Thursday, May 27, 2010

Good-Bye Rainbow House, Good-Bye Thailand!

Today was my last day at Rainbow House. What an emotional roller coaster. I can hardly write without bursting into sobs.

Life Lessons I Have Learned
-All people have value. Every. Single. One. It doesn't matter how responsive they are, or how physically able they are. They are just as important as the smartest, or most talented person in the world.
-Thai culture is Thai culture. I can't expect the rest of the world to function like Canada. Things frustrate me, but it's because it's not what I'm used to and what I've been taught as being acceptable. That doesn't mean it's right, but it means I need to be careful in what I perceive as "bad."
-Situations can seem completely hopeless and I may want to give up; but affecting one life in a simple way makes an impact, and why is that not worth my time?
-I am by no means a perfect saint. I am constantly making mistakes, and doing stupid things. I need to approach my imperfections rather than try to gloss them over by doing a good deed or two at Rainbow House.
-Money is not best spent on objects. It's better spent on times that build memories ( or you know, rent, food, transportation etc.)
-Encouragement should always be given! It's so easy, and so appreciated!
-A smile goes a long way.
-A child can be so misbehaved that you can barely handle him/her at all, and yet still be the biggest blessing in your life.

Maybe these seem obvious, but I feel like all of them have developed new meaning, and I have seen how each one is important first hand.

Today the staff presented me with gifts and hugs. I presented them with photos and letters and a tear or two.
They made me a spicy ten chilli Som Tam salad, and Kru Nok gave me a pepsi party. At the end of the day I gave all the kids a photo of me and them, and a short letter telling them about the amazing things I've noticed in them. The kids loved having a photo that they could keep and hold, and a letter that was theirs. I hugged Kru Nok good-bye and collapsed in her arms. She has been an amazing friend to me and I will really miss her. She told me to stop, like the Thai's do, and sent me on my way.

Kru Bonus, P'Som, Kru Tae, Me, and Kru Nok. The Rainbow House daycare staff.
I will miss them so much.
Laughing like always.
A photo with a few of the kids and the core day care staff.

Good Bye Rainbow House.
I will never forget the incredible experience I have had here.
May God continue to work here through staff and volunteers.
You have taught me what it means to love.
You have taught me the meaning of heartbreak.
You have taught me that no matter what, there is hope, and we're a part of it.

Thanks for reading my blog everyone. This is it! I am going to miss posting on here.
I have enjoyed sharing my journey with you!
Every one of you has been such an encouragement to me over here. I will never forget your comments and prayers.

God Bless You All.


Saturday, May 22, 2010

It's My Party And I'll Cry If I Want To

On Friday Rainbow House hosted a going away party for a host of volunteers. Julia and I, and then 21 Americans that came for just over a week.

It's the same routine every time, and I've been to so many leaving parties. In fact. . .10.

But Friday I wasn't the observer, I was the participator. It was my turn to get my certificate and my crown of flowers. I didn't cry as much as I expected I would as I still have three days of work left, and I didn't really comprehend the "leaving" bit of the party.

To start of the party, 5 of the kids performed a dance they had rehearsed with Mae Thim.
They did an excellent job!
Sombut, Kim, Au, Chicha, and Tee!
Julia and I receiving sashes and certificates.
Khun Wasan handing me my certificate and reference letter after nine months of tears, sweat, laughs, and smiles.
Afterwards getting photos with some of the kids that have made this experience unforgettable! This is Samon, who usually has the biggest smile around. She is a tremendous girl, and I am going to miss her loads. She's challenged me to notice the beauty in things I see as insignificant. Samon is the first to notice the beauty in a new hairband, a christmas tree with lights, a tree of green leaves, a beautifully decorated cookie, painted nails and so much more. She's been my little sister away from home, who's always ready to dance and sing. 
With my crown! There's her famous smile!

This is Bee! She is probably the definition of spunk and energy. She is always on the move, making her way across the floor, or dancing it up so long as there's music playing. She's a non stop chatterbox, constantly being silly and poking fun. She has encouraged me so much just to see the joy in everything! Her smile is infectious, as is her love of people.
And this is TEE! In short, I love this kid. We've been a tight set of friends my whole stay and I am going to miss him so much! I will never forget his laugh and his extra strong hugs.

And these are the staff. This is Kru Ning who is one of the big dogs of Rainbow House. I've seen a lot of her as every time I want to organize a trip or activity it's off to her office I go. She's been such a blessing to me! She's been gracious and says yes as much as she can! 
This is Nan, my favourite physiotherapist! She is an incredible worker and has been an inspiration to me to work hard. I'm going to miss her sweet giggle, and tremendous cooking skills!
Julia, Kru Nok, Myself, and Mae Thim. Mae Thim was one of my faithful English students, and was an excellent Thai dance teacher. Her passion for dance, English, and her work is so cool to see! I'm going to miss this amazing woman of God.

And finally. . .
Kru Nok and I. Kru Nok has been my best Thai friend during my stay in Thailand. She has helped me so much with my Thai, with communication, with child care pointers, with knowledge of all the kids, and just with looking past the negative of situations and embracing the positive. I am convinced our friendship won't end here, and hope to see her again. 

So Julia and I are off next week. Unbelievable!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bits and Pieces of the End

These last few weeks have been bustling with activity! Lots of outings with the kids, and outings among volunteers. Julia and I are leaving on the same day and are trying to squeeze in as much as we can in the short time we have.
One trip we took to the floating market was unsuccessful due to closed roads, so we crashed at McDonalds and had one of the funniest afternoons of my trip.

The three musketeers, trying to get it all in before we all return home next week.

We also made a trip into China Town. The lights were brilliant, and the food was even better!

Typical Emily and Julia photo. 
On the boat to get to China Town


Too late for the boat, so we ended up taxi-ing home.

One Sunday after lunch a beautiful and generous family from Nichada invited us to their house to eat lunch, swim in their pool and make ice cream sundaes. 

This little girl, Nong Pim, joined us for the afternoon at Nichada. She's recently been granted her visa to go to the USA after a long adoption process.

Other things involve the children from Rainbow! 

Anna and I took two of the kids from Rainbow out for some McDonalds ice cream and then to some good ol' mall rides. You know, the ones that cost a loonie and last about 1.5 minutes? However these ones cost 10 baht (30 cents) and last long enough for the kids to get bored.

Pet and Kim, the two we took out.

Beautiful Kim
Pet riding the helicopter.

The next thing on the agenda was a graduation ceremony. Bee, Pet, Ploy, Deaw, ChiCha, Kim, Au, and Pet Siri were all kids who attended Rainbow House Daycare every morning and did school teaching with Sethi and Kru Nok. These kids took a test this year and were ALL accepted to real school! The date for school starting date was approaching and I asked Sethi and Ana if they thought we should do something in celebration. So we took our idea to the director and planned out a schedule. Costumes were created, families came, photos were taken, a slide show was presented, and a few tears (mostly mine. . .) were shed. It was a real proud moment for everyone, and a great success on the Thai staff side as well as the volunteer side!

The graduates!
This was such a touching moment! This boy, Pet Siri, was taken to Rainbow House every day from his house by the same motorbike driver. He lives at home with his father but I had never seen him in my whole time being in Thailand. However, for graduation he came and the pride across his face was so incredible! 
All the graduates with their certificates and the director Khun Wasan.
Au and his mom! Au is from a town 3 hours away and hadn't been able to get into school there. His mom brought him to Rainbow House in hopes that one day he would be able to pass the test to get in. It was always really tough for Au to live away from his mom, but his excitement of passing the test and succeeding in such a big way was so amazing to see.
Everyone is so proud of this little boy, Deaw. His next destination was the older boys government home where his chances of getting any education was zero. His passing the test prevented this tragedy and now he is off to school, getting the education he deserves and thrives on.
Teachers, volunteers, and graduates. CONGRATS!

Ana and I brought an activity to Rainbow House last week. Cooking! The outcome was an excellent lesson that I'm continually taught it seems, but I just choose to ignore.

I can't cook

There I said it. The only thing I seem to do well is fish, and once in a while I can make a batch of cookies without any mix ups. . .oh and scrambled eggs.

Bread though, for pizza is beyond me. My mom is an excellent teacher, and has taught me so many times, however, I guess my listening skills require some work.

We wanted to make pizza with the kids. So we made 4 batches of dough, ONE turned out alright. One of them I allowed to rise, or didn't miss the egg, or didn't roll out on a table full of old food crumbs. One. . .

So we made a quick run to Tesco and bought some bread. Pizza bread was the alternative!
Me and Samon

Sethi and Ku Nok with the pizza bread!
Bee with Kru Nok decorating her pizza

Ana and I made one real pizza, we put it in the oven, took it out at the right time, tried a piece and it was amazing. We said, "Just a few more minutes" and stuck it back into the oven. A few more minutes was a few too many (it was more like 15. . .)

The outcome discouraged me from ever touching an oven again.

So we had the pizza bread, and it was alright; but I think I'll need intense encouragement before I'll touch the handle of the oven door again.

Last weekend we had four of the girls from Rainbow House over for a slumber party at Sirin House! 
First was a trip to Swensens where Gable treated us all to two huge bowls of ice cream.
Bee and I
Camping out in front of the TV for some Nanny McPhee in Thai!

The next morning was Sunday so we took them to church. The girls all really enjoyed junior church. The songs were a lot of fun! Full of actions and dance moves that the girls are all too excited to participate in.
Bee on the mattress in the morning. The night before we let them choose out one hair accessory for church the next morning. This was her choice!
Chicha with her hair choice.

And these last few photos are just from good times at work!

Au as a lion in the soft play room!
This is his Power Ranger face. He tries to be tough, but really he is only able to be cute.
Bee and Ana in Drama Therapy at Rainbow House being "silly"
Joy at Drama Therapy!
Ball poolin'
Toa joining in the fun
Probably the cutest monkey you will ever see

I have 6 days of work left, 6! Soon this blog will be finished, and I'm going to miss this a lot. Keep hanging in there though followers as I am working on a few more posts before my departure! 

And as a side note, I thought I should include the fact that I stole every single one of these photos from someone. Thanks Ana, Julia, and Gable!