Hi friends and family
This blog will probably be a short one since it is late on Sunday night and I have a boatload of language to learn tomorrow so I need to catch some Z’s.
This week I spent most of my time preparing for a volunteering day with the other members of my tambon (village). We have been in the tambon for quite some time now so we know that this community has a strong desire to learn English. We developed our volunteer project around that idea and invited local kids to come learn some English and just have some fun with us.
We got a ton of support from the local community and we had 34 kids show up to the event. We played some sports, made fruit salad, did some singing and dancing, played games, and made some awesome parachutes. We incorporated some English words into each activity and I think everyone had a good time.
Then today my family took me to Ayutthaya, which is the old capital. It is a pretty awesome place with lots of old ruins. I got to see lots of elephants and we walked around the floating market. It is always nice just to hang with my family.
In other news I had to share that my “dessert” today consisted of taking a leaf (looked sort of like spinach and a whole lot like a leaf lol) and putting peanuts, a tiny dried shrimp (yes a shrimp is included in my description of dessert), some onion, something that may have been a fruit but honestly I am not sure, and a little piece of ma-now (lime) with the peel still on, onto the leaf. Then you pour some honey on top of all that and eat it. My Meh puts peppers in hers too, but I opted for the pepper-free dessert. I can’t remember the Thai name for it, but I have named it “A bunch of junk on a leaf” dessert. It was sweet, salty, sour, and a little spicy. My mouth was totally confused, but it actually wasn’t too bad and I ended up eating four of them because it makes my Meh happy lol 🙂
Now back to my regularly scheduled blog post. I had a chance to talk to my parents today and I was telling them a little bit about Thai culture and they thought I should share it on here, because people may find it interesting. What I was telling them about was the “head and foot concept” here in Thailand. In Thailand the head is seen as sort of sacred while the foot in seen as low and dirty. This concept works its way into everyday life here in Thailand. For example it is seen as extremely rude to point your foot at someone or to use your foot to point to something. It is also a big no-no to step over someone here, since that would be putting them under your foot and be pointing your sole at that person. We never put our books on the floor here either. Books are knowledge for our head and therefore are treated with respect, so you would never put your book bag or books down by your feet. You always place them on a chair or table. Thai people also sleep with their heads pointed towards the central Buddha figure in the house, which also coincides with sleeping with their head pointed to the East. Thai people sleep with their feet pointed to the West, since the West is seen as the direction of death.
I even have to keep this concept in mind when I am washing my clothes here. Clothes are washed from those articles closest to the head to those near the feet, and you never mix articles of clothing that you wear on the top half of your body with those you wear on the lower half. I wash my shirts and bras first, then I wash my pants and underwear, and finally I wash my socks at the very end. I also hang them separately. Oh and I forgot to mention that since the head is seen as sacred here you never touch somebody on the head, not even a child.
I find Thai culture fascinating and I am having a lot of fun learning more and more everyday. I will try and do a better job of including Thai culture in my blog posts, especially since sharing Thai culture with Americans is one of my three Peace Corps goals!
Okay I have to get to bed or I will be useless in language class tomorrow. I love and miss you all! Until next time…