Five years ago today we arrive in Thailand. It still ranks as probably the most stressful time of my life.
we made it with very little excitement on the way. other than when we arrived at d/fw airport and they told me my itinerary had been cancelled. but the kids were still good to go. took a few minutes but the nice united employee – the only nice united employee we ran into – fixed it all up and had me flying with them.
here’s the kids 15 minutes after take off.
we had been at the airport since 4am, so i guess a nap was in order.
i’ve now made my acting debut. and i was stellar. or at least adequate. the kids’ school is putting on a christmas play
and i’ve been cast – if you define being cast as throwing your hand in the air and yelling “pick me, pick me” – in the role of mrs. mccarthy. she’s a bit of a busy body, but she has a heart of gold. (i ad-libbed that description – it’s
very mostly accurate.) one of the best parts of being in this play is that i spend the first half of it in my pajamas. and then there’s the rash. or lack there of. when i was a kid i played the viola. and before any and every recital, concert, audition, etc. i broke out in a bright red rash. a bright red rash is hard to hide when you’re a very, very white girl. so, for the first performance, i caked on the makeup – just in case i needed to camouflage the rash. but guess what? no rash. i must have matured more than i realized.
c16 is also in the play. he’s a herdman. and he’s a very good herdman – i mean he’s good at being a herdman, because none of the herdmans are good at all. and when he’s not a herdman he’s a backstage hand. he’s good at that, too. tonight he took on the task of angel wrangling. there’s a gaggle of 5th graders in the play and i’m not sure if they come in hopped up on chocolate or soda or what, because they’re mighty wound up. (which could also just be the result of getting a gaggle of 5th graders together.) and he took it upon himself to get them settled at the start of the play by story telling. i walked backstage and came upon all the kids gathered around listening very intently to the story c16 was telling. which, i’m sure, was perfectly appropriate for 10 and 11 year olds.
we had 4 performances this weekend. there are two more to go. one this coming friday – for the other international schools in our area - and then the following thursday is the last public performance. so, if you live in chiang mai and are around at 8pm on the night of December 9th, come on out and see us. tickets are available at the door and there’s not a much better way to get into the spirit of christmas than watching the
worst best christmas pageant ever!
the party’s over. maybe. or perhaps not. there are always those 1 or 2 – or 20 – who don’t know when to stop. but, officially, loi krathong has ended. every year i’m
amazed disgusted by the vast amount of trash left behind by the party goers. all those thousands of khom loi that are released? they have to come down somewhere. and the krathong?
they don’t just dissolve away – even if they are made mostly of eco-friendly materials. then there’s the firework remnants, the abandoned food containers, general trash and what not. this morning i took a walk to the american consulate – sans camera – and could not believe the debris that covered the entire river side area – i really couldn’t see the ground, scouts honor. it wouldn’t have made for a very pretty picture if i had had my camera. i couldn’t imagine how they would go about getting it cleaned up. and 2 hours later i sat at a coffee shop that overlooked the same littered area and the mess was gone. all gone. even the debris in the water. i was amazed. then i noticed the army of people on the opposite side of the river from me. they were high school students, all dressed in their scouting uniforms. some were walking the shoreline with pointed bamboo sticks, others were loaded in boats with nets and several were actually in the water. and they were working there way up river. it was quite impressive.
but there is one thing that i don’t think they will ever be able to cleanse – and that’s the earworm that is the loi krathong song. i can’t get it out of my head! so i’m sharing it with you, too. loi, loi krathong.
sure signs the seasons they are a changing here in chiang mai
- frigid morning and evening temperatures. and when i say frigid i mean it. it was 66 this morning and i didn’t want to get out from under the warmth of the comforter. if you had told me 3 years ago that i’d be digging out hoodie sweatshirts and warm socks when the thermometer hit 69 i’d have called you crazy – or at least thought you were crazy.
- khom loy. you actually see them off and on through out the year, but they are in full force as the loy kratong celebration approaches. releasing these lanterns always feels sort of exotic. this past weekend i went to a party to celebrate a couple of friends’ 50th birthdays. as part of the festivities we released many lanterns. the brisk air and the lanterns made for a perfect cool season evening.
my last post mentioned michael’s type-2 diabetes diagnosis. which might not be a correct diagnosis. michael was in krung thep mahanakhon amon rattanakosin mahinthara yuthaya mahadilok phop noppharat ratchathani burirom udomratchaniwet mahasathan amon phiman awatan sathit sakkathattiya witsanukam prasit last week when we got the results from the doctor in the u s of a. (and, yes, i do feel very smart when i copy and paste the full name of bangkok in to my posts.) which meant we couldn’t do much about it. he got back late saturday night, so we were up and at it early this morning.
i’d worked concessions at a badmitton tournament all day saturday. (badmitton is big here in asia. real big.) and i asked the lady i was working with if she knew of a doctor we might be able to use that could help us navigate the what and how of diabetes. and she did. she gave me the name of a doctor who has a clinic on the moat and you can just walk on in. no appointment needed. so that’s just what we did. he asked michael a few questions, looked at the results of the bloodwork and immediately doubted the diagnosis. partly because there is absolutely no family history of diabetes on michael’s side of the family – that he knows of – and partly because the cellulitis hasn’t cleared up and he’s been on all kinds of antibiotics and those, combined with the infection itself, can do a number on your sugar levels. he hasn’t totally ruled out diabetes, but he’s highly doubtful that’s what it is.
he did do a random blood test today and the results were 126. which, from what he said, is great for a non-fasting blood test. he then looked at a few more things, prescribed some more antibiotics that should finally kill the infection – hopefully – and told michael to come back in on saturday, so he can look at his legs. and then michael heads out of town again. when he gets back, he’s to call the doctor’s office to make an appointment for more blood work, this time fasting, and for an angiogram – because the doctor said there is definately something causing the blood to not flow correctly through his legs. and after all that’s done he should be able to make a more definitive diagnosis. so for now we wait.
and our new doctor’s not really puerto rican, he just told us he was. he’s really 1/2 thai and 1/2 indian, but when he was studying in new york and people would ask him where he was from he would say, “thailand.” and they would say, “you don’t look thai.” and he would say, “well, my dad’s indian, my mother is thai and i was raised in thailand.” and they would say, “you don’t look indian.” so he asked them, “what do i look like?” and they said, “puerto rican.”
*i would have titled this post alive and kicking, but i’ve already used that title – and it wasn’t all that long ago – so i’m just going with another line from the same song. given enough time i’ll eventually have a post for every line of the song.*
where have i been? around. (funny, aren’t i?) no, actually i’ve just been recovering. i spent several days in quite a bit of pain and then several more days really, really sore. but, for the most part, i’m now pain free. except for the headache i’ve had pretty much nonstop since i was put under. oh, and the fuzziness i’ve been feeling. which is very frustrating. i feel like i shouldn’t be allowed to make any decisions right now because i can’t think clearly enough to make a good choice. but those things are supposed to go away – in time. and i would say the headache is not as painful as they were, now more of a dull distraction as opposed to a constant hammering. oh, and the itching. which is a good sign. the doctor was overjoyed to hear that my scalp was itchy. he was so excited to tell me all about the cell factory i’ve got working away on top of my head healing up that scar. and he gave me a very clear warning. “don’t scratch the factory and no swimming.” wednesday the stitches come out. and then another 5 weeks of healing after that and i’ll be good as new. sort of. and bonus – it seems i’m a wee bit younger looking. i’ve had more than one person say that i look younger. i’m thinking that in order to accomplish the removal of the “dangerous tumor” the doctor couldn’t help giving me a bit of a face lift.
what else has been happening?
we’ve also had a birthday party for s(still)10. he’ll be 11 next friday saturday (i’m blaming that little error on the fuzziness.) his birthday is totally on friday. (i was right the first time, but the fuzzy seems to have won out.) but michael leaves for the states the day after his birthday and s10 figured that if we wanted to get maximum benefit from him being here we should party a little early. but don’t worry, i’m not cheating him out of a birthday post. i’m just gonna wait until he’s actually s11 to talk about it any more. (my own personal denial).
a13 has started futsal. it’s a super short season. started somewhere around the 20th of aug. and ends like the 17th of sept. she’s playing under 16 this year. which seems impossible.
c16 is impatiently waiting to get his motorscooter license. the whole head thing derailed our plans just a little. but we’re back on track now and soon enough he’ll have it. and want to use it.
michael’s leg still isn’t 100%, but it’s closer. i’ve got to find him some compression socks this week before he heads over the ocean.
and my coolest thailand story to date – at least i think it’s the coolest. i was headed home from a friend’s house on the motorscooter the other night and stopped for a red light. the elephant that i was stopped beside patted me on the helmet with his/her trunk. how cool is that?? (i mean, like it’s not cool enough to say “the elephant i was stopped beside”.)
i hate greatly dislike our car. it’s big. too big for the neighborhood streets of chiang mai. it guzzles gas. it’s in poor condition – even after it’s had a new engine and a new radiator (although i question the use of the word new.) and there are alot of places that it’s an absolute bear to park. just the idea of having to use it raises my heart rate. so we’ve decided to change our main mode of transportation. we’re going motorcy. (in america we’d call it a scooter.) right now we’re renting a really cute motorcy – but really cute probably isn’t really practical for our family. it works for me, but the menfolk aren’t so excited about it. when you rent a motorcy here they aren’t so big on making sure you know how to ride one. they showed me how to start it – that was very kind of them – and then they sent me out on my own. and i’m loving it.
we’ve decided that we’re gonna let c16 get his license and have some usage of the bike. and when we told him that, apparently he heard “we’re buying a bike for the family, but mostly for you!” because he has been negotiating the when and where he gets to use it since we mentioned it. we’ve got a ways to go before we come to an agreement. i figure by the time we come to an arrangement that makes us all happy a13 will be ready to drive it, too.
if my blog had a ticker that ran across the bottom of meaningless posts with the real news here is what it would say (you know, like the news. the newscasters talk about all the not really news stuff and the important stuff you really need and want to know about is run across the bottom of the screen so you have to read it, while listening to the unimportant stuff) -
- michael’s leg is doing better. or at least not worse. he has a doctor’s appointment tomorrow to check it out.
- the kids are situated in school. the first full week begins today.
- i’ve actually been using the gym membership i committed to. if you count 10 visits in 20 days as a commitment.
vacation is over. now i am counting down the days until michael and c16 get back from the states. i’m thankful that it is now days and can no longer be numbered in weeks. but it feels like these last four days might just drag on forever – or longer.
looking back on this summer i’ve discovered an amazing thing. i can be a fun mom. that might never change the fact that i’ll probably always be the strict parent, but it does broaden the parenting role i fill. i’ve managed to do plenty of fun things with the kids this summer. take them places, play games with them, participate. for too long i’ve felt a bit like a referee. i’ve been there for all the fun, but i’ve been on the sidelines. only getting into the action to call “foul” or “offsides”. now i feel like i’m really in the game. and that’s made this a very good summer.
looking ahead school starts in less than three weeks. and we’re all looking forward to it. it means friends will be returning from abroad. we’ll get back into a routine. it means normalcy – with a touch of unavoidable craziness. i’ve stepped into a few responsibilities lately. i’ll be the secretary for the ptg – i’m looking forward to that. to being a bit more involved at the school. but even bigger than that responsibility is the role i’ve taken at a local ministry. i’ll be taking over some of the admin responsibilities. communication and such – and i can choose to get more involved in the other programs they have if i want. i’ve been searching for something to get involved with here. i’ve put out feelers and taken it slowly. when this opportunity came along it felt right. it felt like God said “this is what i have for you”. and i’ll get to use my thai! michael has a bit of a crazy travel schedule immediately after he returns from the states. he’ll be in the philippines, indonesia, korea, and then back to the states, but hopefully after that he’ll settle down to do a bit of work in thailand.
and… i am hoping it’s safe to say that the rainy season has made it chiang mai. the temps are cooler 89 for a high and a very chilly – i even broke out a blanket – 77 for a low yesterday. i’m praying that continues.
it’s monday and time once again to join in on holly’s potluck.
yesterday we went to the local vfw 4th of july celebration. our cost of admission – 1000฿ or $30 for 3 of us – included all you can eat bbq – real beef hot dogs (thai hotdogs are nasty and made out of questionable meat product), ribs, burgers, potato salad, onion rings, etc… now in order to get our “free” bbq we – and by we i mean me – had to stand in a really, really long line.
chronic fatigue syndrome. when i entered the symptoms sore feet and sweating dr. google diagnosed me with chronic fatigue syndrome. and, after today, this one seems close. but i think leaving off the chronic and the syndrome part would be a more accurate diagnosis.