The kids were waiting for our Sunday morning taxi last week and looking too cute. I love my kids.
Last Sunday, our friend, Ming Wei, came home from church with us for dinner and a good visit. I almost said "relaxation", but it's not too relaxing when our kids both want every bit of your attention. That's called "fun, and exhausting". (When Jane heard Jeff talking to Ming Wei on the phone the night before, she said, "MY Ming Wei?". She loves this guy.) The kids wanted to show off their current favorite super hero getups. Ming Wei thought it was hilarious to see Jane as batman. She definitely is cute!
We had a fun afternoon with my friend, Sukma, and her kids. Jane and Brandon have been best friends since they met, and even if their older siblings don't go to the same school anymore, it's nice we've still managed to all get together since we enjoy each other so much. It's funny to see now that Jane and Brandon are actually verbal with each other, whereas before they would just play and laugh and talking was completely unnecessary.
We were out yesterday and Jack saw a Jackfruit stand and wanted some. I took a picture because it was HUGE (sitting on the seat of the motorbike). And that's broken in half. We don't buy it very often, but Jack loves this fruit. I love vendor stands like this.
Once a month for the past several months, some amazing women in the ward have been hosting luncheons with some new-member training for many of our refugee families. I've been lucky to be able to go the last two months and enjoy several hours visiting with these sweet brothers and sisters. They are all so happy and helpful, and each one of them has quite a story. We pray everyday that they will all be placed in a country where they don't live in fear. I won't say everyone's names, but you might recognize some faces as these are some of my absolute favorite families, and they've kind of taken me under their wing (if you can believe that) and fed my family, particularly since I became pregnant. I learned today that there is a tradition in Sri Lanka. When someone is expecting, the other women make her "tasty food" to take care of her. These women have certainly done that, and I couldn't be more grateful! My heart aches to leave them!
Jane was having a hard day for some reason, but she found a new friend that she was very content with, thank goodness! That makes all of us happy!
Since one of the families has found my blog, they've looked through a lot of old photos I've posted in the past. It's been fun to see what stands out to them, as they point out Jack playing his violin in his underpants, Jane with her castle cake, Jeff next to his "look alike" Pepsi ad, and the picture of Jeff and I when we were married. They all started telling me how Jeff was the same and I was "very fat" when we got married. Anywhere else, with anyone else, this would never fly, but honestly, they're right. I've changed a bit, and it was nice that I could laugh about it with them.
Honestly, there's almost nothing they could do to offend me. I love the forgiveness that comes along with cultural diversity. Love it!
This month's gathering was at Alice Quan's home, probably one of the most absolutely super women I've ever known. I live in awe of her. Why I didn't get a picture of her... my guess is because she was checking on everyone else! This table has members of three different families.
This little one is probably the most petite little girl I've ever seen! I think she's nearing two years old. She is so content and quiet, but it was nice to see her in a little more calm setting than church, because she seemed to show off her cute personality a little more. Darling.
Everyone here was from Sri Lanka except Taylor (end of the table in white shirt), and the Kasendo family who are all from Congo. I have fallen in love with this family (and Taylor too, he's fantastic!). I'll write more about them soon when I get the pictures from Veronica's (the daughter, but you can't see her) baptism from today. They make me want to head to the Congo! I'll get there, or at least somewhere close by.
This week was one of the reasons I was so excited we got to stay even just a short time longer. We celebrated my favorite Thai holiday, Loy Kratong. It was a day FULL of celebration, as Jack's school did a little ceremony in the morning and then we celebrated in the evening with our friends.
I was the slacker mother who didn't buy the traditional Thai clothing for her kids. (I will before we go, but I just didn't find the right market and didn't want to pay the "farang" price from the mall). So, Jack was looking as American as ever while most kids were dressed up all Thai. It was really fun, and Jack didn't seem to mind, thanks to being an easy to please kid. I love that.
This is Jack's friend, Sonami. She's a year younger than he is, but they hit it off quickly and she's really been the only friend we've done play dates with at his new school because I've gotten to know her mother quite well. I hear that every morning she gets dressed in something "that Jack will like". She arrives with love notes and hugs for him fairly regularly. Jack does pretty well with the attention, but enjoys it most when they can just be silly together and play. Her mom decked her out, can you tell? Jewelry and all!
The day before, all the classes made their Kratongs, in preparation for the holiday. They all lined up, sang a special "Loy Kratong" song, and each took a turn floating their kratong on the pool with Mr. Bill.
Loy Kratong is celebrating the water in our lives. Each child respected the water with a wai, after letting their kratong loose. From what I've learned, we respect the water for the huge role it plays in our lives, and we also ask for forgiveness for all the pollution put in it. Also, there's something having to do with letting your sins float away with the kratong and turning over a new leave, so to speak. I might be way off, but this is the best I can do! Any clarification anyone?
The day they made the kratongs just happened to be the one day that Jane got to attend the three year old class because I was taking an exam proctored by the school administrator. They were SO kind to let Jane join the class for an hour while I tested, so I didn't have to arrange for a sitter. Jane LOVED it, and even participated in show and tell, showing off the pretty dress she was wearing that day (of course!). So, since Jane had also made a kratong, we stayed so she could float hers with her "classmates". She was in heaven, and so pleased with herself! She never stopped grinning. I'm honestly starting to see why people put three year olds in school here. Does that mean I've been here too long?
Teacher Jill was SO good to Jane, making her feel very welcome in her class. She's one of those teachers who is SUCH the preschool teacher that it's almost over the top, but it completely works. I could never do what she does, she's perfect for the job!
Excuse all the pictures, but she was just looking SO grown up! And these other kids looked cute, minus the finger in the nose. Nice touch though!
We met our friends, Heather, Jim, and Scarlett, at a restaurant I'd been wanting to try for a while, so that was nice. We had a nice pizza dinner, and the kids loved sitting up at the counter and watching the amazing guys with the pizza dough. They were awesome. I could barely take my eyes off them! They even gave each of the kids some dough and a roller to play with. Very fun.
We walked on over the park, where it felt like a huge football game had just gotten out because it was PACKED! On the way, the kids picked out the kratongs they wanted to float on the lake. Scarlett was leading the crew, checking out each little stand, then walking on until she found "the one". I think Jack was mostly just waiting for a "Scarlett approved" stand where he could be sure he was picking from the BEST! They both chose more traditional ones, and Jane fell in love with the duck. I'd never seen a duck kratong before, so I thought that would be fun. They were all thrilled!
Once inside the park, we ran into one of Jack and Scarlett's old classmates, Taj. It was fun for Jack to see Taj one last time before we go, so of course we needed a photo of these two clowns. Notice Heather in the background getting her "must have" photo of ME, taking a photo. I guess I do take a LOT of pictures!
I absolutely LOVE this holiday. It's one where everyone can enjoy it, no matter where you're from. It's easy and simple, and it's so beautiful. I wish there was some way to recreate this in the states, but how could you possibly do it? There are HUNDREDS of kratongs on that lake. It was so picturesque. I couldn't help but take a video of it in hopes that I can remember even better how impressive it was. These pictures don't do it justice.
Here's Jack sending his off. Thanks to the events earlier in the day, he knew exactly what to do.
Here's a little closer look at some. Most are made with a slice of banana tree trunk as a base, and banana leaves folded in special ways and decorated with any number of flowers. Each one also has a candle and incense on it. Some even put sparklers, which makes even more a sight to see! We did see some homemade ones that were quite impressive as well. Jim even made one, which was great entertainment as we watched it float a bit, catch itself on fire, and eventually flip over. But, he made it, so I'm impressed.
Here's the gang before heading home before bedtime! It was fun to hang out with Jim and Heather once again. It's just been too long, and Jack and Scarlett are always SO excited to be together. I miss them being in the same school, but it's nice to know we can still get together on occasion and keep the flame alive!
What a post, eh? Lots going on over here. We're trying to get in as much as we can, and enjoying every bit of it! Jack and I were talking recently about our move back to America. We remembered in one of our favorite books Alexander Who's Not-Do You Hear Me I Mean It-Going to Move, Alexander's father suggested he say goodbye to all his favorite things before they moved 1,000 miles away. He grudgingly goes around town to say goodbye to his favorite store, his favorite babysitter, his favorite dog, and so on. We've started to make a list of places that Jack wants to see one last time before the big move. He occasionally gets sad when we talk about leaving Bangkok, as do I. But, when we think ahead to what is waiting for us in Utah, we immediately perk up and get excited and begin the countdown once again. I am looking forward to all of us crossing our last things off our list before we go, in hopes for as much closure as possible. Maybe not too much though.