26 August 2007

Did you know...?

The last two weeks have been pretty stop and go for us. We'd have a few days of craziness, only to be followed by so much down time we're ready to pull our hair out, and then it starts all over. But this week, we've really enjoyed this necessary down time. We had less play dates, less errands to run, so the kids and I spent more time at home than we have in a long time. It was fun. But, of course, we don't take a lot of pictures when we are just doing the everyday things, so here are some pictures of our latest outings.

My kids entertain themselves at the sky train by plopping down in front of the huge plasma screens. I'm happy with it because it means I don't have to stress too much about them getting too close to the "yellow line" which results immediately in a very loud whistle blow from the smiling guard at the end of the platform. It's safe this way, so I'm happy to let them watch away, no matter how many "bad mom" looks I may get.

We visited a science museum not far from home this week and had a great time. There was a very small aquarium, a display on robots and they had a great area for young kids with a tree house, pirate ship, crafts, huge legos, and lots of things to climb on.

This is the kids in the mini market. They loved filling the baskets up and putting them back after they paid their money. I loved watching them play together in here. They even let me be the cashier once!

Janie was hilarious how she was ringing up each item from the basket, punching the numbers on this fancy calculator so carefully! Nothing is more fun than playing store for this girl.

A great little climbing frame for Jane. She loves to climb and slide, but mostly she loves to dangle. She will swing and dangle from everything she can. Jack's like this now, but I didn't remember him being like this when he was so young, so it's pretty fun.

Last Saturday, we decided to hit story time at the library again. The reader was fantastic, the kids loved it and it's always nice to visit with new people. Plus, this was a special one because the reader (who's actually an author of some great Thailand kid's books) did face painting afterward, so Jack got a pretty impressive spider on his hand. Very cool. We took the plunge and paid the money to get the library membership, so it was exciting to actually take books home with us! We are feeling pretty spoiled this week! This is Jane coloring after the stories. This girls loves to color! She also loves to eat the colors, take off all the paper and get the wax under all her fingernails. As long as she's happy, right?

After story time, we went to the church for a stake talent show. It was fun to see the different talents that were shared, although we didn't understand everything because we were some of the few non-Thais there. We saw some Thai traditional dancing, ballroom dancing, a pretty impressive lip-sync, incredible violin and piano playing, and my favorite... magic. I discovered that magic is very similar to music and dance, in that it is an international language. Everyone, no matter the culture or language, can still enjoy and understand the fun of magic. I thought it was great.

This is Emily Quan, a new friend in the ward. Her family just moved into the city from Washington DC. She was reading this book to Jack while we waited for it to begin. The Quans spoke in church today and as much as I already admired them, I think I love them even more now. Their girls are amazing, and Alice and Steve are so sweet and loving. What a blessing they will be to our little ward.

Faa came to visit this week! Earlier in the day, I had told Jack about how I used to make blanket forts with my sisters when I was little. Of course, we had to build one and Jack was in heaven. It was still up when Faa came that night, so they spent the good part of 2 hours reading and playing inside this fort in the playroom while Jeff and I had our Thai lessons. She is SUCH a good sport!

Jack loves to wear his hair spiky or in a mo hawk. This started after we saw a Thai "cool kid" on the train one day that had his hair all spiky. Jack just stared and stared at him. For some reason, he especially likes to do it right before bed when he's only in his underpants (which is all he'll ever sleep in). But wow, what a great smile, eh?

Jack wanted claws one day so he could climb, so this is what he came up with. He strapped these monkeys on his hands with rubber bands and off he went!

We met our friends at the park one afternoon and played for hours! Janie was still relatively clean at this point, and not even sweaty yet! She loves the swings, and she especially loves this butterfly shirt. She's very particular about her clothing, which I think is hilarious. It was a happy day when I pulled out this shirt I bought several months ago. She loves everything about butterflies, and can almost say the word correctly!

One of the favorite times of day in our home is story time with Daddy. He is so creative with the stories that he tells. Janie is just now starting to get in on the act. Most of the time, Jack will recommend a topic (superheros, lizards, tigers, etc.) and occasionally give a scenario. Jeff will get started, but sometimes doesn't have to say much because Jack gets so into the story, he practically tells it himself. Jack is a fantastic storyteller and has the most amazing imagination.

This play area we visit regularly is one of the kids' favorites. Janie has a special friend there who always comes right over to play. She helps Jane get her socks on, chases her around on the toys, and is almost constantly by her side whenever we are there. It's fun to have someone to look forward to seeing each time, and we definitely do. Janie gives her a HUGE hug when we have to say goodbye.

Yesterday was a very exciting day because it was Scarlett's birthday party! We were lucky to celebrate with her family on her actual day, but this was her "proper" party, as Heather called it. I didn't even tell Jack it was coming up until the day before when we watched Scarlett while Heather went grocery shopping, because I knew he'd be too excited. The Preens live in a home not too far from us, so it was great to have a driveway and backyard to play in! They had a bouncy castle, played "pass the parcel", had lots of "sweeties", a treasure hunt, and a pinata to finish it all off. For being one of my most grounded friends, Heather really produced a HUGE affair, but in a very fun way. Heather and Jim made the whole thing into a family affair. The parents stayed the whole time, in many cases both parents, and we got to visit, eat and meet a lot of new people.

Jim led the older of the 17 children on a picture treasure hunt, which Jack was completely into. This little team below ran from one clue to the next, loving every minute of it. They were all completely soaked with sweat afterwards, but surprisingly, not at all worn out yet. This is Dylan, Jack, Scarlett, Sasha, and a darling dark haired girl, I'm not sure what her name was, unfortunately.

The pinata is always a fun part of any party, but it was at this point that I thought, "why do we do this?". There was laughing and screaming, and even louder crying, as the candy fell and the kids were overwhelmed with emotions. They were all SO tired from the 2 hours of partying, and I'm sure some of the sugar high was wearing off so kids were getting a little grouchy. There's just very few ways a pinata can ever be done fairly, but in the end, and with a couple extra bags of candy brought out, everyone was happily reaching their sugar high again. Check out Jack in this one. He will sacrifice his body for almost any "sweetie".

If you haven't noticed, my Jack is quite the character. He has so much spunk, some days I don't really know how to manage it. He has always loved to read and hear almost any story. He loves the silliest stories about when Jeff or I was young. He loves to hear about his Grandparents, cousins, childhood pets, or anything about having special powers. He will sit and read with us for hours on end if we can. He and Jeff finished the "Mouse and the Motorcycle" series last night. We highly recommend all three of these books, and many others by Beverly Cleary.

I found a great new motivational tool for Jack this week. His favorite reward is to sit at the computer and look up random things. Sometimes he doesn't even know what he wants to learn about, just something. Our most recent topics are giraffes, sharks, bats, volcanoes, bears, lightening, and spiders. Did you know that Giraffes can drink 12 gallons of water at a time? Did you know that a shark has to keep swimming or it will sink because it lacks the swim bladder that keep other fish afloat? I didn't either. Jack and I have enjoyed learning about a lot of things, and I'm amazed at what he remembers! I love that this boy loves to learn. I feel like I need to study up so I have something new and interesting to share the next time he asks. This boy keeps me hopping, and as challenging as it is some days, I really can't get enough of him!

19 August 2007

Everyday things

For the last little while, I've been collecting pictures of some of the people and things we see everyday. Some good, some frustrating, but most... our favorites! Here is a little glimpse of our everyday life in Bangkok. (disclaimer: none of these pictures are great because I hate asking people to pose for pictures, especially people I can't communicate with. Plus, I hate to delay their work, so these pictures were taken quickly so I can still enjoy smiles from these wonderful people I see everyday!)

We have a lady we LOVE to buy dinner from. Her stand is right outside our building, we pass her every single day, and even before we started buying from her, she always greeted us with a big smile! We can buy enough grilled chicken, som tam, and sticky rice to feed the family for about $3. I was chasing the kids at this point, so unfortunately you can't even see her face! But check out that fish, I haven't tried it yet, but when I see people eating it, it looks delicious!

These are two of the people that work the front desk of our building. When we first moved in, they would always rush out to give the kids treats every time we came in or out. The treats ran out, but my kids were now conditioned to expect it, of course! So, once I got Jack and Janie trained to only get one a day, I started supplying the sweets to the desk, so they can go in once a day and get a treat and visit our wonderful staff. It was a good day when I discovered it's much more fun to get one treat from these folks then a handful at home, so this way we are both happy. Less treats for the kids, and less treats in the house. Nice!

My mom asked a while ago if we had a washer and dryer. I told her I would post a picture. This one is taken from our kitchen, looking into the "yard" (which we think it's hilarious that they call it that!) Yes, this is our yard. We have a washer and dryer, a small bathroom and the maid's quarters, which we use for storage (I can't imagine making anyone live in there, but many people do!). Very exciting, I know.

One of my favorite examples of sidewalks. I walked this every single day for months. NOT easy to navigate with a stroller, especially when the foodshops are busy and the vendors are all out. The good news is, this particular stretch has been repaired and is now one of the best. One down, 1000's to go.

This picture is one of the worst, but you have to be out at just the right time of day to catch this, and the fact that they are moving doesn't help. There is construction everywhere in this city, so there are loads of workers that are trucked to the construction sights in the morning and away in the evening in normal pick-ups. They PACK these people into the back of the trucks, standing room only. This picture doesn't come close to the amounts we've seen. Jack loves to see this, and he stands and waves, and always gets lots of smiles and waves right back.

Just an example of how some things are just smaller. I've mentioned before that when I shop, I feel like I'm in the Children's museum market because things are just small. No Costco or Sam's club here. We thought this UPS truck was hilarious.

This is the tuk-tuk that runs from our building to a few locations nearby. We take it very regularly to the train, Emporium, and occasionally, the hospital. The kids love it. Jack's always disappointed when it's not there waiting for us and he has to walk, but he's sure getting to be a tough kid because of it!

Here's the stop where we catch truck taxis home sometimes. We walk when we can, but since Jack's been out of school for the summer, and we aren't using the double stroller much, he gets pretty tired walking everywhere! So, it's always a treat when we can just ride home quickly. It's nice to have these available because there is always one there, they know exactly where to go, and the kids love them. The drivers all know us now and yell out the name of our apartment complex when we walk by, even if we aren't using one that day.

Here's one a little closer up. Safe? Nope. Convenient? Yes.

This day, the driver asked if Jack wanted to sit up front with him. Jack thought that was awesome. I sat in the back with Jane and watched as Jack asked about every little thing in the cab, and I'm sure the driver was telling him all about it. They were chatting it up the whole time, and Jack was loving it.
This is a woman I've bought som tam from on our soi. She was so sweet and knew that I couldn't have it too spicy. She washed the bowl out for me and everything (they make it all in the same wooden bowl, and sometimes the spice is left from other batches, so even when they don't add more peppers, it's still SO hot!). Thais always act so surprised when they see me eating or buying som tam. I will definitely miss how readily available it is here. I'm going to have to get me one of those bowls!

We see seamstresses on the street everyday. On this particular day, we were walking to a music store and Jack decided to swing on his "web" which just happened to be the backpack Jeff was wearing. It broke the strap. Moments later, we walked by this woman, so we asked if she could fix it. She quickly changed her thread and in about 5 minutes and 20 baht later, our backpack was as good as new.

This woman is one of my all time favorites. She always greets us with a HUGE smile and calls Janie by name, as well as "doll" and "lovely". I passed her one day and stopped to buy some pomelo and chat, and a young girl that sells pomelo down the street a ways was visiting with her. She informed me that she was her daughter. Now, they are both my favorite, and I look forward to seeing them everyday.

We pass shops like this all over the streets, especially along the main street, Sukhumvit, that we walk along everyday. I don't really buy clothes, but it's fun to look some days, and the vendors are always smiley and sweet with the children (what's new, right?).

A perfect example of a total disregard for safety. People are just much more relaxed here with this sort of thing. Maybe because they know they will rarely get pulled over, and if they do, they can bribe the officer (and I've actually seen this done, believe it or not). It makes me sick to even post this picture, or even remember this, because I didn't want him up there in the first place, but Jack took the driver up on his offer before I realized what was happening. Not my finest "mom moment", for sure.

Moving on...

This guard was terribly busy this day, so I didn't want to keep him, but he's my favorite. Especially before Jack got into school, we'd have an outing every morning. He was there every day when we would go to the train. He always stops and talks with Jane, helps Jack through the gate, and lets them play with his metal detector wand. Jane loves to make it beep. I find myself a little disappointed when he's not there some days because he is always so fun to see with Jane.

This is one of the playgrounds at our park. A little dangerous? Oh, yes. This was just one of the things that was in ill repair. We did visit there just the other day though, and the bridge had been repaired, so hopefully that's a good sign that things are on the mend. The reason I classify this as an "everyday thing" is simply because this is a perfect example of how things are not always kept up to any kind of safety standard. It's a little scary sometimes.

Home sweet home. It's called Baan Jamjuree ("Baan" is home, "Jamjuree" is a kind of tree). We are on the 15th floor, have a beautiful view, love the staff, and if you haven't noticed this yet, we love the city life.

When we first got here, I went out everyday with both the children, so we had the double stroller. There are very few elevators (only two I can think of in the whole skytrain system), and never any elevators going down, and sometimes not any going up. Anyway, I got pretty tough, pretty fast, hauling this thing up and down huge flights of stairs with Janie inside. Jack has gotten pretty good at the routine and I commonly hear him chanting, "I think I can, I think I can", when he's especially tired. Now, I mostly just take out our single stroller and don't get as many sympathy stares, which is nice. This place wasn't built for strollers or wheelchairs.

One more of my favorite vendors. I pass this fruit stand several times a day, and I just love this man. He always looks like he's on vacation, reading the paper in a floral shirt and his sun hat, and always wearing a smile. He always laughs at Jack who can't seem to leave his bungee cords alone that are attached to his stand. They are never the same when we leave, and Jack's always greasy. He gets a big kick out of this. I buy my pineapple from him more than anyone else. The other day, Jack talked me into trying watermelon again, which I haven't been impressed with in the past, and it was the best I've had in Bangkok. Delicious. He also sells mango, papaya, and guava.

If you haven't realized yet, people are just nice here. Just on Friday, after I had bought some fruit, I went a few steps only to find a plant stand rolling by. I stopped to look. After a minute, I looked to see what the kids were doing. Jack has plopped down on a stool at a food shop to start on his watermelon, and Jane had been pulled aside and entertained in the stroller by some other vendors. I bought my plants, collected the children and we all said goodbye. I look down and Jane's got a egg/crepe kind of dessert wrapped up just right and she's munching away. I look back to say thanks and the girl just smiles and tells me, "mai ben rai" (nevermind). So sweet, and a heck of a marketing strategy, I must say. My kids loved that, so we'll be buying from her again.

Good and bad, we love Bangkok! I only wish we could have gotten pictures of all our favorite people, places, and things, but this is a good start. Maybe we'll have to make this post into a series.

The main thing that strikes me about these people I've shared with you is how happy they are. They don't have glamorous jobs, clothing, cars, and I'm sure they don't have a fancy place to live. They work very hard, and in some cases, every day. I'm impressed with how simple their lives seem (of course, this is my perspective), yet they are so much happier than a lot of the people I've met here who have amazing homes, drivers, maids, nannies, and loads of money.

The quote, "what e'er thou art, act well thy part" is constantly running through my head as I see these sweet street vendors. These folks do what they do, and do it well. They are happy because they choose to be. They are a daily example to me that I can choose if I want to be happy too. And I am.

14 August 2007

Happy Mother's Day to Me!

Yes, you read that right, Mother's Day! Living in Thailand has many perks, but one of the biggest is that they have all these wonderful, random, Thai holidays that gets Jeff off work. For some of my most diligent readers, you might recall us celebrating Father's Day in December on the King's birthday (December 5th, also my baby brother's birthday!). August 12th just happens to be the Queen's birthday, hence the mother's day celebration! You may be asking yourself, what does this have to do with anything? Good point. And I will answer that question momentarily. But before we begin, here are a few pictures from our week.

We had a great week. We spent a day at Ocean World, had the Becks over to play, discovered a fantastic play group at the British club, and got to introduce the Beck family to some of our favorite Thai food we get off the street.

The traffic was terrible on our way home from the play group, so we hopped out of the taxi in the middle of the street, which is always a little scary with two children, and walked to the train. Janie was feeling like such a big girl because we didn't have the stroller, so she got to sit on a bench and even found a seat on the train when we got on.

I feel moments of success when my kids are content while I am trying to get ready in the morning, especially when they are playing together! This morning they both sat on the bed and looked at books together, enjoying each other's company. I loved it.

Another day this week, I was trying to keep Janie entertained while I got ready in my bathroom. I sat her on my bed with a book to look at. I asked her to find the violin. She was so proud of herself when she pointed it out. I proceeded to ask her to find the shoe, fish, etc. I then asked her to find the pretty girl (it was a book of princesses but she doesn't know what a princess is) and waited for the triumphant look I'd seen with the other challenges. She looked right at me and pointed to herself, "pretty girl". And she certainly is.

We met up with Jeff, Pink, and Luck for lunch on Friday at Fuji. We ate delicious Japanese food, visited with two of the sweetest people ever, and Jack got to open lots of chopsticks! After lunch, Jack had some money he had earned that he wanted to spend at 7-11. It's amazing how far 15 baht will go when Pink is the one that takes him in to spend it. He came out with a chocolate milk, ice cream cone, and 16 baht. She must be magic. Thanks, Pink and Luck!

Back to Mother's Day. Really, it just happened to be Mother's Day this weekend, all I knew was that it was the last 3 day weekend before Jack started school and I was ready to get away from the city with just the four of us. And, after a particularly rough week with Jack, it was even better timing than I initially realized.

We didn't want to travel far, so we took a recommendation from one of Jeff's coworkers to try Cha-am, a city just 30 minutes away from Hua-hin where we went with the Strate and Selway families in March. Although we didn't know anyone who had actually been there, we were hopeful it would be as wonderful as everyone said it was on travel websites. We were not disappointed.

We wanted to get out of the city, but after checking the prices of traveling, we opted to travel by bus/van instead of the typical expat mode of hiring a driver. We were feeling adventurous, and confident that we didn't need all the farang frills to have a good time. So, we showed up on this back soi at 5:30 am to catch a van down to Cha-am. No English was spoken here, so Jeff was able to show off his amazing Thai skills and after a while, we were directed to a van, hoping it was the right one. One lesson we learned: buying 4 tickets for 2 adults and 2 children doesn't mean you will get 4 seats. We were feeling lucky to get 3! But, we weren't complaining. The kids did fantastic, we were plenty comfortable, we got there faster than we expected and it was 1/4 the price of hiring a driver!

So, this is the most official looking place associated with the van business. We pay money, he gives us a ticket that says something on it, we hop on. Pretty simple.

Jeff found Janie some rice to eat for breakfast and she was certainly content with it!

We were so surprised to actually reach Cha-am in only two hours (the minimum time we had read) that we hardly knew what to do once we got there! We hopped out, unloaded our stuff and when a guy in a motorcycle taxi driver asked me where we were going, I told him the name of the hotel, expecting him to call us a taxi. People are just nice like that here. He promptly hopped on his bike and motioned for us to hop on! They loaded up our stuff (luckily we had very little) and the four of us on the back of two motorbikes, and off we went!

This is Jeff and Janie with their driver, although at this point, Jeff had already put the stroller down (I'm not kidding). Janie was loving it. She was putting out her arms like she was flying and Jack kept looking up at me saying, "this is SO cool, mom, isn't it?". We thought the whole thing was hilarious.

We got to Methavalai hotel at 8:30am, but check-in wasn't until noon. But I thought I would talk to them anyway, just to see if we could take care of some things now and possibly leave our things with them while we hit the beach. I'm sure it was because I was so prepared (I didn't have our passports or the receipt from the online agency we used), that they checked us in immediately instead of waiting 3 1/2 more hours. I couldn't believe it. They were fantastic, even welcoming us with drinks!

Here's the view from our room.

After family nap time, we set out for the beach! Jack was loving every minute in the sand. What kid wouldn't? I got these great swim outfits a few weeks ago and I think they are the greatest! I felt so much better with their skin covered. I've seen too many "baked" foreigners here and have lost my taste for the sun. With these swimsuits, sunblock, and visiting the beach later in the day, we didn't need an ounce of aloe. Yay!

Jane was funny. She didn't even want to take her shoes off at first! It took her a while to warm up to it, but she never loved it like she did last time we were at the beach. Although, she was plenty happy if we were right there with her!

I think our favorite part of this awesome hotel was the pool. We loved that we could walk across the street from the beach, shower off, and hop in one of the several pools to swim even more (but much cleaner!). They had an awesome kids area with slides, fountains, bubbles, etc. This is Janie during her first photo shoot when we got to the pool the first day. She makes friends everywhere! She's a trooper. I think her picture is on cell phones all over Thailand.

This would be photo shoot #2 with this father and son we played with for a while that afternoon. This little boy shared his blow-up wave runner which my kids adored. He was a really good sport!

Janie is an animal in the water. She had whole crowds watching her in the other pool. She would go down this big slide and plop right into the water without a fuss. She would bob herself up and down in the kiddy pool, and she and Jack loved that they could look at Jeff under water. We LOVE swimming together, it's a fun time for all of us.

Janie at breakfast the next morning. She's so messy and I didn't have a bib, so we just took her shirt off. I don't think that would be very acceptable in the U.S., but here people just smiled and laughed, I'm sure commenting on how cute and chubby she is. In this picture, she's dipping her banana bread in her orange juice. Yum.

Because we were so disoriented when we arrived in Cha-am the first day, we forgot to ask anyone about how to get back to the city! So, we decided that we'd better find a way to get home on Monday. We set out to find a bus station we had heard about, and decided we'd cover more ground on bikes. We rented these bikes for 20 baht/hour (about 70 cents) and rode up and down the beach road. I thought the kids would be nervous, but Jack was loving not having to walk, and Janie was so comfortable, we were constantly reminding her to "hang on!".

Just one of the sights while we were riding. Jeff and I kept asking each other, "how do you choose between these 5 food shops that are right next door to each other and they are all roasting huge pigs?" The question was so overwhelming, we just couldn't choose and kept on riding!

Another one of Jeff and Janie. The seat they had for her was great. We wished there would have been some way to strap her in though, but she certainly didn't mind. She was throwing her arms out to the side, playing with things in her lap, moving her legs all around. I was amazed. Riding the bikes along the beach was definitely a highlight for me. It was a simple, low key way to see a lot of this little town, and the kids loved it. I can't remember the last time I rode a bike. Very memorable.

In fact, getting around by bike was so perfect, we rented them again that night to get to the night market! It was at this little market that I fell in love with Cha-am. It was the smallest little market I have seen yet. Mostly food stands, with a few for clothing and odds and ends. We got some dinner here (chicken on a stick, fried chicken, pineapple, pomelo, som tam, noodles, and a fruity drink) and looked around a bit. This is the stand where Jeff got my som tam (papaya salad), one of my favorite Thai dishes. Currently, I eat this almost every day.

This is pretty much the rest of the market. Very small. It was so quaint, the people were so sweet (although that's not unusual), and we saw only two other farangs there the whole time! I just kept thinking, "I love this market, I love this town, we have to come back here!".

We tried to enforce a family nap time each day we were there, but this was hard to do when Jack really just wanted to swim, swim, swim! Before Jeff and Janie had even woken up (I didn't get to sleep because Jack was too excited to let me), Jack was ready to go! This is his Peter Pan pose.

Janie was having a little snack before we hit the pool. Her favorite, sticky rice. People always laugh at her because she eats it right out of the bag like this (kind of like you eat a hamburger with the wrapper around the bottom), but it is a GREAT on the go snack!

Jane, for some reason, always loved to lay on the pavement outside our room. What a nut.

We ate yummy Thai food all weekend, besides this meal, of course, where Jeff and the kids ordered fish and chips. But, it was fun to try out different food shops along the beach. We didn't eat at any places that had a front door (or even 4 walls), that's for sure.

The kids and Jeff being silly on the beach. I love these kinds of pictures. I really don't know how Jeff comes up with new faces every time!

I'm not quite sure what it is, but whenever I have been to the beach, it is always sad for me to go. I think it might be because I never quite know when I will see it again. I know it won't be long, but you know, I fell in love with this little town, so it was sad to say, "see you later... hopefully".

I really loved Cha-am. I loved how small it was, how few tourists we saw, how the vendors on the beach stopped to chat, how we could walk or ride a bike anywhere. I loved going to the sandy beach, hopping in the pool, then cleaning off in the hotel room. I loved eating at food shops everyday. I loved taking family naps. I loved playing with my kids all day, three days in a row. I loved the time together, just the four of us. It was my favorite Mother's Day weekend ever.

And in case you were wondering, we even found a way to get home. We hopped on a bus, Monday afternoon, and four hours later (they told us three, unfortunately), we arrived at a bus station in Bangkok. We busted out the DVD player on the way home to entertain the kiddos, although I think Jeff was enjoying Dumbo too, what do you think? On top of watching this, Jeff told Jack every story about his childhood he could think of, and Janie and I exhausted my vocal repertoire. I felt pretty bad for all those people seated near us trying to sleep!

It started raining about 1 hour into the ride, and about 2 hours later, it started to leak through the roof onto the seat. We couldn't help but laugh. The bus was full, so we couldn't move, but honestly, we've had worse. A few of you will remember our trip to Sattahip with Anutra (our Thai teacher). The four of us and three others crammed into a tiny pickup (the front) and drove for 3 hours. We think of that every time something seems a little uncomfortable. We always feel like everything is roomier and softer when we remember that experience. Funny how that works.

We pretty much had no idea where we were once we got off the bus, but luckily, the taxi driver we found knew how to take us home! So, by about 7pm, we were home, and loving it. We spent the taxi ride home evaluating what we would do again and where to go on our next adventure. Now that we've experienced other ways to travel, and Jeff continues to blow me away with his Thai skills, I'm feeling like we can take on anything! Any suggestions?