Have I mentioned we are returning to the States just before Thanksgiving? My sister-in-law is getting married right before Christmas, so we opted to turn this into an extensive trip of seeing family, introducing Ellie to everyone and of course the wedding. As much as I'm looking forward to seeing tons of people, I think the thing I'm looking forward to the most is sitting in a church service - singing a variety of hymns and hearing preaching in English without the distraction of keeping two children quiet. Please don't misunderstand; I love my children dearly, but most of my time in the church services here in Thailand is devoted to feeding Ellie or encouraging Paul that he's doing a great job sitting still (how many 2-year-olds can sit through an entire service? That's tough). While I feel I've turned a small corner in understanding more Thai, I am NO where close to understanding an entire message preached in Thai. I count it a real victory if I can figure out the Bible passages and pick out the basic point of the message! How would you feel if week in and week out you went to church and only understood 5-10% of the service? Frustrating, to say the least, but motivation to keep plugging away at learning the language. :-)
In other random news, I've had a very humorous time trying to find some new running sneakers. I mentioned a few weeks ago about my goal of running, but soon after I posted that I ran into a small problem with my current sneakers. My well-loved (and well-used!) sneakers are quite worn to the point that there's a hole in the inside of it. As a result, that's given me a blister that has become very uncomfortable. So Nat and I started looking for sneakers at some stores in Chiang Mai, confident I would find some. Because really, how hard would it be to find some new sneakers?
As it turns out - HARD.
For starters, I'm not a very flashy person, so many of the sneaker options were ruled out immediately because of the "loud" colors. :-) Once I found a sneaker I liked, my next problem was finding it in my size: US 6. Now one thing I really appreciate here in Thailand is that sales people are everywhere and usually pretty helpful. So my confusion was great at store after store where the sales person would try to tell me that US size 6 is the same thing as UK size 6. I'm extremely baffled at what the problem is here, because no matter how many times I would say, "US size 6" they would always come back with a shoe that was a US size 7 or US size 8 1/2 because they kept basing it off of the UK size. Even after I would show them a sneaker that clearly said US 6 on the tongue they would still tell me, "oh this is the same" as they point to a larger sneaker that clearly was going to be too big for me. :-)
So now I'm trying to hold out until November when we return to the States. I've decided to alternate days where I'll walk one day and cycle the next. That seems to be working well; the blister is healing and I still get my exercise in! I'm still very nervous about actually running through my neighborhood because of the stray dogs. In fact, Saturday night I took Paul on a bike ride with me and as I was riding on a quiet street, two dogs came charging out of an opened gate and growled while chasing me. That got the heart rate up! Thankfully they finally backed down, leaving me to wonder once again why people keep their gates wide open when they have guard dogs. Never a dull moment!