By Tess Riley – 8 week intern
Christmas in Ban Naklang is a bit different than what I’m used to – coming from Scotland, I’m not only used to cold temperatures, I’m also used to Christmas taking up the whole month of December (and sometimes part of November too). Spending the festive season somewhere where was it about 20 degrees warmer than I’m used to and Christmas was only celebrated by a handful of people was really interesting!
The majority of people living in the village are Buddhist and so don’t observe Christmas. My homestay family were Christian and Gwah Doh is a minister, so there was a bit of a buzz around their house with people visiting, however for the rest of the households in the village, it was just a normal weekend. To celebrate Christmas at Kindred Spirit, we decided to make some western foods we don’t typically eat while in the village. On Christmas eve, we made pasta, and on Christmas day, we made pizza, as well as brownies. One thing that was similar to a Christmas in the UK was boxing day – we spent it eating leftovers like we would at home! Although we did de-flea village dogs as well, which was slightly different from watching Christmas movies on the couch.
In the run up to Christmas we decorated base and watched Christmas films, as well as having a Christmas themed quiz. We did a secret santa so we each had a gift to open on Christmas morning – I was buzzing to get my own pair of crocs for wearing around the village. It was really nice to spend Christmas somewhere where it isn’t celebrated, as it made it a much more low-key day. I think it’s probably the most unique Christmas I’ll have for a long time!