I'm a couple of days into 2013 now and have only now had the chance to sit down and write about how I spent my first Christmas and New Year away from my family and friends in Wales. It was definitely different I'll say that!
Christmas Day was on a Tuesday this year and while some other teachers had the day off most of us had to get up and go into school as if it was any other day. It was strange waking up on my own and having to go straight to work, but when it doesn't feel like Christmas you don't feel like you're supposed to act any differently. It was boiling hot that day, at least 30 degrees, which made a nice change from the sub-zero temperatures normally experienced at home. I can't say I did much teaching; I brought in sweets for my classes and put a Disney Christmas film on in our two hour communication slot with M1s. One person said Merry Christmas out of the whole school. We were told that Thai people mostly celebrate Christmas on the 28th December (Friday), and this was when we had our Christmas Activity Day so I decided to wait until then for my Christmas Day.
As part of the Activity Day, we had secretly been practising with some of the students who were putting on a version of Cinderella. I was going to make a surprise appearance as the step mother, who the teacher organising it thankfully decided was not going to be a disgusting warty witchy step mother, but a pretty one. Phew. But then there was the issue of what to wear. The night before I was taken to what turned out to be a wedding dress shop/beauty shop and was encouraged to try on wedding dresses. I couldn't help thinking 'what am I doing?', but it was too late to back out at this point. I picked one solely on the fact that it fitted ok and was then told that we would need to go back there 6am the next morning to have our hair and make up done for us. Oh great, what are they gonna do to us?
The beauty salon was an experience in itself. About four layers of foundation (which made us look an unnatural white colour), fake eyelashes, red lipstick and a ton of hair spray we were good to go. The students couldn't believe it when they saw us, shouting 'teacher, beautiful!' and screaming excitedly. So I guess the early wake up call was worth it in the end.
The Activity Day was so much fun. It included our star performance in Cinderella (!), contemporary dance to 'a beautiful English song' (we chose 'Wherever You Will Go' by Charlene Soraia), M6s singing 'We Wish You A Merry Christmas' and 'Jingle Bells' and a load of the girls doing street dance which was a bit of a shock! They were all amazing.
We left school after the activities and went to catch the bus to take us on our journey to Koh Phangan where we would spend New Years Eve. Of course the bus was nearly an hour late leaving us desperately rushing to get the last ferry from Don Sak. Luckily for us, the ferry was also running late so we managed to catch it. We made it to our hotel at 11pm, exhausted after the excitement of the day and all of the travelling.
Our New Years Eve on Koh Phangan was incredible. The highlight of the trip was definitely seeing my TEFL friends, who I did my teaching internship with in Bangkok. Even though it had been almost three months since we'd seen each other, it was as if no time had passed at all. Oh and the beach parties and buckets were okay too I guess… The Full Moon Party for New Years Eve was amazing, of course. But we were so busy catching up (and playing 'I Have Never') that we almost missed the actual countdown! We ended up running to the beach with three minutes to spare. Midnight hit and there were amazing fireworks, the crowds started hugging and later partied with a bucket in each hand into the early hours. Amazing night, my New Year 2013 will probably never be topped.
So, the festivities are now over and I hardly noticed them this year. Especially since I was back in school teaching on the 3rd January, so only had three days off (one was spent in Surat Thani extending my visa and getting my teaching permit- very boring so I'm gonna say this doesn't count as a day off). Even though I did enjoy I'm hoping that I will find Christmas and New Years 2013 more special spending it with my friends and family at home.
Hwyl pobl! x