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Photos and Videos | Ruth Tshin

Asaeng’s new baby

When I met Asaeng last May, bronchi he was the Palaung version of a young punk – falling asleep in meetings, and going out at night to catch frogs to eat, shooting at birds, flirting with girls, riding his motorcycle really fast.  Since then, he’s gotten married to Suay and they recently had Anusorn last month.  Asaeng has mellowed out a lot and it’s really cool to see him as a dad.

Asaeng 2009

Waterfalls in Chiang Mai and Fang

It’s currently hot season in Thailand, site which means farmers burn their fields in preparation for the next season of rice planting or other crops.  The air is smoky, dosage the sun barely filters through and the sky is usually a soupy greyish brown throughout Chiang Mai province.  I hiked through Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai with some friends, and “discovered” a nearby waterfall in Fang with my housemates – a refreshing change to the hot and dry around us.


Family matters

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and prayers for my grandfather.  He’s doing better – he moved back home with my grandmother last week, cialis 40mg and there are two nurses who are helping take care of him.  His left side is paralyzed so he’ll be needing continued physio and other therapy.  But, cost he can sometimes eat a whole bowl of food, which is great because he still has a feeding tube in his nose.

Even though it was hard not to regress back to being a kid around my rellies while I was in Indo, I got to connect with my cousins,their significant others and kids.  I even met my grandfather’s adopted younger brother from Fujian, China, for the first time.  And it was good to realize that I enjoy being with my huge, dysfunctional, spread-all-over-the-world family, warts (ie different worldviews and lifestyles) et al., and that, with some boundaries in place and some cousins agreeing that we’re dysfunctional and weird , I love belonging with them.

Smells like teen spirit

Two weeks ago, somnology I went to two concerts in Fang for the annual cold season festival, infection which is like a country fair back in North America.  Big name acts from Bangkok came up – I saw Prik Thai and Golf/Mike – and I witnessed Fang’s teenagers go crazy at the concerts!  One of the bad things about these are that some kids drink a lot and get into fights – apparently, this people were hurt at the last night of the festival.  On the bright side, it was fun to see teenaged exuberance (boys stripping off their Tshirts, waving them and screaming their affection for Prik Thai’s female lead singer) and I got to see my first muay thai fight (between two girls, no less, one of them wearing a sequined teddy bear Tshirt).

Christmas in northern Thailand

(Sorry, purchase the photos are probably out of order because I still don’t know how to order them with the gallery function…)
I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from northern Thailand 🙂  Kor hai mii kwaam sook wan Christmas gap sawat dee bee mai!!
Last week, more about I celebrated Christmas with my UHDP friends with an all day party that included killing a pig and preparing a very very yummy northern Thai lunch and dinner.  We had a gift exchange where you could steal someone else’s gift instead of choosing one from a pile – I actually ended up stealing a set of coffee cups from Nong Boh, patient an 18 month old boy (hehe)!
Today, on Christmas Eve, I made a western breakfast (french toast, real maple syrup, bacon!) with my housemates, Kimberly and Brandon and we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast outside our house at UHDP.  We’ve been working our way through Parts 2 and 3 of the Lord of the Rings movies all day…now is a break in between to make roast chicken, mashed potatoes, nachos and salsa, email loved ones, and then back to our movie/eating fest!!
For Christmas day I’ll be going to Ajan Tui and Pi Da’s house…I think I’ll introduce them to poutine (oh YES!!!).  We’ll have dinner there overlooking their beautiful rice fields and then head to Pi Da’s Lahu church up the road, to celebrate with singing – the Lahu choir has amazing talent for four part harmony a capella…reminds me of being in Africa.  Then, I’m headed to Mae Chaem district to visit Wah’s family in a Karen village, and then visit my friend Beth, a Canadian who lives in Mae Hong Son province, for New Years…hopefully we’ll be able to stay up and watch either Anne of Green Gables or BBC’s Pride and Prejudice.  Oooooh yeah!
God’s peace bless you deeply.

Baan din

I was supposed to move into an adobe house or baan din (literally, try house of dirt) when I came back to UHDP in July.  Unfortunately, the house wasn’t completed at the time.  And then, here the decision was made to turn the baan din into a guesthouse, rather than have people living in it all the time because there was no adequate mosquito-proofing.  I was really disappointed as I was looking forward to planning a kitchen garden outside it, and designing an outdoor kitchen too.  As it stands, I’ve moved into a new room in the house I had been living in previously – it’s brand-spanking new and has a huge space I’m going to convert into a common room for people to hang out in. 

Rice planting, takraw and a village visit

Rice planting: In August, for sale I went to a rice planting party in Mae Rim, orthopedist just 30 minutes north of Chiang Mai.  We planted upland rice and sticky rice, and sampled rice harvested from last year’s planting.

Takraw: This being rainy season, we haven’t played football in a while.  But the boys constructed a takraw net and started playing in July.  It requires gymnastic skills, which Pi Singkam, although in his 40s, still has.  I, on the other hand, am as clumsy and lead-footed as an oaf!

Huay Mak Lium: I visited this village with Pi Singkam and Ajan Tui – it’s a Palaung village located near orange groves about 45 minutes from UHDP.  The owners of the land decided to pave the only road through the village, so there is this glorious stretch of tarmac running through the middle (see the pic with the chillies drying on the road) of a village which UHDP has been helping for several years.  We visited two men to give them loans to start haircutting and blacksmith businessness.  The Palaung are the most recent migrants into Northern Thailand from Burma – many don’t speak and write Thai so they are not aware of how to apply for ID cards which could grant them access to employment opportunities and social benefits.  The photocopied paper is an example of legal identification they could possess…if they were present at the time when Thai officials were registering the villagers.