Monday, September 22, 2014

On Adventure

I used to think that my life would be more exciting if it contained more travelling. That somehow there was a correlation between a life well lived and a person well-travelled.

Maybe you’ve thought that too.

Because we read books like Eat Pray Love and Three Cups of Tea and it seems like life will bring us more fulfillment if only we go, go, go.

We watch movies like The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and we all agree that it’s more adventurous and it’s a better story if we are jumping out of helicopters or fighting off sharks.

I used to think that was true. Maybe it’s looked like to you like we are living a grand adventure over here in Thailand. And well, we are.

But I just want to remind you that you are also living a grand adventure.

In fact, you are living some adventures that we might not get to live. You might be living some adventures that we sadly sacrificed living to choose this other road we are on.

Denver is not our home anymore. That beautiful mile high city with twinkling lights and pedicabs and Rockies games and Mynt mojitos. With aspen trees with leafs that literally jingle. With promises of a white Christmas and snow days. With fall parties and carving pumpkins. Oh-we miss this city like we miss a friend. Denver is an adventure I hope we can live again.

We don’t live near our families. We can’t meet up for dinner. There is no “Richards” or “Cooprider” pew where we gather faithfully on a Sunday morning. There’s no Taco Tuesdays or game nights or home-cooked Chinese dinners. We can’t watch each other’s kids or buy each other’s groceries. We can’t pop in or catch a movie. We haven’t chose the adventure of living near our loved ones-but oh what a beautiful adventure that is!

We haven’t bought a home and planted our roots. We haven’t said “Texas Forever” and settled down. We haven’t learnt the beauty of a life lived long in one place-of learning so well friends and neighbors and restaurants and streets and every little bit of a little old town. There is a beauty and an adventure to that that I really would like to live. But we haven’t done that either.


So maybe sometimes you think we are crazy. Or maybe sometimes you think we are lucky. Just so you know, sometimes when we think of all of you we are jealous.


“Adventure is not outside man; it is within.”
George Eliot





Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sights and Sounds

Outside our studio apartment and across the street there is a man with a whistle. My days end and begin with that man and his whistle. It is so incessant it has now become the background noise of my day in day out.

This whistle man is not alone in his endeavor to control pedestrian, car, and motorbike traffic. There are men like him with whistles everywhere I go.

I have, in fact, had the whistle blown on me. Once for attempting to take a short cut through some bushes (I was not amused by the whistle blower and marched away in a huff) . And twice now, two different men have blown their whistles at me until I looked at them- just so they could salute me. (I was very amused by that.)

I have wondered who these men are and who their employers might be. If I so desired and bought my own whistle, I could probably blow away down their on the streets-saluting and disciplining and annoying busy girls working on their report writing during their work from home days.


If you were to come over and sit on our bed (which isn't really so far-fetched an idea as we do live in a studio), you would notice that every time a bigger car-maybe a truck or some such thing-drives by, the whole apartment shakes as if it is an earthquake. Just an interesting observation.


Sometimes when I walk down the street my stomach rumbles at all the yummy things I can smell. Specifically when I walk by the waffle sandwich booth at the Victory Monument BTS station. Those puppies smell like heaven! One day I will cave and buy day.

Sometimes when I walk down the street my stomach a most concerning way, at the many unappetizing odors that affront my olfactory receptors.

Sometimes when I walk down the street....I begin to cough uncontrollably, my eyes water and I feel a burning in my throat. Don't worry-just someone across the street cooking ridiculously spicy peppers. They are like a super weapon. My goodness.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~, not even just often. Typically, mostly, Usually....I have no idea what it is I am actually consuming. The fact that most food has MSG in it is a fact I am overly aware of, but not really sure what to do about. So I just eat it up.

Even when I do order my food (horribly and occasionally) in Thai....just because I say I want "chicken" does not guarantee that I get anything close to what I am hoping for. (ie a plate of chicken liver and hearts. Delicious....)

My go to method for ordering is usually to point. I might say a few other meaningless words to try and hope my dinner will be somewhat satisfactory, but typically it is all up to the poor Thai people to decide what it is they think I would like to eat. At the very least, this is entertaining.


What you may not know about Thai people, or at least BKKers...they LOVE their sweets. This is something I can definitely get on board with. I, too, love a little sweet treat. But here, things are a little extreme. Sweetened condensed milk is in everything. Everything. I'm not saying this is a bad thing....I myself love a little sweetened condensed milk in my iced latte's....but it sure can't be good for you!


My number one Bangkok living annoyance?
  Well, glad you asked. =)

Any and every time I walk anywhere, if a taxi driver sees me  he incessantly honks his horn at me until I acknowledge that I do in fact see him, and I don't in fact need a ride. It is maddening. As if I am incapable of catching a cab when there are 1000 right in front, behind, and alongside me. I suppose it is not the norm for a farang to walk anywhere-but I never was very normal anyways. =)


It's easy to forget that we live in Bangkok. Life is busy and I'm not constantly out of my comfort zone. But every once awhile I'll see something that is so quintessential "Asia" that I have to stop for a second and smile-just realize that we live here, that we're doing it and we love it. The other day I was huffing along with a mattress and a Costco size bag of rice (don't ask), and saw this guy on a motorbike holding an outdoor lamp. He had both arms completely extended with this outdoor lamp post, and the little light pendant was hovering up above he and the motorbike driver's heads. It was hilarious and definitely made me feel less sorry for myself.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

2 Months in Bangkok

2 months in Bangkok. That is a little bit crazy.


We are getting on well here- sometimes feeling like life is lived much the same way as it is in America, other times feeling like we haven’t got a clue about the ways of this new place.

I think that’s to be expected though.


In two months…

We have amassed a small amount of “house” things that make us feel like we are making a home.

We have both developed routines and schedules (both separate and together), that make this new life seem a bit more normal.

Mark has just started Thai classes with a tutor- he is excited and learning quickly. I am sad to say that my Thai has not improved, but my Mahatiri is coming along just fine. Life is full of surprises. =) I am hopeful to learn Thai, and it is still a priority to me…I am still waiting to see how I can make this priority happen with such a limited amount of free time.

We have found a church that we love. We’re still in that awkward “getting to know you” stage with our new church, but the more we’re around the more we resonate with the vision and the people.

We have conquered a myriad of different transports: taxi, skytrain, water taxi, motorcycle, subway, rickshaw, train, and more.

We have both felt the joy of working in our new jobs and feel so blessed with where we are spending our time.

We have rejoiced over the ease and regularity we are able to communicate with friends and family all over the world. Gone are our days of frantic internet time every few weeks. Thank God. =)

2 months.

Such a small amount of time, but also a good chunk of time.
It is hard not to feel some inner conflict about our introduction to Thailand versus our introduction to Tonga.

A very opposite approach- these two beginnings- with good and bad each.

I do find myself longing to take a big leap into the middle of things here-to live with a Thai family, even just for a bit, to dive headfirst into the language and culture. Don’t worry, I remember how hard that is, I just think that I’ve decided it’s worth it. ;) For that, Peace Corps is truly one of a kind.


With 60 days under the belt and a whole lot more to learn,