Where to start?
I had a Youth GIG (Global Initiative Group, that's the Peace Corps sub-group that I joined) meeting in Bangkok on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Several other meetings were being held, and all of the group that came the year before me was in Bangkok discussing the near future as they would be preparing to complete their volunteer service. So we had a Thanksgiving dinner, too.
About a month(?) in advance, one very on-the-ball (not me) made contact with the important people in the Sizzlers of Thailand and arranged for all of us to have a dinner at a particular Sizzler restaurant, and got a 10,000 baht group discount (woot!). That was followed by visiting a few drinking establishments, then a 5am bus back up north (that was a rough morning).
Then December started. Classes rolled along, though preparations for Sports Day became more and more apparent (other volunteers talked about whole days of classes being canceled for practices). I started making plans for some Christmas activities to do with my kids, and then Nathan arrived.
"Wait, what? Who's Nathan?" That's what you may be asking yourself. Nathan is one of my number one homies in all the world. And he is my first visitor (of many I'm sure, right?) from my old life. It's pretty awesome. We spent a couple of days in Chiang Mai getting him acclimated, then headed to Issan to visit a few volunteers to give him a flavor of Peace Corps life, and for me to see some more volunteers situations (and check out the "deep south of Thailand"). It was a great experience. It was very "same same but different," and we got to try eating rat. By the time we were ready to head to my village, I was feeling a little homesick.
Since we've gotten back here, we've spent some time with my counterpart, walked around my village, gone for a sweet bike ride through the farmland, run with my students and eaten a lot of really good food. It sounds like tonight a couple of people who work at my local government office are going to come over to practice English (which I started doing recently and is a lot of fun), so that should be fun. I figure since Nathan doesn't speak Thai (though he's picking up stuff really well), it will be a good opportunity for them to practice. It was really cool yesterday watching my students talking to him. It made me really proud to see the students having the courage to try talking to a new farang.
And then I decided to do a little update on here. Soon I will have been here for eleven months, and then we will be getting together in January for our mid-service conference right before the one year mark. Yow. Time seems so strange.
Life is pretty strange and awesome, eh?