Monday, March 26, 2007

Bug Zapping is a sport

It's another hot, sweaty evening in Chiang Mai...perfect weather for mosquitos! Check out this snazzy little tennis racket that you swat the mosquitos with and they get fried. It's SO FUN! Who needs to watch Thai TV when you can zap bugs all night long!!

I'm so thankful that I have a mosquito net draping over my bed! I was just in my room and there were at least 20 lined up all the way around the net! I zapped every one that I could! I just hope that they stay on the outside as I sleep!! Yikes!

PS...another fun day of language class! So far, so good!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Pass me another cold one...

I drink alotta water! That gets old, for a refreshing beverage other than water, I reach for a cold Coke Light outta the midge fridge. Coke Light is the "Diet Coke" of Asia. I LOVE it!!! it tastes different than diet coke and man, is it good!!! Ahhhhhh!!

In other news...I had my 2nd language class yesterday! 2 hours of thai consanants, vowels, and tones!! I actually got to do numbers (I can count to a million!!) and I learned how to introduce myself and a friend. My teacher (Khun Khruu) is great! We have an awesome time and she even thinks that I'm doing pretty good! She's very encouraging and makes it fun! So, I really look forward to more lessons! She loaded me up with tons of homework before Monday. So, I've got quite a bit to do with it today. Well, I'm heading to Chiang Mai Community Church this afternoon. I've really enjoyed it there! It's cool to be around peeps from all over the world! Good times are had by all!

Well, I'd better get back to my language study! I've gotta work some more on my numbers--my teacher says I need to say everything faster. Thanks for stopping in and keeping up with me! Thanks for the comments too! It's always great to hear from y'all! I love y'all and appreciate your support! It really means the world to me!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Don't Drink the Water!

Today was a big day! After being here for 2 weeks, the water delivery guy finally came!!! I was so glad to hear his truck pull up to my gate! He could tell I was so excited to see him. No more going to the grocery store and carrying back 6 gallon jugs of water! It'll now be brought right to our front door! Anyways...he brought up 2 crates of water bottles that we can drink from. Bless his heart, he was trying to be very nice. He set down the 2nd crate and said, "Don't drink water!". "This water?" I asked. He nodded his head and said "ka" (kinda like saying yes). I wanted to clarify, so I asked him again..."Don't drink this water (I pointed to the water he brought) or don't drink that water (and I pointed to the kitchen)." He smiled real big and pointed to our nasty fish pond and finished his cute little joke on the foreigner, "That water!". He and my neighbor laughed their heads off! I finally laughed (not as hard as them) after I realized what he was doing! Our water guy is a comedian! Who knew?!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

My First Language Class! I had my first Thai language class! It was great! My teacher, Gang, is super sweet and really funny! And she thinks I'm funny, so we sit and laugh at each other throughout the lesson. My lesson is 2 hours long. We went over how to pronounce all of the sounds of the vowels and the consonants. There's a lot of them! We hit 'em all today because she said I was doing very well with it. Who knew that my twang could ever be transformed into anything that a Thai person could understand? It's a miracle! Anyways...I also learned the 5 tones which seemed to make sense to me too. The Lord is definitely looking down on me! My teacher admitted that she thought I would be a difficult student but I was a good one. She said it will make her job easier. I was glad to hear that. So...this was a great day! I've got another lesson on Saturday afternoon. She gave me homework, so I'll practice counting to go over with her then.

I also went to a potluck dinner for some young peeps at my friends' house. It was nice to meet new 20-somethings that moved here from the states as well. We're all getting together to play capture the flag on Friday night. Should be fun! Well, I'm gonna hit the hay. I'm grateful for another awesome day here!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Flyin' Solo

So, Court is gone for a few weeks and that has left me with the opportunity get around town all by myself! Yesterday was my first day to get out on the town solo. The only Thai phrases that I know can get me a song tau to take me from my end of town to church or to work and back home for 20 baht. I also went to my fave place for som tum and sticky rice and I ordered that in Thai also! I've been on a roll! So, things are still going great! I have my first language class on Wednesday and I can't wait to start! This is a busy week for work, but that's a good feeling! I'm hoping to go kayaking this week with a new friend and I might be volunteering at an orphanage on Friday. Thanks for all your sweet emails and words of encouragement! The pollution seems to be improving some, but it's definitely getting hotter! The high today was almost 100!! Woohoo! Bring it on!!!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Cold sweet tea running down my throat

Alright, be prepared to's my lunch...fried okra, twice baked tater, and sweet tea (unlimited refills!!) and lots of ice! Be sure to stop in and let the folks at Sojo's restaurant take care of ya if you're ever in Chiang Mai!

Finally! Something to put ketchup on!!!

Then, for dessert on the walk home, we stopped at a stand for some golden, super sweet pineapple! It's comes in a little plastic bag with a bamboo skewer used to close it up, Then, you stab the fruit with the stick so that you don't have to eat with your dirty hands and you don't get sticky. I love this place!

It's still super hot outside and we're waiting on our maintenance man to come and put up a clothes line on the roof next to the washing machine. We'll need the line to hang our clothes on. There's no drying machines in our price range and most peeps here don't use them. This is all after a full morning of work meetings and general "make it happen" type tasks. Tonight, we're meeting with a Thai language teacher and will start lessons early next week. Yay! K...y'all have a good one! Things here are going smooth!

Click here for this week's visual story of life in Chiang Mai!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

What's normal anyway?

Since when is it normal to...

  • go outside on the roof to put laundry in a shorty washing machine

  • scrub the black off my feet every night before I go to bed

  • wear a doctor's mask around town

  • ride to and from work in the back of a little red truck

  • put a pad lock on our front door when we leave the house

  • not drink the tap water

  • use women's public restrooms with men dressed like women

  • get eaten up by mosquitoes while watching a movie at the theater

  • have geckos (lizards) running around on the walls of our house (we don't kill 'em because they eat mosquitoes!)

  • sit around and watch Thai TV every night and swat bugs with an electric tennis racket looking thing that zaps 'em

  • be woken up every morning by roosters, geckos, dogs barking, and a man on a bullhorn riding in a truck making some announcement about something political.

These are all things that are slowly becoming normal to me. Please don't think I'm complaining about any of these things...they're all things that I have laughed at in the past few days because I never could've guessed life could be so interesting! All these things will forever remind me of this really cool place! Welcome to Chiang Mai!!

**Please note in the image above: the 2 guys chillin' on top of all those boxes in the back of a truck, all the outta control power lines, and of course, a larger than life painting of the king overlooking traffic. What's normal anyway?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Heat, Pollution, and Shots...oh my!

Well ladies and gentlemen, it's officially hotter than deep fried grease here! I didn't realize how thirsty I get walking everywhere! This is me and Court gulping from a huge jug of water!! I'm sure we should be drinking like 10 of these a day or something!

That photo was taken shortly after fighting the elements to be outside. Although it was a sunny day--no rain, no clouds--there was tons of pollution. In fact, I've heard rumor that the king is gonna intervene or something. The farmers are burning their rice (old school slash and burn methods) and it's choking the air quality! The air is so nasty, peeps are getting sick from it! I got coughing some last night when we were walking back from the store, but I'm fine. But, I heard of somebody not making it into the office this morning b/c they were coughing up blood. Mercy! It's bad! So, it's highly recommended that everyone wear face masks (like doctors). In an attempt to fit in around here, I thought I'd strap on my mask too! Do you think I could sneak in on the set of Grey's Anatomy now or what!?!? Hello, McDreamy, Dr. Shelton is scrubbin' in! For more on Chiang Mai's pollution...please see Court's blog for more photos and details. Click here!

This photo was actually taken on our way to get our Japanese Encephalitus shot. I'm sure I totally didn't spell that right. It was an interesting experience. We walked in, did paperwork, went to about 4 different little stations to have a person look at our paper and tell us go to another station. Whatever! Then, we got to see the doctor. She couldn't have been a day over 24! Either that or she's really 60 and has used Oil of Olay all of her life! Anyways, she was cute and reminded me and Court of Kirsten Dunst. So, we both go in to get our shots at the same time. I'm tellin' you...Sandy and Connie get mad immunization props because they're so good at giving shots, you never feel it! Well, they should come over here and give a lesson or two! I felt like it took 5 years for the nurse to stick me and push the medicine in. And man did it hurt! I have a fairly high threshold for pain, and this hurt bad!

Anyways..we survived! I made it back to the internet cafe to prove it! After the shots, we stopped at a scooter shop to drool over the Vespa scooters! Can't you see me cruisin' in the pink scooter or what? Oh, with the face mask, of course!

Monday, March 12, 2007

I've got a computer!!!!

Today is another day to eat som tum!!! Check me out enjoying a pinch-full of papaya and a ball of sticky rice!

I’m still working on my record of eating it every day since I’ve been here. Don’t worry, Momma Sandy, my colon is doing great so far! No blockage! It may just be a matter of time though! Yesterday, I had my first day in the office at work and today was my first full day of work. It was great! It’s nice to be doing something familiar, something that I know how to do. So far here in Chiang Mai, I’ve felt like a baby not knowing how to do much of anything on my own. In fact, with that and other elements as my inspiration, I’m starting language classes this week! I just can’t go any longer not knowing how to communicate here. Yes, I do realize that I’ve not even been here a week, but I’m madly independent and would like to stay that way as much as possible—even in a different country!

Yesterday was quite an adventure---I bought a new computer for work! It’s totally maxed out and awesome! It took all but 3 hours of the day to get it though. Court and I walked up and down the streets going to different shops to compare prices, then, once I found the one I wanted to go with, it wasn’t a done deal yet. The salesman and I were having issues communicating a rather important piece of the package—the RAM! Long story short, I didn’t get what I wanted and then they kept the computer for an extra 4 hours to install something on it. It was only supposed to take a few extra minutes…”Almost done, almost done, please sit down.” The last time I walked back in to get it, there were 3 sales peeps gathered around my new computer. This was a little unsettling! But, things seemed to be OK. This was definitely a major cultural development experience! I left the store with a huge headache and a new computer! In fact, it is making this blog post possible today! It was well worth the effort!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Church day

Before we do church this afternoon at 4:30pm, we've stopped in at the internet cafe to holler at all our peeps! It's been craziness trying to keep up without having easy access to the internet. But it's all good. This is me chillin' outside the internet place...

Special note to my friends, The Bones: Please take note that my orange bone ring perfectly matches the decor and even mini-blinds of the internet place...I knew I liked this place for some reason!

Anyways...we're gonna grab lunch...yep, if you've been keepin' up with me, you can probably guess that I'm gonna have som tum and sticky rice again and there's nothing you can do to stop me!!!!!! I think it'd be accurate to say that I'm addicted to it! I'm ok with that though. Really I am. Then, we're gonna get a few things done before taking the song tau to church where we'll meet up with Pam. Church is kinda outside or something and will be super hot...Pam advised us to dress cool and bring a water bottle. So, are we going to church or are we working out? I'll let you know how it is. I'll even try to snap some photos. Just want y'all to be abe to see what I'm seeing! I'm loving every minute so far and can't wait for another day here!!!

Friday, March 9, 2007

We gotta washer!!

After a LONG adventure to Lotus (Thailand Wal-Mart type store) last night with Pam, we woke up bright and early this morning to hit a yard sale!!! Y'all know I was beside myself to find out that not only can I wear tee shirts, capris and flops all the time, but I can go to yard sales too!! This is too good to be true!! Anyways...we bought a washer! We realized that we have clothes that are slowly but surely going to need washing and we had no way to do that. So...we se the washer, we like it, we pay for how do we get it all the way across town to our place?! We wave down a songtau (little red truck) and Pam spoke to him and explained what we needed. He agreed to do it and so off we went to pick it up. Our driver was very nice! We got to the sale and he decided that he'd like to come in and look around too. We loaded the washer in the back of the truck with me (court sat up front) and we thought we were on our way back to our place. Instead, we took a little pit stop. The driver took us to his house to pick up his wife and daughter. We waited on them for a few minutes while his dog barked at us. So, they got in the truck with me and the washer and we headed across town. We finally made it to our place and his wife helped me get the washer out of the truck. Then, he helped me get it under our carport. They told us goodbye and were so sweet and went on their way. Court and I then hauled it inside. So, now we have a washer! I had to laugh at myself as I sat in the back of a little red truck with the driver's wife and daughter who had an ear ache and I hung onto the washer with both hands so that it wouldn't shift around too much! Go ahead and laugh, I couldn't have made this up myself!

Well, we finally got photos of our apartment up and ready to roll on shutterfly! Click here for a visual description of our new life in Chiang Mai!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Another day without easy internet access...

Since when did I become so hooked on the internet!??! Yikes! Well, we were told yesterday that we'd have internet in the next 2 to 3 days...but we're told not to expect it before a week. So...until then, we're mooching free internet time from peeps here as well as paying 20 baht (less than a dollar) an hour for time online at an internet cafe about a 15 minute walk from our apartment. Speaking of our apartment...We'll post photos soon! I got completely unpacked today--believe it or not! I typically would slowly unpack over time, but I'm turning over a new leaf here! I know some of you are glad to hear that!! :) Anyways...I'm stuffing myself on Som Tum (papaya salad) and sticky rice like I'm not gonna get to eat it everyday! It's just that in Richmond it was so expensive and a special, it's about 25 baht (less than a US dollar!) and I'm eating it every day! Needless to say, when it comes to the food here--I'm in heaven!!! Today, we're going to meet with the peeps we'll be working with and dicussing work details. I'm anxious to hear about all of this --I feel like there are many unkowns at this point...just as there are with any new job! I already miss my old job and all my peeps there! There will be no replacement! K...check back soon for photos of our new crib!!! Lovin' y'all!!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

We Made it!!!!, after some LONG flights, too many airplane meals, and many many hours....we finally made it to Chiang Mai!!! I can't believe it! The day before and the day that we actually left feel like they didn't even happen! Standing at the ticket counter really seem to put this physical journey into motion. Here we are at the counter in Richmond getting our tickets after the very nice ticket gal hooked us up with a break on our excess luggage charges.

Thanks to all of you for your help and support through getting us to where we are today--in Chiang Mai, Thailand!! I can't believe we're here! We have been to our new apartment, gotten lunch and are now catching up on emails and all that kind of stuff. We will begin unpacking tonight and will snap some photos of our place so that you can see our new crib. I'm super jazzed to be here! And I'm looking forward to all the awesome things that are to come!

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