Friday, December 31, 2004


I am so, so sorry for not posting sooner. I've had some major trouble with my modem and had to take the old one back the computer shop, which had to be sent to Bangkok for repair. Finally I'm back on-line with a "loaner" modem that works pretty good.

Yes! I am okay!

I live at least 140 kilometers inland from the devastation that occured in Krabi province, Koh Phi Phi Don island and Phuket. The news casters say that Phuket and Phi Phi islands were the worst hit.

Such a weird many of you know, I had just traveled to Koh Phi Phi Don for a vacation in October and spend a glorious five days there, living in a small bungalow at the Cabana Hotel on the beach.

Today, the Cabana Hotel is non-existent...and the bungalow's are all gone....washed out to sea along with their residents. The tidal wave hit at peak tourist season....a day after Christmas, when people were lounging around on the beach or just leisurely taking in the day.

Suddenly, forty foot waves hit the beach and took everything with, bodies, huts, buildings, brush, trees, you-name-it. Bodies are still being discovered. It was so strange for me to see the recognizable remnants of the Cabana Hotel where I stayed on Koh Phi Phi Don and see the flattened structure where I had enjoyed breakfast in the morning hours of my vacation.

Here in the south, although peaceful and dry, the tremors made their mark. The buildings at Lee Gardens in Hatyai were damaged by the 9.0 tremors and aftershocks and the street was strewn with glass and debri. Luckily, nobody was hurt.

So, once again I've escaped major harm, dancing away from danger only months ahead of time. Perhaps my life is one that is touched in some way? I'd like to think of it like that.

The death toll in Asia minor has reached beyond 70,000 now and is expected to continue to rise rapidly as the missing become accounted for....

So sad. My heart goes out to those who are missing relatives or have discovered their deceased family members or friends.

Posted by Hell

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Merry Christmas from Sunny Thailand!

Howdy folks!

Well, it's Christmas Day here in southern Thailand, a hot, sunny and breezy day. While most of you are tucked in your beds asleep, visions of sugar plums dancing through your heads, awaiting Santa and his reindeer to alight atop your roof, I'm just enjoying the day as if it were any other regular day here in Thailand.

Being that the area I'm living in is predominately Muslim and/or Buddhist, there isn't much happening here, except people gearing for the end-of-year celebration to rock-in the New Year.

Most of my er, uh...Christmas cheer, was obtained from the happy smiles on my students faces throughout the week as they colored and prepared Christmas cards for their parents. Most brought me Christmas cards, and I received a pretty, little heart shaped sachet from one of my first grade girls and also a "Winnie the Pooh - Tiger tree ornament," both of which I will undoubtedly hang on to for life.

It was so much fun watching the children's faces as they gazed at our classroom Christmas tree and intently sketched snowmen, Santa Claus, Christmas trees and presents on their cards, crayons and colored pencils flying through their little hands as they completed their little works of art, finally bringing them to me with serious looks on their faces, for my final scrutiny.

I'd take each card in hand, study it for a while, pointing out what they had drawn and finally exclaim, "Beautiful!" or "Wonderful!" which of course caused a huge smile to break out on their face.

The remaining part of my Christmas cheer came from an unexpected package I received in the mail from Lansing, Michigan and a very unexpected e-mail in my Yahoo box.

The package I received was from my big Cyber-sis, Shirl-the-Pearl, and contained two books. One, "The Dive from Clausen's Pier" and the other, "Ladder of Years," both of which I had been wanting to read.

Thanks Shirl!

I'm already done with Clausen's Pier, finishing it in a record two days. It truly was one of the best books I've read in a long time. It really made my holiday season!

The unexpected e-mail was from one of my childhood friends, Raul Herrera, a.k.a., "Camel" who's brother Jesse, I've been trying to hunt down over the internet. The irony of this is that Raul and I used to discuss traveling to Asia, as kids in high school will dream about far off places.
Only thing about that was that both of us DID end up in Asia. Raul has been living in Japan for the last 20 some-odd years and here I am in southern Thailand after a year in China.


He supplied the information I'd need to contact his brother, who' s living in Missouri now. Funny how we all seem linked somehow.

Merry Christmas to you all!


Posted by Hello

Sunday, December 12, 2004

It's Christmas time again!

I wouldn't even know about it, had it not been for others mentioning the fact and my Thai assistant at the school where I teach mentioning setting up the Christmas tree for the kids.

So, today I'm going into work (a Sunday) to set up the tree and some Christmasy decorations. I'm actually looking forward to it. I've never been much one for holiday celebrations, but I think I can put aside the "Bah Humbug" attitude long enough to focus on making our classroom look cool for the kids.

After so many winters spent in New England, it seems funny celebrating Christmas here in southeast Asia. Last Christmas was spent in Guangzhou and although I didn't celebrate the holiday per se, Phoenix City, Guangzhou and Xintang all did it up with decorations, fireworks and the like.

We'll be handing out little presents for the kids, small gifts of chocolate or candies, which will be as much fun for me just seeing their smiling little faces as it will be for them receiving them. There will also be some Christmasy music, sing-alongs and possibly a Christmas movie for the kids to watch.

P.S., Happy birthday to my mom, who would have been 85 today.

Posted by Hello

Thursday, December 02, 2004

And you wonder why I teach Thai children?...

Don't cry because it's over;
smile because it happened....


Posted by Hello
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