Monday, June 26, 2006

I'm finally arrived

I am finally in Thailand! The flight was borderline horrendous (we were delayed almost four hours leaving LA). A nearly seven hour layover is always a bad thing; an almost seven hour layover in the middle of the night is a worse thing; throw a toddler into the mix and you're just begging for punishment.

But, we made it. Not without some tears and meltdowns and we probably annoyed other passengers on occasion, but oh well. By the time I was 13 hours into the flight I couldn't have cared less if I was annoying anyone else, I just wanted to make my child less distraught at being cooped up STILL. This whole move has been really rough for her. I mean, first we go to a wedding, where we traveled at least an hour a day for six days and lots of strangers talked to her and her sleep schedule was disrupted. Then we got to an entirely new country where she has incredible jetlag and new food and EVERYBODY touches her. It's like she's on display at a petting zoo. On the one hand it's kind of funny, even enjoyable, for her to be so special that people want to talk to her and hold her. But after the fifteenth complete stranger of the day strokes her arm and gets in her face while jabbering in some unintelligible (to her) language . . . she's done. She does seem to be adjusting time-wise so hopefully that will help. And she is acquiring words at a very rapid pace, so I'm sure Thai will come easily for her.

She was completely thrilled to see John; she spotted him before I did and started chanting "Daddy, Daddy." And in the taxi she just kept point to him in amazement and saying "Daddy!" like "he's back!" It was really cute. And John, of course, was thrilled to see us. We stayed the night in a hotel in Bangkok and then flew to Khon Kaen the following day. We went to a town about an hour away Saturday evening for a church area conference. Here we are in this dinky Thai town, and it's a beautiful hotel. I wish we'd had a camera. Staff everywhere to help us, beautiful artwork in the rooms, free movies, free drinks and snacks, breakfast included the next morning. . .and it was $20 a night. Sweet.

There's a lot more to tell but it's getting late and I'm getting tired. Oh, one last thing: Chantrea has a new nickname. Apparently the sound of her name is similar to the words for "short elephant," so that's her new Thai nickname from John's students. Lovely. Hopefully that's just a play on words and has nothing to do with her size! I think I preferred Shoo-shoo!

Monday, June 19, 2006

I'm leaving on a jet plane

Less than 24 hours to go. In fact, in 24 hours, I will be on the plane bound for Thailand, about an hour and a half into the flight. Hopefully Chantrea will be asleep by then!

These last few days have been crazy. Getting completely packed up and ready to go plus preparing to be a bridesmaid in a wedding and also basically being a single parent (although, I have an extremely supportive and helpful family, so it's not like I was really on my own). The wedding was beautiful, the bride was beautiful, everything went smoothly. The bride handed out iterneraries the night before the wedding, so if everything hadn't gone smoothly it would not have been due to lack of planning! It was a long day for little kids, though. The wedding was in Manti, Utah, the luncheon was in Mapleton (about an hour and fifteen minute drive) and the reception in Spanish Fork (near Mapleton). I have never been to a wedding that wasn't a bit of a marathon, though. It's such a big day. I'd love to be from a culture where everyone just eats and drinks and dances for three days. That's my idea of a good time. Still, I wouldn't have missed it for anything. I have one brother still single; he's a great catch so that won't be the case for long.

I am so ready to see John! This is going to be the longest plane ride EVER. . . .

Monday, June 05, 2006

Two weeks till I'm gone

Wow, it's been a while since I've posted. First off, I think I have managed to change the settings on my blog so anyone can comment, not just those with blogs. I wondered why some of my readers (or those who claim to be reading) were not commenting; I know you people, and you usually have a lot to say!

I've quit my job in preparation for my move. I still have an amazingly long list of last minute things to do, not the least of which is figure out how to pack my personal possessions and those of my daughter in such a way that I can access everything easily during our trip (and hopefully not exceed the weight limit on our baggage allowance). We're going to a wedding immediately before the trip to Asia, so we have a lot of stuff and a lot of time between leaving here and arriving on the other end. I'm so excited to see John though. In case any of you are considering a separation from your spouse longer than a couple of days, it's not a good idea. Phone calls are just not cutting it.

Chantrea (or Shoo-Shoo, as she's known around here) has two new teeth (her eye teeth) and now weighs 28 pounds. That's pretty good for 19 months. She's also started playing a game she learned from her cousin, where she pretends to be the "tickle monster." She puts her hands up by her face and wiggles her fingers while sneaking up on you. You have to scream and act surprised when she attacks, or she has to do it again. She also demands commentary, in that someone has to be saying "Here comes the tickle monster!" I know it doesn't sound all that funny but it's hysterical to see the little glint in her eye when she thinks she's being soooo scary.

I don't usually do book reviews but I just finished a great one. It's From the Land of Green Ghosts: A Burmese Odyssey by Pascal Khoo Thwe. He's a native of the Paduang tribe in Burma, and this is his memoir/autobiography. He describes his childhood and tribal customs, his years as a university student and later his time as a resistance fighter against the Burmese government. He spent months in the jungle near the Thai border with insurgents. Eventually he was able to smuggle himself into Thailand. With the help of a contact made years before, he immigrated to England, where he later graduated from Cambridge University with a degree in English literature. I love books that describe other cultures and I love stories about people overcoming incredible odds, and this book does both. He describes listening to Aung San Suu Kyi (a Nobel Peace Prize winner and the inspiration for U2's "Walk On") and the adoration the students felt for her, and later meeting her husband and sons. I picked it up at the library just because I've got Southeast Asia on the brain. Definitely worth a read.

Finally, in honor of my soon-to-be new country of residence, a word about the King of Thailand, who just celebrated 60 years on the throne. Truly an amazing man. He was actually born in Boston while both of his parents were students at Harvard. He speaks four languages, plays jazz clarinet, composes his own music, dabbles in horticulture, and has written and translated books. He genuinely seems to regard the Thai people as his children (in that he is responsible for their well-being). The Thai people adore him. The U.S. should be so lucky.