Can you say “Bust a move” in Thai?

My first birthday abroad was fun and very eventful. I spent the morning learning about Thai pronouns and critical thinking in the classroom-riveting, right? Things picked up at noon when we headed into town for lunch and ate delicious spring rolls with peanut sauce. Then the volunteer group went to a village called Renu Nakhon for a Pud Thai traditional dance performance. During introductions, the audience even sang me “Happy Birthday” after my friends forced me to disclose my special day! Here is a picture of the opening performance:


Pud Thai Traditional Dance

Pud Thai Traditional Dance


After the trained dancers performed, we were invited to try on the traditional garb and join in. It was pretty funny because we had no preparation but we were still well-received. The audience was amused by our efforts; unfortunately they took lots of pictures and video to capture this special moment. Here’s a shot of the WorldTeach volunteers with some of the school teachers, after the performance. We are holding sticky rice containers, which were presented to us as gifts. If you look closely, you can also see the white string tied onto our wrists, which were given to us in a ceremony earlier in the day to give us protection and happiness during our time as volunteer teachers in Thailand.


WorldTeach Volunteers in Thai Dance Outfits

WorldTeach Volunteers in Thai Dance Outfits

It was a very special experience for us and we were grateful to be so warmly accepted by everyone. Today we tried on another type of traditional dancing outfit, which we will wear on November 2 for a fish festival and actually get to keep! Back at the orientation site, I was (semi) surprised with an actual birthday cake, candles and gifts! Our Thai host mother, Maeo, made me a pretty floral arrangement I will be taking to my new house when I move, and the volunteers gave me a yoga mat, which I am really excited about! I’ve been leading yoga classes for a small number of people every few days and am looking forward to practicing with a mat again. Even though I’m so far from home, it was a very happy birthday with my new friends here.

I was also able to talk to lots of family and friends yesterday, which also made the day special. Thanks everyone for thinking of me and keeping in touch!


Gifts on my birthday...and yes, I actually wanted one of these!

Gifts on my birthday...and yes, I actually wanted one of these!


5 responses to “Can you say “Bust a move” in Thai?

  • Aunt Val

    Glad to hear you had a good birthday! Can’t wait to see all your souveniers when you get back! Good luck packing when you come home!!

  • John Sweet

    Glad to see John Middlewood has you settled in and having a bit of fun. Wonderful to have some good English teachers at Nakhon Phanom associated with Harvard. Tell John Middlewood that John Sweet stumbled into your twitter page and he will get a laugh out of it. John Sweet

    • Caitlyn

      Hi Mr. Sweet-When I mentioned to John that you commented on my blog, he was so surprised and couldn’t believe it! Thanks for the encouragement, we are all very happy and excited to be teaching in Northeastern Thailand.

      • John Sweet

        Ha Ha Great. Thanks for letting me know. Yours is the only twitter page I have viewed and found you by entering Nakhon Phanom when I was looking around.
        This page will give you a great deal of information about what Nakhon Phanom was like 40 years ago when John and I were there:

        P.S. The tribe you refer to is the Pu-Thai Tribe which means Mountain Free People.

        It will be interesting for me to follow your blog or twitter on this page. My wife and I will be visiting John in January for a few days.


        John Sweet

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