Thursday, May 31, 2012


The last post is one of my favorites. This one not so much. My least favorite part of Thailand is the bugs, or maybe it’s the weather. No, this week, it’s the bugs. Last night had an invasion of the main mow (excuse the spelling and sound it out), the name according to one of my kids. They come after it rains and they come in swarms, attracted to light and are really really gross. Twice I got swarmed when I was in training, literally thousands of these flying insects entered my bedroom from who knows where. They die quickly, but it is miserable until they do. Your only defense is to turn off the light and leave and come back about an hour later. A dead mess on the floor, but at least not flying in your face. So…new town, new house, I would get a few but not too bad. Especially once my screen was put up on the wall with holes in the living room and even better after Thom and Zach screened the major openings in the kitchen and bathroom. I still get bugs, but not as many. Last night, working on my computer, I see a few flying around, and a few more. They were coming under the door from the kitchen into the living room. I sealed it with one plastic bag, they still came, I sealed it with 2 plastic bags, they slowed to a trickle, but still the number was growing rapidly. I looked around…and then I saw them, coming through the crack in between my front doors. There was my tookay, happily eating them, but only one of my 3 tookays was there, and he could not keep up. A valiant effort. I really wasn’t ready to call it a night. So I did battle. My mosquito zapper was pretty effective, dying bugs everywhere. They come in as larvae (I am making this up, but I think it is accurate) in pairs and scurry around together. All of the sudden one runs off quickly, sprouts wings and flies away. I spent way too much time at war with the bugs, but I was able to finally finish my job for the evening. I swept up most of the mess and finished in the morning. No dishes done that night, wasn’t going in the kitchen with lights blaring announcing a new battle. I figured it was better to deal with the ants in the morning.
When I opened the front door in the morning, this was the mess that greeted me. So, most did not make it in!

PC Thailand 50th Anniversary

This July is the 50th Anniversary of Peace Corps working in Thailand. To honor the occasion, PC asked volunteers to do a community service project. I worked with Kruu Rath (my friend who teaches English in the high school) and Balat Sukon (City Manager) on a project honoring PC and Visakha Bucha Day. This day honors Buddha’s birth, death, and enlightenment. 50 high school students learned Buddha’s 8 fold path in Thai and in English and discussed how to relate the path to their everyday life. The path is: Right View Right Intention Right Speech Right Action Right Livlihood Right Effort Right Mindfulness Right Concentration They then made beautiful posters, drawing most of the pictures free hand, and flashcards to teach younger students what they learned. The high schoolers proved to be excellent teachers. They divided the primary students into 5 groups and taught them the path in Thai and English, rewarding good participation with candy. They had a rapt audience. The teachers and students had fun, learned a bit more about Buddhism, expanded their English, and contributed to community pride and volunteerism. A great way to celebrate Peace Corps 50th and Visakah Bucha Day. In July current and former PCVs will gather to celebrate the anniversary. The US Ambassador and the Princess of Thailand will take part in the celebration.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Trip to the States and Back Again

My last post was April 24, over a month since I last posted. I seem to get writer’s block (maybe writer’s lack of motivation) when I come back after a trip home. I assumed the longer I am here the easier to go back and forth, but the opposite is the case. I keep telling myself, 9 months, like being pregnant! I can do this. I had a great trip to the states to see Kristine graduate and celebrate lots of other milestones – Steve’s and Krystle’s birthdays, and Mother’s Day for me and my mom. The best part was just being there – with my kids and my mom. I have been very fortunate in returning home 3 times and having my kids visit (Tiney and Steve are here in 5 weeks!), but there are long dry spells that seem to last forever. I think I am ready to blog again…but with this introduction, not so sure!! Kristine completed her Masters in Clinical Nurse Leader (summa cum laude!), a tough 4 year program. She AND Steve are happy to put that chapter behind them and enjoy a less hectic schedule.
I got to meet Krystle, Thom’s girlfriend, in person for the first time. A welcome addition as she fit right in. A full house in Tiney and Steve’s small place – Kayley and Zach, Thom and Krystle, me and mom, and the two dogs. Lots of fun with some time to enjoy St. John’s, a charming little town in Portland. AND cousins Laine and Steve drove all the way from Prineville to spend the afternoon with us. So good to see them both.
Left Portland to go to Oakland for a couple of days with Thom and KayKay. Got to see Kayley’s new office and meet her boss. She works a few blocks from the Embarcadero in the city, cool spot, great job with Lymphoma and Leukemia Society. Had a lovely dinner in Sausalito with friends, the Onceas, and celebrated Susan’s birthday. Also, had such a great day just hanging out with Thom in SF and Golden Gate Park.
The trip was only 6 full days on the ground, PC was NOT flexible in time off, which I am not happy about. As others have reminded me, it is the federal government. No time to hit OC, a very big miss. Nice to have all the amenities we take for granted in the states – electricity (in Thailand not grounded and things like computers run very hot and it goes off in frequent storms), hot water (none in rural areas), running water (been off for 2 days…again), a comfy bed, understanding every single person I talk to! Thailand is definitely a developing country with poverty and lack of infrastructure and quality schools interfering with progress. I think (and many would agree) that Buddhism is one of the reasons Thais are so friendly. The other side of that coin, however, is a bit of mai bpen rai (never mind), kind of a fatalism and acceptance without questioning. One of the things said in training was not to ask Why? Just not high on the list of what is important. Actually, that list is hypothetical, probably not one.