Trip Start Jan 08, 2004
167Trip End Ongoing
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General update and news from me / us.
I have been back at home for a while now and it is almost time to disappear again. This time to Australia for a couple weeks to pick up some money, and also to do a course with RedR. Then to Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai for a week to work with Mirror Foundation - we are in the process of taking over the management of the FreeSchools project in Fang. (see http://www.freeschoolsworld.com/).
Here things are OK.
Kanchana is now 14 weeks pregnant and over the most risky period, and past the period where she has been feeling quite sick. She still feels sick sometimes and has pain sometimes, but is OK at the moment. Yesterday, she was bleeding though and so we rushed to the hospital to check the baby. All turned out OK, but it shows us how fragile babies are.
I have a new computer. YAY!
As Kanchana can't use her gym membership any more (I brought her a year's membership to prepare for Nepal) - I am now using it. I go to Fitness First in the Mall Bangkapi most days and am feeling fitter and stronger. :-)
My Thai language skills are not getting fitter or stronger. :-(
Vava and Alif are good and will have school holidays pretty soon.
Kanchana is currently doing her tests for the end of this term for her Masters Degree in Education. She thinks she has done well so far.
I think that is about it.
Just to balance things out with a new life on the way - sadly Jaree's father died this week. We went to the funeral today.
Thai funerals - generally the body is kept for 3 or 5 or 7 days. In this case for 5. In the past it was kept at home, but now more often at the temple. This is so people can come and visit the family and pay respect and say goodbye. We wore black clothes and brought a wreath to give and also put 1000 Baht in an envelope to give to Jaree's mum. Jaree's mum and her mum's sisters were there and Jaree came as well when she heard we were there. We chatted for a bit and were offered food, but we had already eaten. We went and wai'd to the casket, and put an incense stick in the bowl and wished for good luck for the deceased and family. Later I also went and looked at Jaree's dad's face. She asked me to knock on the casket first and then just explain to him that I was a friend of her and used to teach with her.
She said he had committed suicide by hanging himself. He had been a driver throughout his life and had recently retired. From what I understand everything was fine when he was working, but since retiring he hadn't been going out and became more withdrawn and concerned about things. He started going a little mad. He had been to hospital last year due to this and had gotten better, but unfortunately still obviously wasn't feeling well. Hmmm, another random fact I could have mentioned above is that each year more people commit suicide than are killed in wars, although it isn't something I generally hear about, although obviously it is quite a common problem.
Anyway, each evening monks chant in the room containing the coffin, and tomorrow, the last day, he will be cremated which is the normal practice for most Thais.
Kanchana, as she is pregnant can't see the body as I did, and if we go to the funeral / burning phase - she can't put anything on the pyre, because she is pregnant.
When we got home, to eat something (she keeps getting hungry for random things) she made sure that I had gone and washed my face first, which I assume was for Thai culture after seeing a dead body.
Oh - interestingly about Thai culture - it is a very complicated matter and even Thai people don't know all the rules and ways of doing things. Kanchana had thought she couldn't go to the burning, but after some discussion with other people, the above rules were decided upon as the correct Thai customs.