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Happy December everyone! Hopefully everyone had a beautiful Thanksgiving holiday overflowing with things to give thanks for! Thanksgiving for my family was one of the most memorable of all time! Those details will come later though…
Thailand has been a busy place these past several weeks. It might be hard to pick up where I left off without leaving some details out, but I’ll try my best to make sure the highlights are covered!
Monday 4 November
Level Four: Days One and Two — this was my first official week of class. It was a little bit challenging to jump in, but it was reassuring that two other students were also joining in after not studying in at least a year. For the Week Four Curriculum we spent two days combining levels 1-2-3 Thai Massage on our classmates and instructors. Exhausting work!
Wednesday 6 November
Level Four: Day Three was a review of Applied Anatomy, Physiology and Kinesiology. With a visiting professor from Chiang Mai University named Dr. Aatit to teach us new techniques for testing in special cases of tight muscles and weak muscles. Then we practiced the new techniques on our classmates. It was so much fun, and very educational!
Thursday 7 November
Level Four: Day Four we learned and applied a new variation of Thai Massage. Thai Step On Massage is done from a standing up position using a walking stick for balance. It allows the therapist to gently and slowly apply more pressure in efforts to give their receiver a deeper massage and is integrated into the traditional bodywork session. Yes, this is a service I will be providing in 2014!
Friday 8 November
Level Four: Day Five we had the honor of taking a field trip to a local senior center and provided massage services for senior citizens in need. Serving others is – after all – what massage is all about! I worked with two women suffering from different ailments. It helped me to use variations of the Thai Massage techniques I’ve learned over the years.
Saturday 9 & Sunday 10 November
These days I used to reflect as I walked around the city. There is so much to see in such a small city! And even though everyone is busy at work, you will notice a relaxing energy about them all. I ate lunch out and came back to my place to study a bit. Then I went back out in the evening to enjoy the markets. Every Sunday night there is a really fun market on what is known as ‘Walking Street’. They close the road to all vehicle traffic and vendors set up along the sides of the road selling handmade crafts, local music, silk scarves, clothing, snacks and other hand made foods, herbal remedies and more. I picked up a few new CDs for my office that I think you may enjoy.
Monday 11 November
Level Five: Theory in Thai Massage lecture all morning and practice for practical exam all after noon followed by a briefing about the outing planned for Tuesday giving massage to children with special needs!
Tuesday 12 November
Level Five: We had the privilege of massaging children with special needs today. These children suffer from different conditions such as Down Syndrome and Autism. They also ranged in age from five to seventeen years. A few of the younger ones had lots of extra energy (some with ADHD) and so we had to learn to adapt our massages to keep them comfortable and relaxed. There were plenty of hugs and laughing all around. It was a beautiful day!
Wednesday 13 November
Level Five: Exam day! Time to put to the test all of the things they have been teaching us! We were tested on both written and practical knowledge of our classes up to now. Very exhausting! Passed though, and relieved as you can imagine. Afternoon review over field trip details for Thursday to a Thai Traditional Medicine lecture.
Thursday 14 November
Studied Tok Sen at a temple outside of the city. Tok Sen is a really neat new service I will bring into practice. We also were introduced to fire foot massage. Sorry folks I don’t think I can bring this one to you … it is a liability thing. (I would be liable to get kicked out of my office by the landlord!) I will encourage you to check out a video on youtube though to see what it is like!
This was a fun day! Not only did all of that happen, but my family also arrived!
Friday 15 November
Exams and more exams! This was the day Thailand began its Yi Ping Festival. We made lanterns for the Loi Kratong festival. It was so much fun! It really lightened up the mood after all the exams we were hit with. Then, it was time for the the Level 5 Graduation and Party! My family was lucky to share this experience. Next level — Teacher’s Training! Hooray!!!
Saturday 16 & Sunday 17 November
This weekend was much more exciting since I could show my family around. We did so many things! It was a great way to introduce them to Thai Culture. We had a beautiful weekend.
On Saturday we visited several places via red truck (taxi). We saw how umbrellas and hand-fans are made by hand here locally! We also visited a jeweler where we could see how jade is cut into statues and charms for jewelry. Next we saw a ceramics shop and then had honey ice cream before dining on some traditional Thai cuisine. We saw a woodworking shop with lots of carvings. And in addition to all of that we got to see how Thai Silk is hand made. We even got to see the silk worms.
On Sunday we visited an elephant camp where we could ride the elephants through the jungle. We also had the chance to ride on a bamboo raft down the river and ride in a cart driven by oxen. This was an incredible experience for Alex and the kids! They loved seeing how big and how smart the elephants are. It was exhausting so we had a rest back at our place before going out to see the Sunday Walking Street Market. With the huge festival still going on, it was a bit more crowded than usual. We had a good time anyway.
Monday 18-Wednesday 20 November
Thai Foot massage teacher training for two days and basic instructor training on Wednesday! We went out and got some local food in the evenings. Took off Thursday and Friday to spend with the family.
Thursday 21-Sunday24 November
We wanted to go to the night safari Thursday night but my son got a stomach bug and we postponed it for Friday night. It was fun! Friday morning we went to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep (The Temple at Doi Suthep Mountain). It was fun! We all enjoyed seeing all of the different things there. We also visited a tribal village and a waterfall! It was a great day!
Saturday we went to Inthanin National Park and saw some tribes, some waterfalls, and did a little hiking there. We got to go to the highest point in Thailand! It was so fun!!! And Sunday we went to the Elephant Nature Center where we cared for and learned about rescued elephants from around Thailand and Burma. This was amazing! I think anyone who visits should take this tour!