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Published: February 8th 2013
Just when I thought I was getting used to life in Thailand I was reminded just how different it is from home. Everyday really does bring something different…
Yesterday we were informed that we were required to attend our secretary’s grandmother’s funeral and to come in wearing black with a white shirt and that we would be leaving school at 3pm. But of course, this being Thailand that didn’t exactly happen.
At first we were informed that the school minibus we were all meant to be travelling in was in Bangkok and so we wouldn’t be able to use that to get there, some of the teachers were on about borrowing a car off one of the Thai teachers but in the end it was decided that our manager would take just 5 of us in his car.
Just as we were about to leave we were informed that the funeral was actually 2 hours away, so it was going to be a bit of a journey, and a bit of a squeeze as well with six people – four being tall men – and a massive flower wreath trying to fit in the two front seats and two back seats of a pick up truck. In the end two of the male teachers ended up sitting in the back of the pick up truck in the blistering heat for the two hour bumpy journey.
When we finally arrived we found that it wasn’t like any funeral we had ever been to before. Instead, it was just a bunch of people sitting around eating, and boy did we eat, we were all completely stuffed and they were still bringing us out bowl after bowl of soup, curry, fried chicken, pad thai, vegetables and of course plenty of rice! We sat and ate, went inside the house to pay our respects which involved lighting an incense stick and giving money in an envelope to the family. But we left before the actual funeral took place, but I think I would actually have liked to have stayed and experienced a Buddhist funeral – though of course I wouldn’t have been able to understand a word of it.
As far as funeral goes it was without a doubt the nicest I have been to. No-one was really wearing black, no-one was crying, everyone was just sitting around tables eating, drinking and laughing. There was a nice atmosphere, everyone seemed happy enough despite the sad occasion and there was even a table of men sitting around gambling, it was certainly very different to any funeral I had ever been to in England but I quite enjoyed the mood not being quite so somber.
After we had said all of our goodbyes we headed off on our journey home and of course had to stop off at numerous other schools on the way home, just to pop in and say hello. Arriving back at school at 6pm and we were glad to be home.. especially the two men who had been sitting in the back in 35 degree heat on Thailand’s not so safe roads!
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