The Holidays in Thailand
Ah, the holidays. A time to drink Bailey's by the fire with family, listen to Christmas tunes non-stop the second Halloween ends and shop till you drop so you can enjoy a beautifully decorated tree surrounded by a sea of gifts. Well most of my Christmases have looked like that at least. This year...well, you know, TITS. This is Thailand, Son.
Cooking Thanksgiving dinner: a feat feared by many, but not these American gals. With two toaster ovens and a crockpot we were able to bang out a Pilgrim-worthy meal. And you thought it was scary to cook with your dual oven, 8 range gas burning stove, microwave and the pizza guy on speed dial as an emergency back up. Ha. Toaster ovens 4 lyfe!
Granted this meal took about three days worth of prep time - the baking alone took hours and look how tiny those apple pies are! But in the end it was worth it. To be able to sit down to garlic mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, roasted chicken (store bought - we had to cheat somewhere), stuffing, mac and cheese, pumpkin pie, apple pie and mulled wine was worth every baht and late school night that week.
Now on to Christmas. It really was the 12 days of Christmas here. Every day was a different school event, game, party, plus two staff parties. I can only wear my Santa hat on a beach and dress up as a snowman and elf so many times in one month. What? You don't do that on Christmas?
At work, Santa surprised the kids on the roof and joined us for some classic holiday games, such as: dress-up Santa relay, a version of musical chairs that involved powdering your face and no chairs, and pop the balloon. It all ended with a gift exchange with Joel...er...Santa.
Joy School was no different and we were able to swap outfits because really, who thought the snowman was a flattering look? I was clearly born to be an elf. An elf that looks like a tomato with a Santa hat on that is.
Now that the silliness was out of the way. It was time for the adults to get down to business. No we didn't cook an entire Christmas dinner in a single toaster oven. That would be ridiculous. Who does that? We all split up the responsibility and cooked individual dishes in our own respective toaster ovens and met up for a potluck Christmas dinner...just like the three wise men did all those years ago. Patch also pulled a Grinch-like move and stole the decorated tree from work so we could have a bit of decor in our humble abode.
Who could forget those good ol' Christmas concerts where you'd dress up in your red, white and green mock turtle necks with your classmates and sing a horrid rendition of Silent Night mashed up with Jingle Bells? Thankfully that didn't happen here. But we did have a concert.
My third graders killed it with a choreographed dance to "Baby" by Justin Bieber, because if he does get deported, we'll accept him with open arms! Dan Cliffe and the new Cliff Hangers busted out the air guitars for Ming Tea's BBC. He seems to have trained these boys in his rock and roll ways. Other dances included "Waka, Waka", "What Does the Fox Say?", "Roar" and several Bruno Mars performances.
With one final holiday party it was time to do some team building exercises and win some cash prizes! Piggy back ride anyone? After we played some ridiculous "team bonding" games (halfway through the year), we drank. A lot. And when asked by the Thai staff, "What do you say when you want everyone to finish their drink?" We responded with, "Oh, in English we say - 'Slappy Ham!'" So you can imagine how the rest of the night carried on. Slappy ham! chug. Slappy ham! chug.
In all seriousness though, it was a great Christmas. It was the first spent away from my family and while I missed them, I couldn't have asked for a better replacement family to celebrate with. The gifts were non-existent, the Christmas music limited and snow...what snow? Slappy ham, everyone!