On Saturday I had to say goodbye to two guys from the group I started with. I was so sad I almost cried. And you all know how rare that is. It's amazing how quickly such strong bonds can form. I really have come to love some of the people here in only a few weeks. It's hard to think about not seeing Paul or Mike again. They live in Australia and England, and who knows if we'll ever visit each other. I can't even think about saying goodbye to the people I will spend my entire 10 weeks with. Luckily I have Molly and Rachel's visit to look forward to, so leaving won't seem so sad. I'm sure there will be tears though.
To clear up the confusion, I'm going to Malaysia this weekend to apply for a 60 day visa at the Thai embassy. Two other volunteers, boy Zoe and Julian, are coming with me. Zoe lives in Kuala Lampor, so we're going to stay with his family. It will be fun to have a few days away from Chiang Rai. I love it here at Mirror, but there's not much to do in town except hang out. Zoe promised that I'll eat the best food of my life there and I'm going to hold him to it. I tell everyone that I make up for not drinking with eating. That is why I'm giving up treats for Buddhist lent. Well, I'm giving them up for the week to start. We'll see how it goes after that ;) Thailand is making me fat, so I need to nip my snacking in the bud. It's hard to resist oreos though when they're right there and they only cost $0.15. Plus I am officially addicted to peanut butter here. I discovered a bakery with real wheat bread, so I eat a PB&J nearly every day. Not good. Not good at all.
Teaching last week was super good. I taught for the first time by myself and it was so fun. We played a clothing relay race where the kids had to put on the clothes. The class loved it, especially when the boys had to put on a skirt or a dress. I'm amazed at how much you can convey with my very limited Thai, their very broken English and a lot of charades. It just proves that when it comes to communication, where there's a will there's a way. I think most people are just too afraid of looking stupid to try. I've found that the locals really appreciate it when you try your best. Particularly if you try speaking a little Thai. I taught some 4th graders about recycling on Saturday, which went better than I had hoped for. It's a complex subject to teach any kid about, and the language barrier makes it that much more difficult. They really picked it up quickly though. I think they really understood it. I'm amazed at how excited I get when I can see the kids learning. I get pretty giddy.
The people here are so hospitable. It really is the land of smiles. They would give you the shirt off their back and the food off their plate if they thought you needed it. As a teacher you are shown an incredible amount of respect, by both the kids and the other teachers. It's something that was totally foreign to me as an American.
Today is a holiday because of lent, so teaching was canceled. I gave blood in the morning with several other volunteers. A couple of girls had to go to the hospital anyway. One to get her tooth looked at and one to check out a reaction she was having to all the mosquito bites. Both turned out to be ok, which is good because they're both here for another couple of months.
Although I'm sad to see old people leave, I'm excited to get to know everyone better and meet future volunteers. I cannot believe that I've been here nearly 4 weeks. My time here is flying by.