Seven of us have completed our first week of teacher training at the Thai Massage School of Chiang Mai (TMC). It has been great to reconnect with my teachers from two years ago and meet a whole new group of students.
This week the focus was on learning the Thai foot massage program that we will teach to a group of young Nursing Assistant students this coming week. It is great to have the opportunity to put our new skills in foot massage and teaching to practice in a real teaching situation within our program at TMC, even if learning one week, then teaching it the next is a little nerve racking.
As a fun classroom exercise to practice lesson planning, class preparation, and teaching, each of us had to come up with a topic to teach to our classmates within 10 minutes. Thailand is a beautiful country where food is everywhere and its’ presentation can include decoratively carved fruits and vegetables. I thought I would use the theme of beauty and food within my teaching topic. I am including a picture here of me demonstrating to my classmates how to fold a napkin into a pinwheel design. I bought napkins for each of us, printed out step by step instructions on how to do the fold, practiced my introduction, demonstration and guided folding to prepare for the class. Of course my teaching ended with us having a snack of coconut pancakes and gooseberries that I had bought at the market.
This weekend was packed with great things to do including the Chiang Mai Flower Festival, the Chiang Mai Month of Photography Festival, coffee shop visits, and a Farm Dinner organized by the restaurant Rustic and Blue.
The pictures here from the Flower Festival include displays around and inside of the public park in Old Chiang Mai, events on the Tha Phae stage, and from the parade that started at 8 am on Saturday. There were stunning floral displays, orchid competitions, and each float was decorated with individual flowers and flower bouquets. I can’t imagine how long it must have taken to prepare the floats. During the parade there were marching bands, dancers, fire breathers, and processions in traditional costumes.
It amazes me how the internet and smart phones have changed travel and can instantly influence what I plan to do with my day. A half a world away in Saskatoon, a friend and neighbour, Jacquie emailed me on Saturday while I was watching the parade with a list of the top ten coffee shops in Chiang Mai that she found on the internet. Since I hadn’t been to all of the ones on the list so far I decided I needed to check out a few once the parade ended. My favourite was a tiny shop called Graph Cafe that has incredible coffee, is owned by a designer and photography enthusiast, and was were I found out about the Photography Festival. So from there I cycled around the city to the different photography exhibit venues as part of the month long photography festival.
Then last night I met my wonderful new friends Nicole, Jenny, and Mark for a Farm Dinner hosted by the restaurant Rustic and Blue. Spending the evening with these three was a real treat, and so comfortable, it was like we had known each other for years.
We rode a red truck taxi north and east of Chiang Mai for a Farm to Table dinner that will definitely be a highlight of my trip. I am including the poster and menu in my photos. It was a five course meal with wine, and local craft beer from “My Beer Friend” and live music. We met people from all over the world who are travelling in Thailand, living and working here, or studying or doing research here. The company and conversations were fantastic, as was the five course meal prepared by a French Canadian Chef from Montreal, now the head chef at Rustic and Blue.
He came out to visit everyone (60 people or so) between the courses to talk about the food, our love for food, food as love, more about food, and life. We spent the generous time between courses chair hopping, meeting different people, and lounging on mats and pillows on a bamboo dock bedecked with lights over the water. The evening began at 5:30pm and the taxi took us home at 11:30pm. It was another great adventure in Chiang Mai.