Two Days Compressed

It felt like that, too. After a not-so-great night’s sleep, I awoke and went to ITM. Exam day! I took a different route, which took me past another lovely wat. (Chiang Mai is rather full of wats.)

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In order to have time for everything, we began our mantra, warmup, tai chi, and dance routine a quarter hour earlier.

A short note on this. The mantra is a prayer to begin. At ITM we chant it, and at Loi Kroh we sing it. Amazingly, I prefer to sing it. Yeah, I’m surprised as well. These are the words, translation to follow each part:

3x:
Om Namo Shivago Silasa Ahang Karuniko
Sapasatanang Osata Tipa Mantang Papaso
Suriya Jantang. Gomalapato Paka-sesi Wantami
Bantito Sumetaso Aroka Sumana-homi

We invite the spirit of our Founder, the Father Doctor Shivago, who comes to us through his saintly life. Please bring to us the knowledge of all nature, that this mantra will show us the true medicine of the Universe. In the name of this mantra, we respect your help and pray that through our bodies you will bring wholeness and health to the body of our client.

1x:
Piyo-tewa Manussanang Piyo-proma Namuttamo
Piyo Nakha Supananang Pininsiyang Nama-mihang
Namo-Puttaya Navon-Navien Nasatit-nasatien
Ehi-mama navien-nawae Napai-tang-vien
Navien-mahaku Ehi-mama Piyong-mama
Namo-puttaya

The goddess of healing dwells in the heavens high, while mankind stays in the world below. In the name of the Founder, may the heavens be reflected in the earth below so that this healing medicine may encompass the world.

3x, and this is what I’m supposed to whisper at the end of the massage as well, and seldom do:

Na-a Na-wa Rokha Payati Vina-santi

We pray for the one whom we touch, that he will be happy and that any illness will be released from him.


So. That’s how days begin at school. At ITM, this is followed by a warm up sequence of exercises, then a tai chi sequence, then some very marchy music comes on, and we combine these movements into a dance. I’ve seen all the children, in their uniforms at their schools, do the same thing.

Many of the movements are very graceful, and I think we would normally associate them with feminine attributes. The muscular young men doing them far more gracefully that I can is a shift in perspective.

After this, yesterday, we were feasted. Huge stacks of fruit and mangoes with sticky rice & coconut cream were waiting where we usually enjoy bananas, in the garden. I have finally eaten mangosteen, which is absolutely scrumptious. When I see some in the market, I will buy it and get a picture. I will also need a knife.

We drew numbers for partners, and I was paired with a stinky young backpacker named Sean, from the CAPT class. The CAPT class is basically all the levels at once, including teacher training and anatomy. I don’t embrace the concept because I think you need times to learn in real experiences before you teach. I would like to do it, perhaps, but I am quite unimpressed with the students in that course, in general.

Sean, however stinky, was an easy model for my exam, and I passed. Then we broke for lunch. We went to our same place, but this time it was just me, Bianca and Bert (the two Dutch artists who live in Antwerp). I may have made a mistake in choosing the mussels from the selection. They didn’t taste “off,” but I know that they’d been in the selection all week, and most other things had been replaced. Actually, they were delicious.

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After lunch I received a massage from Sean, but his smell and the deep abdomen work combined to leave me feeling queasy. After, I found myself in the WC over & over while we waited for the certificates ceremony. When the school’s director called my name, he had to call it 3 times. People had been talking and laughing after the person before me, and I had my eyes closed, trying not to vomit.

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After school, I went straight back to the guesthouse, and to bed. I slept for 5 hours, then woke up around 21:00, then fell asleep again, aside from occasional disturbances, until my alarm went off this morning at 06:30.

So today, I went back to Loi Kroh school. I love it there. It is so peaceful, and feels so warm & welcoming. There are more mosquitos, though. No closed buildings, lots of beautiful plants and water gardens, and no airco. I really still prefer it. ITM feels a little like a factory, and very much a beginning of one’s massage learning, but not an ideal ground for growth. Or so is my first impression. I was very impressed by the teachers there, who were very knowledgeable, but less by the students, who for the most part felt like tourists, rather than motivated professionals.

My stomach, which already felt better, was even more normal after 3 hours of Ruesri Datton with Napa. I felt so peaceful. Tomorrow is review. I will go through the book, pose by pose, and do them as well as I can, and she will correct me when necessary.

At noon I went away for a while, but no lunch. Pare was going to give me an abdominal detox massage, and she advised that I eat afterward. So I went and sat in a cafe for a while, having one coffee.

Wow.

I am SO excited that I will be learning this massage next week. It was flipping amazing. It hurt, quite a lot sometimes, but it also felt so good! So clean! I felt like a paragon of health afterwards, like everything had melted away.

I am writing this while waiting for the Flower Festival parade to begin, and it has been a couple of hours since that massage. I still feel amazing!!! Hopefully I will be more able to describe it while I’m learning it next week. I think it could be done with slightly less pressure for new western clients. I don’t think that level of pressure in those places will be very welcome until people are a little more accustomed to it. I’m used to deep massage, and there were moments when I was truly gasping. Pare has excellent bedside manners, though. I felt very trusting in her hands. I’m glad she was my masseuse for this. The other teacher, who would have done it for me last week, seemed a little cranky. Probably just that day, but I’m glad it worked out this way.

So, here are pictures from the 38th Chiang Mai Flower Festival, brought to you by the Province of Chiang Mai and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports.

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And now I’m off to bed!

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