We had a fantastic week, that was of course centered around preparations for the big night, and recovery from the big night. But, our week did start off with something totally unrelated. Jack's good friend, Kazuya, had his 5th birthday party at the school on Monday afternoon. It's starting to feel like we go to a birthday party every week now, but I'm not complaining because it's a GREAT place for the kids to run wild, play with friends, and I get to visit with the other moms. And, I love that everyone always welcomes Jane, even sending her home with goody bags, even though everything is geared for the big kids. They had a magician, clown making balloons, and I finally learned who "Ultraman" is. He's a Japanese cartoon character who Jack's been spotting all over town and was also the star of Kazuya's cake. I was so impressed. Taka (his Mom) had made the cake herself! Very rare, since very few people actually have ovens here, and if they do, most would rather buy it. If you look close, you can see me standing up taking the picture in the mirror.
Halloween was a pretty exciting day! Jack had school, and Jane had swim class, her favorite! She is getting to be quite an animal in the water. She loves to jump in through the hula hoop now, and always chooses the pink part to be on the top. She also loves to push off the wall, and try to swim to me, with little to no warning. I have to watch her quite closely because this girl has no fear!
We spent Halloween night at the Gibbon's home, a family in the ward. We drove out in a van with the Becks and we were happy that Sally came with us as well! It was a long trek out there, picking everyone up, and we hit quite a bit of traffic, but we got there just in time for the trick or treating at 6pm. The kids loved running from house to house. Jack ran and ran, but Jane decided to taking this approach: Walk up to the house, say "trick or treat", "thank you", turn around and eat the treat before another step is taken. This would probably be fine, except there were loads of people at each house. Imagine all the Halloween fanatics with all the decor (lights, tombstones, spiderwebs, dummies with their heads cut off, HUGE ghosts, etc.) like they've planned for this all year, but these people all live in one neighborhood. THIS is where we were. It was crazy and awesome all in one. I felt like I was in the States all over again. These families were even giving out candy they had brought from the U.S.! That night, we ate Snickers bars, Skittles, Starbursts, and Tootsie Rolls. ALL candy we can't get here. Crazy.
Here's Jane approaching a door with Sally. Notice the motorbike/scooter to the left. This is how a bunch of people get around this community. Most travel by golf cart, but there are lots of bikes and scooters too. We can definitely see the draw in living in this wonderful neighborhood, right around the school, with its own international market, lake, Subway (the sandwich shop, not the mode of transportation) and more! You really don't feel like you're in Bangkok anymore. I have to admit though, we love the city life!
We all gathered after a short while for some soup and salad while the kids played and enjoyed all their sweets. I don't think I've eaten soup since Christmas Eve last year. It was delicious, especially since Michele had turned up the A/C so the house actually felt a little cool! Good planning!
We loved these three girls together! Jane, Alina, and Madeline. They all just sat there, happy as could be!
Before we left for the Gibbons, we went down to visit the office staff because we were missing their party they were throwing for the tenants. We felt bad to miss it, but thought we at least needed to get some pictures with them. They are fantastic!
Jane enjoying the decor. I was impressed with how they celebrated Halloween here. Of course, it's all done for the farangs, but we'll take it! I actually felt like my kids had a "normal" Halloween this year. Mom guilt: gone. Well, for now.
Jane only kept her wings on for a few moments, so I had to snap what I could! By the time we actually got to the Gibbons, she was in her leotard and skirt. Whatever keeps her happy!
We got a sad letter on Thursday saying that one of Jack's teachers, Bic, had a family emergency and needed to go back to Chiang Mai. No one's sure if she'll be back at all, but we hope we'll see her again before we move!
I'm taking a general Arts Class at USU online right now. I couldn't believe I had to take an arts class, after all the music classes I've taken. I thought, "give me a break!", but it's actually been really fun! Jane and I went to our park on Friday morning to see if I could find any public art to write about. I was shocked, to say the least, with how much art was in this park that I'd never noticed before. I have run, walked, strolled, sat, and played in this park countless times. Besides the most obvious works, I had never noticed MOST of what was there. Because of this class, I'm starting to notice a lot more art that is everywhere. Very eye opening. Jeff and I liked this one of Jane running towards the water. Is this park not gorgeous? And, there's so much more!
Jeff and Jack decided to go and visit some friends from the ward on Saturday. We love these two brothers! We see them every Sunday, and every Sunday, I just want to take them home with me! They are from Sri Lanka, and have been here for a short time. They treated Jeff and Jack to lunch and ice cream, and had a really good visit. I was happy to hear today that they are coming over tomorrow for Family Night!
This x-ray is of the older brother's head one year ago. He was studying at an agricultural College in Sri Lanka when an army came in and started shooting. 5 were killed, 10 wounded. The older brother was one of the wounded, as you can see below. It's pretty amazing he survived. For safety reasons, we thought it better to not share their names.
We had a great Sunday today. We brought Sally and Diana (another friend of a friend that's here to teach English) home with us. We all took naps and had dinner. Jack treated us to some lovely dinner music to finish off the evening. Diana plays the guitar, so Jane took that opportunity to enjoy the fuzziness of Jeff's case. This girl loves anything soft, silky, fuzzy, lacy, or pink. What makes girls like this?
Well, Happy Halloween everyone! We've loved reading so many blogs this week with darling pictures of kids in costumes, skillfully carved pumpkins, and lots of candy! Now, on to Thanksgiving, right? I LOVE the holiday season! And, having family coming in just a couple of weeks will just top it off so nicely! Only thing we're missing now? SNOW!