I have just returned from a weekend in Khun Yuam.
It was just what I needed.
Back at the beginning of January, before I had left for my village, I met an American who had married a Karen lady 30 years ago. He was an insightful man, spoke Thai fluently and a little Karen. He warned me that after a few weeks on my own in the village I would be craving somewhere more vibrant. I didn’t completely believe him.
However, having spent two weeks in my village, I was indeed starting to feel a little bit jaded. Though it is beautiful, and everybody is very friendly, it can sometimes feel a little lonely.
It was therefore really good to get a change of scene this weekend and to see Maddy and Nootsabar (who Maddy lives with in Khun Yuam and who works for KHT). I have returned full of fresh vigour and energy, with a huge smile on my face!
On Saturday, we ran an “English Camp” at Khun Yuam secondary school. It was a surprisingly low key affair compared to the school events I have witnessed so far, but a lot of fun nonetheless.
100 kids from Khun Yuam Secondary School came for the day and we ran different activities for them. Maddy, who is based in the school 4 days a week had come up with a range of activities and had given me the “Outdoor Games” to run.
Basically I just got to play with a parachute all day. 🙂
As well as Maddy and I, there was a third foreigner helping; a french lady called Martine. She was visitng Khun Yuam for the weekend and one of the other teachers had spotted her the day before and invited her to join us. Every introduction went like this:
“Teacher Maddy and Teacher Laura, volunteers from KHT and the foreigner, a real tourist!”
Maddy and I couldn’t help but giggle at such an introduction, but Martine enjoyed her day so much she also joined us for the Staff Party in the evening.
We partied Thai style with a traditional BBQ Hotpot (delicious) and Karaoke. For the first time in my life I actually enjoyed singing cheesy karaoke songs with Maddy. No doubt our “Fruit Cocktails” (attempts to turn “Thai wine” into something more palatable) helped.
Parties here never go on late so by half past ten we were curled up in bed chatting the night away. It felt so nice to chat in depth with someone and although we are both enjoying ourselves a lot, I think we both appreciated the company.
Nootsabar lives on a smallholding at the edge of Khun Yuam. It is beautiful. After a run on Sunday morning we enjoyed a delicious breakfast of rice soup in her outdoor kitchen. We spent the rest of the morning relaxing in the sunshine, chatting and reading our books. It was a lovely day and by the time I got back to Nuan’s that evening, I felt very relaxed and content to be home again.