up soaked today.  soaked and exhausted.

last year – yep, it’s another annual celebration that we’ve now taken part in twice – we took far more pictures.  we had two cameras and felt brave.  of course, we michael drowned one of our his cameras and it had to be replaced.  and just over a week ago i killed my camera.  i know, we thought it had been resusitated, but it breathed it’s last breath while we were at flight of the gibbons.  so i was uber protective of our only working camera – that would be the one we replaced after songkran last year.  so here are the few pictures i managed to take.  i think you still get the idea.  if only i could have gotten one of the kids being doused in ice water.  that would be worth a thousand words.  or at least a silent scream.

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the crowd at thapae gate.  you can’t see it, but there’s actually a game of musical chairs going on in that mess.

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walking home.  a breather between dousings.

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everyone has a role to play.

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and an awful picture of me.  i’d almost dried off on the way home…  and then the neighbors got me

hoppin’ down the bunny trail…

today was our second easter egg hunt here in thailand.  i think it’s pretty impressive that we’re starting to repeat annual activities – makes me feel like one of the old timers.  sort of.  okay, not really.  but this year i was wiser.  the hunt was held at the same venue as last year – the abbots’ house.  last year i thought abbot was a title.  see, the pastor of our church is british.  and i, being not british, but knowing just enough british phraseology to be dangerous recognized abbot as a term for some kind of religious leader in england.  so, i assumed that the house belonged to the abbot of our church.  i should have thought, but now know, that the house belongs to the family abbot.  it’s their surname.  not a title.  silly me.  anyway…

the biggest difference between this year and last year is that last year i went as a basic unknown nobody.  it was just something for our family to do, a way to maybe meet some people, make some friends.  this year i was in charge of the hunt and the kids story.  so, i was up early to boil eggs.  100 of them.  and because i’m the best delegater ever – or maybe because michael recognized how badly in need of help i was – he prepared the story/activity for the kids.  a rousing game of easter bingo.  and it was a huge success.  no surprises there.

so eggs were hunted and colored.  activities participated in.  donuts and fruit eaten.  coffee, tea and water drunk.  and no complaints were heard…  or at least noone complained to me.

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flight of the gibbons

we saw no gibbons.  not one.  but if we had, i don’t think they could possibly have flown as well as we did.  we were awesome.

started out bright and early.  we met the bus at 6:30am for our one hour drive up really steep and really windy and really bumpy roads.  we sat in the very, very, very back of the bus.  and bounced and winded and rocked and swayed until a12 said, “i think i’m going to be sick.”  and she was.  and maybe two milliseconds later the driver said,  “we’re here.”  and we were.

first job – signing waivers.  then we were off to get harnessed up.

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then a quick trip by van (a few of us started turning green at the mention of getting back in the van) and we were ready to go.

we had an introductory talk/safety lecture from one of the spotters.  the only one who’s name i cannot remember.

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one of the things he explained to us was the brake system for zip lines.  it’s very, um, low tech.  but it did seem to work, when we could actually remember to use it.

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bamboo brakes.

and then we were ready for our first zip line.  i have to do a little bragging on my kids here – they deserve it.  we’d spent quite a bit of time talking to and at the kids about how expensive this little outing is and how very, very nice it was of grandad and nanny to pay for it and how once we signed up and paid the money there would be no. backing. out.  and i fully expected to have to push at least one kid off a platform.  maybe all the platforms.  but other than a few nervous jitters and the initial “i don’t want to go first, you do it, so we can see if you survive” moment they were totally psyched and all systems go!  not one time did anyone mention being scared or not wanting to go or even needing a few moments to gather their strength.  nope, they were amazing!

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as we progressed through the ziplines they held onto their harnesses much, much looser and their smiles became much, much broader.

after the first zip line s9 became adamant that he go first.  always.  he finally acquiesced to letting the spotter go ahead of him.  but he really did not want to.

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next was the first sky bridge.  i’ve got no problem admitting it was a little bit unsettling.  i might have been the only one who felt that way, but i didn’t let it show!

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then we really started flying – the confidence was building so the whole gripping the harness thing became unnecessary.

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a few times we were lowered from one platform to another so we could continue our journey.

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and we even zipped in tandem once.  but since there are 5 of us, one had to go it alone.

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a12 & s9 applying their brakes.  c15 & i almost mastered the brakes, almost.

it ended well before we wanted it to be over, but we were ready to get out of those harnesses.  two hours is along time to be so bound up.

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thanks nanny and grandad!

we took many, many more pictures.  if you want to see them head on over to my flickr page.

khun tan

i just got back from 3 days roughing it with 31 6th graders.  and had a blast.  and learned some things.  we went to khun tan, a mountain here in northern thailand.  we spent 2 nights in cabins and even managed to hike to the summit  (when i say mountain i know all my colorado peeps are thinking 14er and they would be almost right.  if you take away that 1 in the front. yep, i’m saying it was a 4er.)

we started out the day at the school with a small getting started speech – and poorly executed april fool’s day joke – by the principal.  then loaded up into cars for the drive to doi khun tan national park.

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at the park we had a welcome and educational talk from a park ranger.  translated for us non-native thai speakers by ajaan supaporn.

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after the welcome it was time to begin the 4k (2.49 mile) hike.  up hill.  we stopped part way up for a picnic and then continued our forced march lovely hike.  where we encountered the first injury of the trip.

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as we hiked it began to feel a little land of the lost-ish.  it was one of many times when i’ve had to pinch myself because it is sometimes shocking to me that i live here.

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our stuff arrived at the camp before us.  it traveled by motorbike.  on impossibly thin trails.

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after we arrived at camp, bunks were quickly claimed and shortly after the rope swing was discovered.  actually, the rope swing was discovered first, but the kids were put on hold until everyone could get settled and instructions could be given.

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the first swinger is a12, doing a mighty fine job.  the second picture is a chaperon.  the school librarian.  proving that anything students can do librarians can do better!

my camera broke on day 1. which was a bummer, but also a little exciting because that meant a new camera for me!  woo hoo!  of course, as soon as we got home, michael used a little force and managed to make the lens go back in and it’s working now.  so no new camera, just missed photos.

the rest of day one was spent settling in and getting the lay of the land.  with a few other educational things thrown in for good measure.  day 2 we hiked to the summit, had a nature hike, more swinging, bon-fire time, roasted marshmallows, skinned some knees, fractured a wrist, and told some ghost stories.  day 3 we found a dead rat, cleaned up the cabins, packed our stuff away and headed down the mountain.  that 4k hike up turned into a 7k (4.3 mile) hike down.  no parent drivers, we hiked down to the train station.  then we road the train – 8 baht (.23 us) per student and 15 baht (.42 us) per adult.  an hour and a half later we were home and ready to spend april break recovering.

or at least that’s my plan.  the kids’ seem to have other ideas.

oh, yeah.  and i skinned both my knees.

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hey – I have a blog??

turns out I haven’t got much to say.  shocking, I know. 

well… there was Thai day at the kids school.

all three kids performed with their classes.  a12 was less than happy about her costume.  and the costume for S9, well, it was just nuts.  white satin pants for 9 & 10 year old boys?  C14 and the other high schoolers managed to pull off the hippy look.  and it turns out that kindergarteners and 1st graders can look hootchie. very, very hootchie.  i’ve got no pictures of the kinders & firsts.  you just have to trust me.  I’m talking hip shaking, bootie waving, pulp fiction dancing hootchie.

wondering what else I’ve been doing with myself?  FaceBook.  I admit it.  they’ve got games.  it’s addicting.  maybe I should find games for my blog.

we haven’t disappeared

 

we’ve just been keeping busy doin’ more not much.  well, it hasn’t all been not much, but it is hard to top a motorcycle wreck and a broken clavical. 

Saturday was the rugby tournament.  our school is what you might call the underdogs.  this is our first year to offer rugby and for many, or possibly most, or – even more probably – all but 1, it was the first time to play rugby. 

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Saturday night we went to dinner at the Antique House.  it’s an old teak building (like 100 years old) that’s now a National Heritage Site.  Dinner was lovely.  some of us were much more interested than others. 

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I have no idea what he said, but it must have been good. 
or shocking.  or good and shocking!

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we’ve had a little wii fit action.

 

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the queen of the wii fit yoga. we’ve all given up trying to beat her.

Sunday we did more not much.  then we went to church.  followed by dinner at walking street – where you can have a little bit of everything if you’re willing to fight the crowds.

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and just to make my mom feel better I’m posting this totally posed for picture. if you look closely you can even see that I’m smiling. and that’s not having a nice dream smiling. that’s humoring mom smiling.
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