If I had to summarize our 10 day trip visiting our friends in Thailand, it would be the following.
We ate, drove, took pictures in front of things, ate, visited, ate, posed for pictures, ate, danced, visited temples, posed for more pictures, ate, sang karaoke, entertained Thai kids, ate and were part of a huge water fight to bring in the new year.
Here are just a few of the 500 pictures took in various poses with various combinations of people for your enjoyment.
Let the gong show begin!
All the participants in 2000. Luck and I are second and third from the right in the middle row.
Luck and I reunited.
Here we are pictured by our host district. We are getting close to the village now!
Here we are pictured with my host mom and dad, Ma Moon and Pa Tu.
Tong and his host mother are reunited.
We are welcomed to the village with a traditional Isaan ceremony. Strings are tied around our wrists to give us blessing and wish us good luck.
Luck and Pi Yu in the back of the truck on our way to the city.
A visit to the temple is in order for any auspicious occasion. Our visit definitely counts as one.
Pi Pie, Luck and I. Pi Pie was our neighbour during the exchange and I remember many hours of chilling and listening to music at her place.
This is pictured at the border of Laos.
The food is being prepared for yet another feast.
The village party had all sorts of fun and entertainment for the kids.
Here we are Isaan dancing at a village party
Tong and Ashley’s host mom shows up at the party wearing a towel as a shirt! She is still the same character that I remember.
Here we are all in front of a sign at a place we once played volleyball at when on the exchange. (The photograph taking was getting a little ridiculous at this point).
My host family’s house is pretty much exactly as I remember it. It does have the addition of satellite TV and the bathroom has now been added inside the house.
The cows still sleep right beside my host family’s house. Shaun and I slept in the room directly beside them.
Luck’s house. She is very proud of this. Up until a year ago her husband and she lived in her parent’s house. Now they own their own modern farm house. This is a long way from the poverty she grew up in. She didn’t even own shoes until she was in grade 5.
The Canadian mailbox Luck made for her new house.
Luck brought us with her to work this day. She and her boss were responsible for their district truck in a parade of money trees. I’m still not sure exactly what this was but what I got out of bad translation was that in order to celebrate the cremation of the 7th king’s daughter they were collecting money for the poor. Not sure how that works since Thailand is on their 9th king and that would mean waiting a really long time to cremate the former princess.
After parading around with a money tree, we were invited to lunch with the governor of the province. He was very interested in the exchange that I took part in 12 years ago and the Thai government helped support.
From left to right: Ap, Op, Om, It, Oat, and Oi. Luck’s boys, nephews and niece. Three of her sisters and one brother all live on the same plot of land with their families.
Luck and her mom are harvesting mangoes on their farm.
Here I am grating coconut in preparation for the Sri Lankan meal I made for Luck and her family. They really enjoyed the food and the discussion about Sri Lanka, but they were shocked that Sri Lanka doesn’t have 7-Eleven.
Luck’s boys, It and Op, are pictured in the hats we got them from Sri Lanka.
Here we are pictured with Tong, Ja and Luck. All three were participants in the 2000 Canada World Youth program. At the time Tong and Ja hated each other, but as fate would have it they ended up getting married!
Tong and his 4-year-old son NJ.
The landscape outside of Ja’s village. It brings back many memories of planting and harvesting rice.
This coconut is actually bigger than MY head. Now that’s one huge coconut.
Here I am presenting Win with a flower wreath after his karaoke performance of a Thai love ballad. All of Ja’s family participated in the antics. The night ended with a rousing rendition of “We are the Champions” sung by everyone.
We took a break from the New Year festivities to check out the ruins in Lop Buri. Ja’s cousin poses for a photo.
Songkran is the world’s biggest water fight. It is the way to bring in the Thai New Year. Happy 2555!
Thais sure now how to have fun. A huge water fight brings in the New Year. Not only do you have to look out for buckets of ice cold water being dumped on you, but you also can be smeared with a white powder paste at any time.
Ja’s cousin danced for 6 hours straight and was a hit with everyone. You wouldn’t believe the cheers. It was as though we were riding with a Thai superstar. Next stop Miss Queen Universe!
This is our truck during the Songkran festival. Great driving by Tong.
This young girl is taking a break on the side lines.
This is what we look like after trying to keep up with the Thais for 10 days!