“Okay, so how much brown sugar do I add to the hot chocolate??”
I frantically ask my friend (and expert Peace Corps chef Chris) while hungry students are running around my kitchen waiting for the French fries to be finished and looking in every crook and cranny of my house (probably judging the cobwebs that have started to form in some places).
Switching between talking to my friend in English, and trying to answer students’ questions in Thai, while simultaneously making French fries (for the first time I might add) proved to be chaotic. Typically, a situation like this – me being responsible for hosting a party at my house with my 7th graders – would be extremely stressful for my type A personality. But somehow, in spite of myself, I was laughing and smiling through the chaos. (smiling through the chaos might just be the best description of my peace corps service thus far)
Over the course of our Christmas class party, my students and I figured out how to make French fries, popcorn, homemade hot chocolate, and santa strawberry men (complete with droopy whip cream that made the “Santas” look super creepy). The menu also included spicy papaya salad and grilled chicken…there was A LOT of food. I am pretty sure everyone was in a food coma when we were finished.
By the end of the party, my co teacher and the few straggling students that stayed behind all crashed on the couch and simply sat there in silence for a few minutes…processing the day we just had…listening to the fan and appreciating the stillness after the craziness that was our class Christmas party (that is, until we started playing a pretty competitive game of Uno). I should probably also mention that during the course of our Christmas party, half of the students got locked inside of my house and couldn’t open the door…which caused some of them to panic. Meanwhile, myself and another student were trying to yell through a solid wooden door of how they could try and get it unjammed. Also, I can now no longer get into my bathroom…students managed to lock the door from the inside…and I don’t have a key…which means I get to take cold showers until we can figure out how to get it unlocked….but even as I am typing this I am smiling and laughing at how ridiculous it all is. And I can’t help it, I just love them all so much.
Our morning consisted of a whole school Christmas assembly that involved free present give-a-ways and individual class performances. Our class also had the special responsibility of decorating the stage. My students and I got creative and together we designed a killer stage (with the help of pinterest)! Complete with a paper Christmas tree…that by the end of the assembly was barely staying together…but it was beautiful to begin with and that’s all that matters. 😉 And as soon as the assembly (that myself and co-teachers were responsible for hosting) was finished, my class and I packed up the car and drove to my house to get our party started! It was crazy. I can’t help but laugh when I recall what we must have looked like rushing from one big thing on to the next.
But even through the chaos of the day, I found myself stopping and thinking to myself: Wait, this is my last Christmas in Thailand. I won’t be here next year. This thought made me try to mentally capture everything about certain moments of the day….the feel of the burning sun in the santa suit, the timid smiles on the little kindergarteners’ faces when they came to take a present from me, my homeroom class and our special bond expressed with secret smiles and facial expressions during the assembly, having the responsibility of being an MC sprung on me and not necessarily knowing what I was doing but just saying whatever would come to my mind first, laughing a lot (mostly at myself), watching students smile bigger than I’ve ever seen or laugh harder than I’ve ever heard, getting caught up in the excitement of students while they participate in gift exchanges, singing karaoke off-key, and stumbling through trying to express my complicated feelings in another language. I wish I could freeze time so that I could soak up everything that is taking place around me…I don’t want to miss a thing. And when I look back and think upon this day, I want the mental image in my head to be as clear as the picture I have while I’m typing this post right now.
Also, my class has already started to plan a New Years Party at my house in just a few days…I’ll be sure to keep you posted on how that one turns out…hopefully we can avoid (a) getting locked out and (b) locking doors with no keys…wish us luck!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Years everybody!!! ❤