It’s holiday season here in Chiang Mai…

— and honestly, I haven’t palpably felt the spirit!  I mean, there’s random Christmas trees and wreaths at supermarkets, and I’ve even seen workers at a Thai bar/restaurant sport those Santa hats.  In a way, it’s kinda comforting and accommodating to tourists and other “Western-ized” folks like myself.  But because I’m not going back to the States for the holidays — and neither are my other two cohorts — it has just been a “normal” work week for me, full of school reports, adoption home visit stuff to take care of, and even (gasp!) working on my masters thesis!

At the same time, as with Thanksgiving/Thankstaking, us study-abroadees learn how to adapt and bring pieces of home to Thailand.  Earlier tonight, my cohorts and I hung out at a friend’s holiday get-together/goodbye-to-my-roommate party.  Here we were, about a dozen young adults in our mid-20s — eating some Pad Thai, Betty Crocker-made cookies, drinking cocoa with a little Sangsom kick (Thai whiskey).  A couple at the function talked about how they acquired a little palm tree, adorned it with ornaments they hobbled together with foil wrappers, and placed a little Buddha figurine by it.  With this holiday tree, I’m not sure which occurred on a higher degree — Thai influence or Christmas appropriation!  I guess the most important part is that it conveys its intended purpose and meaning.

The holidays are traditionally marked as a time to be with one’s loved ones and friends; unfortunately, in the U.S., it’s also a time of mass commercialization and rare occurrences of holiday hysteria.  Here in Chiang Mai, for better and worse, I’m removed from both.  Alright, maybe from just one of those things.  My friends and I at the party tonight took silly pictures of our elongated, exaggerated faces singing Bing Crosby songs; we welcomed back a friend who had just returned from visiting his family in Russia; our stomachs ached from laughing uncontrollably after sharing stories about messy childhood antics (especially over a game I’ve never played called, “My mommy said chubby people can’t…”).  The point of that long semi-colon-filled sentence?  I am spending time with family here during the holiday season.

P.S. My two other cohorts and I were invited by our Thai language teacher to attend the school’s Christmas party.  Our school is actually a Christian-based language school, and so most of the people at the party were missionaries and their families.  There were Christian songs played in Thai and English, a traditional Thai dance, and even we performed!  Of course, to none other than… wait for it… “Last Christmas” by Wham!  It was so transcendentally messy… yet so bonding at the same time.

P.P.S. Hope you like my new re-vamping of my blog! And oh yeah: Souksan wan chritsamaat, sawatdii pii may caak muangthay! (Merry Christmas/Happy holidays/Happy New Year from Thailand!)

Holiday party, Chiang Mai-style!

Holiday party, Chiang Mai-style!

Thai dance

Thai dance

Holiday games!  Racing to pass rubber bands using straws o_O !

Holiday games! Racing to pass rubber bands using straws o_O !

Kay, Thai teacher Khruu Jai, Michelle, and me)

Team Chiang Mai (From L to R: Kay, Thai teacher Khruu Jai, Michelle, and me)

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~ by wannabejochen on 20/12/2008.

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