FW Valentines Day
Posted on Nov 11, 2013 by
Today is Valentines Day and school is out as far as Tony and I are concerned, but we went with a bang not a whimper. We held a wild party for all the children. Tony had cleared out the $ stores back home of party favours and balloons, masses of them. I provided the romantic red and white heart shaped decorations and the grand plan, which was to have no plan, no formal games just a mad exciting 90 minutes. Apart from their favourite game of Duck Duck Goose it was pure mayhem.
The teachers and I arrived very early to get set up and fortunately I had the foresight to lock the gates behind us. Soon the children were baying at those gates, as we rushed to decorate the classroom, blow up dozens and dozens of balloons and make up food and loot bags for each child. Tony took some video of us setting up and in the background we can hear their plaintive cries, tea - cher Sue, tea - cher Sparrow, it was hard to ignore but we had to keep them out!
Ice creams cones all round provided a nice quite start. We had no choice as I had asked one of the parents to pick them up for me on her way in and we had no refrigeration to keep them frozen, if we had there would have been no electricity provided to run it! And this in a country sitting on oil reserves of $54 billion, which the Junta is busy, selling off to the highest bidder, in the first cast the Chinese but India and Korea are waiting in the wings. Sorry for the politics but it is impossible to ignore here.
While they were still in a nice quiet frame of mind we ushered them out into the garden for a group photo.
Formalities being over we let the real fun begin. Tony bombarded them with balloons, regular, shaped, punch ball and their favourite the flying screechers. The fusillade continued with bubbles, steamers and a real crowd pleaser aerosols of projectile putty----what a mess!
Order was restored briefly while we served a drink and some fruit, followed by a long game of Duck Duck Goose, it is also a favourite of mine as there are no winners or losers, just a good time had by all. How very Canadian of me. In fact I spent a good deal of my time here trying to take the competitive element out of the lessons. I think preschool is too early to be a failure.
Parents, grandparents, older and younger siblings crowded into the doorway and peeked through the windows, enjoying themselves almost as much as the children.
By the time we got around to some serious nibbles I decided to just serve the very sickly sweet looking Valentines cake and pack their food bags in with their loot bags and let them take them home, ice cream, fruit, and some serious over excitement didn’t bode well for a feast. The sight of the cake and sparkling candles sent them all off into a round of Happy Birthday Teacher Sue, obviously my valentines day theme had gone over their little heads.
We sat in the circle one last time and I read to them from their current favourite book, ‘Good Morning Zoo’ which Tony and I had written and produced for them. It tells the story of our visit to the Zoo and features a child on every page. They greet everyone’s name with a cheer and are positively delighted with their own appearance in the story, which makes all the frustrations of producing it in Myanmar well worth the effort.
Time to say goodbye. Each child came up for a hug and a kiss and more importantly to them, a loot bag and valentine card. Tony and I left with heavy hearts.
We checked out of our cheap guest house and into the Kandawghyi Palace Hotel, the delights of which we discovered thanks to Ceely and Bert who invited us to visit them there) It is a really delightful very Burmese looking hotel on the banks of Kandawghyi Lake. We step off the elevator to open air corridor of our forth storey room and are confronted by a stunning view of the golden stupas of Shwedagon, ever more impressive when lit at night. The rack rate is a whopping $160 but we have a deal through our favourite travel agent and are here for 4 nights at the princely sum of $56 per night. We are keeping true to our packer roots however and shipping in our own beer and vodka coolers from the supermarket and making our own tea and coffee in our room. I just can’t bring myself to pay $4 for a beer that costs about 60 cents in the store.
We choose to end our working week on Thursday February 14th so we could be here in time for the Valentines Day Celebration Dinner at the poolside garden. It was a lovely setting with a soft cool breeze off the lake for the best meal we have had since we arrived, all seven courses of it and a glass of champagne. We danced the old time waltz under the stars to the accompaniment of 3 violins, a guitar and keyboard with percussion. Delightful, their repertoire is firmly routed in the 1940’s and 50’s but that is as it should be as the whole country is 50 – 60 years behind the times and the hotel clientele mostly at least our age. When the band took a break a lovely mellow jazz saxophonist entertained us. We were again the only westerners; the other pale faces are mostly on package tours and having their set meal in the main restaurant. Their loss.
Valentines day is always bittersweet for me, being my Mothers birthday and a particularly emotional day for me this year. I was doing quite well I thought until I heard the strains of “The Tennessee Waltz”, one of my Mothers favourites. Fortunately they didn’t get around to “Always” or worse still “Danny Boy” and the moment passed.
I wrote this two days ago and we have been reluctant to leave the hotel grounds since then. We had another marvelous dinner last night at the ‘Nuts” restaurant in the hotel, a fixed four course meal this time and way more than I wanted or needed but having been so deprived of good food, I just couldn’t resist.
This afternoon we will lie beside the beautiful group of pools and contemplate the journey home and warm welcome in freezing snowy Toronto.