Yesterday, Tuesday October 7th, was National Teacher’s Day. This means that all the public schools and university was closed. On Monday, right after lunch, Mrs Bounsalome came into my office and said “The director has gone to the city for the a meeting all afternoon. We want to have a celebration for teacher’s day. We will go buy some food and some Beerlao!”
So, I have her some money, and then about an hour later she came in and said “Ok! Everything is ready! We are having a celebration in the bindery!”
And I went into the bindery to find this:
Hooray! I love Beerlao, and I especially love drinking Beerlao at work!
Then we ate some food, and drank more Beerlao.
So, finally, after drinking beer for a few hours, I had to leave to go teach English. I ran to catch the bus, a little drunkenly, and then about 30 seconds later it started pouring rain. Just as I got to downtown, where I park my bicycle, the sun came out, and I looked behind me to see a glorious rainbow in the sky over Patuxay.
In the bus, I tapped the lady sitting next to me, pointed at the rainbow, and said “Nam lae!” (very beautiful), and she didn’t really respond. I just told my director about how I saw the rainbow and he said “You know, in Lao culture, if you see a rainbow, you should NEVER point to it.” Then he told me that a rainbow is like a snake, and at one end there is a head. So, if you see the head of the rainbow under your house, you should cover it with your clothes, and then when it goes away, you will take away the clothes and find riches in the place where the rainbow’s head was.
So, basically, I commited a huge Lao Faux-Pas when I pointed at the rainbow.
I went to school, and then asked me class “So, tomorrow is teacher’s day, right?”
“And on Teacher’s day you give gifts to your teachers?”
“And I am your teacher?”
“So where are my gifts !??!”
“Ok, you can bring me gifts on Wednesday!”
Then, I made them read some stuff for a little while, and then we had a class break. When I came back from the break, the students were all giggling about something. A minute later, one of them came back into the room with a huge bag of crisps – and a bottle of water, and presented me with them. Then she said “For you, from all of the class.” And I was very happy.
Then, another student said, “Can we have a party?”
“Ok. You want to have a party? We can listen to music and play some games.”
So I put on my CD of English Songs (which includes some John Bellows and Vanessa Harris), and we played hangman and Simon Says, which they had a hard time understanding.
And now, today, Friday, we just had another teacher’s day party at the library. This time the director was here, so no Beerlao. But the University Vice-President came and gave like a 20 minute long speech, and then we all ate pho in the lobby.
Why don’t they have teacher’s day in the rest of the world? It’s my new favorite holiday after Halloween. Ok, maybe after Martin Luther King day, too.