We had a fantastic week that pretty much centered around two main things. The first being Mother's Day. In Thailand, Mother's Day is celebrated on the Queen's birthday, which is August 12th. So, it came on a Tuesday and everything shuts down, and almost everyone has work off. Yay for Jeff staying home! Although, we were glad that not everyone had work off, or we wouldn't have been able to get a taxi to our Mother's Day celebration at our church!
I was so happy that the ward planned an activity in honor of Mother's Day, because it seems like even thought we live in Thailand, we usually end up celebrating holidays on the Western schedule because so few members of our ward are actually Thai. Our ward is pretty much everyone in Thailand (literally, our boundaries include the entire country) who doesn't speak Thai, because all the Thai wards meet together all over the city! So, we have people from Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa, Congo, Philippines, Canada, America, Taiwan, Korea, France, China, Germany, Sweden, and probably many more I can't think of. I think it is nice that even though very few of us are from Thailand, we celebrate and honor their traditions because we LIVE here! This is our world right now, so of course we should learn about the traditions!
Tuesday morning, many of us met at the church to prepare, set up, and Jack's favorite... dig holes. Part of the celebration was planting 50 Jasmine trees all over the church yard. The guys spent a good portion that morning digging all the holes, and the kids were more than happy to help! This is Jack and Jane with Ishwari, from Nepal.
Everyone started arriving and the kitchen was busy, busy! I love this picture of the sisters all happy with their work! From the left is Kim Hofheins, Camilla (with her back turned), Excelcia, Mary Grace, Mendy, and (in purple) Napa. I know I've said how much I love our ward here, but honestly, this activity made me really realize what a hole there will be in my heart when we have to say goodbye to everyone. How could you not love these women?
Jane was loving playing ping-pong with her boyfriend, Dipu. We found out good news about Napa and Dipu this week: they got their wedding license! We were hoping we wouldn't be gone when they got around to having the celebration, but it's looking like it will be in a month or two, so we are thrilled we get to be around for the happy event! They've been SO good to our Jack and Jane, we hope this will present some way that we can repay them for all they've done for us. How can you possibly repay people who love your children so much?
I had to take a picture of the fruit/veggie table because it all looked so beautiful! There's so much variety with fruits here. I'll particularly miss the mangos and pineapple, and for SO cheap. It still seems a little unbelievable that you can get an entire pineapple for about 40 cents!
Jack was the first child there, since we were there early to set up, so he got to be the example to all the other children on how to pay respect to his mother on Mother's day. He took the flower, kneeled on the ground in a wai, brought the flower to me and kneeled in my lap while I got to tell him how much I love him and how absolutely handsome he is. Okay, you're probably supposed to say other things, but he really is handsome! He was a great sport to demonstrate several times for everyone!
This is the Bunker family respecting their mother, who somehow didn't quite get in the picture! They are such a great family who've been an anchor to this ward as long as we've been here and long before.
All the children and fathers wrapped up their jasmine tree and brought it to the mothers so we could plant it together with a little sign next to it so the children could see its progress every week. Jack was completely surprised today that it looked the same as it did on Tuesday! Maybe we should have explained that better!
This is us attempting a picture before going out to plant. Jane was a little excited, despite the cold that started that day for her. Poor kid. Luckily, she had many people who wanted to spoil her with attention this day!
Don and Nan (the Newlyweds!) were in charge of the entire activity and did an amazing job! Nan had every little detail planned out, and Don was working from early morning until late afternoon taking care of all the running around, setting up, and putting together. They really made a great team, and I felt the entire activity was an enormous success!
Just another picture of people I love here. From the back left: Nan, Mendy, Excelsia, (front row) Carmella, Catherine, Jeanene, Wendy, and Bishop Anderson. I honestly wished that I could have taken pictures of everyone and everything. I just don't want to forget these sweet brothers and sisters of mine.
Nan had everyone decorate these papers with things that reminded them of their mothers. I wish I could tell you everone's name in this picture, but there are several I don't know. Overall, I was just SO impressed by how many people were there. Everyone had an amazing meal, fun with the activities, and lots and lots of visiting! It was a fantastic way to spend Thai Mother's Day!
Have you ever noticed how many things are "made in Thailand"? Ever since I found out we were moving here, I started to notice that a LOT of our clothes are made in Thailand. I thought, "great, now I can start getting them much cheaper because I won't be paying for the export stuff". Well, I'm pretty cheap anyway, so thinking I was going to get things cheaper, was a pretty tall order. Occasionally, I'll find good brands of clothing that are made in Thailand, Vietnam, or Cambodia in the markets. But, I've never found "the source". Come to find out, normal people don't ever get to "the source", but I felt like this was pretty close. This "made in Thailand" fair was just that, all the companies who have factories in Thailand, selling their products at discount prices. I was in heaven.
Jeff and I have been wanting to do some furniture shopping, and we heard these fairs are the place to go, so this is pretty much how I convinced him to join me for a FUN day of shopping! Okay, so it wasn't as fun for everyone else as it was for me, but Jeff admitted it turned out to be a lot better than he was expecting. He was SUCH a good sport because honestly, this is pretty close to his worst nightmare!
I could have stayed there ALL day. It was gigantic, the sales were incredible, and if you need a break, there's plenty of food and a place you can get a foot massage. What more could you ask for? We went through the furniture isles, but honestly weren't finding anything, but the kids sure had fun! I wanted to take these fun bean bag chairs home with me, Jane loved them so much. I probably should have just let them relax here while I did some rounds on my own!
Have you seen these vibrating platforms that you stand on that are supposed to make you drop the pounds in no time? My kids find them everywhere and love to try them out. I can't believe how nice the sales people are about letting them try them all out. They were vibrating all over, and singing and humming until they couldn't anymore because they were laughing so hard. This isn't much of an action shot, but the moment made all that furniture shopping worth it.
So, we ended up with NO furniture, but we did end up with loads of wooden toys (my favorite) for down the road, dresses for Jane that I am going to have to hide unless I want her to try them all on everyday, AND we found a darling doll house for Jane, which is what we were really hoping for. I never thought I'd enjoy girl toys as much as I did boys (tools, trucks, ropes, trains, etc), but I can't wait to get this little house set up! I still have one whole month before I can show her and it's killing me! We were feeling a little ragged after about 6 hours, and were lucky to get a nice taxi driver home who was patient with all our stuff! I totally felt like the overindulgent westerner, but when the bargains are good, why wait?
Other random parts of our week...
Occasionally, I'll catch Jane daydreaming out her window. I think her view is pretty spectacular, although you can't see it all in this photo. I love to look at it too. There's so much to see in the city!
Jack loves this place where you can get toast with a topping on it. Jack always wants this orange stuff that we don't even really know what it is, but he loves it! Jeff's least favorite food is anything having to do with soggy bread, so he won't touch the stuff, but I love just the strawberry topping. Bread is different here, but this bread is awesome!
People watching their Olympic Thai boxer on the giant screen outside of one of the malls.
We've only been able to watch bits and pieces of the Olympics online and it's broken my heart. I love watching the games and was all excited about it, until I realized the broadcasting would be extremely limited, and only in Thai. Very disappointing!
We went to Dipu's shop this week to get a new orchestra dress made for me and a new suit for Jeff. We're so proud of Dipu for taking the risk to start a business. Custom clothing is extremely common here (and sometimes the only option for us "western size" girls), and definitely one things tourists take advantage of when they come. We've done very little of it, but are hoping we can go home with a few things that we love, from someone we love! This is Jack relaxing after their "chair wars" while were getting our measurements done.
Jane's always thrilled to go to Dipu's shop. I was touched when we showed up unannounced earlier in the week to see that Dipu had pictures of Jane hanging up in his shop. Iit's hard for me to comprehend how people we've met in just the last year, can sometimes seem so much like family.