There are certain things in Thailand I won't be too sad to leave behind. Walking on extremely littered walkways, or past indescribably smelly garbage on the streets, or being charged more with negotiable prices because of how I look. I won't miss that.
But, honestly, it's hard to come up with things I won't miss, because so many things here I don't think I could ever get enough of. One of those things is going to the Thursday market each week with Jane. I love wandering through with her, seeing many of our friends, and buying our usual purchases (sticky rice, popcorn, chicken for lunch that day, etc.) and seeing what else is there to browse through. Jane's generally an awesome shopping companion, especially in our regular places because she knows exactly where we're going and what we need. She stays right by me when it's most important, and is fascinated by a lot of things I might just wander past, like the live crabs, or the HUGE shrimp. She stops to look and entertains the vendors with how excited she gets. Very fun. I also will never get tired of buying my fruit like this...
Or my veggies like this...
Or riding home in the back of a truck while eating popcorn...
I'll miss that.
I won't miss all the goodbyes. Although, that's a part of life you experience everywhere. We just happen to experience it quite regularly here. I would never get tired of goodbyes that mean people we love will be living somewhere where they'll be much safer and happier.
We said goodbye to one of our favorite families this week. Nilantha and Chandrika have such a wonderful family, and we have felt so lucky to know them. Chandrika and I talked a while back and she teared up as she told me that she didn't want to see us go before them because she didn't want to say goodbye to us and still be in Thailand. I agreed that I would rather them go first, just to feel like they're being taken care of. We were all surprised, yet thrilled, to find out they were leaving SO soon, and we both got our wish of them leaving a month before us! We got a call today from Nilantha to say that they are in Toronto, happy and cold! I've grown to love each member of their family, so it was a fun evening for us all (including Jack and Jane who adore Yohanne and Dushan) to visit with them one last time before they started their new lives! I will never forget the pure faith this family has. I know this is a reason they have been so blessed in their lives to have such a bright future.
This is the whole gang. Brother and Sister Fernandopulle with Tamara and Romesh, Bishop and Sister Anderson, Jeanene Davey, Nilantha, Chandrika, Nilanthi, Dushan, Yohanne, and our family. I about lost it when I had to watch Tamra and Nilanthi (the two girls holding hands in the front) say goodbye. They have been so close, and I'm sure there's a good chance they'll never see each other again. It was breaking my heart. I love that it's so normal for close friends to hold hands.
I won't miss having to take my kids in an elevator so they can ride their bikes.
I will miss the gorgeous, year-round greenery they have here to enjoy while they ride their bikes around this very little track by our lobby.
I love when they ride together. Even if it makes me really nervous.
I will miss many of our friends. We've all been so blessed to have made some good, sweet friends here, and we'll really miss them.
We celebrated Jack's friend Aybrielle's birthday yesterday and the kids had a great time together! I've loved Aybrielle's family. They are all such sweet kids, and their mom has become such a dear friend who I look up to in so many ways. She planned this entire "candy land" party and pulled it off so well. It was adorable!
I will definitely miss having the missionaries over. We've never known missionaries like we know ours, because we've just never had a lot to do with them directly. Now, we deal with "our" Elders enough that we know who's calling when the phone rings at a certain time at night because they are so consistent!
We were able to have our American Thanksgiving feast Saturday with six Elders from the Bangkok mission. The families from the ward all volunteer to feed the Elders, and since it's not a holiday over here, we get to choose which day we celebrate. Jeff doesn't get Thanksgiving off, so we did it the Saturday before and it turned out really well. The food was delicious (I LOVE even just the smell of a turkey roasting in my home), and the company was even better! I won't miss cooking a Thanksgiving meal and looking outside to see NO SNOW. I miss the snow.
These Elders were good to eat their share of the meal, Jeff's delicious pies, and they even were excited when Jack wanted them to stay to play a few songs on the chimes! Jane especially was attached to Elder Pinvises, who ironically grew up in the ward we are in now. She dragged him from her room to Jack's room, and right before we sat down, she had convinced him and another Elder to help her make her crib into a fort. We've loved getting to know the missionaries here, and we'll definitely miss that close contact as we go back to Utah where there are thousands of families who want to feed them!
I love Thanksgiving. I loved waking up on Thanksgiving morning, as a child, knowing that no one had to go to work. I especially loved looking out the window first thing in hopes of seeing fresh snow. One Thanksgiving I remember waking to the first snow of the season and it felt like absolute magic. That year, we weren't traveling to SLC to gather with other family, we were making the meal at our home and hosting several students from BYU who couldn't go home for the holiday. Mom taught me how to make a beautiful cherry pie (don't ask me to repeat this now), which put me in even greater awe of her domestic abilities. There's no end to what she can pull out of her hat, that woman. I love my memories of gathering with family and friends and once the meal was prepared, we had nothing to do but enjoy the food and the company. How could we not feel grateful for all that the Lord has blessed us with during this wonderful, family-centered season? There's just so much to be thankful for.
I hope all you Americans have a fantastic Thanksgiving day this week! And, please, think of me when you do your 5am shopping the next day. I know, I'm missing all the fun!