17 February 2008

We're from America

LOADS of pictures this week, which is a good thing. Less talking. A few hours ago, I took some pills to help my ear and sinus pressure, sore throat, and everything else that's wrong with me and it is making me so loopy. I think it may have been night time medicine. So, we'll keep it simple.

I turned on Beethoven's violin concerto while I was making dinner one night and the kids sat in front of the TV (which doubles as our stereo) and acted as conductors with the raw spaghetti noodles. It was fun to see them love this music so much. Particularly because this was MY piece that I practiced for hundreds of hours (literally) while I was extremely pregnant with Jack. This is also undoubtedly the most beautiful piece of violin music ever written. Never have I felt so spiritually touched with a piece of secular music. I hope my children will always think of me when they hear this beautiful concerto.

By they way, Happy Valentine's Day! We had a really fun day that Jack did NOT want to end! I prepared a little sack of goodies (fun underwear, light up tops, a "love" balloon, and a small book) for Jack and Jane, which Jack thought was the coolest. And Jeff, I surprised him with a bag of peanut butter M&Ms which I've been saving since November when Vanessa came. He was THRILLED, and I think a little surprised since we declared several years ago that we don't buy gifts for each other on Valentine's Day! I couldn't resist. Jack loved handing out his valentines at school, and I was surprised that there were a few others who were celebrating as well! Our complex had a little Valentine's party on the roof for everyone, so we went up for about 10 min. before we were chased out by the bugs (very unusual)! This picture isn't great, but it has all four of us in it, something that doesn't happen very often.

The view from the 33rd floor roof garden. I love this city.

We pass this man a LOT, and he's always sitting in the same spot making amazing things from twine. He wanted a picture with Jane this day, so I happily pulled out the camera. Jane wasn't quite in the mood, but he is always SO sweet to us. Notice she's in pajamas. I hadn't planned to leave the house again (this was the first day of me feeling awful), but we needed a few things from the store, so off we went. This man is a bit famous, I think. He's got newspaper articles that have been written about him, and pictures people have taken. He's also always smiling.

Two of my favorite sweethearts.

I love a LOT of things about my life right now: my perfect husband, my two darling children, and the fact that I don't have to worry about cleaning the outside of my windows! Jane was fascinated by this guy hanging from a wire, cleaning our windows. I have to admit, it was pretty cool. Of course, then the insides looked way dirty, so Jane and I had a fun morning cleaning all the insides of the windows. Who knew the sky was so blue?

Valentine's night, we met up for a quick dinner at the mall, eating what makes our kids happy, which just happened to be Burger King that night. Then, they each got to pick out a special desert, and everyone chose ice cream. Except for me, who chose to take Jeff up on his offer to put the kids to bed while I got a massage across the street. Exactly what my achy body needed. Did I say that I love my husband? Do anyone else's kids always want to wear costumes while they're out?

Jane insisted I get a picture of her with these mannequins. She always finds the ones making the weirdest faces, and they're everywhere, and she loves to imitate them. I guess I should be glad she hasn't noticed their hairstyles yet. Why are America's mannequins so normal looking? That's no fun!

We had a really fun afternoon with a bunch of Jack's friends at Dylan's pool. They swam like crazy and I had a fun visit with the moms and dads. I loved watching Jack and Scarlett walk together like this. They have been dear friends for almost a year now. She left for London today for 3 weeks, and we're all hoping it goes by quickly!

The BIGGEST event of the week was Jack's International Day at school. They started with a Parade of Nations, where all the children paraded around the school with their nation's flag around their neck. In this small school, there are 28 different nationalities. It makes for a wonderfully diverse group. Can you name all the countries?

Jack's class performed a Thai dance, where he got to wear this scarf around his head and bang a drum. WAY cool for an almost 5 year old! He LOVES playing with Kazuya.

These next three pictures were taken by a friend. Nice to have some from a better, "not holding a wiggly Jane" angle.

Jack saying, "I'm from America!" Did he have the most beautiful dance partner or what? He and Miya don't play together, but they certainly were a cute couple!

After the dance, they sang a Thai "hello" song, "Sawatdii krap".

Jane loves anything at IPC because it means she gets to play, play, play! These are the best swings in Bangkok. She's pointing out how silly Brandon is.

After the program, we got to go with Jack to visit 4 different countries to get his passport stamped, each hosted by a different classroom. There was Italy, India, England, and Thailand. Jack's class was Thailand, where they made these horses out of banana tree leaves. This was a HUGE hit with the boys. Teacher Fon is Jack's drama teacher, and we always joke about calling her Teacher "Fun" because Jack loves everything she does in class!

One classroom was "England". This was a HUGE hit with the parents because they had a small "parents only" section with biscuits and tea. The Brits were quite fond of the idea and made themselves right at home! These are three of my favorite people. Heather, Graham, and Kari. Kari's not British, but I still let her be in the picture.

The England classroom was also Jane's favorite. She colored a picture of Queen Elizabeth, and played in the rocket (which had nothing to do with England, just part of the classroom!).

Jack with Teacher Harmit. She has been a wonderful teacher and so easy to work with as a parent. I'm so grateful for a good, positive start with school for both Jack and me.

Everyone was supposed to bring a food that represents their country. What should I bring as an American? I actually completely forgot about it until the day before, and wasn't feeling up to some serious baking (unlike Sukma who woke up at 4:30am to fry up her Indonesian food), so I served up some delicious 7-11 Oreos! Lame, I know, but guess who's dish was empty first?

Saturday was another "not feeling great" day, but, it helped that Jeff basically took the kids for me while I got some things done. Brother Richard Bell, who Jeff home teaches, invited us a couple of weeks ago to the American Chamber of Commerce Ball as his guests. This man, I'm telling you, is really something. I was NOT feeling much like leaving the kids, dressing up, and going out, but it really was a fun night. I was sure I would be WAY under dressed in just a simple black dress, but I honestly felt just fine. There was quite a variety from elegant gowns to sombreros and ponchos (it was a "south of the border" theme). I was glad I didn't splurge on getting a dress made in a hurry!

I went out shopping that morning in search of some shoes, and what a joke that was (I'm a 10! Ha!). After hearing, "sorry madam" over and over again, I decided my casual flats will do. I would have rather been doing anything than shopping with the way I was feeling.

This is us all dressed up in the back of a truck taxi. What a chariot that was! After walking all the way to the train, we discovered we forgot the tickets! This sweet truck driver saved us by zipping us back home, then back to the train! While everyone was arriving in style, we were completely sweaty and windblown from the walk, truck, and train. Not to mention sick. I didn't exactly feel like Cinderella, but at least I had my Prince Charming!

They posted the colors to start off the evening, which was very touching to me. I LOVE being an American and am so grateful for the freedoms that we have, and that we can be proud of the sacrifices that have been made to make our country what it is today. We all toasted to the King of Thailand after the King's anthem, then toasted to President Bush (which seemed a little weird) after our National Anthem.

Bishop Andersen and his wife, Wendy, were also invited, so we were excited to sit with people we knew and loved, and really enjoyed some extra time visiting.

Jeff and I. You can see one of the waiters in the background with a mustache and cowboy hat on. This ball was planned down to the tiniest detail! We had a delicious 5 course meal with ballroom dancing entertainment, a silent auction, as well as a live auction, which I thought was great!

Brother Bell invited us to come to the ball, and it was really fun to visit a bit with him, and see him in his element as a thriving business man. We feel so blessed to know people like him who are extremely successful, yet do so many good things to spread the blessings around. I'm sure we only know a small part of the good this man does.

It really turned out to be a fun night, and I couldn't have been more grateful for Sally, who came to watch the children for us. I think we've gone out about 5 times together since we moved here (15 months ago), so it's a big deal for us to leave them. It was so nice to know they were in such good hands. Again, more blessings!

Apparently, I'm not so great at keeping it simple, loopy or not. One last thing. We have decided that Thai commercials are hilarious. We don't generally watch Thai TV, but like I've mentioned before, there are TVs everywhere here. So, we've seen this one on the train, and it's by far our favorite. We thought you might get a kick out of it too. Although we've seen it with subtitles, we think it's funnier without. Plus, you get a taste of what we go through every, single, day! Enjoy!


Andrew & Vanessa and kids said...

I love the long posts. It gives us a sense of your week, one day at a time.
Do you have a piece of red gum in your mouth in the picture with Jeff? I was worried for a second.
Aren't we blessed to live in America? I see "soldiers" in uniform almost every day here in Arlington and I truly want to thank them personally for serving our country so that we have all that we do!

Team Hanni said...

I love the commercial....

You look like so beautiful all dressed up. How fun to get to go out. We don't get to do that much either. We do get to go to Prom each year as chaperones (I wear my simple black dress each year too).

Sorry you have been sick. Get better soon!!!

Mixed Up Me said...

Sounds like you had a great week despite not feeling well. I love reading about your adventures, and your pictures are just the best. Thank you for inviting us into you life. I hope you feel better soon, Have a great week.

Blessings . . .

Malia said...

You DID look so beautiful! Sorry you're not feeling well, though. That commercial was hilarious! Like every week...I can't wait to hear the adventures this next week brings you!

Pink said...

Jack, you are so cute !!