Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday and will continue to enjoy themselves as we bring in the New Year all over the world. The holiday season was quite funny here in the sun away from the hallmarks of America. As a Jewish girl I've always found the overplayed Christmas music that begins around Thanksgiving in every store, restaurant and phone operator to be quite annoying. I'll admit its always made me a bit of a grinch around Christmas. This year was different though, I actually felt a bit nostalgic for these traditional reminders of the time of year, the snow, the love in the air and all the joy that everyone wants to spread.

I got together with a group of friends and we had a lovely holiday dinner on Christmas day full of crab curry, watermelon salad, tomato pasta, sweet potato mashers, samosas, sweet basil chicken, pineapple, and sangria. One of the more unorthodox Christmas dinner's I've ever had, but we kept with the tradition of having more food than people could eat, leaving the food out for 5 hours for nibbling and being in good company.

So really why I'm writing this post was because of the stellar mitzvah I did on Christmas Day. There is a german magician Dan Berllin (who I highly recommend by the way) that I have been able to coordinate coming to Coconut Club to do shows for the children. In passing he had asked me if I knew of any good places to perform on Christmas Day. In theory I hadn't, but it initiated me to then go ask around to my Thai friends and perform a little research on the less fortunate and lonely on the island. So I found a special school located about 40 minutes north of me and a elderly foster center located in the same block.

The special school had sent the children away over the holiday. Similar to Kamala School where I work, many of the students live at the school because they come from a very poverse background and often additional complications have made them orphaned or have unstable home lives. They therefore often cannot go "home" or to a distant relative who can take them in unless its a special occurrence such as a holiday. The teacher at the school explained to me that there were 200 students living at the school and that they had to send them away for two weeks to give the teachers a holiday. Many of these children come from the poorest families on the island, are deaf, autistic, have down syndrome or other developmental disabilities. Since it was holiday there were only 4 children remaining at the school, all of which were deaf. Dan did a couple magic tricks for these students and we gave them a couple good laughs but we are planning to do a big show with all 200 students in a couple weeks when they return from holiday break.

After the special school we stopped by the Foster center for the elderly. Its called the "Social Development and Welfare for Elderly Persons Center" This place was amazing! It was created to provide social welfare and support to the elderly population who are homeless and abandoned. The qualifications to join included: thai nationality, no contagious diseases, homeless, or abandoned. None of them had anywhere to be sent to over the holidays so they were indeed permanent residence. We therefore had a huge turnout. They were so excited to have visitors and especially a magic show to give them a good laugh. It was obvious that they rarely receive visitors or get to enjoy an activity outside their daily routine. They laughed at literally every little joke Dan did and recited some caroling of Jingle Bells to exhibit their knowledge of the English language and awareness that it was Christmas cheer we were bringing them. I think this may have been the most memorable Christmas I've ever taken part it.

Below are pictures for some enjoyment: