Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Warmer, Warmer, Hotter, Hotter... BOILING!

ZOE camp. Below: some of the boys
and their leaders.  Above: Some of 
the wonderful team of leaders.

Did you ever play that game as a kid where you hid something and then gave clues to the person looking for it by describing their attempts as “cold” if they were no where near the object and then “hot” for when they were getting closer?
Here in Chiang Mai, the weather has gone from warm to hot to boiling rather quickly and just to add another level to this, yesterday I think I experienced a “rapid boil” when our the electricity went out and there was no cooling or fans in the house for a couple of hours!
We knew it would get really hot when the winter temperatures in January were a consistent 30 degrees everyday!!  But nothing could prepare us for the relentless weeks of high thirties to forty-degree days that we’ve had.  Even the lowest temperatures over night are still in the mid twenties!  
I wouldn’t say that I’m normally a sweaty person, but earlier in the week, after finishing some ironing and mopping the floors, I glanced at my reflection in the mirror only to confirm what I already knew…  I was absolutely dripping with SWEAT!!  Ahhhh it’s just crazy at the moment.
Good news though, we did have a little shower of rain on Monday and yesterday.  And you have to understand; there was no running or hiding when it rains here.  It felt so good that we all frolicked and laughed and thanked God for the wonderful relief.  It was short-lived but a little sign of what’s to come as we enter in to the wetter season (mid year).
I am consistently amazed at how much the children keep growing-up and changing.  They are absorbing so much from, not just, our ‘home’ culture but also their school, the Thai culture and the small community of American missionaries that we frequently hang around with.  It’s so funny when you see all these different influences in their lives shaping them in to who they are.
Even their interest in speaking Thai and using it in daily contexts blows me away.  Their lives here are certainly different now to what they were even just 6 months ago!
I was just commenting to Dave about how quickly Tobi is growing up.  He is infatuated by paper planes at the moment and spends considerable time making them, adjusting them, testing them and then readjusting them.  Him and Dave are always trying to improve the flight of the planes by adding a bit of sticky tape here or there as well as maybe a couple of staples etc.  He’s made some absolute beauties and it’s all good- until one comes and swoops you when you least expect it!!  He is also becoming increasingly interested in writing and spelling.  He is continuously asking us to spell out words for him as well as read what a word says.  He loves talking about what ‘this’ or ‘that’ starts with and is very serious about his drawing and coloring in too. 
He loves being outdoors as well, especially helping with the gardening and watering.  He will quite often go and move the sprinkler to a different spot by himself and is always up for a sporting challenge.  Dave enjoys playing baseball or soccer with the kids in the backyard.  Yesterday I bought us a set of 5 badminton rackets and 6 shuttlecocks (all for $3.30 mind you) and Tobi instantly wanted us to explain what to do.  We had to show him over and over until he managed to be able to master the skill himself.  This morning all he could think about was, “playing that tennis game again” after kinder!
Well one thing about Eliana is that she still has a LOT of words to speak.  We are training her to let the boys have a turn talking occasionally but now with both English and Thai- there’s double the amount of words for her to get out!!  Eli loves being outdoors too and enjoys running through the sprinklers and playing hide and seek.  Inside she fusses over her dolls, dressing and redressing them and is often heard explaining something to them in either language!  Her and Tobi play so well together and they are getting really good at including Spencer in some way into their games.  It’s lovely when it all just “works” and the three of them are seen nattering away to each other and getting along.
Spencer has definitely reached that stage of either being completely delightful or having the biggest tantrums that Thailand has ever seen.  But when he’s not throwing a fit, Spencer is hysterically funny.  He has the craziest dance moves I’ve ever seen.  He’s pretty good at saying ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’ -both of these he needs to use regularly so that’s handy!  He is in to everything and climbs on everything and jumps on everyone… yes he is an active one and just when I feel like a tornado has ripped through the house he comes and gives me the longest, yummiest cuddle and it is all totally worth it!  Gotta love toddlers!
Dave and I are good.  While the children and ZOE keep us relatively occupied, we enjoy catching a few minutes where possible to sit and have a coffee and just download.  We will go back to more ‘normal’ hours once the ZOE camp is over, at the end of next week.  At the moment the hours are different and this morning it was apparent that the kid’s have missed seeing Dave at their bedtime, the last few nights.  Today though is an excursion day so Dave will be home tonight and we may be able to spend some family time together before and after dinner.
I am going in to ZOE tomorrow to help finalize colors for the dormitory bedrooms.  I still think it’s hysterical that I found myself with this role but it is certainly stretching me to experience something different to what I normally would and I enjoy the process and collaborating with Rob, who is in charge of the new building project.
I went house hunting on Saturday. Jess agreed to come with me and her Thai was invaluable.  Only once did she lapse and tell someone that “we love rental properties!!” Too funny!   After a whole day though, I don’t feel much closer to having decided whereabouts to live when our lease is up but at least the process has started.  To be honest, it was fun just to have a day out and get to hang around Jess as well as enjoy a longer lunch than the usual rushed, peanut butter sandwich.
On Sunday we scouted out a waterfall to see if it would be suitable to take the ZOE kids to for their excursion.  It was a beautiful spot and one that we’ll definitely go back to again as a family.  It was perfect for swimming or just paddling in the rock pools.  (See photos to the side)
Well, from me to you I say thank you again for reading our blog, staying up to date with our lives and for your support.  We love you lots and miss you heaps but we know that this is where we are meant to be.
“There is no greater joy than bringing hope to children and no greater responsibility than protecting the innocent” Sandra Denenga.

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