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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. Nathan is doing a phenomenal job at Quality Signs and Marly and Dazza have been a great support for him in his new role.

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 :)

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