Friday, May 28, 2010

Last Thailand Pictures

I made the final additions to my Thailand album:

Philippines pics to come.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Our last week in Bangkok was interesting. The violence kept getting worse, so they issued a city-wide curfew between 8 and 6 for a day and then 9-5 for four more days. It seems like it worked, because Bangkok is a lot calmer now. On top of that, I got really sick (sore throat, cough, fever), so I spent most of my last few days there in our apartment. I did manage to finish teaching my class (though Isaac had to come in and do the final because my voice was cutting in and out) and had several goodbye parties with classes and Santisuk staff. Rung, Nan, Awn, Kwang, and Tai brought us to the airport late Saturday night, and I'll admit there were several tears shed (including mine).

And then it was off to the Philippines! We took off in a thunder storm, and it was super turbulent. I really thought we might die. As soon as we got to Cebu, Martha and her Ate (who took care of all the kids when they were little and now is still a good family friend) picked us up and we took a beautiful van ride and a ferry to Bantayan Island to meet the rest of the family. The Nordines are having a family reunion for Martha's parents' 40th anniversary, so we got to join in with all of them (Martha, her two brothers, sister-in-law, and two little nieces). It was relaxing and fun until I got even sicker. Today is our first day back in Cebu City, and I've been staying inside sleeping all day. :( Tomorrow I'll go to the hospital, because it's just wrong to be this sick for two whole weeks.

From what I've seen of the Philippines, I love it. I immediately thought it was more beautiful than Thailand, and it reminds me even more of Kenya. I especially love the unique varieties have here. The public transportation is jeepneys, originally old military jeeps turned into buses. They're like matatus in Kenya, colorful and crowded. And then there were all these tiny car/motorcycle/bike contraptions on the island.

It's great to see Martha again. It's been a year and a half! The group dynamics have worked out pretty well--me, Isaac, Martha, and her brother Will get along and have fun together.

And I am still really eager to get back to my parents in Minnesota! The end is in sight.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Smoke over Bangkok

I realized I haven't been updating much about the political riots over the last couple months. In case some of you don't know anything about the situation in Thailand, the "red shirts" are a political group who side with the ex-prime minister, Taksin, who was ousted from office by a military coup a couple years ago. The red shirts started peaceful protests a while back trying to get another election, and it has slowly turned into a huge fight between them and the government, plus a bunch of people who seem to be taking their own sides. Since April 10, over 40 people have been killed and tons of people injured. The last few days have been the worst since April. Down town there's a lot of gunfire and it's totally closed down. The sky train and some buildings are on fire. From here we can see thick smoke clouds several places over the city, the closest one being at Big C Mall about three miles down our road. I'm glad to be leaving soon, nervous that something will prevent us from flying out, and sad for all the Thai people who are being hurt in so many different ways. Pray for the peace of Thailand.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I added some pictures to my album:

And I made an album for Laos:

Good news--I got the GSA in the Writer's Center at EWU!! The interview was only OK, so I was surprised to hear back quickly. What a HUGE blessing and relief. I'm sure it'll be a big job (tutoring and being the administrative "go-to" person organizing workshops), but it'll be worth it not to have to worry about finances.

Had a good, short trip to Cambodia last weekend. I got a beautiful one-page visa for a five-minute stay in the country, haha. My passport is overflowing with pride these days.

Last night my small group had a goodbye party for me. About eight of my students came, and it was really fun. Isaac and I have three more goodbye meals/parties this week. What a crazy week this will be.

Lately I've been struggling a lot with uncertainty, particularly about my relationship with Isaac.... We have a lot of ups and downs trying to figure out what comes next, and I'm often frustrated that even when I think I'm trusting God, he doesn't reveal his answers to me. I love these quotes by Oswald Chambers:

"God does not tell you what He is going to do--He reveals to you who He is."

"Certainty is the mark of the commonsense life—gracious uncertainty is the mark of the spiritual life."

"To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways, not knowing what tomorrow may bring."

"We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. As soon as we abandon ourselves to God and do the task He has placed closest to us, He begins to fill our lives with surprises."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The end already?

Time's almost up! I have a problem where right before I leave a place (not like the day before I go but a few weeks or months before, depending on how long I'm in the place), I am so eager to take off. I think in a few weeks, I'll miss Thailand a ton, but right now I'm starting to check out and get tired by how much emotional work it takes to live here. Sure, I'm definitely sad to leave people and this city, but all the little things that come with living somewhere and shouldn't be annoying (but are) are starting to kick in big time. If I was planning to be here a year or more, I'd fight through this stage, but right now it's so much easier to get ready to leave.

I'm actually starting to get really nostalgic about Maui. Trust me, I remember how miserable the last few months were, and I don't want to go back, but the memories and feelings and excitement and beauty of our year there are getting stronger. I guess it takes leaving a place to really appreciate it (or unrealistically romanticize it, more likely).

All that said, I am still learning to be "present" in the place I'm actually in. And it's good.

The last week or two have been so busy! I've had meals out with people a bunch of times; went with Rung on a fun weekend trip to Vientiane, Laos, to renew my visa (unfortunately, they only gave me two weeks, so I have to make a day trip next weekend to Cambodia to get another one); went to Hua Hin, a supposedly great beach about three hours south of here (I'm going to give Thailand the benefit of the doubt and say that I still imagine the beaches in Pukhet are great); and went to Ampawa floating market with some students. Aside from some serious emotional lows (not sure about putting details on my blog), it feels good to know I'm getting quality time with people here before I leave.

Tomorrow is the last day of my writing class, and next Tuesday is the last day of my level 1 class. Wow!

Oh, also, I have an interview tomorrow night on Skype with the Writers' Center at EWU. I'm really hoping to get a GSA there!! The tuition break and stipend wouldn't kick in until second quarter, but it would still help sooooo much.