So in no particular order, here are some blessings from the recent past.
- Language study: As much as some days this can be a trial :-), I've noticed that in the 2.5 weeks of school, I'm speaking/understanding way more Thai than I did in the previous 1.5 years I lived here. That is encouraging! On the days I don't feel like going to school, I'm reminded that learning the language is part of our ministry because our end goal is communicating the Gospel. We're getting there!
- Driving: I'm a big fan of driving. When I was single (and gas was cheaper!), I would take weekend adventures and have no destination in mind... just drive, drive, drive! One of my goals was to learn to drive stick shift and here in Thailand we have the extra twist of driving on the opposite side of the road. Something came up to really motivate me to learn stick shift and I'm happy to report I've now driven to the store and back and to church and back to center-city Chiang Mai. I plan on driving to school today and trying to get in as much driving as possible this week, so by the end of the week I'll be confident enough to drive by myself on the road with other drivers and the crazy road gnats (motorcycles) all while shifting with my left hand. I've only stalled a couple of times and that's a big accomplishment!
- Living in a new culture: A friend and I wrote back and forth on email a little bit (I still have to answer the last one!) and she made the comment not only did we move to a new country, we moved to a new continent, culture, and and language. Once I read that, it really put it into a new perspective for me. Nat and I mentioned to each other how smooth our transition was to Thailand and how we felt "normal" right away, but we did in fact make quite the jump! It's easy to forget since we've spent so much time in Thailand, but this was kind of a huge deal. :-)
- My niece: Tiana joined us for a 7.5 week trip as we got settled in and I really don't know how we would've done it without her help! From watching Paul numerous times while we sorted things out to helping deep-clean our house, this gal is worth her weight in gold. Our time with her is coming to an end soon, but I would keep her if I could. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday she watches Paul while we study in the morning and then when we go to school in the afternoon. That right there has been a huge help!
- Our Sunday routine: The church we attend here doesn't have a service until the afternoon so every Sunday morning we do a Bible study on the same thing our church is studying back at home. Right now we've been going through Proverbs and the study has been so good. After the study, we'll listen to one of the messages our pastor preached the previous Sunday. Our church streams the services live, but we're (usually!) in bed by the time the morning service is streamed (10:30 PM our time) and we're still sleeping when the evening service is streamed (6:30 am our time). I did have a extra burst of energy a week ago Sunday night and watched the service, but that doesn't usually happen. :-) When the time change takes place in the spring, it will be easier to catch the service since it will only be 9:30 PM our time. It sure helps us feel a little more connected with what's going on back home, and one of the girls from my Sunday School table sends me the prayer requests each week, which is a real blessing. I miss my table and the fellowship, but at least we're still there in spirit! This is a side note, but I really miss our nursery!! Ladies who work in nursery, your labors are not in vain! Most services here, I end up taking Paul to the other room, although last night he sat through the entire service. Crackers work wonders. :-)
- Sleep: We dealt with a very jet-lagged little boy when we first got here, and I don't want to do that again anytime soon! Paul's had a couple of rough nights since then, but is basically back to his normal pattern. We don't take sleep for granted and even though we're not able to have *our* morning routine settled yet, we're getting there. Paul is in our room and Tiana is in the second bedroom, so when she leaves we're moving him out! This kid could be in a dead sleep and then the second we turn the water on for a shower (the bathroom is off of our room), he wakes up. Or one of us rolls over in bed and he sits up. :-) Sensitive little ears! So we're looking forward to having him in his own room soon, but we're very grateful for the sleep we have gotten!
There's a lot more I could list and I think I will in another post. But for now it's time to get ready for our language study before we go to class in a few hours. :-)