Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Catch-up Post

Hi to those of you who still check in with my blog!

Sorry for the long pause in posting! Since my one year update, I've travelled to Burma for a week of health education teaching, spent time in the States with my family & friends over the holidays, and returned to Thailand. (If you get my monthly newsletter, you know more about my Burma trip & visit home. If you don't get my monthly newsletter and would like to, leave me a comment with your e-mail address & I'll add you to my mailing list. :) )

I'm going to attempt to catch you up on my last two months here in Thailand with some updates through pictures I've taken. Writing this post made me realize I need to take more pictures of my day-to-day activities.

Shortly after I returned to Thailand, my friend Kellee turned 30 & her daughter, Kora, turned 1! We celebrated Kora's birthday with a trip to the zoo & dinner. It was a fun day!

For those who haven't heard about Kellee & her family yet, I met Kellee at a Women's Retreat in Chiang Mai that I went to in September. She's the first really good friend from the States that I've made here. She, and her family, were definitely a big answer to prayer when I needed it most. She's been a great friend & support to me in the things I go through here. Her kids, Kees & Kora, have filled my baby/kid-fix that I miss from working with the NICU babies & seeing Jaxin all the time. Her husband, Doug, was a huge help as I was moving into & furnishing a new-to-me house when I returned in January. They all are a huge blessing!

Me, Kees, Kellee, & Kora at the zoo
Doug & Kellee love sushi, so I tried it with them. It's not my favorite, but not too bad.
(The green things on top, which I thought were for decoration, are actually fish eggs! And yes, I ate them!)
About 10 days after returning to Thailand, I had to leave the country again to get a new visa. My student visa was expiring & I needed to get a new type of visa. I needed to travel to Laos for this visa run. Kellee offered to go with me so I wouldn't have to travel by myself. She & Doug had just made this trip in November & she knew what to do. (See what I mean about her being a HUGE blessing!) We left on her 30th birthday, so we made it a combination trip of visa run/Girls' Trip/30th Birthday celebration. The trip went so smoothly that it was evident God's hand was in it the whole time!

Kellee & Me celebrating turning in my visa paperwork & her birthday at Pizza Company for lunch in Laos
 As I mentioned above, I moved into a new-to-me house when I returned to Thailand. (The lease on my previous apartment was up when I went back to the States in November.) It was about two and a half weeks after I returned to Thailand that the house was finally ready (after a few challenges!). It's been good since then.

There is definitely more "wildlife" to deal with here in Thailand than in the States. In my last apartment, there was a huge lizard that would come & go in my kitchen. In this house, I've just had the occassional regular-size lizard inside the house, stray cats that fight in the yard at all hours of the night, & just this past weekend, a snake hanging from a tree eating a lizard!

Front of my new house
 The first week of February, Doug's Mom visited their family & they stayed at a hotel just outside of town. Kellee invited me to stay for a few days. It was a much-needed, relaxing few days! It's fun to be able to be a tourist again in the city you live in. We relaxed by the pool most of the time, but also went into the city to a Khantoke dinner (a Thai dinner & culture show).

View from the top pool at the hotel

Outside at the Khantoke dinner
 I'm also back to teaching the English class on Saturday mornings. There's been around 10 kids each week. I can tell that they're English language is slowly, but surely coming along!

I've also started teaching an English class on Monday & Friday evenings. These students come to the church after spending the day in school. The time starts with everyone gathered together & singing children's worship songs in English. Then, they whole group breaks into five smaller groups based on age & ability. I help teach the 8 & 9 year olds with another Thai teacher, Neen. It's been a good experience getting to know other kids & continuing to use my Thai as I get to know the other teachers.

Kids singing songs

Me teaching 8 & 9 year old class
Those are the highlights of my past couple months!

The weekday English class is taking a break until May because it is the Thai summer break here. Because of this break from teaching, I have most of my time to devote to writing some health education materials that I will be leaving here in Thailand. I'm hoping to train at least one person to be able to teach & then pass on the material to others.

I'll try to be better about taking more pictures & more regularly updating my blog with what's going on each week here in Thailand. (The internet connection at my house isn't strong enough to upload pictures & update my blog, thus why I haven't posted yet. I came into the city today & am writing this at a coffee shop. This might have to be a weekly thing. :) )

Thanks for keeping up with me!