My last half-day at the wat was sweet, a little sad, and good for closure. Super-nice Eunice planned the morning lesson around saying good-bye. Phra Karn gave me another amulet (so I had one of each), a clear stone shaped like a teardrop, and a card with a picture of the wat's founder on it. Eunice and the monks all wrote notes to me and bound them in a pamphlet. And, best of all, we played Uno.
Playing Uno with monks is hilarious. Everyone was super nice, of course, apologizing for any skip-a-turn or plus two/four cards. The monks were also quick to point out that what you give is what you get - "Karma, karma, karma!" Phra Bas would say, shaking his finger at whoever just gave him a bad card.
It was a good way to end the time I had there, especially since the good-byes at the Community Class the night before were sweet and sad, too. One of the ladies started crying when she gave me a hug. Oh, and? There were 42 people there that night! 42! We had averaged 18 the week before. I had to do some last-minute changes to my plans, since the things I had ready to go didn't work so well with such a big crowd. Eunice and Polly said that word must have spread about my teaching the class.
After we wrapped up the morning English class and had lunch, Phra Bart hosted a little ceremony for Sean and me. We all gathered in the meditation hall and had some ice cream treats while Phra Bart presented both of us with our "graduation" gifts - a certificate, an amulet, a white cotton bracelet to 'keep us connected to the wat,' a copy of all of our meditation sessions on CD, and, most special of all, a leaf from the actual Bodhi tree. I've got tons of Buddhist cred now.
I said good-bye to everyone, then walked back to the Trina House to get my luggage.
Now, to appreciate my reasons for not wanting to get a full massage (a story yet to come), you need to understand that in order to get to Bangkok I caught the #78 bus. At the bus stop that was 1/2 a mile from the Trina House. Which meant dragging my two suitcases, backpack, purse, and unpackable shadowpuppet down that 1/2 mile gravel road in the middle of the afternoon in the lovely 96-degree Thailand heat.
I was quite glad that the bus was not at all full, so I didn't have to share a seat/my sweaty scent with anyone else. I settled in with my motion-sickness watch on and a paperback copy of the sequel to the Nanny Diaries to read on the 2.5-hour bus ride to Bangkok.
Oop! Time to go to Triva Night with Rachel, Brian, and Jenny. See you shortly for part two!