Things around here have been busy. The two babies, language study, being at the center and still kicking through all the culture shock stuff is a lot. We’re working hard to learn how to live here well. To love Jesus as much as we can and actually live in Chiang Mai are full time jobs in and of themselves. We’re finding our rhythm and starting to get to a place where we’re not fighting to stay above water. We’re buoying for the first time, and it’s nice. We don’t have to kick quite as hard to tread water and our arms don’t get tired as quickly as they used to. Things are still tricky and hard, but we’re definitely adjusting.
When we talk to people from home, the number one thing they ask is, what is your life like? Like, what do you do?
Well, here’s a peak into our lives. Many, many pictures! This is like a super jumbled day, we don’t do all this in one day necessarily, but I wanted to give you all a taste of the different things that fill our time.
5:15am– Stephen goes running, I feed Valor. When he comes back, I go running. I have no idea why the h we do this crap. Valor goes back to sleep. We begin our unhealthy consumption of caffeinated beverages.
6:00am– Shepherd starts talking. We give him milk and he hangs out in his bed, sometimes sleeps again, sometimes sings to his walls, just depends.
7:00am– Shepherd, sometimes Valor too, are up for good. We do breakfast. Breakfast is the one meal we for sure eat at home every day. It’s been so hard to get used to, but it is way cheaper to eat out than to cook at home.
This is my spoon. I use my spoon.
Breakfast is also a time when we FaceTime and Skype friends and family. Because of the time difference, breakfast and bedtime seem to be the best. And if you have tiny humans, you know they’re generally happier earlier in the day than right before bed. So we capitalize.
Even oceans away, we laugh until we pee. Or cry. Crying eyes.
We also love, love, LOVE Thai iced coffee. And an entire BAG of iced coffee right down the street from us is 20 baht only (everything here is advertised as ‘whatever amount baht only’- it’s hilarious to me). Which is like 75 cents.
DO YOU WANT TO BE AWAKE FOR FOUR DAYS? DO YOU HAVE TWO BABIES? Drink this.
Sometimes one of us will hop on the bike and get coffee or we’ll walk down the street and get a, you know, bag of it.
Speaking of our street, and our neighborhood in general, here’s where we live.
The street our muu baan is on.
To the right of the street is a canal/ditch situation. And people make little…places…in it.
A place in the canal/ditch. It’s a coffee shop, where we get bags of coffee, and a restaurant that makes KILLER soup.
We don’t really sit here though because, well, we’re not Thai tiny and I don’t want to die. And yes, those are slats of wood over the “canal”.
Many options other than coffee.
Houses on our street. The cement wall acts as a fence.
More houses on our street.
Construction on our street. Bamboo is multi purpose.
Options on our street for working on your fitness.
Thai people love their King.
Thais love the princess as well. This is a town hall type building down our street. Outside of it is a picture of the princess with offerings.
Here’s a glimpse into Thai Buddhism. It is a mix between Buddhism, tribal religion and animism. This is a huge tree across from a temple on our street. Some believe spirits live in the tree so offerings are made and left.
Close up of the tree.
8/9:00am– One day a week, Shep goes to our friend’s house while we have Thai class. Other times his little friends will come over so their parents can get stuff done, too. We love Jasmine and Joey and their girls are Shep’s little besties.
Shepherd and his baby besties.
Joey and Jasmine welcome both boys into their home, and use their child labor to take care of him. Which we obviously support.
10:00am– If we have Thai class, our tutor comes over and we break our brains for two hours speaking Thai. By the end of the lesson I need a nap. Our Thai teacher has become a sweet friend and her little boy is a touch older than Shep and they share many toys.
Shep and Hugo, trading Thai for English.
Vocab for days.
No matter wha’ts going on during the day, we are always washing diapers. The washers here are tiny, we have two wearing them, and with it being rainy season things take way longer to dry. So, laundry always.
Valor gets overwhelmed with language study.
If we do have language and Shep is not at his friend’s house, he naps. And he loves it. As do we.
One day a week, the older girls from the center come hang out with Shep so we can go get things done and spend time together. This happens on non-language days. And it’s glorious.
Valor as an accessory. The constant third wheel.
12:00pm– After language or nap or picking Shep up from our friend’s, we do lunch. 90% of the time, we have lunch out somewhere. Again, it’s been so hard to get used to the fact that it’s cheaper to eat out. We have a few places we go to a couple times a week. The place pictured above with the killer soup is a fave. We also love to play in the afternoons before we go to the center, so we try and find fun things to do after lunch.
Many times we are stuck in traffic and this child loses his mind. So we nurse in the car. Welcome to Thailand. Fact: we got “pulled over” (waved to side of the road by an officer standing in the street) once and Valor was on my lap. None cares were given.
Traffic in Chiang Mai.
2:00-4:00pm– If we aren’t going to the center, we try and go cool places where Shep can play. Shep will nap for a bit in the afternoon, and while he naps we read or craft or get coffee with someone and just relax. If Shep doesn’t nap, we just hang and play here. We really, really love our house. God has definitely given us a place that’s “ours”.
Passed out by the pool. We swim at a resort down the street from us. All the employees love Shepherd. We’re just his carriers.
Sometimes we take advantage of Thailand’s freedoms. Coming home from the pool…it’s only 500 meters away from our house and Shep thinks riding this way is the coolest.
I’m in a ladies group that gets together a couple times a month. The last time we got together we crafted! Which makes me so happy. I pained this bottle. It’s little and not that big of a deal, but makes me so happy.
…this has helped.
This is the “play room”. Where they “play” “together”.
The mail comes in the afternoons, and when a package comes, ITS LIKE CHRISTMAS.
I mean, obvs I stare at him a lot all day.
Stephen doesn’t “stare” per-say.
4:00-6.30pm: If we are going to the center, we head up the mountain to Ban Pong around now.
I promise, we do use carseats. Stephen hates when Valor isn’t locked up, but when he’s screaming my brain lights on fire and I can’t be a nice person, so this.
Shepherd LOVES being at the center. Literally when the kids see us, they immediately say, “P’Ketieee, Shep??” Again, we are simply his carriers.
We teach English and Bible, and we do crazy games and activities. Emily sent us the ingredients to make her bars, so we shared with the kids and they LOVED it.
The kids loved the American treat and getting to cook.
If we aren’t going to the center, then we’re either at small group, hosting a dinner for our sweet neighbors or find a park to take the boys on a walk.
Also, Shepherd is on crack. This is him, WAVING like he’s in a parade. No one is near us. No one. He’s just WAVING because OBVIOUSLY PEOPLE WANT HIM. I swear this country is giving him an ego the size of Texas. We’re going to come home and he’s going to have an emotional breakdown because Target employees don’t run to the cart to pick him up.
Our neighbor, holding Shep, and her inlaws. We know the whole family, and we never know who exactly is coming for dinner.
Our house is small, and it came semi-furnished. Our table is teeny, so when we’re having an unknown amount of people over, we bring the yard table in and get fancy. So far, we’ve never been over prepared.
After the center, and most days in general let’s be honest, Shep is one nasty mess. We take many yard baths around here. By “we” I mean just Shepherd.
A few nights a week, older kids from the center come over for Bible study, dinner, babysitting, playing games or just to visit Shepherd. Not us, Shepherd. One girl brought two friends over she met at college…to meet Shepherd. Whatever, I know where I stand.
The girls love doing hair and painting nails. They do my hair and I paint their nails. Fair trades.
7:00pm– Bedtime for Shep, and sometimes bedtime for Valor. It all depends how feisty he’s feeling that night.
Every night we read the Jesus Story Book Bible (cannot recommend enough!) and pray with the boys. It’s sweet 2 out of 7 nights. The other 5 nights are filled with pajama protests and apparently hating the Bible (must work on that as we’re MISSIONARIES) (also note Valor’s face as proof). Hands down, this is my favorite part of the day. Shep, again, 2 out of 5, is so lovey and sweet when he’s tired. Though they have no idea what’s happening, I like to think this bedtime habit of reading the Word and praying over each other is working down deep into the fabric of our family. So is the PJ protest.
7:30-WHO KNOWS WHEN: WE PARTY! LIKE IT’S THE YEAR BEFORE WE HAD KIDS! We watch American TV, do laundry, FaceTime and Skype, write, read, craft, and whatever else we want. Since we have two babies, the second they’re both asleep, we become like two fifth grade girls having their first sleep over. “Let’s have SNACKS!! With BOTH hands!! Let’s look at our phones without it being TAKEN AWAY! We can drink POP and eat SUGAR without SHARING! MOOOOVIES!!” Then we forget that, yes, we have babies, and we stay up way too late and are always somehow surprised when five am rolls around and someone wants to eat or peed on something. Oh well.
I mean, wouldn’t you want to stay awake for this?
And there it is. In all it’s sweaty, sometimes boring, always changing, glory. Our day.
I have to go eat some snacks now and watch TV because they’re asleep.
Posted by Katie