normal, that’s us

it’s official. the counselor’s declared us and all that we are going through as normal. i know, i’m just as surprised by that as you. actually, i’m not, i knew it. everyone keeps telling us that this is all normal, everybody who moves across the world goes through it. but yesterday, finally, someone said to me – that while this is normal – it still sucks. and that’s really what i needed to hear. deep down i have no doubt that we will make it through this transition. but every once in a while i do have those niggling little thoughts that scream, “what in the world were you thinking!?! you are a crazy woman and nothing is ever going to be alright again!!” niggling little thoughts can be quite loud. but yesterday we decided to embrace the normal. we went to eat lunch at normal ol’ kentucky fried chicken, then we went plant shopping where the boys did what boys are normally wont to do and complained that they had to be there. but we did get home with these

and once we were home a11 pointed out in her very normal way that if i was intending to pot these plants we had no pots and if i was intending to plant them in the ground we had nothing to dig with. (but i really have a much more sinister plan. since my mom is coming in may and she has an excellent shade of kelly green thumb and i have a not at all green thumb i’m hoping she won’t be too put out if she gets to take the lead on help with some landscaping. and that looking at the tropical plants that are so easy to come by here will get her very excited about the prospect of traveling half way around the world to garden. mom, don’t worry we will do so much more. gardening is just an if we get time kind of a thing. oh, and i will get those plants potted before you get here, i’ve purchased a green permanent marker to color my thumb with so the plants will feel more confident in me.) where was i, oh yeah, normal. (don’t all normal people have sinister gardening plans?) anyway, once home we went swimming at the very normal swimming pool in our neighborhood. and then i worked very hard at convincing the kids that cereal would be great for dinner since it was 900 degrees outside and that was way to hot to be cooking over a hot flame.  i finally convinced them when i told them, “all the normal kids are doin’ it.”

haiku friday – culture shock

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

are we adjusting
is ev-e-ry-thing normal
today we find out

no joke culture shock
thailand’s not america
that’s not suprising

kids are still having
occasional crying jags
don’t know how to help

think that it’s best to
look to the professionals
help us get through this

~~~~~~~~~~

today we, the kids and i that is, head off for a head check. the kids are going to meet with someone while i’m meeting with someone else. and then i get to meet with both of these someones to see what’s next.

so far c14 really seems to be doing great. my only concern about him is that he seems to have developed some sort of funky accent. i have a tendency to mimic the accents around me, not intentionally, sometimes i don’t even realize i’m doing it and i think he might do the same. it seems that c14 apparently is turning japanese, i think he’s turning japanese, i really think so… okay, well, maybe not japanese, but you get the idea. however, i am worried that maybe there is something hovering just under the surface, waiting to break or crack or whatever it’s gonna do.

a11 is doing okay at this moment. but that might not be true for the exact moment we walk into the counselor’s office or even the exact next moment from this exact moment. things change quickly with her.

s8 hated thailand before he got here and this hasn’t really improved at all. he has good moments, but when he’s having a bad moment – it’s bad. it’s heartbreaking.

hopefully today we will get a bit of help. really, i think for the kids someone other than their parents saying this is normal will be very helpful, but also some tools to help process all of this.

bh isn’t left out of all this because we think he’s doing all that great, he’s left out of this fun because he isn’t here to participate. he gets back saturday from a two week jaunt to india and singapore. and this time his being gone has been so much better than mongolia. no freak-outs on my part. it has helped that i have had some contact from him, but i think the biggest difference has been that i have been so very busy informing the whole of thailand that i farted.

monday, is it over yet?

today started bright and early with parent/teacher conferences for s8 and a11. which means the kids were out of school, but bh and i had to go. so off we went.

we met with s8’s teacher first. he’s doing okay academically, but is a poor citizen. he’s rude to her and his classmates. he seems angry and he’s still having difficulty adjusting. and, as his mom, i so wanted to make excuses for him. but i couldn’t. i’m pretty sure they would have fallen flat. because the truth is he’s just not all that happy. i mean he has days that are great, but far more of them are not so great. and i’m not really sure it’s improving for him. so i sat with his teacher – and in all fairness to her she was wonderful, she fully understands how difficult this is and how he’s never been the new kid before – and i listened and tried not to cry. sat there and wondered what have we done? how have we damaged our son?

next up was a11’s teacher. an equally wonderful teacher. very understanding about our move and adjustment and all that goes with it, but… a11 isn’t doing well either. she’s withdrawn and really somewhat cold to her fellow students. the other girls in her class have given up on trying to be friends with her and now a11 has an uphill battle trying to make friends with them. and she’s become very unsure of herself. in the last year she has made some great strides in her self confidence levels, really come out of her shell. and now she seems to have completely regressed. so for the second time in an hour i’m absolutely certain we have damaged our kids.

also on the agenda today was a birthday party for c13, harp lesson for a11 and a school project work session for a11. i got c13 to the birthday party on time and got lost on my way home. which made us late for harp lessons. which made us late for the school project work session. we ended up getting home in time for me to make dinner and then head off to get c13 from his birthday party. and, of course, i got lost on my way to get him. and so you don’t think i’m a total loser – the pick up place wasn’t the same as the drop off place. it took me an hour and a half to find where i was supposed to be. turns out it’s only about 10 minutes from our house. so i was very late getting him. when i do get him he mentions that he left the change of clothes he was supposed to take to the party in the song thaeuw they had ridden in to get from the first location to the second. which might not be such a big deal if it hadn’t been one of the four pair jeans he owns. and since he will only wear jeans at this time – his thing, not ours – that leaves him 3 pairs and one of those three has a nice rip in the upper inner thigh (also known as the crotch). and then he says to the birthday girl, “the gift i got you got all wet, so i’ll have to get you another.” (they’d had a water balloon fight, thus the need for a change of clothes.) it was a gift voucher to swenson’s. not like we could take it back. so i gave it to her mother so she could lay it out flat and then they would be usable.

and now i’m home. working on a to-do list for tomorrow. it only has two things on it. one is go to cooking class, which i’m very much looking forward to. the other is call the counseling center and make appointments for our whole maladjusted family… we need help and it’s available so we’re gonna get it. i have no doubt that they are going to tell me that what we’re going through is normal, that it will all be okay and i’m hoping that they will give us all some tools to help us get through this and thrive here, i’m sure that they will.

party time

so, i saw this blog party thing weeks ago, way back when i could have been one of the first 100 on board. but thought, “nah. i think i’ll pass.” then i started getting party posts in my rss feed. and i thought, “well, if they’re doing it i really, really want to do it, too. cuz they’re cool.” oh, yeah, and they’re giving away prizes and i like to win things. so i decided i’m gonna do this party thing. and now, i’m gonna be in the first 1500 or so on board.

baa baa.

any way, welcome to the party at my blog. sorry about the state of things, see i’ve recently been transplanted over 8000 miles from colorado springs, co, usa to chiang mai, thailand. so the house is a little bare and i haven’t really gotten the hang of cooking on my two burner propane stove. but we’ll have a good time anyway. let me introduce you to some folks –

there’s bh, it stands for better half – or on really bad days it could stand for something else, so i’ve been told, but i would never have thought of that on my own, really. i. never. would. have.

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there’s also c13, who might be the best teenager ever. no, really. i’m not being sarcastic – he is the best.

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a11’s here, too, wonder girl extraodanaire, a most delightful girl.

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and, last but not least, s8. the baby of the crowd, which also means the clown. and boy is he funny.

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and now it’s time to get down. and we’re gonna blog party like we’ve never blog partied before – which we haven’t.

and since i’m feeling lucky, i’m thinking i might win something. like maybe one of these

and if any of those aren’t available then perhaps 136, 11, 115, 148 or anything else knitty/crafty or note cards. and i know i appear to be international, but i do have a mailing address in the states.

how he loves his diagrams

bh went to pick up the kids from school for me. this is usually my chore favorite thing to do, but yesterday i just wasn’t feeling like it.  and turned out it was his lucky day.

in a11’s class they are studying decades. they are broken up into small groups and each group has a different decade. a11’s group has the 70’s. another group has the 80’s. (i love the 80’s) and in their report they seem to have including a bit about aids, and homosexuality, and prostitution. and when bh picked up a11 she was just chock full of questions. see these things were just mentioned, not actually discussed, but she had the feeling that everyone else in class knew what they were talking about, everyone but her. so she asked bh a few questions and bh believes in telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth and didn’t feel like he could give her a proper answer unless he started at the beginning – with a talk about human anatomy. and for those of us who know and love bh, we know that no serious conversation can happen without a diagram. and because i like to share, i scanned it so we could all see. here it is…

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i wish i could tell you after seeing that i felt some relief, but instead what i felt was a growing sense of panic. because i wasn’t sure exactly what was included in this diagram and i’ve got those parts. so i had him explain. and here’s the diagram with the explanations…

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and after bh explained it to me he said, “maybe you should have a talk with her, too. you know, just to clarify things.”

and so you guys don’t worry.  a11 and i have actually had this talk – but it looked nothing like this.  and i’m assuming that’s why she didn’t recognize it.

chiang mai international festival and balloon glow

we lived in colorado springs for 5 years. and every one of those 5 years we headed out to the annual colorado balloon classic to see the balloon glow. and not one of those years did we actually get to see a glow, each and every time we saw what they called a flame. which means they lit the fires but didn’t have the balloons up. and it wasn’t enough to keep the kids interested. but this year in chiang mai we saw this…

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and this…

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and this…

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and we got to do this*… (since it was dusk, the lighting inside the hot air balloon wasn’t all that great making it somewhat difficult to see that we are standing inside the balloon as they fill it with air)

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and this*…

 

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and i found the van of my dreams…

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and if you can’t make out just what makes it all that, look at this…

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do i really need room for the kids?

earlier in the evening there were hangliders – but they weren’t really hangliders they were something else, i just don’t remember what it was they called themselves…

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and just so you don’t think it was all fun and games, we also were witness to this…

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i have no idea what he is doing or why he is doing it, but i do know this clown will not be at any of my kiddos birthday parties – well, if any of them were still young enough to want a clown at their birthday party.

and you may have noticed c13 was conspicuously absent from the days activities. he was off at a birthday party – social butterfly that he is.

*the lovely couple who took our picture in the balloon and then let the kids hang out in the basket for a bit were from england. most of these balloons came from bristol, england. they sent the balloons and the baskets by ship in december preparing for a valentine’s event – which is when the international festival was originally to be held. the festival was postponed because of a 100 day mourning period due to the death of the king’s sister.

chiang mai knows mexican

spending the first 32 years of my life – you know, the formative years – in texas i feel pretty comfortable saying, “i know a teensy bit about mexican food.” and the 5 years i spent in colorado allow me to be fairly comfortable in saying, “colorado don’t know mexican.” great mexican food was the one thing i never found while in colorado. after 6 weeks in chiang mai i have found some good mexican food. made my day.

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the kids and i are doing the weekend alone, no bh, he’s at a retreat. and my original plans were to do nothing. get plenty of sleep, read, never leave my new bff, the interwebnet. but we did have to get out. i’d scheduled an appointment with the lady who will be a11’s harp teacher and since we had to get out of the house i figured we might as well do something. that way the kids couldn’t yammer on and on to their dad about what a dud they got stuck with for a mom. so we went to miquel’s and had some lovely mexican food. then we went to mike’s for some rich, thick milk shakes (2 chocolate, one strawberry and an oreo, please). made a stop by a used book store and then detoured into a wicker shop.

 

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maybe not as good as being head butted by an elephant, but i didn’t hear any complaints. (not that i was listening for them in the wicker shop)