I'm officially a student again! I would say my day is pretty typical for anyone in academia except I've traded desks for massage mats, pencils for pillows, and professors for little Thai women.
My school bus, which is really a songthaew, pulls up to my guest house at 8:15am and I join my European classmates on our ride to school.
We drive for 15 minutes to Thai Massage School of Chiang Mai on the Mae Khao Canal. The canal would be pretty if it didn't look like a green mote, however, the actual facility of our school is quite lovely.
We're greeted with a cacophony of wais and "sawat dii cas" by our teachers at the entrance, then are herded inside where we have our temperature taken (you're not allowed to practice massage if you're running a fever...imagine that!) and then given a change of clothes for the day's lessons.
(It may or may not be debatable that we look like escaped mental patients in these outfits.)
Throughout the morning we learn different techniques in Thai massage. This week we are focusing on the level one basics which include massaging the head, neck, face, shoulders, arms, hands, palms, legs, feet, abdomen, and total body stretching. I'm not sure what else there is on the human body to work on that is legal, but I imagine there's a lot more to learn because I have 4.5 more weeks of lessons.
After all of the morning work, our brains are full but our stomachs are empty, so school breaks and we're sent across the street to an enormous market to find lunch. This week is the Vegetarian Festival in Thailand where Chinese devotees of Buddhism become vegetarian for 9 days then parade through town performing acts of self-mortification. I have not seen any acts of that sort but as a full fledged vegetarian, I have taken advantage of the vegetarian stalls at the market which offer tasty delights such as red chili fried ginger and mango on sticky rice.
After lunch we continue learning and reviewing Thai massage techniques by practicing and being practiced on by our classmates. After attending massage school, I fully believe that school and work would be a more pleasant experience for all if you could count on at least one of your contemporaries massaging your ears with scented oil before the end of the day.
By 4pm, school ends and we change back into our normal clothes. Post school activities include going swimming, practicing yoga and grabbing dinner with classmates. All in all, massage school in Thailand is off to a good start!
On a totally unrelated note, My friends and I recently discovered we can buy fresh baby coconuts on the street and drink their delicious, electrolyte-filled water for a whopping 15 Thai Baht (American dollars conversion $0.49). Going back to Vitacoco is going to be a struggle for me...