Thailand Update 2

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2 Monks and a CatHappy 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

ClassroomLevel 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

Salt and Pepper Shakers
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!!!

Loi Krathong

A beautiful floating lantern used to celebrate the Loi Krathong Festival

Flying Lanterns

A crowd of people light and letting go their lanterns to celebrate Yi Peng.

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.

Making Umbrellas

Two phases of umbrella making. The frames before and after adding the paper.

Silk Worms

Silk worms used to create the cocoons that are then used to make silk

Silk Worm Cocoons

The cocoons of the silk worm

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.

My daughter and I on the back of an elephant enjoying the jungles of Northern Thailand

My daughter and I on the back of an elephant enjoying the jungles of Northern Thailand

Walking Market

Many people flood the streets at night during one fo the several “Walking Street” bazaars that happen every weekend.

Thai Silk

Silk scarves laid out on a table ready to sell during one of the many markets that can be found all throughout Chiang Mai.

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.

Food

Rice

Fried Bugs

Hungry? Yes, that says “Fried Giant Water bug” and “Fried Short Tail Cricket”. There also Fried Silk worms and other fried bugs on that table.

Crabs

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!

Wat Doi Suthep

Wat Doi Suthep is one of the biggest Temples around Chiang Mai Thailand and is located outside of the city, up on the Doi Suthep mountain

Waterfall

One of the many beautiful waterfalls found around Northern Thailand.

Village in Thailand

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!

Elephant Snack

One of the many elephants found at the Elephant Nature Park taking time for a quick snack

Elephant Bathing

My family and I giving the elephants a bath. Funny thing, they are covered in dirt, we clean them, and they immediately cover themselves with mud again to stay cool!

Feeding Time

I’m showing this elephant some love after feeding her some bananas and watermelons.

The End

Not much to say about this one, except for this is The End! (until my next update)