My Picasa collage function just went tits-up, so here are some individual pictures of the first part of Pae's college graduation. She finished her coursework at Ramkhamhaeng University in May of 2009 and has technically been a graduate since that time. The graduation ceremonies in Thailand are presided over by a member of the royal family and, as they are very busy, the princess only has time in her schedule for next week, almost a full year after Pae finished school!This week however, they held a full graduation ceremony practice. Unlike our graduations in the states, family and friends aren't invited to the ceremony, to keep down the risk of something happening to one of the royal family. As such, the graduates will spend many hours practicing the proper manner in which to approach the princess, how to hold their bodies, how to "bow" and how to receive their diploma. It's all very strict and fast-paced as the number of graduates is probably in the thousands (judging by the graduation list I saw at the University).Monday's practice was when a lot of the graduates invite their friends to meet them after they leave the rehearsal. This is a chance for friends to share the moment and to take pictures together. The streets around the university are filled with vendors of flower arrangements, both real and fake, as well as graduation license plates, stuffed animals and all sorts of fun graduation stuff memorabilia.You'll see a red license plate with the number 2552 in some of these pictures...That is the year equivalent to our year 2009. I think it's based on the Buddhist calendar. This year is 2553. I moved to Thailand in 2549. I was born in 2514.(Now that I think about it, I'm kinda wondering how they denote time prior to the year 0, like we do with B.C. and A.D.?? I'll have to find out.)Next Monday is the actual graduation, the real thing, with the princess actually in attendance. The real day is when most kids invite their families also meaning traffic gridlock in our area. So last week we spent with friends, next week we will spend with family who will converge on the city as this week moves on. Normally its us heading to Ubon this time of year for Songkran, but this year they get to come to Bangkok for Pae's graduation, yay!It's going to be a pretty stressful and physically demanding week for Pae as she has airlines interviews, family in town for a week and graduation all bunched into such a short period of time. She'll be great, hope I can be at the real graduation to take pictures for her and the family...I just found out that I have to attend a Ministry of Education seminar on Monday and Tuesday...I feel a terrible cold coming on...*wink wink*There are a lot of "can't do's" as far as grooming and makeup on graduation day are concerned. The princess's attendance means that girls can't have long fingernails, painted fingernails, heels above like 3 centimeters, hair nets, hair accessories, jewelery, colored contacts, fake eyelashes, caked on makeup...you know, all of the typical beauty aids. Pae and I call the graduation gown "Chut Harry Potter" meaning Harry Potter suit or clothes. All she needs is a little magic wand! Another interesting fact is that at Ramkhamhaeng University and others for all I know, they don't wear a cap as part of the graduation garb...therefore, no tassel.I'll add more pictures of the family attending the graduation next week. Until then, take care.