by Shannon, Co-Director, IHF Chiang Rai
This week in Chiang Rai has been surprisingly eventful. Seeing as I only just arrived in Chiang Rai this past April, I am still quite “new” to the IHF family and thus, feel as though I learn something new every day. This week was no exception! Though Trinh took her four days off early on in the week, Joy and I kept ourselves notably busy in running the day-to-day routine of the center. I am finally feeling oriented within the city after bopping around by both my bicycle and motorbike – paying bills, making school visits, dropping by the various markets for our weekly grocery shopping trips, repairing our water pump, etc. And I have to admit, I’m in love with it. While I had been living in Northeastern Thailand since October, there is something about the Northern culture up here that is so genuine and welcoming. The people are friendly, the dialect is pleasant, the markets are always buzzing with activity. Yet, despite the market visits and the Thai friends I managed to make this week, I have to say that the biggest accomplishment of all, however, was the fact that the kids actually ate my food. I have never been able to cook anything other than an omelet for as long as I can remember. Joy has been teaching me how to cook her unique “Thai-Indian-Asian” fusion style and I’m learning quickly – the kids were even bold enough to exclaim “arroyyy!!” (delicious) after one of my spats of fried rice. YES!
It has been so great to have a functioning swimming pool too. I can’t believe our past volunteers were able to clean up what used to be a swamp in only a short month. I couldn’t be more grateful for their generous efforts, and I speak for all of us! The heat is becoming impossible to ignore and on the breach of unbearable. The kids never even break a sweat; meanwhile the other directors and I are drenched from head to toe by mid-morning. And so, as you can imagine, having a pool to play in when the kids come back from school has been the highlight of our days throughout the week. While the rainy season will undoubtedly cool things down, the humidity will be a whole other aspect of the SE Asian experience to deal with. Bring it on!