Saturday, March 15, 2014

curly hair, epic dance parties, and other short stories.

Anyone who has curly hair knows how hard it is to have people play with your hair. When it’s touched the volume increases, the frizz is out of this world and I end up looking like a wild woman. As most young girls do, the Yaowawit students love to try out new braids and buns on us volunteers. Usually they steer clear of the tangled mess that is plopped on top of my head, but this past Saturday was a different story. I agreed to let the girls do some braiding, and well the pictures can tell the rest of it…

Living in a small village has it’s perks. In Kapong, everyone knows you are from Yaowawit (primarily because you are the only white people), when you go on morning runs everyone yells Hello! And Leo Leo!, and when there is a new restaurant in town everyone needs to try it out. Being the foodies we are, Riley and I have been to the new restaurant a time or two and couldn’t resist their newest addition, paddleboats! After we watched a fairly overweight individual nearly flip the boat, and then end up taking an accidental swim in the murky waters we decided to out our skills to the test. Thankfully our time on the boats was slightly less eventful, and we were able to watch the sunset on the water!

This past week Hong Kong International School was here at Yaowawit. Throughout the week their 21 students helped in the classroom, built our newly implemented recycling system, and joined our high school students in learning about the community of Kapong. To send them off, Yaowawit hosted one of the most epic dance parties to date! It began with choreographed and traditional Thai dances, and turned into a dancing frenzy. We danced (literally) until we had blisters on the bottom of our feet, and were all in desperate need of a shower. Such a fun Friday night!

Thailand weather is unlike any other I have experienced. I used to think that in the Northwest we had conflicting weather, well news to you PNW you’ve got nothing on SE Asia. Right now we are in the midst of hot season and the rain is sparse, like I haven’t seen rain for the past month or two. Well that is until today. Riley and I showed up at the beach and were greeted by the most beautiful beach scene. We noticed the clouds slowly rolling, and then the sky turned black and we were crowded under an umbrella as the heavy rain began. It was only temporary and the 95-degree sun was back in action, so we thought. We took this as our chance to venture to the market (FOR THE LAST TIME!) when the monsoons attacked! Being the seasoned Thais we are, we bought ponchos and made our last minute purchases while we were laughed at by farangs.



Sunday, March 9, 2014

Field trip day!

A 6:30 am departure time, 12 staff members, 81 students, and two buses is what it took for the Yaowawit field trip to Krabi. Personally, I had no idea where we were going; I just knew it was supposed to take quite a while to get there. It had been about a year since I had last been to Krabi so I had forgotten how windy the roads were…until the teachers started passing out bags incase somebody needed to toss their cookies. So there between Riley and I sat a petrified 1st grader with a puke bag in her hands. Luckily she curled up and took a nap on our laps and the bag was not needed J

What I thought was just a Yaowawit fieldtrip, turned out to be fieldtrip day for about 50 other schools as well. So we piled off the buses, and floated around a fair grounds type area full of different science projects and arts and crafts stations. This fieldtrip was different than any I remember growing up. There were no groups, no time check-ins (besides when we were leaving), and as it seemed no rules. Yet as most things seem to in Thailand, everything ran smoothly. Well that is until Riley, Insa, a few students and I thought we got left behind. When we realized everyone else had moved onto the area of market food stalls, and naturally we had to play catch up to everyone else and treated ourselves to French fries.

Our next stop was the beach, which was a great after lunch break. The kids ran around collecting crabs and seashells, while we were busy snapping pictures and enjoying the sunshine! It was an extremely hot day and the kids were troopers. We made another stop near the beach at a fossil preservation park. Fossils, shells, and shopping took over our time and soon enough we were off to our next destination! Our last pit stop was a Krabi waterfall and it was beautiful. I think everyone had his or her reservations about getting everyone on and off the bus again, but this was worth it. On top of it all there was a couple having wedding pictures taken, which we all got a kick out of.  All in all it was a successful fieldtrip! Everyone had fun, and we all slept well after the exhausting day!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

February Fast Forward.

Time is literally flying, and I have no clue where it is going. February was full of all different fun events starting with the first annual Yaowawit cup! That’s right; Yaowawit hosted their very own soccer tournament for the first time. Also Yaowawit was the only team to have a girl on their team, so of course we cheered extra loud for our superstar Orr! The team played really well and ended up making it to the finals, with the whole school backing them throughout. Obviously I have been to my fair share of soccer games in my life, but watching with these Yaowawit girls is like something I have never experienced. The school morale is incredible, the stands were filled with high-pitched SCREAMING 4th, 5th, and 6th grade girls and hand drawn colorful signs were being passed through out. In the end, the boys ended up placing second in the tournament.

This month our weekend off happened to align with Thailand’s famous Full Moon Party. Just about a year ago, I went to my first full moon party and vowed I would never return… 12 months later and well, here I am. It was great to lie on different beaches, shop different markets, and get away for a few days. Then as the full moon rose, we covered ourselves in neon clothing and paint and got ready for a long, dancing filled night! Everyone made it back safe and sound, but of course not without making Riley, Insa and I feeling like grandmas. I am not kidding when I say that staying up all night took it out of me for probably 4 days, I guess this whole turning 25 this year is no joke!


Towards the end of February there was another soccer tournament. This tournament was in Kapong, and like usual we were the only foreigners. So yes, this included many people taking pictures and pointing at us, and I am refusing to believe they were laughing at my heart shaped sunglasses. Over the course of a few days the team played really well and made their way to the finals. The team took second in a disappointing loss in penalty kicks. Unfortunately I know that feeling all too well, what a rough way to lose! Regardless nothing a little Thai BBQ couldn’t fix. I am super excited because there will be another game before I have to take off, we are all hoping for another W!

And now it’s March, WHAT? Somehow 15 months turned into 15 days, and I am starting to panic. For the time being I am just trying to soak up every last ounce of Thailand and Yaowawit before the end.

Monday, February 10, 2014


For the past few months, our sixth grade students have been working extra hard to prepare themselves for the ONET. The ONET is a Thailand standardized test that is taken in grade 6, M-3, and M-6. The test has nine subjects and each subject has 25 multi-part questions. The craziest part, the whole thing is done in one day! It blows my mind that at the age of 11/12 you are expected to take a test for seven hours straight. Regardless the students worked so hard, and I am so proud of them!


To celebrate the grade six students a few teachers, a few volunteers, and myself went out to a local restaurant in Kapong. The restaurant is a buffet of raw meat, vegetables, and noodles. At your table you have a little barbecue where you cook your dinner right in front of you. As always when you go to a buffet your eyes are bigger than your stomach, everything looks so good and then when it comes down to it, whoops. Well in Thailand it works a little bit different than at home. Riley, Insa, and I had noticed that after we had finished some of the teachers began finishing the food we were to full for. At this point we had just assumed they were EXTRA hungry. As it turns out, this was not the case. Apparently on top of the flat rate to eat at the buffet, any food that you leave on your plate you can be charged for! Picking up on the fact that wasted food was not in the budget, what did we do? Oh we began eating cold spring rolls, and leftover fried rice. It was quite comical, everyone was cracking up about the fact we would be walking out of the restaurant with triplet food babies. What can I say, lesson learned.

After a wonderful (and filling) dinner, the students set of a lantern for good luck. It was the perfect end to the evening. I am so proud of these kids, they have been working so hard to prepare for this test. Come mid-March when the results come back, I hope they remember that as long as the did their best... I am one happy teacher :)

Days off.

I had this realization the other day, you know when you are younger and you think your teachers sleep at school? You kind of imagine them having a secret pull out bed, or sleeping on the classroom couch and then cleaning it all up in the morning. To the students at Yaowawit, teachers sleeping not in the classroom but at school is quite normal. Although I am not exactly sleeping in the classroom, just imagine how funny it will seem to my future students that I lived at school. Since I am living at school, myself and the other staff have bizarre schedules that lead to having time off in the middle of the day and then not finishing school until eight or nine pm somedays. Therefore our full days off are precious and often used for some quality R&R.

Once a month the students all go home, which means a full weekend off. The last weekend of January Insa and I took off for Phuket! We decided to drive there via motorbike, which neither of us had ever done before. For the the most part it was an easy drive, but the closer we got to Phuket... the more insane the traffic was. At points I'd wished I had a flashing sign on my helmet that said "FARANG" meaning giving me at least five feet on each side, please. Needless to say, we made it all in one piece WITHOUT having to ask for directions once! Those of you who are aware of my directional ability know that this is a miracle all in itself. Once we settled into our hostel, we only had one thing on our minds... spa. Online we had found Kim's massage and spa, and it was everything we could have wished for and more!

Parking at the mall, this picture just doesn't do it justice!
We walked in, and right away the ambience reassured us of the amazing afternoon we were about to have. After looking at a list of the package deals, we both settled on a three hour treatment. The treatment included a foot and hand reflexology massage, and oil full body massage, and a honey-lemon facial. I couldn't believe it, all of this for roughly $40! For a lack of better words, it was amazing. I would highly recommend this spa for anyone looking for an upscale feel, with a backpacker budget. That night and the next morning was pretty much dedicated to food. We stuffed ourselves with cheesecake, mozzarella avocado salad, pancakes and a sandwich. Success. On Sunday we found our way to the mall Central, and the outlet mall. Courtesy to donations from home, Insa and I were able to pick up tons of workbooks, and books for the classroom library. The students were thrilled on Monday as I showed them the newly filled shelf. We arrived home on Sunday exhausted, but safe and sound.


Most of our weekends we try and spend at least one day at Memories beach, which I have mentioned before. It seems to just be our spot. We have gotten to know the staff, and last weekend one of the guys attempted to teach us fire dancing. Don't worry mom, there was no actual fire involved. All of these things are the perfect way to leave us recharged for a full week with the kiddos!


Monday, February 3, 2014


  1. perfect happiness; great joy.
    "she gave a sigh of bliss"