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!