16 September 2007

Cute enough to eat.... literally.

Last Sunday, I met the wife of a man who's been in Bangkok on business for several weeks. While she was here we decided to get together and do some touristy things! I LOVE doing touristy things, but what I don't like is the touristy atmosphere. I always feel like everyone is trying to take advantage of me because I am a foreigner, and for all they know, I am fresh off the airplane! Also in touristy places, vendors are much more aggressive. If you even glance their way, or (gasp) stop to look, they will hoard you with their postcards, paintings, and all kinds of knick-knacks. I was nervous to take my wallet out to buy some water, but luckily, I was off the main pathway a bit. I hate feeling this way because this is the only time I feel this way in Bangkok. Generally, the locals are always happy and sincerely helpful, even the vendors!

So, Michelle and I met up in the morning to visit Wat Pho and the Grand Palace. We took the train and then caught a river taxi, which is always fun. I am learning the ropes a little better now with the whole river taxi thing. I now know NOT to go to the official looking counter with the colored maps marking each pier that advertises selling tickets. Go to the small desk off to the side with a random girl and a tray of money with tiny paper tickets and no sign whatsoever. It only cost us 18 baht instead of 100 baht or more. I'm wising up!

We had a GREAT morning together seeing the beautiful temple and palace, not really knowing exactly what we were looking at, even though I've seen it all before. I wished I knew more, but everything in this country has a meaning or a story behind it, so it's impossible to learn it all! It was fun to see it all again, but the best part was being able to visit with Michelle. I love hearing everyone's story who passes through. She is from all over the states, but is currently living in Japan with her husband and three daughters. It was fun to swap kid and foreigner stories with someone else who understand the challenges and rewards of living abroad.

After seeing the sights, we went to the Paragon for lunch (we weren't feeling too daring this day). Janie was a trooper through this whole busy morning (really, she was happy, pleasant, used the potty great, and of course charmed all the tourists), and Jack loved that he got to go home with Scarlett and have a treasure hunt with Jim. Everything went so smoothly.

This is us just before hopping on the train to head home. Thanks Michelle for a FUN day!

Jeff had a rare, and not so happy experience this week. Because I wasn't there, there's not much I can say about it, but I think it's noteworthy. Jeff and Brother States, went to visit a family in the Immigration Detention Center. The Dhakhal family are refugees from their home country of Nepal, and just a few months ago, Thailand tightened their laws on immigration and suddenly they were illegal. They are a young father and wife with four young daughters. Shortly after we arrived in Bangkok, this family was all baptized (all but Swastika, the youngest). Although we can't communicate with anyone but the father, we have fallen in love with them. It was Jeff's turn to visit and take them things from the ward. They have to go in pairs to visit, so one can visit the mother and one can visit the father, which is the only way that they get to all be together as a family (for that hour). Very sad conditions, especially for people that we feel such an attachment to. Very similar to the prison scene in Broke Down Palace, if you've seen that. Good news is, we found out today that they might get out temporarily until they are accepted by another country (most likely Canada). Sad thing is, one of our other favorite families from church is going in on Wednesday to meet with Immigration. They might have to spend some time in there before they are able to leave the country as well.

This is the Taghizadeh Kamal Abadi family. Ali is one of Jack's good friends at church. They met at the father and son's outing earlier in the year. A couple of weeks later, we got to see the entire family get baptized, and I will never forget it. Brother and Sister Taghizadeh Kamal Abadi both bore their testimonies afterward. Although it was in their native language (they are from Iran), it was so touching. (It was extremely bright this day, I thought that was nice of Ali to help Jack, even when he clearly is not enjoying the brightness himself!)

Both of these families have been so sweet to us since we've arrived here. There's so little we can do to repay them, so we ask you to please remember these sweet families in your prayers this week as major decisions will be made regarding their futures. Anybody else feel so blessed to be from a country that we feel safe in?

On a lighter note, Jeff took Jack to a birthday party on Saturday. I was a little sad I didn't get to go because it would have been my first kid party where it's all organized by a party planner! Can you believe how they do things here? I just have to laugh. Anyway, they had a bouncy castle, all kinds of food, and a magician/clown.

This is Jack assisting the clown during one of his tricks. How did this clown know that Jack is the king of ropes? Jack was feeling pretty cool that he pulled the rope so hard that the knot came out!

I guess Jack decided to do his own thing at one point and entertained himself! This is what Jeff caught him doing. He's hilarious.

Sounds like it was a great party, although Jeff said almost every kid was melting down at one point or another. I don't know what it is about birthday parties that turns kids into monsters. Sounds like Jack took time out when he needed it, thus preventing any kind of breakdown. He's pretty good at stuff like that, thank goodness.

You might think this looks like a lipstick mark on Janie's cheek. I wish. In nursery today, a little boy BIT her! As you can see, it was pretty bad. She is generally a very tough cookie (with a big brother, don't you have to be?), but this really got to her. She cried and cried until we were in a taxi on the way home. It was so sad. I think she'll be black and blue tomorrow. She'll probably feel fine, but I don't know how I'm going to explain it to the million people (front desk staff, all our favorite security guards, vendors, and grocery store clerks who all know Jane by name) that are going to ask me about it this week. How do I say, "I don't beat my child" in Thai?

It rained today. This is our drive home from church. Jeff was hanging out of the taxi window trying not to get splashed by the water that was surrounding the car. There is actually a sidewalk on the side of the road. It's pretty amazing how fast rain comes down here.

Jack fell asleep in quiet time today, and I didn't even know until the rest of us woke up from our naps! He sure knows how to find a comfy spot wherever he is!

We're kind of boring this week, I realize. Thanks for keeping up with us, even during our very uneventful times! We love you all, and are so grateful for wonderful friends and family who support us! Please keep in touch, we'd love to hear what you are up to as well!


Jennifer said...

I admire all the adventures you are having. It's got to be hard being so far away from the comforts of your homeland and family, but the stuff you post here is AMAZING!!!

I can't believe the rain! River taxis?!! These experiences will give you enough material to be a public speaker for years! It is so fun to check up on you.

I know you've had this blog for over a year, but I didn't really get the whole blogging thing before. I've skimmed through past entries, but you've got tons of material here. Thankfully I've learned how to put the little feed on my toolbar, so I never forget to see what's new.

Love you Mindy. It was great to see you this summer.

Selway Family Blog said...

Who bit poor Janie?

We miss you guys.

That is a great picture of the taxis in the rain!

Joel and Som

Mindy said...

Selways, can you guess who the toughest kid in the nursery is? He clobbered her. It was so sad, but what can you do? Kids are just learning, and the parents were SO apologetic. We'll be watching closer next Sunday for sure.

Leslie said...

Oh, Mindy! I feel so bad about poor Janie with that bite! Judi was bit like that in conference one yr. when she was about that age too, we thought he was kissing her! I hope she is ok. That is maddening when stuff like that happens and you can't do anything about it, at least they were sorry. My girls are doing fine in school this yr. with me, I'm so relieved! (this is Leslie) I love reading your blog, I don't get on very often tho', I'm afraid. Keep it up. Sounds like you are having quite the adventure you will never forget and learning things you would never have learned any other way. Love you all, Leslie

Adri said...

So sorry for little Jane! Chad walked by and looked over my shoulder and immediately said, "who got bit?" There's a dentist for you....he knows teeth bites when he sees 'em! Hope her cute cheek heals up quickly! And, we hope things work out for your friends and immigration. I DO feel grateful to live in the USA.

heaps of love said...

i love looking at your life there is always something so intresting going on. you are one lucky girl to be living it all.

Kami said...

I wouldn't call bite bruises and flooded sidewalks "uneventful!" But, your life is a lot more exciting than mine! We love you guys! Thanks for sharing your adventures with us on the blog!