It's been a LONG week, to say the least. Monday morning, by about 8:30am, I felt like I had already had a weeks worth of events and emotions. I checked my email around 7am, to find out that one of my dear friends from the ward had passed away the night before. Then, around 8am, another dear friend called to tell me that after her unbelievable conception and roller coaster of 1st trimester, she had lost her baby. I was numb at this point, not knowing quite what to think, but of course, pressing on. As much as I believe crying can be good, I just couldn't even do that at this point.
Ruth was from the Philippines but was living in Bangkok with her Thai husband and 18 month old daughter, Sariah. She was one of the happiest women I've met here, always smiling and laughing about things. She had come over for play dates a few times, and has helped me in the nursery at church since I started. She came to my rescue when one of the little girls in there was going through a rough phase, and wouldn't let any of the farangs hold or play with her. Ruth was happy to take on the job and brought Sariah each week to help during the first hour before needing to do her Relief Society calling. Hearing the news of her death was, to say the least, shocking. But, I know that death is a part of life, and life goes on. I was honored to be able to help some with the funeral service, especially when Alice (my amazing pianist friend from the ward) and I were asked to play at her funeral. It was therapeutic for me to be able to play my violin and honor our sweet Sister Ruth in this way. People like her inspire me to focus on the positive and do what I know is right. Please pray for her daughter, husband, and mother as they go through a trying time.
I won't go into all the details of the rest of the grim part of my week, but it is always rough to watch someone you love go through something both physically and emotionally draining. Especially something as sensitive as losing a baby. Having a dear friend endure trial after trial, and me being able to do so little is awful. In truth, I haven't done much this week, but it feels like I have fit an entire MONTH into this one week, because my mind has been so occupied.
So, if you are still with me, I'll tell you that things did get better as the week wore on. I promise.
After the funeral on Wednesday, I went to pick Jack up from school. Not something I usually do, because he rides the bus, but I had him stay late so I could be at the funeral the whole time. I was waiting for him to finish lunch and visiting with my friend, Sukma, while Jane played with her boy, Brandon. These two are so darling together. I think Brandon can make Jane laugh almost as much as Jack, and that's really saying something! Sukma's daughter, Sasha, is in Jack's class, so I get to visit with her quite a bit, and we've had some playdates here and there. They are from Indonesia, but have been in Bangkok for several years. It's so fun to meet nice families through Jack's school. It really is a great little school community where people get to know one another and share experiences. It's been a blessing that we picked this particular school out of the many I looked at.
As much as I didn't feel up to it, I had planned with Graham, Dylan's Dad, to take the kids bowling again, like we did so many months ago. I didn't want to disappoint Jack, so we went, and I'm SO glad we did. Graham picked up Scarlett and we all met at the Paragon bowling ally. The kids LOVE to bowl, even Jane was getting into it by the end. This was exactly what I needed as a pick me up from the long week.
This was a typical scene. The kids did GREAT, although Scarlett, Dylan, and Jack get a little crazy together. At one point, there were even three balls in the lane at once. I started panicking and looked at one of the workers who was watching us, and he said, "no problem!". Wow! Every time I've been bowling here, there has always been at least one employee that just stands behind our group to help and watch. They really are helpful, and happy to do it. Thais have something they call, "jai yen", meaning "cool heart". It perfectly describes their temper of being laid back, accepting, calm, and patient. I am often thanking my lucky stars to be surrounded by people with "jai yen" when I'm out with my two little monkeys.
So, here's the cool thing that happened while we were bowling. Graham happens to mention that Kari, his wife, has an extra ticket to Cats that night, and asks if I want to go. HELLO! I've been talking about going for about 4 months, yet due to my procrastination, couldn't get tickets on a decent night. So, I had given up that idea. Then, this comes up! I couldn't believe I was actually being rewarded for my procrastination by getting a night out with other women, and better seats than I could have afforded at half price. Nice! So, I ended up killing time at the Paragon, so I could meet Jeff there to hand off the kids (can you believe how awesome my husband is?). I met up with Kari and her friends and we had a great evening visiting and seeing Cats (which was quite different then I expected, but still really good). And, the woman I was sitting next to, guess where she was from? "A little town in Utah, called Logan", she says. Is that crazy? I told her about how we lived there, Jeff graduated from there, and I was still taking classes from USU. It's a small world!
While I was killing time at the Paragon, we found these Thai dancers who were putting on a show. I thought this was great! The kids were loving it too. Why do we not have American folk dancers in our malls? I would love to see a regular clogging/square dancing show when I go shopping on Friday nights. Who wouldn't?
Saturday was a really fun family day out. We went to the BAMBI (Bangkok Mothers & Babies International) 25th birthday party. This is an organization that puts together play groups, informational lectures on parenting, breastfeeding, and generally just provides a smaller community for mothers and families. It's a great organization, although I haven't been able to fit in a LOT of their activities, what I've done has been awesome.
The theme was super heroes and princesses. Jack was happy for another opportunity to wear his Batman costume out, and Jane got to wear this awesome hand me down from Scarlett.
This birthday party was a kid wonderland. We walked in and Jack got free cotton candy and watched the clown show. What more could he ask for?
I took Jane over to the fishing pond with her friend, Isabelle, who is the daughter of Graham (we took the kids bowling) and Kari (who I went to Cats with).
Jane loved this small version of a bouncy house, only for children under three. Perfect!
Jack was loving the soft toys and ball pit, not to mention the huge playground and full size bouncy castle! It was fun to let the kids play and visit with the other parents we'd met at other events or from Jack's school. It's amazing how in a city as HUGE as Bangkok, the family community of Farangs is quite small. Many times, I will see the same families at play areas, Ocean World, or other events. I think many feel a common bond because we are all away from home with young children.
We decided to try a new way home that we heard about. We walked along the klong on this pathway. I guess we could have tried one of the boats, but weren't quite sure how they worked, so we decided to walk as far as the kids would let us, then taxi on home. We watched the boats go by, saw a different side of the city, and felt it was a good little adventure.
I'm pretty sure this is how our mail gets delivered each day. Thought it was kind of interesting.
I thought this was sweet of Jack reading his Book of Mormon stories while he was eating his lunch after church today.
Today was the primary program. For those of you who are lucky enough to have been to primary programs before, you know pretty much how they go. The kids all go up, everyone gets all excited. The sunbeams are in the front row, waving to their parents and being silly. The older kids are being reverent, or at least conversing in subdued tones. Then, there's the few tall kids who are almost graduated from primary and look a little awkward, but add a LOT when it comes to the speaking parts and especially the singing. Then there's the sweet kid who sings his little heart out, occasionally hitting a right note here and there (I think this is my nephew, Grant, except in tune, am I right, Vanessa?). There are so many more typical things about these wonderful programs, and today Jack was one of them. He was "the kid" that suddenly speaks his part into the microphone VERY CLOSELY. It was awesome. He said his scripture, "Follow me and do the things which ye have seen me do, 2 Nephi 31:12, absolutely clear and without any hesitation. It was probably double the volume of every other kid. Needless to say, we were beaming and giggling all at once. It is the highlight of the entire year, and I have to hand it to all you Primary workers, it's a big job. Good work!
So, in the end, this week has been good. Thank you for enduring with me on this post. I started blogging to keep family updated on our happenings while we are away. But, it has gradually turned into something that we feel we will look back on years down the road. So, pardon my personal reflections, and possibly even sharing a bit too much. Although I don't write everything down, I feel I just can't let some things go undocumented to some degree.
Speaking of documenting, my parents arrive on Thursday night, late, and we can't wait. So, if I don't get a chance to post this week, you'll know why. Although I will do my best. I'm sure it is going to feel better than Christmas for Jack and Jane to wake up to them on Friday morning. We are looking forward to LOTS of quality time with them ANDVanessa when she arrives just 3 days later. What a treat this will be!