Monday, February 22, 2016

Luigi

A few weeks ago, we cleared out the storage area under the stairs.  It was both cathartic and shameful.  We threw away entire boxes full of nonsense that have been stored away since we moved here almost 8 years ago!  Ridiculous!

On the up side, I found 450 dollars in an old purse, and Whim, well.... Whim found an old familycom.  I didn't recognize it, figured it was probably broken, and expected it to go straight into the over-flowing garbage bag.  Being Whim, of course he plugged it in, and amazingly, it works.

Super Mario 3.  It's as good as I remember.  The boys are hooked, but not in a gross "technology" way.  It's so fun.  Unlike computer games, they can play without fighting or getting grumpy.  And since they are almost just the age I was when we got it, it's tricky enought to be a challenge, but not too hard for them, either.

They are getting better quick (Lennon warped to level 8 by himself yesterday- my boy!), but nobody can hold a candle to Mom, not even Whim.  I am the Super Mario 3 master.

I don't know how I can still remember it, but I know every trick.  Every hidden 1-Up, where to find the warp whistles, the penny heavens, and the music notes. Jump here, fly up there, wait for it... 
I haven't played in over 20 years, but every bit of that knowledge stuck with me.  My thumbs have it memorized. It's a totally fun blast from the past. 

L dressed up as Luigi for church yesterday.




Today is a holiday... Maybe today we'll beat level 8.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Calgon, take me away

This spring will mark 12 years for me, in one of the world's largest cities.

I'm a small town girl at heart, but I've never minded the city too much.  It's interesting and full of opportunities.  There's usually something to do, or see, or try.  While I don't always like the traffic, the crowds, or the endless pavement, I do love our home, our school community, my job, and our life here in general.

Over the years, I've appreciated every chance to get away from the city, but always been content and happy to pull up to our driveway again at the end of trip.  And I'm still content here, but I'm finding myself appreciating those getaways more and more.

We were just away at New Year and then when the opportunity came to go for  Valentine's day, it felt like Providence.  Just what I needed. I came back refreshed and ready for city life.

Then on Thursday afternoon, we took a spontaneous little hike in the "urban jungle" near our house, and I heard myself sigh that it felt like getting away from the city.  We'd only been back from Prachinburi for 4 days!  What is going on?!



(It really was neat, though!  And not overly manicured like the parks. If you squinted, it could totally feel like nature.)

Mainly, I think just knowing that we're only a few months away from a summer back in smog-free small-town Washington and then a new adventure in small-town (sea-side!) California is making dirty, busy city life a little harder to bear.  I will miss a fair few things about our life here, but not traffic, cockroaches, crowds, or putrid-smelling sewer grates.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Arthit-Tara, Feb 2016

Whenever we visit Arthit-Tara, we look forward to a relaxing weekend with nowhere to go and nothing more exciting than choosing which book to read in the hammock.



There are no attractions nearby to entice us- no nightlife, no day trips, nothing we should "take the opportunity" to do since we're there.  It's only an hour from Bangkok, but it feels like the middle of nowhere... in the best possible way.



This last trip, Whim decided to take the boys out in the kayak.  I was getting over something and was under strict orders from them to relax, take a nap on the deck, and not to worry about a thing.

Three people in a tippy kayak.  What could go wrong?  At least they all had life jackets....


Despite my plans to snooze in the sun, I couldn't help keeping half an eye on them.  They were all laughing, purposely tipping the kayak over time and time again, but every time I looked, they had drifted farther and farther downstream.  Too far!

If I've learned anything from being married to Whim for 10 years, it's that he does not like being doubted.  If he said he can handle it, then he can.  

For maybe 15 agonizing minutes, I fretted.  I knew I would never be able to paddle us all back upstream if it was me out there.  Whim is obviously much stronger than me, but how much?

I imagined if it was me and, defeated, I had to yell for someone to rescue us.  As much as I would hate to call for help in that situation, Whim would hate it a million times worse.  He wouldn't risk the boys' safety, but he would absolutely destroy himself to battle his way back.

Eventually, I couldn't stand it any longer.  I asked the owner to take out the boat and bring them back.  Turn out it wasn't the first time he had to make that rescue.  I needn't have waited. 

Far from offended, Whim was so glad I had been keeping my eye on them.  He was in over his head and he knew it.

In the end, it wasn't quite as calm as some of our other visits.  But it was surely the most memorable!


Sunday, February 14, 2016

International night 2016

Every International Day, I am always so impressed with the other countries' traditional clothing, songs, and dances, beautiful art, and delicious dishes.  I will always be proud to be American, but we don't have that rich heritage of culture that other countries can draw from for days like this.

Our booth is always a happy mix of American flags, chili dogs, and cowboy hats. And our part of the show is pretty much always kids running around in Old Navy t-shirts.  It's never been bad, just not amazing either.

But this year, a new person volunteered to plan and orchestrate our booth and act.  A new, new person.  New to Thailand and to our school, one who had never been to an International Day, and who had no preconceived ideas of what it was supposed to be like.  

She had ideas, energy, and -bless her- time to put it all together.  She picked a theme- Hollywood- and made it all fit together.

Our booth was awesome, with a red-carpet photo op, movie food like hotdogs and popcorn, and free games.




And when it was time for the show, we had a music-from-the-movies mashup of singing, dancing, lip-synching, and general silliness that the kids could really be proud of.

I was helping backstage and didn't get to see it from the audience, but luckily a boy from school took plenty of pictures.  (Thanks, Time.)

The boys were in four parts.  I was proudest of their duet, because getting on stage and singing with confidence seems like such an empowering, awesome, growing experience, and they worked so hard to be ready for it.


But the group numbers were exciting to be a part of, and I know they loved them.

 




There was a moment, during the dress rehearsal, when the kids were practicing the final number... Moods were good, the end was in sight, and everyone could tell it was going to come together well after all the crazy practices....

The kids all suddenly joined in singing (the admittedly cheesy, but awesome) "we're all in this together..." lyrics from High School Musical and something just happened in that room.  It's what you wish for, for your kids.  At least, I do.  To be part of something, to have a special, shared experience with their friends.  To work at something and have it be successful. I wasn't the only mom in the room with tears in her eyes as they sang.





Friday, February 12, 2016

Exhale

Elementary Field day.  School-wide Thai day.  Lower-elementary 100th day of school. Kindergarten Bug Surprises day.  First-grade Mexican celebration.  School-wide International Day Cultural show.  And my turn to teach Chapel.  My calendar for the past three weeks has looked like a practical joke. 

Meanwhile, beloved friends back home find themselves in a heartbreaking, life-changing mess, and there's nothing I can do to help.  It's no wonder I basically went to bed early on Saturday night and didn't get up again until Tuesday.  

I rejoined the land of the living on Wednesday, but it wasn't until today -as I checked the last two biggies from my mental list (my chapel and international day)-that I felt the physical weight lifted from my weary limbs.  I'm still exhausted, but I think the thrill of the last big thing being checked off for a while has breathed new life into these old bones!

The international day show was such a fulfilling experience for the boys that I would do it again in a heartbeat. And each of the other days was important, or fun, or necessary, too.  They just all somehow ended up in the same few weeks.

Tomorrow, we are all headed back to Athitara, the same relaxing resort we visited over New Years.  I have never felt so in need of a break... Dibs on the hammock!


Saturday, February 6, 2016