No, this picture wasn't taken in Thailand. It's actually a beautiful bit of Thai loveliness practically planted in our backyard. Only 10 minutes drive from our home. It was built in the same fashion as the Wat's in Thailand. A walled in compound - this one walled in by trees and hedges - with several buildings and beautiful gardens.
We sought out and found it last summer, hoping to learn more about Thai and Buddhist culture in order to infuse it into our lives and add to our customs. What we found was so much more. A very large Thai community, a place for Ruby (and us) to make new friends, and some great Thai festivals! Not to mention some really great food!
Our friend Anna - fromThailand - was amazed that we have such a large Thai community here in Pennsylvania. Honestly, I am too. It's such a great thing for Ruby to have wonderful role models and to grow up knowing about her culture. It is always available to her there and she can even be taught Thai language. One of the monks is going to translate something for me which is great and a friend is going to help translate a kids kareoke video that I have for Ruby that I am dying to be able to sing along with her and teach her. I couldn't wait to go yesterday on such a beautiful sunny day and take some pictures for Anna.
The grounds outside the Wat are so beautiful! I love those bright colored flowers.
Ruby seemed to like them as well.
Inside the main building monks enjoy their lunch. Every Sunday they have a feast. First for the monks, and then for everyone. It is quite yummy! Aroy Mak!!! We try to go once a month and/or on special holidays. We've been pretty busy lately and hadn't been since April so I was glad to have time yesterday.
Also in the main building, people pray in chant form. It is all in Thai so I'm not sure what they are saying. Ruby was rather restless as it was a bit longer today, so we spent a good amount of time outside exploring the grounds. Pictured above is a typical alter type front with many beautiful Buddha statues. To the right of them are two famous monks. One for which the temple was named and another still alive (far right). I need to find out a bit more about them and their story.
This is the new building (also pictured above in the first shot). They don't use this one much except on special holidays. I suspect it is a place the monks use for meditation. It is really beautiful though. Much thought was put into the details...
...from the roof design, the colors, the position...
...to this ornately decorated door.
Even the back view is beautiful.
Ruby particularly liked climbing up all the stairs and checking out the red doors. :-)
The grounds were also well thought out. New trees will supply a nice shaded area in years to come.
New flowers were planted this Spring to line some of the walkways.
Lots of paths for walking amongst the trees.
And my favorite is this beautiful wooded picnic area. Such a peaceful little oasis in the middle of North East Philadelphia! I like to sit out there with Ruby for a bit while she discovers sticks and rocks and spider webs (which of course we do not get too close to!!!), etc. When the weather is nice, they have their big festivals out here and it is really fun.
Back inside, Ruby got to know her new friend Tinha a little better and I with her parents. We have seen them here a few times before. Such a nice family! I couldn't resist a shot of the girls together and someone suggested we take it up front and decided I needed to be in the shot as well. So here we are together just before we all left.
It was a nice day and we will go back again on the 25th for a big celebration they are having. I am so hoping Ruby & Tinha will really get to be good friends. And with the other children we see there, too. There is another girl named Tinha and 2 sweet boys that she also knows there and plays with. The other Tinha came to her birthday party but we haven't been able to get together since. So busy all our lives are sometimes! Anyway, we are so lucky we are to have this community here!