Observations from our first five weeks here

Some random and unrelated thoughts…

We’ve been in Chiang Mai for over five weeks now. In some ways this still feels like a vacation, but getting into our own house is changing that. While we were subleasing we were basically living out of suitcases and boxes. That made it feel like living in a hotel, more or less. Now that we’re settling in, unpacking, and trying to figure out a daily routine we’re losing the hotel feeling. There are a few boxes still to unpack but most of our things are now put away. Now if only I could remember where I put everything!

We all like it here. The girls have each said that they want to go back to Florida to visit, but not to live. That may change over time but it’s really encouraging for now.

One of these things is not like the others…

It’s been especially interesting for the kids to sort of change roles as far as “fitting in” to society. In the states our family tended to stick out in a crowd. People would notice Ellie and Bethany because they often looked different than most of the people around us. Now they blend in with the crowds and Tim, Micah and I are the ones who are noticed. Total strangers will pet Micah’s hair, which she likes. Anything to be the center of attention for that girl! Thais will often start speaking to Bethany and Ellie, assuming that they’re also Thai and speak the language. We do still get curious looks and the “Are they all yours?” question, either through words or through gestures. But I think Ellie and Bethany are really enjoying being part of the norm. Ellie’s even commented how nice it is that people on billboards look like her.

We have received such an amazing welcome. Two families in particular have been incredibly kind and helpful, especially when Tim was in the hospital. They took care of the girls, shuttled me around since I was still afraid to drive, and made sure that we had everything we needed. It’s been humbling to hear them giving thanks to God for us being here, as they’ve prayed for a long time for someone to come and fill this position.

I think it’s pretty cool to see plants that I’ve long been familiar with as exotic house plants growing in my yard. It’s also pretty cool to have tropical fruits growing in my yard and neighborhood. I have a banana tree in my yard, and just walking down the street I can see mangos, pomegranates, limes, and other tropical fruit hanging over the walls.

It’s hot here. Not as hot as Florida or even the Midwest these days, but ohmygoodness it’s humid. Our house has a/c in the bedrooms only. We turn it on in the girls’ rooms every night to help them sleep (both for the temperature/humidity and to mask noise from outside) but we can usually just leave the windows open and a fan on in ours. But earplugs are a necessity when the windows are open. If it’s not the dogs and cats in the middle of the night, it’s the birds at the crack of dawn! The sun here is just as intense as Florida, maybe even more so. But there are a lot more clouds here so it doesn’t always feel that way.

Not all Thai food is spicy. But food that’s Thai hot can melt your face if you’re not used to it. My heat tolerance is increasing but I’m nowhere near Thai hot yet. I can take a bite or two of that before I want to cry. Ellie has a great heat tolerance and is willing to try just about anything. Bethany and Micah can generally find something they like no matter where we go. Street food is great, and fruit shakes are awesome.

I miss the beach. But I think it’s pretty neat to almost always have mountains within view. 
 
 

 It’s fun to be able to indulge in little things like pedicures. When they cost all of $5 and change, it’s something we can have fun with once in a while.

 

Edited to add: I’m posting almost every day on Facebook, including lots of pictures. Make sure to friend me there if you haven’t already!