Part II: Monk Ordinations
So this is the struggle that our hero has to battle through to make it to the happily ever after. Dodging drunk ladies pulling me up to dance in front of hundreds of people and utilizing local resources at my disposal (ie earplugs I dug out of my suitcase), the leading lady of this adventure pulled through, but managed to get sick in the process. I’ve been two of these bad boys since going to site. The first one was a surprise, like literally had no idea where I was going until I got there and was bombarded by Thai people. Drunk Thai ladies in the early afternoon, never a good thing. But this is more about the familial (host cousin) monk ordination so let’s get back on topic.
I’m finding that it’s more odd to actually know the person to be invited to one of these things. My Meh didn’t even know all of the people that we were giving out invitations to. Planning this shindig and driving around everywhere to deliver the invitations (because using the 20 cents to mail them out would be too much of an effort?) and turning our house into a circus ground is worth Buddhist heaven, apparently (you have to have a son become a monk to be a legit Buddhist, or something? These are the kinds of explanations I get with half Thai/half English). The morning was long with about 50ish (no joke) people asking if I had in fact eaten yet and what I ate, was it delicious? With the music blasting and more and more people arriving by the minute, I took an easy out when my homegirl Pi-Chaai asked if I wanted to go to the market to buy ‘stuff’ (which turned out making a 60km roundtrip field trip to another town with my coteacher, just so that Pi-Chaai could use the ATM there, but hey, I’m not complaining).
We managed to show up just as the parade was coming back to the house. Perfect timing for me to slip into the crowd, well as much as a 6 ft white girl can amongst a huge crowd of excited, dancing, drunk, Thai people. They accept me as I am though, as a member of the family, so I naturally was forced to take part of all the ceremonies, like cutting his hair…..
Pouring water on his head and back…..
The party wasn’t actually too bad. No one sat me RIGHT next to the speakers for the thousand or so people who were there and I didn’t have to dance at this one. I got a table with actual Thai friends and wasn’t accosted too many times. Let me take a moment here to say that when Thai people get drunk, the whole no PDA thing goes flying out the window and not in a good way. These are the times though that I wish it were socially acceptable for a gal of my age to drink because these parties are no joke. Nothing ushers a guy into manhood quite like a karaoke singers and questionable dancers. I’ve heard other volunteers/seen pictures of the really obscene outfits, but the ones at this party were relatively tasteful. Although, the nice part about not drinking is having an excuse to not have to accept everything that is shoved into my hands, unlike my host parents that were fairly drunk as they walked around the tables and everyone wanted to help them celebrate. Everyone thought I was hungover the next day, ha I wish, it’s more like torture from your stupid music that plays at 4:30 AM.
Like I said before though, due to the emotional pressure release though, I was back to normal deal-with-Thai-craziness spirits. You can even see me smiling in some pictures, odd I know. But when the stereo cranked up at 4:30 AM the following day, I didn’t get angry, I rolled my eyes, put on my headphones, and laughed to myself, ‘oh Thailand.’
Stay tuned for Part III: Thailand and I make up, at the beach.