Christmas is almost here, and we can't wait! Jack has asked me almost every day this week, "is TODAY Christmas?". Maybe last year didn't leave enough of an impression on him to remember that it's kind of a big deal!
We've had a fantastic week playing, planning, and today, cooking! The kids and I met friends a few different times this week, and really just enjoyed a nice, laid back, focus-on-fun week. Meanwhile, Jeff's been counting down, in half-day increments, until his vacation begins.
We've got lots of pictures this week. As I've looked back on my first few months here, I've realized a lot of change in my posts. Mine are MUCH longer now, with more pictures, and it's funny to look back at the things I noticed back then, most of which I don't think twice about now. At some point, I realized I was not only blogging to keep family and friends updated on our everyday adventures, but doing this also as a journal to be eventually made into a book. I think that changed some things. I've now been sharing thoughts, memories, and many more pictures than anyone would ever want to see, mostly for selfish reasons. I want it recorded, and for now, this is the best place to do it. So please, forgive all the extra information and pictures that may not make sense or mean anything to you. They mean something to us, and I know years down the road, they'll mean even more.
Monday was probably my favorite day of the week. I'd been planning for a week or so to take the kids to visit some friends from church at their home. I can't even remember how it came up, but as soon as getting together during the week was mentioned, they were SO excited, and I was too! Mary, George, and Diran became members of our church 2 months ago, and I've known them about 3 months. Diran comes into my nursery class with his mother, Mary, each week. He didn't speak any English to start, but as Mary was a teacher in their home country of Sri Lanka, she has taken it upon herself to teach Diran English. Now he enters the room and says, "good morning!" and shakes my hand each week.
The kids played a bit in their apartment, which consists of one room, then decided to watch Spiderman cartoons together. My kids, of course, thought this was great, as they've never seen cartoons like this before!
As we were visiting, George and Mary learned that I had never had Sri Lankan food before, which they say is a lot like Indian food. Before I knew what was happening, they were starting the rice cooker, grating carrots, and washing shrimp. I had no intention of them making us lunch, but they insisted. Honestly, with as little as I knew they had (they are refugees, so live on VERY little, and aren't allowed to work), I took a bunch of treats, fruit, and drinks so they wouldn't feel like they needed to bring out snacks or anything. This didn't stop them; they were SO happy to bring out cake, soda, juice, and cookies. They probably offered me 4 different drinks, and like I said, made me delicious Sri Lankan food that I ate with my fingers (just like you're supposed to), until Mary was laughing at me and made me use my fork and spoon. I must have looked pretty pathetic.
This is what Mary made for their Christmas decorations. Are they sweet or what? George looks really mad in this picture for some reason, but he is such a sweet guy with a great smile. In Sri Lanka, he was a successful businessman. They said at one point, in Sri Lanka, they had a lot but were not happy. Here they have very little, but are very happy.
I have fallen in love with Mary. After this morning together, I kept thinking, how is it possible to come to Thailand and find a kindred spirit here from Sri Lanka? It's amazing how we sometimes can't understand each other (her accent and mine), and we have completely different backgrounds, but we've become the dearest of friends. I couldn't believe all they shared with us, from what little they had.
We took the train a LOT this week. My kids are champs at making the best of things.
We spent a morning at Ocean World with the Becks and some new friends, the Lee family. Rachel Lee and her husband and two children moved in just a couple of months ago, not too far from us. They are from the Boise, Idaho area but moved here most recently from Germany. Nice to have more friends moving in!
Jack loved this penguin, and wanted to make sure I got a picture of them together.
Jane and Mikayla on the giant sting ray, a favorite photo spot for my kids.
We've liked seeing Santa the diver this month at Ocean World. Jane just stares in amazement. Occasionally, she'll blow kisses and wave, and he often does it, back just to her, which she LOVES.
We all headed to McDonalds after Ocean World, where the kids all got "Bee Movie" toys in the happy meals. I'm amazed at how fun those little toys can be. My kids are still playing with theirs!
At the Emporium, they've had all sorts of beautiful trees scattered throughout. It's almost like Festival of Trees, but in a mall. This whole floor was decorated in trees honoring the king, for his 80th birthday this month. This has been quite a celebration this month, which we think is well deserved.
Jack really wanted to take a picture of Jeff and Jane by the trees. Not bad!
We go to this mall for various reasons at least once a week, sometimes more. Ever since these trees have been up, it's been a challenge to get Jack past this one. Any ideas why? I decided next year, I am going to do up a tree in his room in this theme. That way, he can decorate it and un-decorate it all he wants!
has had some major successes the last couple of weeks though that we are very proud of. It's amazing what gets you excited once you become a parent.
I caught my kids holding each other during the "scary part" of Cinderella the other day. I thought that was hilarious. What part is scary in Cinderella you ask? Sometimes it's the step mom, but mostly it's Lucifer, the cat. Who can blame them. His name is Lucifer! In case you were wondering, usually my kids do wear pants. This was a laid back afternoon, apparently.
I know, Jack's always hanging out in his underpants! This morning, he occupied himself with making a parachute for his bird. Why a bird needs a parachute, who knows? I thought he did a pretty good job!
Friday was a nice, laid back day. After a whole week of having activities every day, the kids were perfectly content to play at home, so I didn't bother planning anything. They occupied themselves with making tent #1:
And then, tent #2:
(She was a bit surprised that I found her)
And, Jack gave Jane a violin lesson.
Also, we got a surprise call from the Pradits saying they were on their way to Bangkok and needed a place to spend the night. So, we had friends over for Friday and Saturday, which kept Jack and Jane quite busy. This is Jack and Shawn being scary.
I mentioned earlier that I've been cooking today. Anyone who's talked to me about cooking in Bangkok probably knows that I don't really do it. If it's anything beyond American breakfast foods, baked potatoes, breads, or pasta, I haven't done it in a while. So, cooking today has been quite a feat. We're preparing for a group for Christmas Eve tomorrow. Good part? We LOVE having company for dinner. Bad part? I'm not good at cooking dinner. If I wasn't already culinarily impaired, living in a country where it's actually cheaper to eat out, has made it official: I can't cook. I didn't used to be SO bad. There was usually a part of the meal that was really good, and the rest pretty so so. But, I'm determined not to let my lack of cooking knowledge ruin a great evening with wonderful friends! So, for all of you thinking that moving back to "reality" in Utah is going to be quite the adjustment next winter, you are exactly right! I am going to be starting from scratch. But, for the time being, I'm going to enjoy not worrying about it.
We really have missed our families lately, especially this time of year it's harder to be away. But, we feel so blessed that we have other "family" to celebrate this Christmas Eve with. We plan to make good memories that we can share with our U.S. families next year when we are all together again. We love you all, and wish you a very meaningful holiday as we remember the one, important reason we celebrate.