Tuesday, September 7, 2010

For Love, Not for Money.

If this pile of Bahts was in Euro, I wouldn't have come back but stayed on a loooong holiday in Thailand at least for one year (after poping in to IBS to be in the kick-off).

Money, however, is not THE issue if someone will take this brilliant advantage and challenge of experiencing professionally more in three months than most of the people in Education experience during their worklife. 

I highly recommend this kind of long exchange to all of my colleagues - and students as well!

I cannot even articulate all of it right now, after 10 days from arrival back to my work here in Finland - but as soon as I'm able to, I'll probably write some kind of reflective  "The End" to this blog  - hopefully this story with the relationships included will be a never ending one though.

Photo: Thanit B. by LOMO camera.

Mixed feelings, again: SO good to be back home with friends, IBS students and colleagues, but missing people over there in Bangkok. And that warm (read: HOT) weather too!

With love, Ajarn Outi.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Welcome Newbies - Goodbye this Oldie!

This certain event for overseas students' orientation made it clear that I'm Not The One to be in for the fall semester. It was kind of a rite & ritual for me to get out (but not to get rid of) from BUIC while the others were eagerly joining in. I nearly fell in tears, several times during the day.

First, the students had some Thai-culture related ice-breaking activities at Rangsit Campus - and, I have to tell you, that everything was organized once again SO well. There were some Finnish students as well, from Mikkeli University of Applied Sciences and Vaasa University, but NONE from our organization - which made a dull gray shadow on my day too. I know, that those serious responsibility and insurance issues affected. Anyway, I was prepared to welcome our students to Bangkok University during this week as well as I could do. In the end, I did have a few words with one guy from Mikkeli. And more with the students from Sweden in Swedish. They asked me to stay here ;)

Learning how to dance traditional Thai-folkdance was one of the activities.

How to make a Lotus flower even more attractive was one of the cultural challenges.... 
I did it myself too.

A.Jiab, my true support throughout this summer coached me how to...

And in the end of the orientation day to Thai culture we visited one of the most famous Floating Markets with its elephants.

Floating market and floating vendor.... So much to show and tell, not enough words for it right now.
Ask me for more detailed information, please. This day was a moving one among the others. For the rest of my life.

Thank you BUIC colleagues!

Dr-Nok, Jeri, Jiab, Tor, Dr. Siriwan, and all you over there! I love you <3 You made my summer!

Ko Chang... The Final Countdown!

The last week of my stay in Thailand was planned to be a perfect holiday with my son - as it was in the end but not like I had planned in advance. We both suffered from bronchitis and a horrifying cough, and my son had additionally some symptoms of diarrhea, so, the public transportation would not have been the most comfortable idea. We took a taxi, and not whatever taxi, to Trat but one of the familiar taxi drivers, and the one who was so overwhelmingly grateful for our English lessons on the tour. The cost of 3000 baht was nothing compared to the comfortability and the local knowledge of everything.

Hae had been a succesful businessman in his previous life...and his life story was a touching one, but, he had made everything himself to cope with disasters which ruined everything. And now a days he is living in peace with himself and the surrounding world after becoming a buddhist monk a few years ago, still running his own business somehow, without being bitter. There is something to learn for us, Farangs. A lot!  And, I do not recommend to become a buddhistic monk if you happen to face some failures in your life. Different story then.

Well, the Island of Elephants, Ko Chang is one of the biggest islands in Thailand - next to Kambodza. Pure nature, Nature park area, and not so touristic way of anything, yet. And, I have to add that it was purely the choice of my son.

OK, we had really good and sincere talk like mom-son on our way to Ko Chang for five hours, and when we arrived to deluxe villa on White Beach with its brilliant next-to-the-sea swimming pools....

...my adventurous son announced that it was NOT exactly what HE was looking for, and asked our chauffor to take him to those backpackers' sites. I had an utterly relaxing week all by myself. The only contact to the outer world was some New Zelandian kids to whom I told some true stories about Santa Claus who happens to live in Finland. And, after those certain story telling moments I was known as a Finn, who really knows everything about Santa Claus and his family :)
By experience, of course. And one of the most warming comments ever was from 6 years old girl: "Thank you, Madame, for this really important INFORMATION - I will appreciate it for ever!"  OMG, what did I tell her....?

I was really lucky to have six days of sun over there as it was a monsoon time and normally not too sunny. And, I think I was lucky to get this kind of pic of a tremendous thunderstorm just before all the electricity on the whole island went off. For two days. This time I was not afraid of anything but just closed my eyes and slept, tight.

I enjoyed my swimming and sleeping period, as I knew that my only son was having THE holiday of his entire life - just 12 kilometers away from me, on the backpackers' beach, reporting every now and then that he's alive. No need to worry really. And, I had my time to enjoy all by myself, muy pero muy tranquilo. I really needed it too, to recover and to be ready for my IBS challenges back home.

So, here they are, same guys as week ago. Hae came to bring us back home. Heading back to Bangkok, my home city for this summer. Bitter-sweet feelings already at that point... just a few more days to come.

It was not easy to be THE Mom of an Outgoing Party Animal in Bangkok

I had a plan. I had a glorious plan to have some quality time - finally - with my son in Bangkok. We haven´t been too much together since I started my bread-and-butter work at  SAMK by accident in fall 2002. Now he is 21 years young and verbally talented person, who seems to cope where ever, with mom, or preferably without. Meanwhile waiting him at the BKK airport I was lucky to meet these traditional thai-dancers.

Anyway, one of the most exciting moments during my stay in Bangkok was to wait him to arrive at the airport. He was concerned about how to find not-so-tall mom with dark hair in the crowds.. I was not concerned at all, as he is some 30 centimeters taller than anybody else there.

Finally he met someone a bit girlish who is high above him... at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center, BACC, my real favorite attraction by all means.

Anyway, I was delighted to be a hostess and mom in same person, BUT if he had been there for the whole period of my exchange, I'd have turned to a Real Panda Mom with really black underlines...