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Today was my last day to teach until April 19th. I attended the first of many New Year's parties today. It was hosted by a class that I taught last semester and that Nick teaches currently. Every class invites their teachers to their parties, which is why we have so many.

When we arrived, they placed flowers around our necks, like a Hawaii kind of feel.

The party began with a basi, which is normally a religious thing but in this case was done more out of keeping with tradition. There weren't any monks or spirit callers. We all held on to long white strings comming out of a strange center piece, then somebody said some traditional things about having good luck next year, and then they cut up the strings and tie them on each other's wrists while saying a blessing such as "i hope you have many many money this year" or "I hope you have alot of baby" or "i hope you have many happiness". Some students didn't know enough english to tell me a blessing in English, so some said "beautiful beautiful" and someone said "i love you I love you I love you". Also before they tye the string on your wrist they give you a small something edible, like a boiled egg or a bag of chips or an orange. So I had a lap full of food and about 25 strings on each wrist.

Then we had loud music with traditional and non traditional dancing. Traditional dancing is basically waving your hands around alot while walking slowly in a circle. Men make a circle facing outwards, and women make a larger circle around them facing the men. Then we move together slowly. There is no touching so it is not awkward.

Another part of the fun is dumping water on each other. There seems to be an unspoken rule to only pour the water on women's backs. It is also supposed to be a form of blessing but it is pretty annoying after a while. Then come up behind you and say "happy new year" while dumping water on your back slowly. This happened like 30 times, then when the party wore on, they brought out the water guns and got more silly.

Yesterday the girls on the team took me to a nice restaurant for a surprise birthday treat. They gave me interesting gifts, including a large three foot long dried squid in a package. It looks really scary.

I have another party on Friday. I asked what time it will start and they said to come at 10 AM if I want to help kill the pig. I think I will come after 11.

I just accidentaly crushed a bug with my elbow and green stuff squirted out of it. The bug, not my elbow.


Wednesday, April 7, 2004 at 8:36 PM

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