The culture we have embraced. . .

Ducks on the bus (this lady is on her way home from the market).

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Early morning exercises in the park by the retired community.  By the way, the age for retirement here is 55 :)

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Carts and scooters with loads I can’t imagine.

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Sellers at the market bring the live ducks.  Take your pick!

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In the afternoon between 12-2pm most everyone will stop and find a place to rest for a while.  I’m not sure I could sleep on a scooter, but it seems to be working for him.

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The trash carts. . . piled high.

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A night on the town. . .

We had some friends visiting and decided to take them to city center one evening to eat dinner and walk around. Our city is really beautiful at night with all of the lights. We bought some interesting street food too :) The kids ate fried scorpion and liked it! They were disappointed they only got 1 – ha!

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Tongue or squid anyone?

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Tons of fried bug options. . .

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Harvesting. . .

Colt’s class at school has taken 3 separate overnight field trips for planting/tending/harvesting rice. Starting back in May, when they went to prepare the field, then plant the rice. In June, we were in the States so we missed that one, but just recently they went and harvested their rice. He brought home a 50 lb. bag of rice! That should last us awhile :) I’m thankful for how well he did and how much he enjoyed this experience though. He also realized it’s hard work! They have a saying here to “eat every last grain of rice in your bowl because it was very hard work to get it there.” So very grateful for teachers who truly care about each child. Colt is growing up, we have noticed a new maturity this year. It’s hard to believe he is 9 years old.
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Look Who David Got To See!

I’m sure many of you remember the story of our house helper back in CD (our previous city where we learned language). Her husband was able to have a kidney transplant because of the generosity of brothers and sisters back in the States. They have since had another child. His English name is Aiden, because she kept Caden while I was in full-time language and loved him so dearly :) Really, they loved our whole family dearly and we grew to love them like family. We have stayed in contact since we have moved, and when we have the chance to return to CD we always make it a point to visit them. The husband is doing well, the baby is strong and healthy, and we are just so thankful for this family. Every time we talk to them they express their gratefulness for the husband’s transplant and his life. . .
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Happy moments from my trip with Kylie –

It wasn’t all sweat and tears during that trip (just the return trip, which I wrote about below).  I took Kylie with me to a homeschool conference in Thailand.  We had some fun girl time. The boys stayed back with David and had some quality “man time” I’m sure :) Kylie had fun with English speaking friends and the fabulous childcare volunteers from the States.  I learned a lot about teaching my kids at home :) There is always so much to learn!

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A trip for the records. . .

This is an account of Kylie and Mommy’s trip home from Thailand a little too close to the National Holiday here in Asia:

Well. . . our flight was supposed to land at 3pm, but landed at 3:30.  I knew it would be close, if possible at all to make our train from this city to our home city. . . so I told Kylie we were going to have to run!  She stayed right with me.  We ran to the front of the plane and were the first ones off.  Then we ran to customs and I begged to go to the front of the “special line” usually for people with small kids or handicaps, but I couldn’t afford to wait in line.  They agreed, then we ran through the airport straight onto the subway.  I had an hour 20 minute ride on the subway to the train station, but that had all gone so smoothly, I really thought we had a chance of making our train!

We got off the subway at the train station and I ran to the ticket window (which was all long lines since it was a holiday here), and again pleaded my way to the front.  It was now 5pm and our train was leaving at 5:11.  The lady in the ticket window just kept saying, “you aren’t going to make it,” and I kept saying, “just give me my tickets!!” haha.  I knew there were no other tickets or trains if we didn’t make our scheduled train.

We got our tickets then ran to the front of the first security line.  He didn’t even look at our passports because he saw we were in such a hurry (not sure if that’s good or bad), then I ran up 3 escalators with my suitcase, backpack, and bag of food this whole time.  Imagine an escalator full of people and me trying to run up dragging a suitcase!  I was red faced and huffing. . . dripping sweat everywhere (because it was still really hot here and no AC). At the top was another security check.  This guard didn’t want to let me skip to the front, but the other people kept saying it’s fine and let me hop over the rail to the front :) Then we realized our gate was at the complete opposite side of the train station and ran ran ran . . . We got there at 5:13.  The train had left.  I could hardly breathe and I’m sure that us two foreigners were drawing even more attention than normal  since we had been running and pushing and were sweating and red faced.  Now, I was crying.  Disappointed for sure.  We had tried our best.  I didn’t know why the plane had to be late, we had PR’d for this specifically knowing it was going to be close.

We ended up going back down to the ticket lines and trying to get other tickets.  I had to stand through 3 different lines only to be told there were no other tickets.  We stayed at the train station until 9:30pm hoping a ticket would appear magically.  I even tried to sneak on 2 different trains hiding in the crowds. . . but that didn’t work :) haha.  We stayed at a hotel and David was constantly watching tickets, now checking flights.  The flights were ridiculously expensive because of the holiday though, and there were no train tickets for the next week because of the holiday.

It was that time of the month, and me being tired and stressed had brought my migraines and associated vomiting.  I really just wanted to be home.  I wasn’t sure if I would be able to find food for Kylie and take care of her in that condition.  David found a guy who was willing to drive us home (about 6 hours) for $350!!! Expensive, but cheaper than flying.  Thankfully there was no traffic and we made it home this next day, Saturday evening.  I tried to sleep the whole car ride.  Threw up about 5 times.  I have no idea what Kylie did, but she was quiet the whole time thankfully.  Whew.  Good times.  I came home and went straight to bed and ended up feeling better by Sunday afternoon.

The crowded subway from the airport to the train station, but at least we had a seat!

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I nearly died trying . . .

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Kylie was a trooper.  She never wavered or seemed worried.  She just kept up with Mommy. . . I was crying,  but she didn’t :)

Lessons learned: In everything give thanks. Leave extra time in case of flight delays.  If at all possible, just avoid travel completely around this holiday.

These are a few of my favorite things. . .

Here are some of our favorite treats. . . The first is what we call “Mango Mountain!” It’s shaved ice cream with mango on top. It is huge, but we have no problem finishing it as you can see. The second is from a new coffee shop that opened up within walk distance. Coffee in Asia isn’t the norm (it’s usually tea), so this coffee with ice cream is like a piece of heaven! The third is a place David and I eat without the kids because it’s spicy as you can see by the red color of the broth. You get to pick what you want in your soup and they make it for you. We did all veggies with tofu this time. Delish!
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