This week has been full of adjustments. Many are just remembering the little things that occur everyday in our Bangkok life, but a major one is having Jack home full time once again. It has been SO nice to have time to recover from our trip and not have to worry about getting Jack off to school by 8am every morning, or remembering what to pack each day. We have been able to sleep in some, or in some cases, go back to bed at about 7:30am after being up at 2:30am. Very fun. On our way to a play area the other day at 11am, Jack said, "Mom, my eyes think it's night time!". Needless to say, we've taken it pretty easy this week.
We enjoyed some time on Friday night with some of our favorite people: the Selway, Strate, and Ungrangsee families. We LOVE having this group over and only wish we could do it more! Unfortunately, the reason for this get-together was to say goodbye. The Strate family is heading back to the USA on Tuesday for good. Shane is done with his research and will return to work on his dissertation. OR, they will postpone that for one year while he teaches at BYU-Hawaii. Not too bad of a situation either way, although I think I would prefer the route that includes the beach.
The Selways are also returning to the USA in just one more month. Joel's research has also come to an end, and in one year's time, we can officially call him Dr. Selway. Very nice. We are extremely sad to see these two families leave, as we have all grown quite attached. They have been a huge part of our Bangkok family. Thank goodness the Ungrangsees will be here for a while. That is what is keeping me sane at the moment!
Here are a few of our favorites from our final night all together (sniff, sniff):
Jack asked me specifically to take this picture of him with Cyrus. These guys are such good buddies. I know Jack will really miss Cyrus's silly sense of humor, and I will really miss him in my nursery class at church. He was one of the children I could always count on to be consistent and stable.
Jeff ordered pizzas for everyone online, something we've done several times. For some reason, this time, one of them showed up with corn on it! Of course, this is as close as I could get Jeff to it, but I really didn't think it tasted all that bad. It's just the idea of it that sounds awful.
Jane loves Shane and Joel. Luckily, they also have little girls and I don't think they mind the added attention. Jane just climbed and sat all over Shane while we were visiting, although she was really playing ball with the other kids. She really just finds someone she likes, and doesn't let them go!
This is Mary Jane with her youngest, Alena (who looks exactly like her dad!). And, she just announced that they are expecting again, so we are thrilled for them. She is super woman, no doubt. I'm so happy that I will still have one of "my girls" here in Bangkok with me still! She has been such a good friend, especially during my first month here. Looking back, she really made that transition to foreign life so much smoother. I love this girl.
We didn't get a group picture before Mary Jane and Bundit left, but these are all the kids, minus the Ungrangsees. Starting from the left: Megan Strate, Jane, Jack, Jake Strate, Cyrus and Cyan Selway. I have fallen in love with this little group. I have loved having them in my home, and have felt so blessed to have good kids for my little ones to look up to.
I was glad to get one last picture with Som and Kaddi. I think our only other official one is when we were wearing motorcycle helmets! I love these girls. It's been so nice to have friends who are in the same boat. They understood the frustrations, the daily trials, and the parenting and family challenges that come along with living abroad. What a blessing they have been in my life.
Today has been an emotional one for me thinking about our friends leaving so soon. The Strate's spoke in church today. As soon as we walked in, Janie saw them on the stand and yelled out, "Jake, Jake!". We could hardly keep her quiet through the meeting. She has loved Jake from the first time we got together with them, and so have I. I watched those kids speak today and was blown away by their composure at 9 and 6 years old. Jake was like a 16 year old, and Meg spoke so knowledgeably with her sweet little lisp. I can only hope Jack and Jane will grow up and be as mature and loving as these two.
Like I said before, this week has been one of adjustments, but I almost think a better word for it would be withdrawal. We are having withdrawals from a crazy schedule, familiar foods and places, and of course, all the family and friends. We love being back, but it was so fun to be together, especially watching Jack and Jane have so many people to love. Two days after we got back, Jack and I were in the play room and he just stopped. He said, "Mom, I really, really miss my Grandma and Grandpa and my other Grandma and Grandpa". All I could say was, "me too". It's not easy living away, but we realize also that there are blessings for making this sacrifice. Although it is always hard to say goodbye to family, this week we have thought of several reasons why we are happy to be back home in Bangkok. Here are just a few:
1. We don't have to worry about coordinating cars. We can do whatever we want, whenever because we can always catch a taxi! So easy!
2. The temperature here is much more comfortable than that dry heat. Wow, that was awful! Jeff and Jack are just barely starting to get normal skin again, and my hair isn't so static-y.
3. Living here requires a much more active lifestyle. We enjoy walking as much as we can. It's just not possible to walk to Wal-mart in Utah!
4. It's generally just a slower pace here because we aren't pulled in so many different directions. Our only focus is our family. The time together is much more direct and there are less distractions. Probably the first time in our married life that it's actually surprising when our phone rings.
5. I love going places and having people be friendly and willing to help. I went to a store yesterday and was looking at bedding. There were THREE employees following me around explaining the sales and fixing everything I put back in the wrong spot (although, I thought I was putting it back right!). That used to be really annoying, but now I enjoy having people there whenever I have a question or need something, rather than having to search isles to get a price check.
6. Of course, the main reason Thailand is so wonderful is because of the people. We get smiles everywhere we go, and everyone acts like my children are the best kids ever. I'm glad they see what I've known all along! The Thai people are very special, and I missed that while we were away.
In a way, I feel like tomorrow will officially start our return back, now that we are over the jet-lag, unpacked, and my knee is doing better. We still haven't started back to the gym and I have yet to detox my body from all the sugar! Tomorrow will be a little rough, but I'm looking forward to it.
One thing that has helped with our family withdrawals has been making this video of our time together. While working on this, I've looked through our pictures several times and watched this countless times with the children. We love whatever helps us feel close. So, as promised... enjoy.