It wasn’t until Saturday that I realized the end of August had come and that Labor Day weekend was upon us (at least for Americans). It’s easy to lose track of time, and the weeks are flying by in a flash! Keeping tabs on all the Thai national holidays has become a new part of life and it’s fun watching the street decorations change, new flags erected, and the general buzz throughout the city. Our most recent holiday was Mother’s Day, a celebration of Queen Sirikit’s birthday on August 12. Working in a multicultural staff including volunteers, I think this is our third Mother’s Day of the year (Thai father’s day will be December 5 and a celebration of the King’s birthday)! I don’t have many pictures of Mother’s Day, but below is a taste of how town and the temples change depending on the holiday. Many photos below are from the Inthakin Festival, a Buddhist holiday and celebration.
Growing up, the anticipation for Labor Day weekend was probably only rivaled by that for Christmas holiday. Summers were spent preparing our family farm for a get together of family and friends from all over the country and world. My Dad, Aunts and Uncles, and family friends put together a soul band and practiced throughout the summer for the big Saturday night gig, something that undoubtedly inspired my brothers and I to pick up instruments. Every time I hear Van Morrison’s “Domino” or the B52’s “Love Shack” I’m taken back to my 10-year-old self sitting on the hay bales in our family barn singing along with the adults. I was literally raised on these tunes, and it’s fun giving the songs a different twist now that the we (the kids) have taken the musical reigns. The best part about Labor Day was the gathering of people and the community we all felt that weekend. Having twenty people over for breakfast or going on the daily snake search with all of my cousins and friends and our National Geographic tour guide “Snake Jim” supervising were some of the highlights (I still know all the spots where old tin lay from the roofs of turkey coops my great-grandfather and grandfather tended to— always a good “going home activity”).
(pictures courtesy of Lisa Sheirer)
Having family and friends in town when you haven’t seen them for a long time is always awesome, and I was fortunate enough to have a visit from my older brother and sister, Rob and Blakely, at the beginning of August. Three months into my stay in Thailand, I was definitely craving some family time, and when I received word in early July that they were coming, I couldn’t have been more excited. I had jokingly mentioned to Blakely that she should come visit, and a week later she took me up on it! Needless to say, we all had a great time, even though their visit was only a short week. From an excursion to the Elephant Nature Park, gigs at The Colour Bar, cooking classes, and trying all of my favorite local food spots, we managed to pack a lot in!
My brother and sister’s visit was again a reminder of how blessed I am to be doing what I am doing and the amazing family that I have. I cannot thank them enough for shelling out $X just to visit me and I am thinking they may have caught the travel bug, which I’m very happy about (more travel buds!). So glad all of my siblings have made it to Chiang Mai and I cannot wait for my parent’s visit in October/November.
On this Labor Day, I think about how much I am enjoying what I am doing and how it all really doesn’t seem like work. When passion and love drives your work, happiness follows. Labor on.