Monday, December 28, 2015

Merry Christmas!

It didn't really felt like Christmas this year. It's hot. We didn't exchange presents. I worked. There isn't any family around. Nobody here celebrates it. I put up our little tree and banner. I listened to some Christmas music and baking. That has helped a tiny bit.
Christmas eve when Tanner got done tutoring we made tostadas for dinner. We had some frozen corn tortillas. Tanner fried them up and made them nice and crispy. He also turned on some Christmas music. It was actually an oldies Christmas station and some of the songs were so funny. As we ate we watched ELF and cut out some paper snowflakes. Tanner had made some snowflake garland with his tutoring kids. We added 6 more snowflakes.  

That evening Tanner started getting a belly ache. We watched a short video on about Christ's birth. Then I read Luke 2. I posted a picture of our dinner on the family stream and my dad commented. Since I knew that meant he was awake I called him. We chatted for a bit and that was nice.
Christmas eve (well Christmas morning I guess) at 2 they started playing really loud music outside. It was so annoying and lasted until 8 this morning! It made it hard to sleep and I didn't like it! It wasn't good music either.  It sounded like they gave a 2 year old a xylophone and recorded 6 measures, out it on repeat, then overlaid the sound of a wind chime.  Even a pillow over my head couldn't block it out!
Christmas morning I called my family and FaceTime with them (it was their Christmas Eve). They were hanging out at the parents. My favorite part was that I got to make Avery smile. I moved my mouth closer and closer to the camera and made eating sounds. She thought that was funny. I also asked her where her eyes and hair were. Her favorite was when I asked where her belly button was! She pulled up her shirt to show. Then I pretend that I was going to show mind and that got a laugh from the family. 

After I'd been talking to them for a while Samantha texted and asked if we could Skype. We video chatted with Tanner's family for a while. I had to go teach for one class. I gave my last of 21 tests, got it graded, and turned in my test scores. It felt good to get that done. When I got back Tanner was still taking to his family so I joined in with that. We finished talking to them around noon. 

Tanner had tutoring at 4 when he got back his stomach was still bothering him.  Tanner rested and I made us breakfast burritos for dinner. Then we watched the most recent episode of Fixer Upper while we ate dinner. I seriously love that show! I've told Tanner lots of times that I have a life crush on Chip and Joanna Gaines.

Tanner laid down and I killed time until 10pm when I FaceTimed with my family as they opened presents.  That was a lot of fun!  I got to see everyone open their gifts.  My dad got my mom a smart car!  I even got a couple presents!  I wasn't expecting anything and that was a fun surprise.  I got a temple calendar with photos by Richard Webb.  I also got a solar over!  I'm excited to use that and add it to my emergency supplies.  After presents were all opened i went on a ride with my mom and dad in the new car.  My mom drove and my dad held the phone :)  It was fun to see the neighborhood again.  I was surprised that the houses, streets and landmarks we drove by made my feel really homesick.  I've gotten used to missing my family, food, a car, and luxuries we don't have here so those don't make my so homesick any more.  But driving around and seeing where I grew up and where Tanner and I lived when we were first married hit my unexpectedly hard.  It was bitter sweet.
A couple of my students gave me gifts. Ongry gave Tanner and me some chocolates. Pordee and Praewa gave us a couple candles, a calendar and some homemade brownies. 

This year the holidays were a lot different than I am used to, but I feel like we made some fun memories.  Merry Christmas!  I hope you guys had a great holiday.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Holiday Party

The holiday party was Monday, December 14. We taught the morning, then at lunch time the kids went home and got ready. The theme was Disney/fairy tales/fantasy.  I was Little Red Riding Hood.

That morning while I was teaching I got a really, really bad stomach ache. I barely made it through teaching and when I got done at 11 I went right to bed. I slept until 3ish. Then I got up and sewed my costume. I got ready and went out to the party around 5:30. I got pictures with some parents and teachers.

Katie, Suzie, Anna, Tricia and Bee (the school secretary)
Ioon's mom
Basia's mom

 I was out there until about 7:30. I got to watch all the performances. The kids danced and sang and did a taekwondo performance. They did a really great job!  At 7:30 we went back to our room. I got right in bed. I slept and was sick all night. I think I got some kind of 24 hour bug. It was really bad! It helps me feel grateful that I don't get sick too often! By the next morning I was feeling a lot better. When I get sick and throw up I'm always afraid to eat later. It took me a few days to get back to eating normally. By Thursday I was feeling almost all the way better. I'm just glad they I was well enough to enjoy the party for a while.

Chiang Mai Take 55

We went to Chiang Mai with the volunteers the second weekend this month.


It hasn't really been 55 times, but it has been quite a few times! I seriously love this city!!! It has such a good feel to it. It's a lot bigger than Phichit and has so many more eating and shopping options. It's WAY smaller than Bangkok though. It's just the right size.  It's charming, that's what it is.  

There wasn't school Thursday or Friday. That made for a 4 day weekend. We rented a van and left the school at 3:00am. I slept a lot better in the van than I usually do (and more than I expected).  We got to the city around 8:30. We stopped by the bus station and got our tickets for the way home. Then we got dropped from at our hotel.  We are staying somewhere new this time since our normal place was full. Its a small little place, but the owner is really helpful.and friendly. It's called Nine House and I like it. The beds are on the firm side, but the blankets are INCREDIBLE! So soft and just the perfect thickness.  I want to ask the owner where they got them.  Or I want to pay the and take them! When we got to the hotel they said we couldn't check in for an hour. So we left our bags and walked around. We found the CUTEST little cafe! I seriously can get over how much I love it.  The most charming cafe I the most charming city :)  it was called the Fern Forest Cafe. The outside was so green and lush with a coy pad and little waterfall. The weather was just perfect, so that helped too. We ate outside, but the inside was really cute too. Tanner got a pancake breakfast than had pancakes (obviously), eggs and bacon. I know he really love me, because he shared his bacon with me :). I got French toast with fruit. I also got a tropical smoothie (fresh passion fruit, mango and peach) it was delicious and beautifully presented. After we ate we put more money on our cell phone and got checked in. We got settled in and promptly took nice, long naps straight away! Know what I dreamt about? The breakfast cafe and the hotel blankets! Haha! 

I adore the wall of folding window doors!

When we got up from our naps it was about 3:30. We called the volunteers and planned to meet up with them at 5:00 for dinner at Salsa Kitchen. Since we'd skipped lunch we snacked a little but while watching tv and killing time on our technology devices. We thought we might walk to dinner since it wasn't too far. We left around 4:40. We started walking but we didn't cross the river/city moat.  So we kept walking hoping to find the next opportunity to cross. We found some really cool abandoned buildings.  One was really detailed and looks like it was amazing when it was in operation! After looking around that for a few minutes we realized that we'd need to catch a ride to be able to get to dinner on time. We caught a ride and made our way to the restaurant. The girls got there shortly after we did. They told us about the zoo while we waited for our food. You guys! My food was SO SO GOOD!!! The food there is always great,  it it was even more excellent than normal. Tanner also shared some of his guacamole with me! (Bacon and guacamole on me day! He loves me so much!). We love food so much! I've mentioned this before, but we never realized how much we loved food until we came here and couldn't get a lot of the food we took for granted before.  We also realized how happy good food make us.  

After dinner we went to the night market. We did a lot of shopping. Tanner bought ties, shirts and pants (some for him and some to take home for family).  I bought a passport holder.  We also bought a few paintings. We've looked at some in the past and today we got a few. We got a really big one of an elephant from the front. We also got two elephant head profiles. They go together facing each other.  I feel like they'll be a fun pop of color in our home and we'll love them for a long time. We got some gelato to finish the night (dark chocolate for me, cookies and cream and caramel for Tanner).  That night I got to relax and listen to some new music (I didn't get to listen to it in the van since I slept so much!). It really felt like a perfect day!  

Cotton candy art


We got a late start on Friday.  Tanner doesn't sleep well and was up most of the night.  He only went to sleep a couple hours before I got up.  So while he slept I went down and ate the free mediocre breakfast our hotel offered (I should have gone back to the Fern Forest Cafe!) Then I read for a while.  By the time Tanner woke up I was feeling a bit stir crazy and was ready to get out!  

We stumbled upon a ceramics shops ages ago while in Chiang Mai.  I mentioned to Tanner that I would love if we found it again.  Turns out we were staying a block away and walked right by it on the way to lunch!  They had a lot of fun stuff, but nothing I couldn't live without.  All I got was this one random pictures.  They had better stuff than that though, I promise!

We ate at our favorite Italian restaurant.  Once again it was really, really good!  While we were there Geppetto came to eat!  I couldn't stop looking at him!  I took this picture all sneaky like.  You can't see his pants, but they are black knickerbockers.

Tanner and I have talked about getting some suits made while we were here.  A few doors down from the restaurant there was a tailor.  We stopped in and ended up getting some suits made!  They measured us and we chose our fabric and suit styles.  We went back later that evening for a fitting (they work really fast!), then again on Saturday and picked them up on Sunday right before we left.

Then we walked around for a little while.  We went down a couple streets we've never been down before!  We found a frozen yogurt shop! WE also walked by a shop selling this outfit:

After a short nap and relaxing we had dinner at a new place.  We've walked past this burger place called "Rock Me" (It sort of had the feel of a Hard Rock Cafe) multiple times and always say "we should try that place some time...  We got a chocolate milk shake, burgers and fries.  We ordered exrta pickles since we were so excited to see them.  They looked really good!  We were expecting dill pickles, but they turned out to be bread and butter pickles.  The food was okay, but I expected it to be better.  I'm glad we went, but I don't see us going back. 

 That evening we met up with the girls again and went to the market yet again.  We got a couple more ties and I got a shirt. 

Saturday we went to our favorite cooking class YET AGAIN!  I think this was the 7th time or so.  He told us to come back one more time before we leave Thailand.  We told him that we would if we could do it for free and get extra mango sticky rice for dessert.  He agreed! :)  4 of the 7 girls were there with us and we had a lot of fun.  And as always, the food did not disappoint!  Last time we were there Tanner said, "Next time we come I'll make the jungle curry" (thinking we wouldn't be back).  True to his word he made it!  It uses 40 chilis in the curry paste!  I use 2 in my curry and thaty is spicy to me!  When he was cooking it all the oils from the chilis went in the air.  We were all coughing and our eyes were burning!  I didn't eat any (remember, 2 chilis is spicy to me...) but Tanner did.  He said it was really hot, but not AS hot as he'd expected. 

Tanner's finished jungle curry.

I also made a new curry.  I make Koh Soy.  It's eaten with noodles instead of rice.  It has a lot of the same ingredients as yellow curry which I really like.  It was good.

That evening we went back to the tailor for a fitting.  Then we napped again (can you see a pattern...? eat, nap, eat, nap, eat, sleep for the night, repeat.  That's how we vacation!)  Later that night we met us with half of the girls for dinner.  We were a little bit late.  The traffic was really terrible for some reason.  It usually only takes about 10 minutes to get there and it took about 30.  On the ride over we saw this little food cart.  Watch out KFC, you've got competition!  Haha!

Sunday we went to church, had lunch, then headed home.  It was a really, really fun trip!  Like I said, I love that city!  It's sad to think that we will probably only be back one more time before we return to the states.


Here are some pictures that don't really belong anywhere else.  So here is a little bit of this and that...

They sell these watermelon popsicles here at the school and I really like them.  They are 10 baht (about 30 cents) which I think is a great deal!

I love that it's so easy to keep in touch with my family.  I think back to 11 years ago when I was in China.  I had to use a calling card and it wasn't cheap.  now I can just FaceTime anytime for free!  It's truly wonderful!  The other night my brother called me.  He got some Jack in the Box tacos and I was pretending to eat them with him.  He's a good one.  Ladies, he's single and a great catch!

This chili!!!!  Multi colored, fancy little guy.  I really love it.

One of the parents bought t-shirts for all the teachers.  Tanner and I got matching robot shirts.  We'll have to take a picture together when he wears his.

I tried a new recipe and made balsamic chicken the other day.  It was pretty good.  I put it on top of a salad and really enjoyed it.  Like I mentioned previously, it's nice not eating Thai food every.single.meal.

Tanner took this picture during winter camp.  We were playing a game called Headbands and I took a turn on the last round.  I get to teach some really great kids!