Thursday, May 11, 2006

Pictures from Thailand

Modern technology is fabulous. John's been in Thailand three days, and already he's emailed me pictures of our new place. I'm kind of upstaging him by posting them here (he hasn't had a chance to put them on his blog yet) but most of the people who read his, don't read mine, and vice versa. I don't have a lot of experience with posting pictures, so they'll probably be all messed up. Oh well. There's two of our room, one of the stairs, one of the downstairs area, and one of the outside of the houses opposite us. I'm assuming ours looks the same. There's air con in both bedrooms, and two bathrooms with hot water (yeah!). Chantrea's room isn't quite as nice - no built in closets, just a very utilitarian metal wardrobe - but she won't notice. It has two twin beds and one of them has siderails. Perfect for a toddler. And then we have an extra bed, in case anyone happens to be in the neighborhood!

Monday, May 08, 2006

John has left the country

I dropped my husband off at National Airport in D.C. this morning, and I won't see him for 6 1/2 weeks. That is a LONG time. And can I just say, D.C. is still intimidating to me, even after living 45 minutes away from it for most of my life? It's just not a city I really love.

I found a flight tracker on the web and I've been following John's flight. He's currently 33,000 feet over Mongolia, about 3 hours from landing in Bangkok. He took a flight from D.C. to JFK this morning, then had a five hour layover before taking off at noon. He's on a direct flight from JFK to Bangkok, going over the North Pole. Pretty cool, huh? Thai Airways had their direct flights on sale so we both booked nonstop flights. The other times I've flown to/from Thailand, I've had to stop in Korea or Taiwan. Taiwan's the far better stopping place, just because it's a more direct route and shaves a couple of hours off your total travel time. But when you're talking about a 14 flight (give or take) from L.A. or San Fran to Taiwan or Korea, and then a layover, followed by a flight to Bangkok, every hour counts! Seoul to Bangkok was like a 6 hour flight, while Taipei to Bangkok was 4 or so. Much better. John was up all night packing, and just not being able to sleep, so by the time we left he was all nervous energy. I'm so excited for him, though. I can't wait to hear all about this new place we'll be living. I was teasing him before he left that I was going to get spoiled sleeping in a bed by myself and not having to share space, and he responded with "And I'll have a whole HOUSE to myself." Which is true. Besides, I'm still up right now because I can't fall asleep in that bed by myself, I'm too used to having someone to cuddle with.

I was thinking the other day about all that's happened in the last year, and it's just been crazy. In the past twelve months (give or take a couple of weeks), I've:
  • Quit my job
  • Gone back to school full-time
  • Graduated from college
  • Moved cross-country
  • Had two more jobs (one of which I currently still have)
  • Lost all my pregnancy weight (yeah!!!)
  • Started a college savings fund for Chantrea
  • Sold our car, and most of our other household belongings

And within the next couple of months, I will pack up and move Chantrea and me to a new country. It's been a good year, though, and we feel good about all the decisions we've made.

I've been studying Thai quite a bit lately as well, and I've finally mastered all 44 consonants. Well, maybe not mastered. The tones are still tricky. And vowel length (how long you hold the vowel) is very important in Thai, and it's hard for me to combine hard tones with short vowels. Still, I've got the basic alphabet. Now, if I can just get all 48 vowels down I'll really be on my way!

I still have a few loose ends to take care of before I leave. I'm waiting on a check from my life insurance company, I cashed out the whole-life policy my dad bought for me when I was a kid. (My dad was a licensed insurance agent, so they had insurance on all of us, just enough to cover burial expenses). John and I have term insurance so I don't need to whole life anymore. Between life insurance and Social Security benefits, I'm still worth a lot more (financially) to John dead than alive, but he gives me a disgusted look whenever I bring that up. And for good reason :). I'm glad we have the insurance though; it makes me feel better knowing that if something were to happen to us, Chantrea's guardians (most likely my brother and his wife) would have plenty of money to raise her, pay for college, a mission, her wedding, whatever. My brother's good with money and investing so he'd make it go a long way. John laughs at me because I worry so much. I insisted that we buy life insurance when Chantrea was just a few months old, and the agent who sold us our policies was surprised that we had contacted them, instead of the other way around. He didn't get many calls from 25-year-old couples. But he did have several stories about couples who never thought they'd need it, and ended up being glad they had it.

John's over China now. A couple more hours and he'll be in Thailand's City of Angels.