the end is nigh

it’s getting to the end of the school year and that means it’s time for everything that needs to get done to get crammed in.

starting with the last band performance of the year.   except it’s not really, because the band plays at graduation and i’m pretty sure that’s the latest you can fit a performance in.
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i might not be the best at adding arrows to photos.  that arrow is pointing somewhere in the vicinity of a16.

and senior prom.  i’ve totally stolen pics from chan’s facebook, because i wasn’t invited.

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chan and his lovely prom date.

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singing something and meaning it

we’ve also had farewell to the leavers at church (it wasn’t actually called that this year, but it has been in the past.  and in an effort to sound cool and worldly – and maybe obnoxious – i’m gonna continue to use it.)

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these are the folks graduating from chan’s school srfarewellchurch

telling who he is and where he’s going

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apparently there is a correct graduate prayer posture.  i think chan’s almost nailed it.

we’ve still got a busy few weeks ahead of us.  and no need to worry about the lack of s13’s appearance in the blog lately – his time is coming.

harpey

*spoiler alert…  there’s a video at the end – or at least a link to a video*

a16 had a harp recital tonight.  a duet recital.  she’s never played a duet before.  much less several duets.  both girls also played a few solo pieces.  and two students from payap university joined in – both payap students were very new to the harp.  everyone did a fantastic job.

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there aren’t many opportunities for a16 to play her harp in public.  she’s a bit of a nervous performer, but still manages to do an amazing job.  a while ago a16’s harp teacher came up with the idea of providing an opportunity for a16 to perform some solos in public and why not a few duets, too?  learning to play with another musician is a great skill to have and one that a16 has never had the opportunity to develop.  so she paired up two of her students and voilà the music was getting made!

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both girls really did an amazing job.  i watched them warm up before the performance and-  if i’m being honest – i would admit that i was more than a tad bit nervous for them.  apparently they got all the kinks out before the concert because the performance was so good.

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and now the catch up begins

no worries, i’m not gonna try to catch you guys up too much, but you might ought to prepare yourself for the next few posts to be about the mostly recent past – starting as recent as this past weekend…

michael was invited to train a course in muak lek, thailand.  the folks who invited him were kind enough to invite the rest of the family along, too.  c19 had other, more pressing, senior-y type things to do, but a16, s13, and i were game for a weekend at a resort and 24/7 air con.  the other thing we were all looking forward to was picking up krispy kreme donuts while we were at the don muang airport in bangkok – i’ll get back to that.

we flew into DMK – that’s don muang airport.  and were picked up and given a ride to muak lek – a few hours outside of bangkok.  we arrived after the dining room was closed.  but not to be starved we headed out to find some dinner and lucked into a little mookata restaurant – a thai bbq place where you’re in charge of your own grill.

after dinner we checked into our rooms (wish i’d taken a picture, we had a very nice 2 bedroom/2 bathroom with a living room cabin).  we quickly (there might have been a little drama) divided up boys’ room and girls’ room.  turns out brothers and sisters – when they are a 16 year old girl and 14 year old boy – aren’t so keen on room sharing.

michael had to be up bright and early to start teaching, but the rest of us slept in, then breakfast and an entire day of nothing.  i had a little work to do and some reading i wanted to catch up and some air-con i just wanted to soak up.  so it was sort of a day of nothing.

on sunday we got up, headed to worship and then the kids and i ventured out to chet saonoi waterfall.  it was nice and cool and very pretty.

Imagewe hiked around for a bit and then headed out to what see what google said muak lek was famous for – the milky way.  there are a lot of dairies.  big ones.  and farm chokchai is all set up for tourists.

2013-05-05 11.07.30the kids fed calves.  they had ice cream shakes.  really, really good ice cream shakes.  we felt a little guilty about eating burgers.  and we skipped the tour.  i was the only one really interested in it – it was 2.5 hours long and all in thai.  if we’d made prior arrangements english could have been arranged, but since my dairy thai isn’t all that good i figured the kids were right on this one.

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no matter how hard those helpful thai ladies pushed those cows wouldn’t move

and besides, i was coming down with a migraine.  and if you’re gonna have a migraine and take to the bed, it’s very, very nice to be able to do that in an air-conned room.

michael had to train a good bit of monday and then it was time to return to the airport.  michael was a little slow getting through security – he’d forgotten about the 8 pairs of scissors he had in his backpack.  but they were discovered and confiscated and then we were on our way.  we quickly located krispy kreme.  it was open.  and it was donut-less.  not one donut.  there was a little disappointment, but not too much.  everyone knows we’re only weeks away from the land of donuts.

we got home a little late on sunday night and kids returned to school on monday.

there was a little bit of melancholy on the trip as every so often someone found it necessary to comment on this trip for four being what next year would be like all the time.  (it’s possible i’ll work c19’s imminent departure into any posts between now and the day it happens.)

21 days? that can’t be possible

sidebar: i’ve been gone so long that i no longer recognise (my new fangled computer speaks the queen’s english and i find that rather quant.  eventually i might find it annoying and that’s when i’ll go about trying to figure out how to make it speak good ol’ american english) wordpress.  i’m not even sure how to work it.  but i’m sure i’ll get up to speed again – if i manage more than one post this time around.  end sidebar.  (i hope i’ve used the term sidebar correctly.  if not, oh well.)

so i was chatting with one of the kids’ teachers today and noticed a countdown on the wall.  a countdown for how many days of school are left.  if you guessed 21, you’re right.  which means 21 days until graduation.  c19’s graduation to be specific.  time keeps on moving right along, doesn’t it?

we have been preparing for it, sort of.  at least the school has.  we’re pretty lucky that the school takes care of ordering graduation announcements.

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because i haven’t been able to do much other than think about how all five us are heading to the states this summer and only four of us will be returning.  and that feels sort of impossible.  i know it’s all gonna work out.  he’s been accepted to university – his first choice (go him!)  and that school is close to family – and family is good.  but that’s only the first step.

we’ve still got to figure out the money.  the school gave an initial scholarship and yes, we’ve filled out our fafsa and it indicated that there should be some money for us – but should isn’t a very firm word.

and we’ve still got to figure out just how do we do this?  i know we’re not the first to do this, but it’s not really something someone can give you the play by play on because the experience is different for each of us.  (however, the tips i’ve gotten have been greatly appreciated. and knowing so many others have survived this transition makes it seem like we might, too.)

there are also the practical things like getting the stuff he needs for a dorm room.  making sure he has contact numbers for people he can reach in case of an emergency.  (not that his grandparents won’t do that, but it’s nice to have more than one number.)   and figuring out how he’s gonna make it without his momma. (that’s probably mainly my concern.)

but there are other just as important things that have to happen while we’re in the states.  a16 is gonna need to visit some colleges, most likely not her dream colleges, but we can see different kinds of campuses.  we’ve got some doctor-y type maintenance to see about.  and we’re gonna need to be sure we take time to just be a family.  which is hard to do when you’re couch surfing.  (we won’t exactly be couch surfing, but i feel cool saying that’s what we’re doing.)  we’re planning to get a good start on that – we’re gonna take a family vacation in japan before we head to the states.  but we also want to spend quality time with friends and family.   (each year that we are here i feel more of a need to work on the connections we still have in the states – and i’m really, really bad at it.  thankfully we have some amazing friends there who are very patient and determined to keep these relationships going.)

i keep thinking i’m going to get around to the actual planning of some of what needs to happen this summer, but i’m having a very hard time doing that because i want to be fully present in the here and now.  i have taken some baby steps – made contact and set loose-y goose-y dates for where we’ll be staying this summer – but at some point, preferably sooner than later, i’ve got to pencil in some concrete plans for this summer.

sort of like a field trip

…but without the adult chaperones.

this summer the kids headed to their grandparents’ house in america.  and to get there they had to fly. unaccompanied.  by themselves.  without parents.  i would say without adults, but one of them is an adult. (wow – i have an adult child).  but he’d never flown alone, much less with his siblings in tow.  to get to my parents house they had to manage four different airports, in three different countries.  but at least they were together.

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ticket counter in chiang mai

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security

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passport check

one of the airports was in frankfurt, germany.  where the drinking age for beer and wine is 16 and hard liquor is 18.  and since they were flying lufthansa that was the drinking age on the plane, too.  go c18.

they were there five weeks.  five weeks.  that’s a long time to be childless.  and it seems a long time for my parents, who have been childless for quite a while now, to have kids around.  but i wasn’t worried about that.  they all coped.  and they made memories.  and then they returned.

the oldest two returned together.  they left d/fw a little late.  which put them into washington d.c. a little late. a little too late to catch their connecting flight to germany.  so they stayed overnight.  the airlines put them up in a hotel and gave them vouchers for food.  but at 1am they decided it would be a good idea to head out looking for a 7-11.  i haven’t heard a lot of positive things about the streets of our nation’s capital.  but they were fine.  got some snacks.  made their flight the next day.  instead of germany they went to tokyo.  and instead of about 8 hours in the air they got to fly for 14.  and they got to spend the night in the airport in bangkok.  they arrived in chiang mai a day later than planned, but they arrived.

the youngest returned with michael.  they had flight issues, too.  but nothing major.  their biggest problem was arriving without luggage.  but the luggage had all made it by the time we picked the big kids up.

all three kids made great memories.  my parents were awesome.  they really tried to find something that each kid would enjoy. however… if the occasion every rises for us to send the kids to the states again, we will definitely ask permission before booking the flights.  but i sort of think this was a once in a lifetime kind of thing.  next summer we’ll all be in the states and we’ll most likely be leaving one behind.  and then who knows what summers will bring.