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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Reflections- from the couch.

So I thought that I’d spend a bit of time reflecting on our time here in Thailand as well as sharing some tidbits of information. I’ll also give you a bit more of an individual update on how the children are coping and hopefully answer some of the questions that people having been asking us in their emails that we haven’t been able to respond to as yet.



Firstly little Spencer… it seems he is having a few more settled moments now. I have no doubt that once all the children’s toys arrive (we’ve been told February 4th) and I am able to set up some activities to occupy him, things will improve dramatically.  He is as cheeky as ever and is often his happiest when the Thai people are giving him high 5’s and paying him lots of attention. He is learning to negotiate the different levels in the house and has made shutting the gate to the kitchen his ‘official’ job!
In July when Spencer stayed with my sister for the week (while we came to Thailand) he adopted the nickname ‘Spencer-roony’.  That has taken on some variations now to become ‘Roo-man’ or ‘Roosy’ but the latest nickname, and one that will probably be easiest for the Thai people to pronounce, is simply ‘Roo’. 
Spencer has been so phenomenal with the food here. He is willing to eat anything but is most satisfied when Dave is feeding him rice with chopsticks. 
I think he has doubled in size since we arrived here and it’s no wonder when you see the quantity of food he’s been consuming.  Spencer is constantly chattering but we don’t often understand what he’s saying.  I’m sure it’s just that it’s all in Thai!!!
I was a bit concerned the other day when I saw some huge welts on Spencer’s body. After asking Michelle what she thought they were, her and Joyce stepped in and organised getting some special cream from the chemist for him. After the swelling went down, they were obviously just some kind of bite but he must’ve had a reaction around the bite area.  I’ve been applying the cream for a few days now and they seem to be looking much better.

Eliana is really enjoying her time here. She is treated like a little princess wherever she goes which she is becoming accustomed to and somewhat lapping up!
People are forever giving her little trinkets, juice, food etc that she gladly receives with her Thai Wai (the bow).  Eli has probably struggled the most in the area of sleep.  She has seemed quite insecure at night times and is often found snuggling in with Dave and I in the early hours of the morning.  We had been letting her find comfort with us until last night when I made a little bed next to ours on a couch and she slept there right beside us. It seemed to work well and I think we all slept a little better with that configuration!  (Tobi and Spencer are sharing a bedroom and that’s been working out well for them).
Eliana is enjoying kindergarten. She has had a couple of tears leaving us recently but once she gets involved, she really loves it.  Her teacher Miss Cheryl is so kind to her and is very generous.  She told us that Eli did a great job with her ‘Show and Tell’ yesterday where she took in her bathers, goggles and cap to talk about swimming (the class is doing a theme on water at the moment).  Eli loves talking so much that this did not surprise us.  She already has her eye on the microphone at ZOE and was asking when it will be her turn to be up the front and speak!
We are looking forward to the children’s sports day next Wednesday. Parents are invited to attend and there’s also adult races etc.  It will be nice to meet some more people and encourage the children in their events.  There’s also an International Day coming up one Saturday in February. I’ve been asked to help out on the Australia stall! I am making and selling Anzac biscuits LOL.
Tobi and Eli keep asking us when they are able to swim at kindergarten.  There’s a pool right in the middle of the playground but it’s only used during their sport class in summer.  The teachers tell us it’s too cold to swim at the moment… try explaining THAT to our kids!!
Tobi and Eli attend kinder every day but come home after lunch.  This works really well.  We drop them off at 8.30 and then pick them up at 12.30pm.  We then walk home and they take a rest and we spend the late afternoon either chilling out or going somewhere.  The classes they take include Sport twice a week, Music twice a week, Library and Thai.
Tobiah is doing really well.  He has probably coped the best out of the three children.  He loves his kindergarten, going to ZOE and has amazed us by trying some new foods with a pleasant attitude.  We still need to work on this area, but at least he is trying unfamiliar things. He has taken a lot in his stride and is maturing every day.  Still boisterous, he gets a bit restless sometimes when confined to the house for too long but thankfully we have a small “park” (really just a swing set) opposite our house that Dave takes the kids over to play at and burn up some energy.

Tobi’s class studies Thai every day and his American teacher also speaks Thai fluently.  Tobi is not one for being up front about what he’s learning at school but I have noticed his Thai counting has really improved.  He was counting well into the twenties the other day… more than I can do yet!!
I went to an information afternoon for Tobi’s class on Tuesday, which was an introduction to a new homework activity that his teacher wants to trial. It involves using i-pods with prerecorded instructions to listen and respond to.  It allows the children about 20 minutes extra, 3 nights a week to practice their phonetic awareness and focus on identifying various sounds in words etc.  We had a turn to experience what the students will be doing and I was impressed.
Tobi also has ‘Show and Tell’ in his classroom.  His theme this term is Transportation and the letter for the week was ‘P’ so he was able to take in a wonderful book our beautiful friends the Hughes Family gave us when we left which is all about “planes” and the airport.
Now the food here has been great!  This was something we were really looking forward to.  It’s true that it is cheaper to eat out than cook yourself.  We have this little take away place down the street- you couldn’t call it a restaurant.  It’s very “side-of-the-road”, but really good.  We often buy our sticky rice or chicken and rice there for 30 baht a serve ($1).  There’s also a lady that makes the most delicious choc-banana roti for 30 baht a serve too.  Yum!
If we go to the food court at our local shops, we can all eat for under 100 baht (about $3.50).  The only difficulty is the food is very different to what the children are familiar with so, to date there is not a great deal consumed...but they will get better!
We’re still working all this out though.  Last night we ate at home and I made chicken, salad wraps and then we ate fresh fruit afterwards (we even tried dragon fruit for the first time).  This was a healthy meal and the kids ate so much,  as they recognised everything! It is more expensive to eat this way.  We aim to find a balance between eating in and out that works for us.
Dave and I have enjoyed having Jess stay with us.  We have had many late night chats and midnights snacks, which has been fun.
I am enjoying my baking supplies very much.  I made some more scones (yes with SR flour this time) and Eliana and I made cupcakes together the other night while Tobi and Dave went out to ZOE.  It’s funny though, the flour and butter etc all taste slightly different which makes everything just that little bit “not-quite-the-same”.


It’s been really great living in this house so close to the children’s kindergarten and the other missionaries while we haven’t had a car.  We will plan on moving to a less expensive area once our lease runs out though. By then we’ll know our way around more and be able to drive the kid’s to school etc.  We think we can find somewhere for half what we are currently paying.
Now, I am writing way too much so just quickly to answer some questions. Yes, my sinus infection cleared up after antibiotics thank you. I am feeling much better.  A few nights of rain last week also helped to clear the air a bit too I think.
The latest on the shipment of our belongings is that it will arrive next Thursday but we’re waiting and hoping that it won’t be longer than this.
We stand amazed at how friendly and welcoming every one has been.  The people of Chiang Mai are so lovely and sweet and our smaller community of ZOE friends just continue to go out of their way to accommodate our needs. It’s very humbling.  The teachers at APIS where the children go to kinder are also very kind and genuine.  We feel truly blessed.
I hope this entry gives a bit more of an insight in to how we’re doing and what’s been happening.
Take care,
Andie.

Friday, January 29, 2010

CAR SHOPPING

Those of you that know me know that I am not a ‘car guy.’ 
You know those people that just love cars.  The ones that talk in their special code of ‘1.8’, ‘2.5’, ‘3.0’ and every now and then they add words like ‘custom’, ‘limited,’ ‘turbo’ and ‘torque.’  Each time they mention a new word their eyes get bigger.
On Tuesday I spent some time with Les (a car guy) who volunteers with ZOE looking at a few of the makes and models.  Poor Les! I got myself so confused about what we wanted to purchase that I ended up looking at a variety of cars and got no where near a decision.  
Later that day, Jessica took our family back to see the ‘missionary car’ that I had liked that morning.  We took it for a test drive. It was cheap, a bit shabby and had an old retro feel about it.  When I say cheap, it was cheap for this area, but the equivalent of $4,500 AUD.  To give you perspective, if you went to but this same car in OZ and paid more than $500 then I would say you had been ripped off.  Yes, second hand cars in Chiang Mai can be very expensive.
Well yesterday, after a few big sighs… the search continued.  
I spent the day touring the car yards of Chiang Mai with my new friend Dar (a Thai national that Graeme Smith knows).  Dar is a great guy and a man that appreciates automobiles.  Dar took one look at the ‘missionary car’ and said, “No way!”  He explained why it was no good.  It was about to fall apart and I should not buy it.  So just when I thought I was making progress, the search began again.  For 8 hours we went from car yard to car yard.  Dar (being a car guy) enjoyed the process.  I liked spending the day with Dar. He is such a nice guy and, being a local, he was adventurous enough to eat lunch from this tiny little cafĂ© on the side of the road and gee it was good! 
So at the end of the eight hours I, once again, felt totally confused!
I came home last night and created an extensive spreadsheet that lists the range of model, engine size, kilometres and of course price!  I have drawn the assumption that if we spend up to a certain level, we get a very unreliable car that won’t last more than 6 months and we need to pay between 300% to 600% more than we would for the same car in Australia.  The next price bracket up, we get a car that may last a few years but is likely to require maintenance. In this bracket, you would probably pay 50% less for the same car in Australia.  It’s a 3 year solution and when sold later won’t be worth much.
The third level, means spending more money now and getting a car that, if purchased in Australia, would cost a great deal more.  I would say that these cars are great value.  However we need to spend more money now with the aim of less maintenance but better resale.
I have found cars we could negotiate on in each level.  
Tonight we got a call (praise the Lord) and  were offered some money from a very generous donor that will enable our budget to be put beyond the middle level to the third.
So now, God willing, … tomorrow we might be ready to buy!  
Stay tuned!!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Australia Day Wishes


Well it wasn’t a typical Australia Day here in Thailand  (obviously) but the children did all enjoy a home-made Anzac biscuit before breakfast, a frozen orange juice ice-block in the shape of Australia at dinner (thanks Sarah) and an Australia Day colouring in sheet that Jess printed off for them.

















Dave also read them the Aussie Alphabet book at bed time and the kids just loved an excuse for a “special day”.

We did miss having a BBQ though and I’m thinking that the Hills Hoist clothesline definitely needs to be imported over here LOL.  

From our home to yours, Happy Australia Day 2010!
Lots of love, the Cross Family.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Random Events... of the past few days.

I just thought I’d post some photos with a brief description of what’s been going on.  The photo below is of Spencer and I in the back of a songthaew on the way to the day markets.  Spencer loves trying to put his head and arms out the open window... WHERE are those car seats we shipped? Ha ha.


These little creatures are commonly seen lurking about our doorways! Ewwwww! 




Notice how narrow this foot path is?  
Needless to say, we didn’t see many other strollers around these parts.



A very generous, lovely person gave me some spending money to go to the baking shop and purchase cooking supplies.  What a treat!! Jess took me today and this is what I got... yay!




This is Jess and I busy baking cookies.  Jess make choc chip and I made Anzac biscuits (for Australia Day).  This was Jess’ first baking experience in Thailand (she’s been here for 3 years). I’m so proud of her!!! And the cookies were delicious.

Today I stepped outside to find Dave and the kids running under the sprinkler. It took us a few minutes to realise this was something they’d never done in Australia due to the water restrictions. Well there’s no restrictions here and the kids (and Dave) had a marvellous time getting soaked.


We’ll be thinking of you all tomorrow on the 26th and celebrating over here too ... Happy Australia Day.

Andie :) 

Sunday, January 24, 2010

DAVE’S FIRST VISIT TO THE NEW ZOE FACILITY

Construction workers at ZOE

Today I got the privilege of going with Mike (founder) to see the progress of the new ZOE Children’s Home in Doi Saket.  It’s a fifty minute drive from where we currently live, but it was well worth it!

2010

The first 3 structures are well underway.  The home is well designed so that the house parents live in very close proximity to the children they look after. 
June 2009

June 2009

I felt quite emotional as I reflected back to standing on that same land just over 6 months ago when we first visited ZOE.  It was amazing to walk through the new children’s home now and think about how many lives are going to be positively impacted by the work of this group.  We feel so privileged to be a part of this.
At the new land, Mike and I met up with a group visiting ZOE from the Children’s Hunger Fund (CHF).  This US based group have been instrumental in assisting ZOE with the purchase of food for the children ZOE look after.  
Recently ZOE has been able to purchase some bulk rice with the funding this group has provided.  It has given us the opportunity to purchase directly from some of the farmers and then outsource the processing of the rice.  It has meant ZOE have been able to make the funding go further. Ahh the more rice the better I say!
After seeing all the bricks and mortar of the new facility, it was a great to then go to the current Children’s Home tonight and see the beautiful faces of all the children.  
As we had the guests from the CHF at the home tonight, the children did a couple of songs at the church service that were just phenomenal.  
Tobi and Eli were exceptional at the service too, they are usually out in kid’s church (as would the ZOE kids be) however all the children were in for the full service at ZOE tonight.  Tobi and Eli sang and danced to the songs (even though they did not know them -and most were in Thai) and seemed to settle in well the unfamiliar surroundings.  Andie and I are so proud of them.

Friday, January 22, 2010

One Week Today

We heard it was 38 degrees in Melbourne today! It felt hot here too and kind of muggy.  The locals say that the weather is cold at the moment and are frequently seen wearing jumpers and jackets (some had scarves on too) but I saw a thermometer outside someone’s house today and it was still over 30 degrees.  I guess that’s winter in Thailand for you!
We decided to keep the children home from kinder today. It’s only been a week since we arrived and we didn’t want them to over do it. They enjoyed some chill-out time watching their borrowed DVDs, playing with their new ball in the yard, taking a long bath and basically just relaxing.  Dave and I enjoyed the slower pace too both getting in a much-needed nanny-nap!
We managed to obtain our Thai drivers licenses yesterday… this may sound impressive and I’d like to say it was and that I’ve actually been driving but I haven’t. In fact, it did not even involve setting foot in a car! We just had to pay our money, show that we knew our colours (red, green and orange) and then have our photo taken.  Apparently there can be a few other tests that they get you to do but we think Spencer’s impatient screaming may have hurried the process along somewhat! Oh well, we weren’t complaining.
After obtaining our licenses, I was excited to discover a shop that sold some “baking” ingredients.  As expensive as they were, Dave let me purchase a few items to satisfy my home-cooking yearnings.  I got up eagerly this morning to make some fresh scones for breakfast only to realise that, in my excitement, (and inability to read the Thai packaging) I had used plain flour instead of SR.  Thankfully, the scones were still quite tasty but unfortunately that did not rise!  Not a crumb was left over though so obviously Dave and the kids didn’t seem to mind.
I then set to work making some play dough for Eliana.  This gave her hours of enjoyment as she set about creating pretend birthday cakes and tasty meals.  We enjoyed our first home-cooked dinner tonight too (besides all the food that everyone’s been dropping off).  We hadn’t seen the children eat so much in a while.  Eli kept telling me how delicious it was and how much she loved me for cooking dinner! Nice!
Yesterday we promised the children a trip out to “Daddy’s new work” the ZOE Children’s Home… if they had a huge afternoon sleep.  They all did so we headed out after dark (which was pretty exciting for them coming from Melbourne’s day-light’s savings). They had so much fun running about talking to everyone and playing in the younger children’s dormitory style bedroom.  Eliana instantly joined in a game of elastics, Tobi found a similar aged boy with a truck and Spencer cruised around trying to dodge all the Thai children trying to pick him up and carry him.
Dave had his first Thai language lesson yesterday. It was challenging and the reality of just how much work it will take to be able to read, write and speak Thai has had him sitting with his earphones in tonight hoping it will all just sink in… the fact that I just heard a big ripper snore indicates though that not too much study is taking place as he’s actually fallen asleep! There’s always tomorrow I suppose.
Well as I sit here listening to the docile tones of a Thai karaoke bar, at a near-by restaurant, wafting through our open windows, I will wrap it up for another day.  Tomorrow we will probably have another quiet-ish day but then again there is a whole new country explore!
Love to you all and take care, 
Andie :) 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Belated Birthday Wishes

To our dear friend Lee-Anne. We hope and pray that you had a wonderful birthday on Monday.  This is our “blog birthday card” to you.  You are such a special person in our lives and we love and appreciate you so much.  Sorry we’re a few days late but we have been thinking of you.
Kisses and hugs are coming your way from the Cross Family in Thailand x o x o x


AND while I’m here... a huge thank you to Lynne for the big tub of toys, books and DVDs that you dropped around yesterday.


The children were SO excited when they woke up this morning and saw something new to play with.  We really appreciate this!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

January, Week 1

Tobi and Eli officially started kinder yesterday. After a positive 2 hour visit on Monday (where all three children were sad to leave) Tobi eagerly ditched us at the gate Tuesday morning and ran off with his new found friends. 
Eli went through her usual routine of lots of hugs and kisses before happily venturing off to playground to explore. We were so proud of our little girl on her first day of kinder and celebrated last night by eating out at Pizza Hut.


In a week full of emotional highs and lows, it was so comforting to leave them at their new school so happy and excited to get started.
                                                    
Tobi’s teacher Mr Todd (American) seems quiet and gentle and Eliana’s teacher, Miss Cheryl, was originally from Brisbane but has lived in Chiang Mai for 34 years. She seems absolutely lovely and has been very helpful in giving us lots of useful information already. She has invited Spencer and I to join the class on a Tuesday morning for craft time each week if we’d like to.

Every morning, as the students arrive at school, they have their temperature taken and hands disinfected before going off to play to reduce the spread of sickness. This morning Tobi asked why they had to check his ears for wax!

Tobi and Eli go to kinder from 8.30-12.30 every day. Their snacks and lunch, along with milk and water, are all included so there are no school lunches to prepare the night before! The school’s menu is healthy and includes international dishes. Spencer was invited to join the “big kids” in the dining hall for lunch on Monday when we there for a visit and he very much enjoyed his Japanese miso soup, rice and range of vegetables from the King’s project!

Crossing the 6 lanes of traffic on the way to school.
Until we get a car we have been walking to and from kinder each day. It’s about a ten to fifteen minute stroll there and a little longer on the way home- when the kid’s legs are getting a little bit more tired. While we wait for our coffee machine to arrive, we have been happy to occasionally support our local coffee shop Doi Chaang on the way to kinder!!

Late yesterday afternoon we set off to the Airport Plaza to accomplish a few more tasks from our “to-do” list. Jess and Dave went one way with Spencer and Eli to organise some local sim cards for our phones while I took Tobi shopping for some school shoes that had velcro so that he’d be able to put them on and off himself. After a while Tobi looked up and asked me, “How come everyone is staring at me?”

The attention from the Thai people towards our children has certainly been noticeable. Some times it gets a little too crazy! However the children all cope really well with it and have been extremely friendly in return, but it is certainly impossible for them to have a tantrum without being noticed!! We just do not “blend in”.

The morning after arriving in Chiang Mai, I started experiencing some excruciating jaw/facial pain. I initially thought that I’d displaced my jaw until I realised that my cold must’ve freshened up and turned into a sinus infection. After a couple of days of dosing up on Nurafen, I thought I’d better do something more about it. I asked Jess what to do (she has been so helpful to us) and she told me that I didn’t even need to see a doctor if I wanted antibiotics. She went with me to the pharmacy and I bought a course of antibiotics for 100 baht (just over 3 dollars!) Ahhh I love this place!

I must apologise that we’ve not be able to write individual emails yet. Our internet connection here is currently really slow and we’re trying to sort that out at the moment. Once we get ourselves set up properly and our other computer and router arrives, it should be much easier.

Speaking of our shipment of boxes arriving, we’ve been informed that … most of our freight is currently lost in Singapore somewhere. So we’re still waiting!!!

         
Dave has been jumping on to some of our neighbour’s wireless connections (with permission) to do his work at a faster speed. You can find him in the back garden or sitting out the front of people’s houses on the laptop using the Internet!

Today Michelle, another new recruit for the ZOE team, took us to immigration to organise our residency certificate and the hospital/ doctors for a health check. This is needed as one of the requirements to get our Thai driver’s license. Our ‘health check’ involved a 10 second listen to our heart, our blood pressure being taken and a camping torch being shone into our throats....not exactly comprehensive!

We might try to obtain the licenses tomorrow and begin car hunting next week.

It’s really been a full-on last few days. I can’t believe that the children have settled into their kinder classes so well and that with the help of everyone here, we’ve been able to accomplish so much in under a week. It feels like much longer than that already.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers at this time. It is so comforting to know that we’re being uplifted before God.

We need more courage! Tobi, Eli and I are finding the dogs over here a little bit scary!

The children are going pretty well (all things considered) but behaviorally and emotionally find it quite challenging at times. Little Spencer has no words to express to us how he’s feeling which is really hard. He is particularly clingy when I’m around. Whilst the older two have been using their imaginations to create new games with limited objects, I think he’s really missing having ‘toys’ to play with.

Dave is a frustrated with how difficult it has been to do his work , given the internet issues. When our freight arrives he thinks this will be rectified.

I am feeling exhausted and a bit out of control but trying to be hopeful. It has been difficult with the children. I’ll be honest there’s been times when they are so upset and tired and cranky that there’s not a lot we can do to help them. I feel like it’s been the most challenging time we’ve experienced as a family with the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.




The other day when I was getting the children ready to go out to our local shops to meet some Aussie friends for dinner, I told Eliana that they could play at the indoor play ground when we got there. She looked up from what she was doing and asked whether Bella (her cousin) was going to be meeting us there too. I mumbled a ‘no’ and went and had a cry with Dave. The children love their new home, kinder and their new friends but I’m not sure when the reality of the distance separating us from everyone we love will sink in.

Andie :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

We Arrived: A Brief Summary So Far!

After an exhausting flight on Thursday to KL, we finally arrived in Chiang Mai on Friday morning to a big crowd waiting and cheering for us at the airport.  The ZOE children weren’t there, as they were at school, but just about all the missionaries, staff, bible students etc were.



























Tobi and Eli enjoyed the second (shorter) plane ride much more than the one the previous day.  They  coped really well with all the attention in Malaysia and Thailand.  The three children certainly stand out and get continuous points, stares, touches and high fives.  They’ve all done really well being friendly in these situations and have surprised us with their coping skills of the “celebrity status” they attract.
We couldn’t remember the house very clearly from our visit in July last year but it is so lovely. We arrived to a fridge full of food plus a massive basket of cleaning products, snacks etc. WOW! 
The missionaries have been so generous, dropping around with meals, which have been so yummy, and they’ve drawn up a roster to drive us around till we get a car.  The kids are enjoying not having the constraints of car seats- not sure how they’ll cope being strapped down once again!!!! And it is so much quicker to get in the car and go anywhere LOL!
God has definitely blessed us with the use of this house so we will be grateful for as long as we’re here.  Funnily though, as great as the house is, we were shocked to discover that there’s no hot water in the kitchen!  One of the first things I did was to go and buy a kettle to boil water for washing up. 
We’ve had a few encounters with mini beasts so far… a huge ant was in our bed the first night, a big lizard thing jumped out at me as I put rubbish in the outdoor bin and then today we went to mop the floor and a huge nest of ants and larvae looking things all starting crawling out of the hollow mop handle… and I’m talking a LOT! We both screamed (Dave jumped onto the couch to escape them) and thankfully I had just bought insect spray about an hour earlier and a vacuum yesterday so between a WHOLE can of spray and the vac, we managed to kill them before they infested the rest of the house.  Ewwwwwwwww! We spent the next hour or so mopping and cleaning up. It’s still gives me the shivers just recounting it!
The children’s kinder is directly opposite our house but unfortunately across a busy road. Probably too hard to walk there by myself but with 2 adults we were able to walk there on Saturday to show the kids (and pass a coffee shop hee hee).  As we looked through the gates, the guard opened them and let us in so unbelievably Tobi and Eli got to go and have a big play in the playground without anyone else there, see the pool and look at the photos outside each of the classrooms etc. It was a great experience and they’re both really keen to start so we’ll go down tomorrow probably and see the principal to arrange it.  Dave started crying when he saw how happy they were.  We’ve shared a lot of tears but know without a doubt this is where we’re meant to be. 


Yesterday Jess took me shopping to buy some items for the house while Dave took the kids for a swim.  The pool near our house has a shallow area which is roped off. They all had a wonderful afternoon cooling off in the water.  It’s pretty warm here- comparable to the summer in Melbourne but apparently it’s winter…? 
The kids are doing well to survive without any toys besides what they had in their hand luggage.  The big boxes from the items we’ve bought for the house have become many imaginary things now and we’ve got lots of empty water bottles (as we can’t drink the tap water), which make good skittles! We have bought the kids a little table and chairs and someone has leant them a pop up tent that’s making a great little cubby house.
Dave was disappointed today when he discovered that our new rice cooker/ steamer is faulty and we have to return it to the shop- thankfully people have been bringing rice with all the meals so there’s been no shortage, but still!!
It’s really feeling like home now so I imagine when all our shipment of stuff arrives, it will even more so.
We’re enjoying the food and all ate out at the food court the other night for a couple of dollars!!! Tobi has decided that every day we all have to try something new.  So tonight at dinner Jess (who works at ZOE and is staying with us for a couple of weeks) ate broccoli for the first time!!!  The kids have really warmed to “Aunty Jess” and she is very patient with them. 
It’s been so full on…I can’t explain it.  Surreal, so exhausting, busy, overwhelming, emotional-mixed feelings of missing family and yet feeling so loved here too. It’s been so wonderful to have Jess here in our house and know that she’s done this and understands what we’re grappling with.  She is such a great person to have around.
Well as the adventure continues we’ll keep you updated.  Thanks for your emails and Facebook messages, it really means a lot.  For now though “Sawatdee” (goodbye).