Thursday, December 19, 2013

And It's a Wrap: Our Final Week in Thailand in 2013!

That's right. Saturday will be our five-month anniversary of being here, and we will be celebrating it by leaving the country (for the first time since arriving)! On Sunday, three days before Christmas, we will be flying to Vietnam and won't be returning to Bangkok until next year! (Wow, it felt weird to say that.)

Our last week of the semester has been very busy and hectic, but in a good way. My husband gave and proctored semester exams. The way the exams are administered is so different from how they're done in our schools at home: the students take them in this big hall, with one or two hundred other students. There are three exam periods a day, with each period including multiple subjects being tested simultaneously. As a result, many students had timing conflicts if they were taking two or more subjects that were being tested at the same time, and it was up to them to work it out with their teachers when they could make up the exams! So odd. On the other hand, my husband was able to give all his students his exam at one time and had all week to grade them, finish and submit his grades, and plan for the next semester.

The other two schools -- middle and elementary -- had other things going on since they didn't have exams. The middle-school students went on a three-day, two-night camping trip. There was an elementary school winter art show, which was very nicely done, with each student from Pre-K to fifth grade having one piece of artwork represented in the show. There was music playing softly in the background as I walked through the room. 

Artwork from my son's first-grade class. The family portrait in the upper center of the board is my son's.

More artwork from other grades.

My son also participated in his first swim meet ever, postponed from last week due to political protests. He was so excited. There were four "events," with the kids swimming all the way across the 25-meter pool, so my son swam 100 meters within the 40-minute time period of the meet. In one event, he actually started out doing the freestyle, which his coach has been teaching him, but got tired halfway and just swam. He took first place in two "events," tied for one, and came in second in the last one.
The first event was swimming with a kickboard. Because none of the kids in the younger group (my son's group) has ever swum such a long distance before, they were all required to wear foam belt floats even though they all can swim.
Second event: swimming with a noodle. My son is the one that is really far ahead of all the other kids with the yellow noodle.
My kid is the one to the right of the coach, doing the freestyle.
For this event, the little kids sat on top of big boards while the older group pushed them across the pool. My son and his little friend were being pushed by their coach since there weren't enough big kids.
Then it was the younger kids' turn to push each other across the pool. My son is pushing his little friend on the right side. They came in second.
Wednesday evening, we got together with a few friends for dinner to celebrate the upcoming holidays before everyone went off on their own adventures during the break. It was a delicious meal with fun company, as usual. Pffft, that is getting old.... One thing that was new (and funny): the waitstaff brought over extra chairs...for our purses and bags! Each one got its own seat at the table!
The restaurant...
adorned with holiday cheer.
Our view at dinner.
The building across the lake? It's a private residence!
Thursday morning was the elementary school's holiday performance. It was a performance that included the entire school and was a huge production! The students had been rehearsing for about two months for this, practicing their songs in their music classes and their dances/performances in theater arts class. They also went to the recording studio (yes, there's a recording studio at the Performing Arts Center on campus) to record their songs, which were played during the performance, with the students lip-synching to themselves! Then, earlier this month, the parents ordered the costumes. Overall, it was an extremely impressive production: the costumes and sets were beautiful, the lighting was perfect, the kids really knew their stuff and did a wonderful job. Their voices were beautiful as well. The entire show was almost two hours long!
The extensive program.
Look at all the people that worked on this show!
The elementary school principal saying a few words before the show.
The opening number.
These girls were so graceful and pretty.
As were these girls.
"Bells" dancing and singing.
These pre-K elves were tiny and precious.
Ho, ho, ho! Santa's here!
These reindeer were too cool for words.
This is the first-grade class. My son was placed behind the stack of props on the right side, so my husband had to run across the auditorium to film him from the other side. I didn't even get to see him live!
Frosty! The poor kid who dressed up as Frosty couldn't see anything and had to be helped down from the platform after his performance.
Susie Snowflake and her little snowflakes.
Techno-dancing elves.
The last performance was by one of the second-grade teachers who is the wife of the HS principal. She had a great voice!
The elementary theater arts and music teachers who did all the hard work with the students.
Thursday afternoon was the culmination of the school swim teams and clubs: another party. It was great fun: everyone from the three-year-olds to the high-school polo team were there, there was tons of food from chips and cookies to fried chicken and pizza, party music, and kids playing in the 50-meter pool (despite the chilly temperatures).

Tomorrow, Friday, is the last half day of school of 2013. Each grade is throwing a holiday party. The first grade will be decorating cookies at their party. Then, tomorrow night is movie night at our friend's house, with a holiday-themed kids' movie, homemade hot chocolate, popcorn, and homemade Christmas cookies. Whew. I'm all Christmas-ed out and it's not even Christmas yet. Just in time for an escape. See you all in Vietnam!

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