Around the world

Around the world; a Nation Hopper's journy to teach on all 7 continents.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The panda has landed.

Well I made it in safe!

I almost got stuck in Bangkok because I misunderstood the whole visa thing. I thought mine expired on the 8th. Which it did. But my 60 day entry expired on January 20th, which I didnt know. I also didnt know that they charge you a 500 Bhat fee for every day you stay over the expiration date. Three hours before my flight was due to take off I was told 'pay us 10,000 Bhat or you dont go home'. Walai had already left, to go to the hospital to see her father. So I ran to the ATM and proceeded to draw out the necessary funds. I rammed my card into the machine, punched in my pin and pressed the button that said '10,000'. The machine had to think for a long minute before deciding I wasnt allowed to withdraw that much at one time. The largest amount it would give me was 2,000. So I took the 2,000 but before I could do another transaction, the ATM spit my card back out. So, I had to repeat the process again and again. Of course the stupid thing was out of paper so I had no receipt to help keep track of the money in my hand. I got to 8,000 when the machine mad an angry beeping noise at me and ejected my card. My stomach plowed into my toes and sweat broke out on my forehead. Anxiously I shoved the card back in and desperately tried to withdraw the final 2,000 Bhat I needed to get home. No go. I had reached my maximum withdrawal limit. Here is my thought process as I run through the airport: '(@#*$#*$#**$Bleep beep bleepbitybeep! Ok, no cell phone, find a pay phone. Who should I call, Jack or Walai, or the off....I don't have any one's number. CRAP!' I remember I have Ging's number on Skype so I sat down and opened my computer, intending to get on the internet and skypecall Ging. There is no free wif-fi in the building. Jotting down her and Jack's number I get back up and race around looking for payphones. Unable to find any I run to the information booth and they point me in the right direction and yes, I did run by them 2/3 times. After struggling for ten minutes I run back to the info booth, begging them to call for me because I'm too stupid and upset to figure out how to use the pay phone -I think I should point out that by this point I haven't really slept in four days-. They take pitty on me and call. Jack's number is disconnected and no good and Ging wont pick up. Nearly in tears I stagger off and see the tourists police office. I go in there and call the US embassy. While on hold with them, trying to figure out who I need to talk to, I talk the girl behind the counter into trying the third number I had from skype. She call and gets the office. Hallelujah! I get Walai's number and call her, tell her what's going on. It is now 11:30 and my flight leaves at 1. Walai tells me to sit tight and she is on her way with the money. She gets to the airport at 12 on the nose, hands over the money and I race back towards customs. They try and make me stand in line again, which would have made me miss my plane for sure. But I stubbornly told them no, that I had already had my turn in line and that I needed to pay a fine so I could go home. Thankfully someone recognized me and pulled me through. I made it to the gate with 10 minutes to spare.

In short. I would like to thank my Guardian Angel for watching over me yesterday because on more then one occasion I almost didn't get home when I was supposed to with all my luggage (while claiming my bags in LA my green one full of gifts decided not to make an appearance and when the belt stopped moving I went and asked someone where the rest of the bags were. The guy looked at me like I had bats flying out of my ears and told me these were all the bags. I told him he was mistaken because I was missing a bag. For about five minutes I teetered on the verge of a heat attack before they found my bag.).

I've been on US soil for about 17 hours. It is cold, and dry (I feel like a fish out of water, my skin is protesting the dryness). I've had my chocolate chip cookie and green chili fix thanks to my wonderful mom. Have had 4 hours of sleep as of 6 am on Wednesday, Thailand Wednesday, not US Wednesday and am on my way to have tea with my grandmother.

Its good to be home :) 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

In case you wanted to know:

Its earwig mating season in Thailand.

These little buggers are all over the place.

Aaaaand its my last day in Thailand :(

In order to try and get myself excited for the return to the states, I've compiled a list of 10 things I have gone 6 months without and have missed the most.

10: Barns and Noble. I spend way too much time and money here, but I really really miss sitting in the coffee shop drinking tea.
9: Driving a car. I miss my car. Not that I have a car to come home to, but still.
8: Having the freedom to go where I want, when I want. Not that I'm chained to the wall mind you, but I do miss jumping into the car and going for a quick drive.
7: People who speak English fluently. I do miss being able to speak in whole sentences and use big words. And yes, for those of you thinking about being snarky, you know who you are *coughmom/grandmacough*, I do to know big words. Just not how to spell 'em.
6: Chik fil a waffle fries. Mmmmmm.
5: AC. This is pretty self explanatory.
4: Tea. There is an amazing selection of green and ginger tea out here, not so much with the earl grey or mango (read as my favorite)
3: My books. My poor babies, sitting a dark dank storage unit, feeling abandoned and unloved.
2: Swimming. I miss the feel of the water between my fingers.
1: My sisters.

Friday, February 3, 2012


On a completely non Thailand/Opportunity note I’ve entered a writing contest and I’m pretty excited about it. I wrote a short story about the spirit houses here in Thailand. The contest ends in a month so cross your fingers and toes!! I also sent in a short story about a lifeguard that will hopefully be published. 

I’ve not only been writing a lot the last few days, but also spending hours on useless websites, destroying braincells, trying not to watch the hands on the clock move, mostly tying distract myself. I haven’t been posting much here because I don’t want to seem sulky  and I’m a bit ashamed to admit it but I’ve been moping around the house and office the last few days. I can’t help it. Thailand feels like home. My acne cleared up, my migraines were absent for six months which is unheard of. Thailand and I go together like milk and cookies.  
Leaving feel so wrong. It’s like when you take your dog to the vet, or watch someone else try and get their dog through the doors at the vet office. The dog is back peddling as fast as it can, head pulled back, choking itself against the leash. The owner is trying to either coax the dog through or use brute force to shove the animal through. My body is physically rejecting the departure. The migraines are back, I can’t sleep, and an unhappy stomach are just a few of the complaints. 

Maybe I'll just stay here... 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


What is this world coming to? Oh Great Time Goddess. Do you no longer love me? Have I offended you in some horrifying manor so that you will not stop time for me? How can there only be eight more days? Seven and a half really, if you want to be picky, which I am.

I had an amazing morning the other day. I was sitting at the table drinking tea while Prae and Nat ate their breakfast before school. The girls were chattering away, asking me questions about America. Mostly if certain animals lived in America and Africa (why Africa? No idea. Ask Nat.) and why America does not have wild elephants. I thought back to my first couple week here and was floored when I realized how much progress the girls have made. They have worked so hard in our English lessons, the desire to communicate with me and to do well in their English class at school fueled that, and the results are there for all to see.

This is not making thoughts of leaving easier to deal with.......

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Car crash

Well.... This post started out like the one about the Cobra; a much more exciting and epic tale then the one that really happened, filled with panicked people screaming and running up and down the street, soaked in blood, missing appendages, the car laying in a twisted heap. Then I felt really guilty about exploiting an event in which no one actually got hurt, and a situation that could have ended much worse. 

So here is the real story. 

P Ui was in a car crash yesterday while on her way home from picking the girls up from school. Everyone is ok, no one got hurt, just a little shaken up. Someone hit the front of the truck on the drivers side. I was at home, preparing for a lessons with the older girls. What a day to miss going to school eh?

Today Ging and I are going with P Rut to Burriram to have the truck fixed. 

Monday, January 30, 2012

So it begins,

I had to say my first good bye yesterday. It was at church. I didn't realize until we were pulling into the parking lot that it would be my last service in Nang Rong ( I still have one more Sunday but I'll be in Korat with Ging). I think it was better leaving it until the last minute to let everyone know. Service continued as usual, but at the end I was asked to say a few words to the members. I thanked everyone for being so kind to me and for taking me in as apart of their family. I told them how much I enjoyed spending time with them every Sunday, getting to know them, having them get to know me, experiencing church in Thailand. I only cried a little.

I ate lunch with my friends, pastor Joe and his wife, Ja, some of the girls and P Ui. We talked about my trip, mostly about when I will be returning to Thailand, it seems I will not be able to get away with no coming back. Everyone demands it. I am ok with this :)

After lunch everyone came together to pray for my migraines and for my safe return to the us. I exchanged my email address with pastor Joe so he can send me the pictures taken at lunch. Like the birdbrained person I tend to be, I left my camera sitting on my bed. Thankfully pastor Joe had one and took some pictures of me and the members. Hopefully he will be emailing them to me soon and I will put them up here as soon as I can.

While we were eating lunch I watched the boys kicking the snot out of each other as the girls sat on the grass watching, well not my girls. I looked over and saw Prae and Nat had a boy laying flat on his back in the dirt and were proceeding to beat the daylights out of him, all in good fun of course.

May sang with the band during worship for the first time and I was SO proud of her!! She did a great job and it made me feel warm and fuzzy inside to see her belting it out like Brittany or Adel, or Lady Gaga, or which pop star you'd like to compare her to.

After lunch I gave out a last round of tearful hugs and climbed into the back of the truck with the girls. I am going to miss my friends very much and hope that one day I'll get to see them again. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Days after my visit to the famous Bumrungrad hospital, I still have a headache. Not sure how that happened :/

I did get some pictures of the quick trip to Bangkok uploaded. 

The view from my room at the hospital

If anyone correctly guesses what this is for, they will win a prize. Hint, its found in the womens bathroom at the hospital. 

"Well Clarice, have the lambs stopped screaming?"

There is a Madame Tussauds in the Paragon shopping center that Sue and I visited after our doctors appointment. Anthony Hopkins is one of my all time favorite actors and the Hannibal series is one of my all time favorite movie and book series (yes, I'm weird like that). 

On Tuesday night we went to dinner in Burriram with the lawyer and his family. 

Gik (the lawyers daughter) and I had a lot of fun talking to each other 

Add and the youngest daughter 

The dinner party 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Janruray Birthdays

On Friday we had a lovely birthday for 4 of our gang.

Aye is 8

Ging is 24

Plah Nim, the baby, is 3

And her mother Mae Bote is I'm not sure how old. She's sitting down on the bench in the back.

I do apologize for the lack of apparent enthusiasm, as I've mentioned I've got a killer headache that was also present at the party. I ended up having to retreat to my room right after cake, I couldn't take the noise 25 people make in a single room. 

Bangkok Bumrungrad Hospital

This is hands down the best hospital I've been to, the building itself is ridiculously impressive. There are so many helpful people around, you only have to hesitate slightly and four people rush up to you asking if you need help and then lead you to the right desk. They have their stuff together, registration took less then ten minutes, the people are so friendly, everyone speaks good English, and yeah. Its pretty great. So, if you're ever sick in Thailand, dont hesitate to go. they'll take good care of you.

BUT, if you need hardcore narcotics its BYON in Thailand. You are more likely to find a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow then find codeine or vicodin. The government has a tight fist on the narcotics and dont give them out to just anyone. I had a prescription for codeine from the states and told the doctor that at this point codeine or vicodin will work on my head and he still couldn't give it to me.

In case you are wondering, the doctor gave me an injection of steroids and a painkiller (something I've had done in the States) and it dulled the tension headache/ hereditary migraine (big thanks to mom and grandma on that one)  to the point where I was able to enjoy my day, but exactly 6 hours later it wore off and I feel like my skull is being bludgeoned by a 2x4. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Thai massage

If you've never had one, get one! You will thank me.

A BIG thanks to Walai who supplied Sue and I with coupons for two free, 2 hour Thai massages.

Doctor tomorrow morning and another night in Bangkok (tomorrow night).

Missing the munchkins already :(

I hate spending time away from them, especially since the time I do have is now very limited. But taking care of a week old headache/migraine is, unfortunately, important. Though I think I might have found a cure, Thai massages. My head felt great after. Wonder how much a good Thai massage is in Texas...

T-minus 17 days :p 

Bangkok Bound

Off to Bangkok to see the doctor....

I've had a god awful headache for the last, I cant even count the days it hurts so much.

On the bright side we had a birthday party on Friday and the pictures will be up later today.

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Dark Days

I'll give you fair warning, I'm in a pretty depressing and dramatic mood today. So, take this post with a grain of salt.

I got my plane ticket home yesterday. It's official. I'm leaving on the 8th of February.



Heavyhearted, down in the dumps, cheerless, dejected.

How on earth can I leave? How am I going to survive life without these girls? They are the sun that my world spins around. I love everything about Thailand, except for the weather, it's so stinking hot right now. I have absolutely no urge to go back to the States. Sure I miss my family and my friends, but I'll be honest, not enough to want to come home. I'm afraid life is going to be quite boring the moment the wheels of the plane touches the runway. There wont be any crickets to eat, unless I go catch and fry them myself, there will be no more driving by beautiful temples on the way to the grocery store, there wont be any more bowing or 'swadika'ing to people on the streets. There wont be any more smiles, giggles, or cuddles from the girls.

This trip has brought unexpected changes into my life; changes which I cannot delve into further at this point in time because I'll burst into tears, which will bring everyone out of the office, demanding to know who is ruthlessly beating me.

So I'll just stay here for another 6 months, mmkay? 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday Funday

Two posts in one day? Yall are spoiled!

After church I turned the office living room into Michaels/Hobby Lobby. Fabrics, needles, thread, glue, paper, foam shapes, crayons, clay, the works.

Noo, Chan, Plah and I set up three stations.

Station number one:

Attack of the Barbies!

So the girls who missed out the first time, we made more Barbie clothes.

May, the half body on the left, really took to sewing and made some really cute stuff


From left to right starting with the girl in white and black; Noi, Beau, Mint, Fai, Khalam, May 



Station two: 

Clay City

The third and final station was: 

Drawing and the pasting of foam shapes on construction paper 




Salee (also the photographer) 

out 'n about

Had a fantastic day yesterday, despite the raging headache.

It was children's day (you may remember the post about children's day in India) at the schools. We all piled into the car at 8 and drove to a temple just outside of town where the festivities were being held. We ended up going to two festivals, the first one was a bit of a dud. Not very many people and a few scattered games. The girls had fun though and thats all that mattered. First game of the day was a air pellet gun.

Aye, Mui, Fai, Khalam, May, Mint, Noi, and little Pim in the front (she's happy, I swear)

Next came darts. The girls really got into this and I think just about all of them participated. 






Taking a group photo in our spiffy new Foundation shirts 

Yes, I am the black seep in a green shirt. 

Then a friendly game of duck duck goose 

I had to let her catch me :) 

Next Memee found a game where he had a rutabaga looking root tied to his waist, 

and proceeded to swing it from his hips to hit a lime into a hole, 

20 yards away. 

It's harder then it sounds 

Some of the girls lined up for a race that included a big skirt, putting a coconut between your knees and shuffling around. 

Noi thought it was hilarious. 
Pa had a hard time picking up a ping pong ball soaked in oil with chopsticks, rightly so! 

For the record, Noi won every game she played :) 

Onto the next festival 

to play musical chairs 

and jump in a bounce house 

and eat ice cream. 

Theeeeen I went to have coffee with my friend Joy and Pang. They brought their friend Ju, her son Au (sounds like ooo) and daughter Zing (how cool is this name?!) so Au could practice his English. We picked up some coffee and headed back to Ju's house on which she has a garden. Jack and Walai are interested in seriously starting a garden on the foundation. 

Bok choy, yum! 



Ok... so I totally thought this was weed. It's not. Its a mango tree. 


Joy, me, Au, Ju, and Zing in front

All in all a very enjoyable day, and I got a sack of goodies to take home, AND I found a pen pal for Au.