It has been four weeks since I last published a post and those four weeks have been rewarding, fulfilling, fun and intense. Most of the time I have been occupied fulfilling a life time dream and ambition and to do so, I remained single focused on achieving success. Keep following my blog as I will soon write about this rewarding experience. I felt I needed some time away from my blog to contemplate how I would like to proceed with it and have spent many valuable hours remembering and recording the details for some of my stories I want to share with you. The focus of my writing is my life and I have now mapped my writing into different topics, including opportunities I have had, what I am doing now, my thoughts and ideas which I feel are important and my travels. Recently I published a post called “Orientation for Volunteering” -https://eastwinglifestyle.com/2016/10/12/orientation-for-volunteers -and next I will publish the first of three articles about my first volunteering opportunity.
Now, I will chat about the past few weeks and while I was busy with my special project, my reminiscing and my researching, Thai people celebrated Loy Krathong, the winter festival celebrated at the time of the 12th full moon according to the Thai Lunar calendar and it translates simply as “to float a basket”. It relates to an ancient Thai tradition of floating baskets in the river which is of great importance to the towns, cities and people. The baskets which contain candles, incense sticks and flowers are blessed by the monks in the temples and when floated in the river pay respect to the river and its spirits. Floating the baskets is symbolic of letting go of anger and upsets and is a deeply spiritual time for Thai people.
Once again, staff at the Condominium complex where I live – DCondo sign –http://www.sansiri.com/condominium/dcondo_sign/en/ – organised a group activity for residents to gather in the garden and learn how to make the krathongs. It was a beautiful Autumn afternoon with clear blue skies and a stillness which was calming and peaceful. A slice of the trunk of the banana tree is used for the base of the krathong and this piece of trunk is completely covered in strips of banana leaves. This was definitely the easy part as next we tore banana leaves into about 30 strips, all the same size and folded them to be used as leaves for the flowers. Pins were used to hold these in place on the banana trunk and my fingers were starting to hurt a little from the tearing, folding and pinning. Just when I thought I had exhausted my talent for folding banana leaves, the teacher then showed the next stage which required more banana leaves to be torn into strips and folded into a different shape and pinned on top of the leaves which were pinned on top of the trunk. Now my fingers were showing indentations from the pin heads and my ability to fold the leaves this time was really being challenged. Despite my hurting fingers, I was enjoying myself immensely and felt so happy to be part of this community in which I live.
It was now time to prepare the flowers to be placed in the center of the leaves and this was to prove to be more difficult than it appeared, especially when our teacher showed us how. Small, purple flowers were pierced with a toothpick and placed in the center of yellow/orange flowers and then the flowers were pushed into the centre of the layers of leaves and secured with the toothpick. After that, candles and sticks of incense were pushed through the middle of the flowers deep into the trunk of the float. After two hours, my float was finished and looking reasonably balanced and shaped.
During the afternoon, I met other residents who live in the complex and we shared stories of our origins; I created new friendships; I laughed with children, the staff at D Condo, at my husband, and laughed at myself. The staff served afternoon tea for everyone and again, excelled at being friendly, hospitable and so obliging. The Operations Manager for D Condo announced there would be prizes to give away and when the number of my condo was called I was thrilled to receive a gift as a keepsake to remind me that Thai people are so happy and living in their country makes me feel contented and happy and wanting to smile all the time.