The Beatles had people in complete awe of them, wanting nothing more than to be near them. Now, I would not say I have John Lennon status here in Thailand, but at school in the village, the children certainly wanted to hold my hand. In fact, all of us had 3-4 Thai kids ranging in age from 6 to 13 hanging off of us at any moment in time. For our third day in the community, instead of Thai class, we had a “Thai Fun Activity”, consisting of us playing games with kids at school, and then us teaching them an activity. Thank you, summer camps, because we all quickly agreed to teach them “Baby Shark”, and out second was “The Banana Song”. If you are unfamiliar with these, I highly recommend learning them, because just as I thought they would never come in handy again—I was mistaken. The joy that came from these kids was indescribable. Later, at our homestays, we had kids doing the hand motions, asking us to sing it again.
My homestay could probably be best described by the final night. Until the last night, it was a lot of observing and eating. I didn’t really feel a strong connection to my family, and it was not the easiest three days of my life. It did, however, have a very happy ending when the entire village gathered at my neighbor’s house and we had what I would call a block party. There was music, all the students ate a meal together prepared by many families, and we danced into the night (meaning like 8:00pm, because that is a normal bed time in villages.)
These past few days in Khon Kaen have given us a time to actually explore the city and get a hold of public transportation. Saung Taos, which are “buses” where you sit on benches on the flat of a pick-up truck with a roof, have been an exciting way of exploring. For instance, last night as we tried to get to this Italian place for dinner, we were supposed to switch buses. This, of course, we did not know, and ended up past the slums and far from the city. As the Saung Tao slowed to a stop, the nine of us looked at each other, and got off hesitantly as we were kicked off by the driver. The fear started to set in for sure, but luckily, there was one store with its light on, and the two women in the pharmacy spoke a little English. We had them call a cab for us, because we had no clue where we were. Seeing as cab drivers have numbers, but do not answer their phones, we were stuck. At that moment, another Saung Tao drove up, and we had the women ask them to drive us to the hotel down the street from the restaurant. At the price of 200 bhat, it was totally worth it. So our personal taxi Saung Tao drove us back down the shady roads, and the night concluded with a delicious pizza. (I absolutely love Thai food, but as a true American, I really missed pizza). Another adventure, another night in Thailand.