(At Mekong River, 37 weeks preggers)
I'm Kelly. I now live in Vientiane, Lao PDR. Before that I lived in worked in a Lao community back in the States. My husband is Lao, from Viang Xai district. I guess at this point you could say I'm 1/2 cultured. I don't feel 100% American, I don't feel 100% Lao.
I had my first baby in August 2012 (yes, gave birth here in Lao), so Frog and Moon reflects my parenting journey along with my loves of all things DIY, Art, Plant medicine and Montessori.
(River at 6 weeks old. He's named after the Mekong River as his papa and I love to spend evenings watching the sunset.)
What's with the name - The Frog and Moon?
A little background on Frog & Moon. The story of the Frog and Moon is a folktale in Laos about the Lunar eclipse. It also happened on the night I found out I was pregnant, so it's rather special to me. (and here I thought everyone was lighting fireworks and shooting at the moon because of my good news... j/k)
The tale of the Frog and Moon goes something like this:
"The folktale tells of a giant frog that tried to eat the moon. This in reality is how the Lao explain a lunar eclipse. The disappearance of the moon is taken as a bad sign, so Lao people make a great effort of scaring the frog away from the moon. They fire their guns into the air and make as much noise as they can. The frog is frightened by the noise and it releases its grip on the moon and it is restored to its original shape."
So the moon stays the moon and the frog goes back to eating what frogs eat and in the end all is quiet again when the people put away the noisemakers. But for me, my life won't quite be the same as before the frog tried to eat the moon. :)
Art? Plant Medicine? Montessori?
I've have 3 major life "careers" to date and yet they all blend together.
ART: I started life out as an Artist. Midnight paintings trying to copy Van Gogh while waiting for my father to come home from work. Later I worked as a Graphic Designer. However, years of working with Art, I decided I prefer to keep it as a hobby and enjoy it, not work with it. However, the mentality of an artist doesn't change. Not to mention, I am now married to one. My husband, Khamla, is an oil painter and watercolor artist. So, art is pretty important in our family.
PLANT MEDICINE: Later, in part thanks to my upbringing in the Adirondacks of NY and love of SE Asia, I studied formally as an herbalist, with a focus on Traditional Thai Herbal Medicine. You can read more about Thai Herbal Medicine here: thai-institute.net. For some years, I was one of the few westerners practicing Thai Herbal Medicine in the US. I owned the apothecary "Mekong Medicinals" before I moved to Laos. Now, I'll admit my herbalist mother-in-law from Viang Xai knows more Lao plant medicine than I could ever dream of.
MONTESSORI: Because of being close to the Lao community in the states, I studied to became a teacher in my spare time. I later shifted my focus from teaching adults to working with children. Then I discovered Montessori. I am trained to teach children from 3-6 and am now working on completing my 6-9 (Elementary) training. I consider myself a "Progressive Montessorian". In part because I enjoy bringing art and technology into my classroom. In Vientiane I teach at one of the 3 Montessori schools full time. One of the things I enjoy about being a Montessori teacher in Laos is the wealth of creativity with teachers here. Not having access to as much as we did in the states, I've learned how to make just about anything that you can't buy. I also love that being outdoors and with nature is a fact of life here.. not something waiting to be discovered.. only explained.
I hope you enjoy my blog. Feel free to leave comments and questions.