Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

For American’s/Westerner’s, New Years Eve is a time for celebration, laughing, partying, drinking, dancing, talking and spending time with good friends and family.  Last year, despite that I was in Thailand, I celebrated in the same fashion in a popular Thai city with my PCV friends.  Since I didn’t experience a true Thai New Years last year, I chose to stay at home this year to celebrate with my villagers.   It will officially go down as the most boring and uncomfortable New Years Eve of my life.  Here’s how it went down.

I’m excited.  I come home from a crazy day of Thai-napping (when Thai people kidnap you and you do Thai-like things for an incessant amount of time) and ask my neighbors what time they are going to temple for the celebrations.  From the beginning, I understand that the celebrations will be different from what I’m used to as NYE for my local villagers consists of making merit, meaning lots of chanting/meditating.  But I was quite surprised when they told me that they’d be there at 6pm until at least 1am, possibly sleeping there.  In my head I decided I would only stay for a few hours because although I want the traditional Thai NYE experience, I certainly don’t want to sit in the chanting position for at least 7 hours.  I was happy with cheering for the last 10 seconds of 2012 on my own, in the comfort of my home.  

Some of the locals sitting around me - everybody is all smiles while waiting for the monks to arrive
But this didn't happen.  In 65 degree weather (which believe it or not is absolutely freezing here), I sat in that damn chanting position for 7.5 hours alongside my neighbors and sleeping children, chanting right on through the countdown.  

With this large quantity of time to think or not think….this is how I utilized my time:
My view  for the night
       1.       This could be fun and relaxing….but I’m still outta here by 10pm
       2.       Hmmm, the aura of the night and the people lead me to believe I may not be leaving by 10pm
       3.       10pm, why am I still here?
       4.       You wanted this Erica….this was your decision.     
       5.       Many escape route plans go through my head
       6.       I’m annoyed because none will happen
       7.       Oh, I wonder how long I just fell asleep for?
       8.      I’m bored
       9.   I love America
      10.    How is it that I’m freezing at only 65 degrees?
With my neighbors, while I was still happy
      11. Ants really are interesting.  Everybody should   take a few minutes to watch them work
      12.   Finally thought through that financial thing I had to think about…
      13.   I hope big papa Buddha brings some good things in 2013 for being here
      14.   Erica, what a selfish thought….stop it
      15.  12:00am fireworks going off….we chant on through
      16.  Why can’t you be friends with the 19 year old punks?  We all know they are having way more fun right now….
      17.  Woops...fell asleep again!
      18.   I’m hungry and tired 
      19.   1am and they are still doing this...but some people are leaving...this is my chance!  
      20. 1:30 - peaced out!  Home to my semi-less cold house to sleep under my 5 blankets!
One of the of 4 pee/coffee breaks.  The smile means it was probably the first one, still fairly early into the festivities. 

I know how you feel grandma....this is about as happy as most of us were after a few hours


  1. Erica, My girlfriend and I are RPCV's from Panama and going to be traveling through Thailand next week. I just COS'd. Any way we could come visit your site for a day:) We can bring presents. Please let me know as we would love to see the culture there and we could also help in any way. Hopefully talk soon, californiaadam(@)

  2. Congrats Adam! I just sent you an email - hope to see you soon :)