04 August 2008

Dream World!

We've done many things in Thailand that we wouldn't have ever been able to do if we hadn't lived here. On the other side of that, we gave up a lot of things to be here. One thing I was sure we would have given up was snow. How could they have snow in Thailand? (On a side note: Preeya's daughter was over playing with Jack one day and saw a picture of him playing in snow and was amazed. She said, "only rich people get to see snow". That about broke my heart! I had my in-laws send me some artificial snow for her for Christmas last year in an attempt to give her something she may never experience in her lifetime. It's not the same, but what can you do? Well, NOW I know what to do...)

So who could have guessed we found SNOW in Thailand? We went sledding on Saturday, if you can believe it. We visited a place called Dream World with Scarlett and Heather and inside you can go into a place called Snow Town where they have snow and a hill to sled down. I don't know if it was amazing, or just amazingly cold. We were freezing!

You go in and they give you boots and a coat. Luckily, Heather had warned us and we brought our own jackets, socks, pants for the kids, and she let us borrow gloves. It was a little shocking for the kids to be so cold. Really, -1.5 C (29 F) isn't that cold, but they just aren't remembering what cold feels like!

The sledding hill was really well done and although I didn't think it looked that big at first, I have to admit, I was a little nervous when I got up there and sat down in that sled with Jane. This is Jack and Jeff going down their 2nd time.

We were all grateful they had human bumpers at the end for the big Farangs who got going too fast! Jack loved this and I think he'll really like doing the real thing this winter, especially with soft, freshly fallen snow.

It was at this point that Jack realized that these cheap little boots they give you don't do much at all. Even with socks on, I could feel the cold through them! And, soon after this, we realized Jack didn't even put on his socks! No wonder he was FREEZING! He was just too excited about getting in there to put them on. Plus, the poor kid can't really even put socks on himself because we never wear socks, and all the ones he has are way too small, so they're extra tough! The phrase, "long, cold winter" kept coming to mind as we imagined reacclimatizing to Utah life in December. Ouch!

Jane enjoyed her one time down the sledding hill, but really just wanted to play in the snow. I had to watch her closely because she was determined to taste it. This girl's immune system is going to be SO strong after living here! She thought this igloo was the best.

Snow Town was what Scarlett was the most excited about. It was a lot of fun, but not the only fun thing about Dream World! It was kind of a mini Disneyland meets copyright infringement land. Add a little "tacky" in there and you've got one fun, foreign day out!

These little canoes were so adorable Jane went around and around with Scarlett, then again with Jack. The paddles weren't even attached, so occasionally you saw one floating down the "river" all by itself! Oops.

They had a fairytale land that was adorable. All the fun little houses from poems and classic stories, such as Snow Whote...

We recently watched The Sword in the Stone for our latest family movie party. They were thrilled to see one in the fairytale land. I love Jane's expressions.

I loved this giant in the ground. I know I've seen this somewhere before though, but couldn't place it. Vanessa, do you have something like this in DC?

This was the Giant's house from Jack and the Beanstalk. It was so well done. They had the magic harp, the golden eggs, and everything was huge. Even the bugs. It was fun to explore a little with Jack as the girls weren't too interested.

Jane wasn't too interested because she was eating her lunch. This was a large "chicken on a stick" (a staple here) that turned out to be pork. Luckily, Jane can't tell the difference!

The first ride we went on were these cars. Scarlett and Jack hopped into one together and I was a little worried about Jane all by herself, but she certainly didn't seem to mind. This girl LOVES rides, and with a mother like me, I'm sure we'll be good partners when she gets a little taller!

Jeff thought he just had to have a picture of this for his mom. Just to clarify, my mother-in-law doesn't have much tolerance for potty humor. The Hillman family likes to tease her about her phrase "no potty jokes!". But, when ALL of the bathroom signs look like this, how could we have let it go? What exactly are they going for here?

It's pretty common here to eat crepes as a snack, treat, or I guess you could call it a meal if you put dried pork and meat sauce on it like some people do here. This has proven to be an easy kid-friendly stomach filler that the kids are excited about. This time, they chose to put chocolate sauce and sprinkles on it. So... I guess that would be a treat.

We really enjoyed spending the day with Scarlett and Heather. It turned out to be a good mixture with the kids because Jack enjoyed doing some of the big rides with Jeff, while Heather and I took the girls to do what they enjoyed. Scarlett is the "big sister" for Jane here. Jane adores her and Scarlett plays the role very nicely. They hopped on this car ride and screamed like little girls everytime it went down a certain hill. It was hilarious and they were glowing. There was no line to speak of, so they stayed on for at least 20 minutes. The worker was just as tickled as they were to keep them on!

It was fun to have a day together with Scarlett and Heather again, although I am feeling like a nerd for not taking the chance to have Jeff take a picture of Heather and me together. We have so few, but we spend quite a bit of time together.

It will be hard to have Jack and Scarlett go to different schools in the fall, as it won't be as easy to get together. Everyone kind of goes their own way after K2 when they join in with the bigger schools. Since we'll be leaving in December, I didn't want to put Jack in a big school just for one term, when we have a smaller option very close to our apartment. He did a trial day at the new school to see how he liked it. It was nice for him to have a day to himself at school after being with Jane and me constantly for the last few weeks. The "honeymoon"period with Jane and Jack started wearing off this last week, so it came at a really good time! After I picked him up I asked him, "how did you like it? Would you like to go back?" He said, "TOMORROW!". He loved it, and I'm feeling good about having it within walking distance, and his class will only be 8-9 students. I'm interested to see how he'll handle going to the public school in January after having such a unique school experience here. Jack's proven himself to be extremely adaptable though, so I'm sure I have nothing to worry about!

Other events of the week... swimming! We have been swimming a LOT lately. Jack and Jane recently started lessons from a new teacher, "Uncle James". I was excited to have ONE swim lesson a week, and for my kids to do it together. Plus, it doesn't hurt that he just meets us at our pool which is super easy. He's got a whole different approach to teaching swim lessons that Jane's been doing, so I was a little nervous at first, but after lesson 3, I could see where he was going and I now have full confidence in him! He won my kids over the first day with games, toys, songs, and he even busted out a harmonica at one point. I was impressed with how he won Jane over so quickly (which is a little tough these days since she's very wary of strangers touching and playing with her, which happens all too often) and has already pushed them both beyond what they usually do. Jane was diving for Batman, and Jack swam the length of the pool (with a little help, of course), which was a HUGE confidence booster! Last Friday, the kids were SO exhausted after their 45 min. lesson, they both asked to take naps. Who can argue with that?

In an attempt to get the most out of our lessons, we're doing a lot of swimming in between. This day, Jack found his friend, Eleanor, downstairs, which is always a treat because we're never quite sure what days her nannies will bring her and her sisters down. We just take what we can get! She is an amazing swimmer, so it was good for Jack to see what kids can do!

Yes, this is Jane sleeping in her goggles. Maybe we're swimming too much? She LOVES them and now much prefers them to swimming without. I just didn't know she liked them this much. I went in to take them off of her, and she woke up a few minutes later, frantic because she couldn't find them!

I wish I could tell you that we took this last picture at some Hospital Family Day, but no. We spent last night in the ER because Jeff had a bad oil burn on his fingers. He was making fries (which he hasn't done in a LONG time), and apparently forgot to check the temperature before dumping them all in. I told him that baking them would be better for him! It was an unfortunate accident and he was in a lot of pain, so we took him in. This ER was absolutely ideal though. We just took our apartment tuk-tuk there (1 km) and there was no one there except nurses just waiting to recieve us! They took him right into the back while I took care of the Insurance stuff, and they immediately started treating him. It took a while before the pain injection kicked in, and they were worried about his low heart rate and blood pressure, so he had to lay down for a while being monitored. I think there were 5 nurses helping him at one point. Probably uncessary, but who wouldn't have wanted to help this handsome foreigner? (out of respect for the one in PAIN, I opted not to take photos!)

This nurse thought the kids might like a tour of their ambulances, so they were able to ask her about every item inside, and even witnessed them putting someone in the back. Why they were taking someone OUT of the hospital in the ambulance I don't know. She seemed sick, but was happy and smiling at the kids. Interesting.

Notice the dress Jane is wearing. Here's the story. We go to church every Sunday. Every Sunday, Jane leaves with something new that Dypu and Napa have brought for her. It started out as a bracelet. I think they gave her one each week for 2-3 weeks. One had a matching ring. She was in heaven. This is all amidst all the treats they have always brought her, of course. The next time they brought her a handbag that looks like a puffy, pink poodle. It is about the girliest thing I've ever seen, and she hardly puts it down. This week, they handed Jeff a bag with 2 dresses in it! They bought her DRESSES! These people spoil my child like I never could, and honestly, in some ways it's better that it's someone that isn't her MOM! I put this dress on her to try it on and she hasn't wanted to take it off since. It's the frilliest thing that has ever touched her body, and she can hardly stop looking at herself in the mirror. Girls are SO different than boys, and I'm pretty much loving having one of each! Napa emailed me today and apologized for spoiling Jane and was hoping it wasn't upseting me. She said that she and Dypu are excited to have children someday and hope they have one just like Jane. How nice of a compliment to Jane is that? They are the sweetest couple, and now that Dypu is legal, Jeff and I are really hoping we'll see them married before we leave Thailand!

So, to conclude with the burn treatment, Jeff is doing fine. They monitored him for about an hour, finally got him something strong enough for the pain, treated the burn (pinky and ring fingers), and sent him home with four prescriptions. Total cost: about $60 before insurance. So, we ended up paying about $6. Am I glad we went? You bet! Jeff slept well last night, which we didn't expect, but probably due to the pain meds and muscle relaxers. But, with the bandages he can't really type without pushing 3 keys at once, and his medicine makes him loopy. So, he's home today and I'm happy to have him! His office has a company clinic right there, so when he goes back, the nurse can check his burn each day and dress it properly until it's healed. It's nice to know it will be well taken care of and there's nothing to worry about. They really know how to do medical care here. It's no wonder people come here all the time for medical vacations. Amazing!


rikker said...

Yep, the giant statue at Dream World is a (undoubtedly unlicensed) copy of The Awakening at Hains Point in Washington, D.C.

At least, that's where it was when I've been to see it. I just found out from that useful ol' internet that it was moved in February 2008 to National Harbor, because the Potomac would sometimes flood and submerge the statue in its old home.

Its Thai knockoff probably isn't safe from flooding in Bangkok, either. :P

rikker said...

I didn't read very carefully enough. The sculpture itself wasn't flooded, rather the walking/biking paths around the perimeter of Hains Point frequently get submerged.

At least part of the reason it was moved seems to be that it was sold to a new owner.

Okey doke, enough correcting myself. I'll let others correct me from here on out.

Team Hanni said...

Unbelievable! $6 to go to the ER? That is amazing! So glad Jeff is ok. My Jeff is BANNED from frying anything at our house. He burned his parents kitchen down TWICE as a kid while making fries. Not a great track record....

Another fun, fun, week to read about!

Amy and Ryan said...

Mindy! Hi, it's Amy (Madsen) Andersen. I found your blog through Tara's. I hope you don't mind my peeking in on you. You have an ADORABLE family! It looks like you are having the time of your lives. I am insanely jealous of your world travel!!! Anyway, it was fun seeing what you're up to. Love, Amy

Fay said...

It's so fun to catch up on all of your adventures. We can skip Dream World though when I come in October, okay? I'll get plenty of the real stuff soon enough! I'm getting so excited for my visit and hope it's still okay because I have my flight on October 22 till the 27th!

Joanna said...

So fun! I think it's hilarious that they have a snow hill, like sledding is such a novelty! The kids are getting bigger every week and it's breaking my heart...they need to be around their Aunt JoJo!

Laneea said...

So fun to watch your family grow. I loved to see them play in the snow. it seems that this past winter Jared loved the snow. And yes he had to taste it each time he went outside.