This was the week we were to practice leaving site on our own and getting to a consolidation point, practicing our Emergency Action Plan, in case anything dire occurs and we need to leave our villages for safety's sake.  I was pleased to go to the EAP practice, because last year I went and then immediately left for the hospital where I was diagnosed with Bell's Palsey, if you remember, so I never got to have all the speeches and that, so I was already looking forward to the event.  However, because our EAP took us into the metropolis of Chiang Mai we 126's decided to ask any 127's if they wanted to go early and get to know one another, maybe see some of the town, before having our practice consolidation.  A number of them said "Sure!" so we had a lovely time visiting Doi Inthanon before our EAP drill!
I think we visited the mountain on the 25th, and despite the fact that it was April in Thailand (when it feels like we're closer to the SUN than everywhere else), about halfway up the mountain it started feeling nice and cool, and by the time we reached the summit I was glad I had a jacket with me!
After exploring the more forested part of the mountain, we hopped back on the song-taew we'd rented for the day and went part of the way down the mountain to the most lovely waterfall!
After our adventures on the mountain and at the falls, Emily remarked that it was the most fun she'd in Thailand, and I corrected her by saying, "...yet!"  It was great sharing an adventure with the next group of PCVs and meeting them before our EAP session.  One of the things that keeps us safe/comfortable here is having a strong community of volunteers from whom to draw inspiration, strength, and who understand what we're going through as volunteers, and volunteers abroad.  Furthermore, when we were crossing the falls at the top it felt like a trust exercise, because we were watching out for each other and lending helping hands and all that.  Super fun!
...Also, because I can't resist a good promontory, I enjoyed the acoustics and scenery with an aria. The 127's, who had never heard me sing, were all impressed that I'm 'more powerful than a waterfall!', smile.   I've now sung deep in the caves of Mae Hong Son as well as from the heights of Wachirathan Waterfall!  There's a short video of this, if you're interested, but to put it on this site I'd have to pay, and that's not happening, smile.
The EAP itself was nice, and it was great to see our PC staffers.  I think I mentioned before that we've been going through some staffing changes; the American staff rotates out every few years, and it's just our luck that we're at one of those gaps in staffing so are saying goodbye to loads of people and hello to others!  Aside from that, some of our Thai staff have moved on to different jobs, so there has been a lot of turnover recently.  My point is, it was good to see the staff we did and get the latest news, go over "what to do in the event of __________" scenarios, and all that.
Picture
After the EAP a few of us decided to take advantage of the holidays and simply stay in Chiang Mai for a few days before school started.  We were all unsure as to our schedules in the coming semester, but there was nothing we could do about it so we decided to relax for a few days.  Carter, Elizabeth, Kailei and I rented an apartment that had a small kitchen and was near a Rimping (an international market with foreign things like cheese, tortilla chips, and pretzel bread, smile) and we had a great time relaxing.
I celebrated the end of vacation with a new haircut!  Kailei and I went to a wonderful salon in Chiang Mai, where my stylist Bee not only gave me a lovely haircut (with bangs!), but also a scalp massage that nearly made me drool in the chair!

Sue Goodnow
5/26/2015 08:58:05

I like your new hairdo!

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Jane
5/27/2015 07:21:20

Cute hair. This trip sounds absolutely amazing. Beautiful scenery and wonderful company.

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    These are the personal opinions of Spook, and do not reflect those of the Peace Corps.

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