Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Visa Saga, Part III and General News

John returned to Bangkok last Friday (usual drill, overnight bus late Thursday night, arrived early Friday morning). We have visas! For all three of us! The funny thing is, it only took about 45 minutes - the Immigration office opened at 8:30 am, and he called at 9:15 to let me know he'd been successful. We were especially relieved that he was able to get mine and Trea's, thus saving us another trip. AND he brought home Subway again!

Saturday we got more good news. Two weeks before, when we'd visited my ob/gyn, he was concerned about the baby's size. He sent me for an ultrasound and the baby was measuring quite a bit smaller than expected, about four weeks behind. Apparently some babies just stop growing for various reasons, and when that happens, it's in the baby's best interest to be born sooner rather than later. That often means a C-section, and a small and sometimes premature baby. After giving birth naturally to an 8-pound baby, I was not eager to have a 4-pound baby via C-section - especially since they do them under general anesthesia here. I would, of course, not hesitate to follow the advice of my doctor, who is wonderful, and do whatever is best for the baby, I'm just saying it wouldn't be my first choice. How strange would it be to go to sleep pregnant and wake up having had a baby? Especially since I was totally aware of everything about Trea's birth?

But, the good news is, the baby had a growth spurt, and at Saturday's appointment I was measuring 35 weeks. I'm officially due three weeks from today, but it's entirely possible that the baby's due date is off a little bit. We're having a kid sometime in the next five weeks, that's for sure.

I've cut back to mornings only at work. . .I do most of my teaching then anyway, and it's nice to have the afternoons off to rest and try to get the house organized for the baby. Mostly rest. It's gotten HOT here and it's only going to get hotter. . .

Funny story about John. The night before he got the visas, I was feeling a little panicked, so I started thinking about "what if" scenarios . . .if we needed to return to the U.S., what options did we have for him to continue studying Thai? University of Wisconsin-Madison offers an M.A. in Southeast Asian Studies, and offers many Thai language classes, including a class on the linguistics of Thai. I showed it to John, and he got all excited when he realized they also teach Pali and Sanskrit. I jokingly accused him of being a language geek. He responded by trying to explain to me that many Thai words originated from Pali and Sanskrit, and if he studied those languages he'd know the origins of a lot of Thai words, blah blah blah. . . he ended up sounding MORE like a language geek, instead of less. But it's fun to watch him get so excited. Kind of like watching my dad talk about abstract mathematics. . . .another topic totally over my head.

Trea recently had a note sent home from the nursery (they send occasional progress reports). Apparently she's had some issues with sharing lately, which is typical for a toddler. What was noteworthy is that she has been refusing to speak English. At all. Her teachers told us that whenever they try to speak English to her, she says "no" in Thai and speaks Thai. With John it's the opposite - if he tries to speak Thai to her she insists on speaking English. She's starting to really distinguish between the two languages, I guess.

Not much else going on. . . just counting down the days until the baby's born, or school's over, whichever happens first!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I am Trea, hear me roar

John told Trea she was a monkey the other night, which he does on a fairly regular basis. Usually she just giggles, but that night she was indignant. "No! Trea lion!" she told him. And then she roared for emphasis.

Heaven help the man who marries her!

Friday, February 02, 2007

The Visa Saga Continued

John returned to Bangkok today, as stated previously, in an attempt to repair our visa situation. . .alas, it was not to be. He was missing a critical document, a letter from the local Ministry of Education giving authorization for him to have his visa changed. The school is responsible for obtaining documents such as this and they thought they had done everything required, but they overlooked or misinterpreted this particular requirement.

The good news is, it's an easy letter to get, especially since the school recently translated a bunch of materials from Thai to English for the local Ministry of Education. It means John has to go to Bangkok AGAIN, but he also said that the immigration official he talked to was extremely helpful and seemed knowledgeable (two rare qualities among government workers worldwide, and especially in Thai Immigration). The guy even gave John his name and cell phone number, and called the school to let them know exactly what was needed. Also, when John explained that he had a very pregnant wife and a small child in Khon Kaen who also needed visas, the official said to get a doctor's note verifying my due date and he could do the visas without me actually having to go to Bangkok. Not that six hours on a bus with Trea doesn't sound like fun, but after all the amusing times we had on planes during Christmas, it just seems like a bit much. Funny, last time I went to see my doctor I needed a note to let me travel on an international flight, and now I'm going to go ask for a note saying I can't (or at least shouldn't) travel six hours by bus. But such is the nature of pregnancy that the six weeks in between visits actually justifies both notes.

On the bright side, John brought me a Subway club sandwich and a package of Milano cookies from Bangkok, so the trip wasn't a total waste.

So, the question is, as a woman of faith, do I chalk this up to being a) God's way of telling us to go home already or b) a simple matter of there being too much red tape, and not enough attention to detail?

The jury is still out. . .

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Return to Bangkok

It's Thursday night. John is leaving for Bangkok in a couple of hours, to try once again to get his visa. We're hopeful but still partly expecting something to go wrong, or be missing or incomplete. Right now he's in the shower with Trea, singing U2's "Elevation." Trea fills in words when he pauses and joins in for the "El-uh-va-tion!" She loves that song.

I'm 34 weeks and 2 days pregnant. I feel like a large punching bag, this baby can really kick. Trea was five days early, and if this baby were to come five days early I would give birth five weeks from today. So at least it's almost over. I can't wait to NOT be pregnant, and to hold my baby, and find out if it's a boy or a girl. . .

Hopefully I'll have good news tomorrow!