Saturday, October 25, 2014

In No Particular Order....

* I really felt like shopping Thursday night and so we caved and went shopping! Actually we had a delicious Italian meal first at an adorable restaurant nearby. Not only was the food incredible, they actually had *drumroll please* FULL-sized napkins:

Let me tell you, this is rare here! Usually the napkins are more along the lines of a piece of toilet paper, both in length and quality. :-) 
After dinner we went to the mall to browse. Now I'll admit up front that I am not a mall person at all, but if I want to find anything remotely my size clothing-wise, we must go to the mall. Which leads me to another random thought: the two articles of clothing I've bought here in Thailand are size L and XL. As in large and extra large. How's that for deflating my ego? :-) But back to shopping. As we walked past a clothing store called A ll Z, I saw some hoodies on sale and found one I actually liked! It was so nice to actually browse a store and even find something. 

* Going out to dinner and to the mall on a Thursday night is a really smart idea. Not as much traffic as on a Friday or Saturday night. The only downside is Nat is usually teaching on Thursday nights (this past Thursday was a holiday).

* It's amazing how cool 75 degrees feels. I'm ready to use that hoodie I bought!

* The power went out tonight two minutes before the meatloaf was done cooking. Dinner was delicious.

* As I was cooking potatoes, two bugs came to the surface. Yum? At least I could scoop them out before I made mashed potatoes. :-)

* We're currently dog-sitting and it has been very entertaining. Paul loves to play with the dog and I love to hear Paul's little giggles!

* Ellie loves to roll over on her belly but sometimes gets frustrated with the squeaky toy on her play mat.

* Apparently socks are amazing. I'm starting to pull things out for our trip to the States and I found some socks for Paul. When I put the first pair on him, he danced around the room for a few minutes shrieking with joy over the socks. Oh my. Isn't that how everyone acts in the morning when they put socks on? I guess it's been too long since the last time he wore socks.

* I can't believe November 6th will mark one year of us living in Chiang Mai.

* The first restaurant I want to go to in the States is Chick-fil-A. Seriously. Olive Garden is a close second. I can almost taste it... mmm, mmm!

* My little baby smells so good after her bath. She's also very ticklish.:-)

* I am one blessed lady!

How's that for being random?!?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Then And Now.

We had a great time on Monday, in the midst of ordinary life, taking a trip down memory lane. Monday marked our 5-year engagement anniversary and as we drove to school, we talked about that fun and life-changing day. Wow, five years is a long time and a lot has happened since that beautiful fall day.

Going on a date is a luxury for us since our babysitting options are severely limited, so as we were driving past 5th Avenue -- a new set of shops outside of our neighborhood -- we commented on how we wanted to try a new cafe/bakery shop called "Now and Then" located in 5th Avenue. We were actually past it before we thought seriously about stopping, but soon we were spontaneously deciding to visit the cafe.

One thing I should mention about the road system here is that we need to take u-turns for everything. Because we were past the cafe before we decided to go, we would've had to go all the way down the road to the traffic light, take the u-turn to go the opposite direction, travel to the next u-turn and take that turn and then turn into 5th Avenue. We were just about ready to do that very thing when we saw the traffic outside of our neighborhood completely backed up. We were within walking distance of the cafe, so we got the kids out of the car and walked that way.

All day Sunday and Monday, we saw police officers standing on the road every hundred feet or so. They seemed like they were waiting for some special convoy to come through, but it looked funny to us because most of the officers were on their phones while they waited and we're talking hours of waiting. Well as we walked to the cafe and stared at the traffic, we finally realized that the two days of police officers waiting was coming to an end at the same time, because there was a major traffic jam!

The special convoy came through and traffic was "paused" in all directions to give deference to the convoy (one man at the market told me it was the King of Thailand). We continued on foot, very grateful we weren't on the road!

The cafe was quiet, new, and very date-like. :-) We had the two cutest little chaperones with us and I even got to split a raspberry smoothie with one of them. By the way, if you come visit us, I will take you to get a raspberry smoothie --- it was that good! Nat enjoyed a latte and we each tried a dessert. Paul was enjoying the results of our spontaneity: first a bite of Nat's chocolate cake and then a lick of my blueberry cheesecake. That kid has a rough life!

Since we ate our dessert first (perk of being an adult!), we decided to make up a simple meal of tacos and took it a step further by eating outside. The evening was so nice and cool (why yes 80 degrees is cool!) and bonus was not having to clean the floor after Paul finished eating. :-)

All in all it was such a lovely day. I'm so grateful for the way God put Nat and I together. It has been such an adventurous journey and I wouldn't wish it any other way!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Choosing Gratefulness.

It's been quite the week around here, but I think anyone with little kiddos can tell you that! But you know what? God is so good and we're grateful we're finishing the week much better than we started. 

I put Ellie on her play mat this morning and within five minutes she had rolled over and fell asleep!

I unknowingly dressed Paul to match his daddy today so of course I needed to take their picture together!

Happy Friday. :-)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Living In Thailand. For Real!

Not being in a country where the change in the colors of the leaves signal a season switch, I'm a bit baffled that it's October already. Our weather has been warm with a blistering sun thrown in for good measure, so it definitely doesn't "feel" like fall around here! I'm grateful to see glimpses of a Pennsylvania fall courtesy of Facebook (PA friends - please post more!), but this does mess with my mind not pulling out hoodies and feeling the crispy fall air! In fact, the air con is currently on in my son's room as he naps and I've shut all the windows and curtains in hopes of keeping it cool on the inside. All you warm weather-loving people -- wanna come visit?!

So in the spirit of keeping things real about living in Thailand, I give you this:

That, my dear readers, is our truck. 

With someone else's bumper attached to it.


Without describing in detail the intersection and traffic, I will say this was a very humbling lesson for me. I tend to be a risk-taker when driving (ouch, that hurt just seeing it written out!), and while what I did we've seen tons of people do (turning a third lane into a turning lane instead of a straight only lane),  it was a reality check that beating the system just isn't worth it. 

At this point, you may be wondering how that guy's bumper got on my bumper. As I turned, he moved from his lane to his left, trying to get around the car in front of him. Unfortunately, I couldn't get out of his way, but I was just enough ahead of him that the back of my truck met the front of his car and ripped the whole bumper right off. Let me tell you, it sounded terrible! I had never been in an accident before while driving, so I really expected the back end to be messed up, based upon the sound.

You know that statistic that says most accidents happen within a 5-mile radius of your home? That's exactly what happened in this instance. I had taken Paul with me to the grocery store to stock up on some fun food since it was the end of the month and we had extra in the grocery budget. So I had a big block of cheddar cheese, frozen strawberries, milk, and chocolate chips in a cooler bag just waiting to be tucked safely into the fridge. When the accident first took place, all I could think of was that block of cheese! :-)

But reality set in so I called Nat (who was studying at home while Ellie took her nap). Dealing with an insurance company in Thai wasn't exactly my idea of "hey! What a great opportunity to practice Thai!" when the adrenalin was running high, and yes, I was shaking. Thankfully Paul chose to take his nap at that moment. In the meantime, Ellie had woken up at home and wanted to eat... now. Poor Nat was juggling a screaming baby and trying to deal with the insurance company, plus try to find a way to come to where I was... since I had our only vehicle. 30 minutes later, two insurance adjusters, one neighbor, one husband and one quiet baby showed up on the scene. Since both drivers were at fault and since both vehicles were well-insured, everything was resolved rather quickly. Praise the Lord that was the case because from what we've heard, when a foreigner is involved in an accident here, it's their fault regardless of whether it's really their fault or not. 

Would you like some good news? I am officially done with Thai kindergarten. Yay! I was talking with my sister this morning and told her in my reading class yesterday, I was at the level equivalent to "at, bat, cat..." :-) I am so encouraged that this language is starting to unlock more and more for me! Most of the vowels I can remember, with the exception of two that look so similar to me. My teacher was very encouraging yesterday as I practiced the reading drill by saying my pronunciation was correct and I was reading fast. Without coming across as "pride going before a fall" I need all the encouragement I can get, and I'm really thankful for my teacher.

So I'll leave you with my name written in Thai:

แอน - Anne

And with this: 

Because this little lady is a big 5-month-old!