Tuesday, October 30, 2018


Two weeks ago we received our House Hold Effects. Now we’re faced with fitting all our things into our new space. Despite what T says it will all fit.

One troubling situation however is a lack of storage, specifically in the dining room. We’ve become accustomed over the last two tours with the state department provided china cabinet and buffet. Admittedly, the Drexel designer isn’t my first choice but it is functional and free.

Our landlord has provided a table but no buffet or china cabinet, so off to Ikea we went.

We spent a a quality afternoon wandering through the aisles and stocking our pallets with glorious flat pack and our evening assembling shelves and cabinets.

While T was on the road though I tackled an extra project and my very own IKEA Hack!
Like many IKEA products the bar carts come in white or white so first things first I was off to Home Pro for spray paint. I’m a novice at this so this step of course took three trips and now we have a shiny black frame.

My next step involved my stash of fabric and  Javanese batik. Three coats of Deco Podge later and we have we have beautiful shelves.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Speaking in Tongues

We’re living in our fourth country and on our third language, if you don’t count Kiwi English as a different language which may or may not be the case, and once again I’m tackling the memorization of a new vocabulary.
If you count my high school French I’m up to four languages. Some of which I speak better than others. I took Japanese in college but at least at the time, it was beyond my abilities.

In Indonesia I never got beyond common courtesy phrases and what I called taxi cab Indonesian. Though one of my favorite words will always  be ”bagus” , Indonesian for “excellent”. Said with gusto it rolls off the tongue with fervor.

I tackled Arabic with more effort and brought myself up to the level of a three year old. This meant I could order food or say I was looking for yellow lemons at the market but not really have a conversation of any kinds. Of course I also generally butchered the whole issue of masculine and feminine conjugation.

Now as I sit in class practicing telling the taxi driver to “stop at the pedestrian bridge” or ask “where is the bathroom” all of my old languages come back to haunt me.  I’ve heard that when you are learning a new language and your brain can’t immediately come up with the new word it happily plucks one that is not your native language out of your brain files. So as my teacher was asking for the words for “go straight” of course I could only come up with “dogrii” in Arabic. For hospital my brain locked on to ”ruma sakit” in Indonesian. And it’s happy to throw in French for beautiful or red.

I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t have to press me too hard to make an entire sentence out of all four languages.

Maybe I’ll even throw in some Kiwi as well.

Monday, October 15, 2018

The one where the fish freak me out

We’re two  months in and starting to feel settled.
This weekend we joined a group of outdoor lovers from InterNations, an international social club, and headed south along the Myanmar boarder to Kaeng Krachan National Park to hike the Pala-U waterfalls.

My hopes were high for elephant spotting and getting out of the city for some serious green space. Our group was a fun mix of ages and nationalities and we met early, 6:15, for the three hour drive down the coast.

I kept my eyes peeled for elephants as we entered the park but sadly the only evidence were the signs saying not to feed them and their poo in the road.

The park itself is lovely, lush and green and we saw sooo many butterflies in amazing varieties. And fortunately there had been less rain recently so the way up the waterfalls was open. We planned to try to make it up to level 5 out of 15, which turns out was a reasonable choice. The air was thick and sticky, it’s still 90-100* here every day, and once we passed level 2 the pathway ranged between tricky to a bit treacherous, though mostly it’s a matter of trying not to fall into the river.

There are lovely cool pools at the base of each of the falls, just beckoning you to com in and cool off. So of course that is what most of us did! The water was fresh. However it also contained lots and lots of fish.

The river is full of Soro Brook Carp and I’m pretty sure that they are the same fish they use for the fish pedicure tanks only the ones in the tanks are a lot smaller. They swarmed around us, nudging and  bumping and occasionally giving a little fish kiss.

Then one woman yelped. Some of these fish are as big as my fore arm and their kisses weren’t so gentle.

Then a leaf fell into the water and they swarmed furiously around to find the food.

All I can say was this was the moment I freaked out. I screamed like a little girl and made my best effort to shoo the with my hands.

Then my loving husband tossed a bit of pineapple into the mix.

I almost walked on water.

I know. I’m sure I was safe. I’m sure I was in no real danger.

I’m also sure I wasn’t getting back into that water.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Headed North

Taking advantage of the long weekend, T and I headed to Chiang Mai for our first big exploration outside of Bangkok.
You’re probably most familiar with Chiang Mai if you’ve see those cute videos of the lady who gets sat on by a baby elephant playing in the mud. We promised our children we wouldn’t go to the elephant preserve without them though so we saved it for the next visit at Christmas.
Instead we set off to see some of the multitude of Wats and shop till we literally dropped.
There are over 300 wats, or temples, dotting the area so we only managed to see four on the first day.

We grabbed a bright red songthaew, taxi/bus, negotiated a round trip for about $18 and headed up the long steep hill to the west of the city. The view was amazing and we passed lots of tropical forest, waterfalls and much more serious pilgrims making their way on foot or bicycle.
Once you reach the parking area at the top you will be greater by the requisite food and souvenir vendors many selling clothing and jewelry of the traditional hill tribes of the area.
If you visit, this is a great place to stop for coffee grown in the region.
The Doi Suthep is beautiful as it glistens gold in the sun and bells chime on the breeze sending their prayers up to the heavens.
For more details check out T’s history of the wat here.

Once back in Chiang Mai we headed through the gates of the old city. Here we visited Wat Phra Singh with beautiful temples grounds , Wat Chedi Luang where the emerald Buddha was once housed (its in Bangkok now) and my favorite of all of them Wat Phan Tao a beautiful teak temple with shining dark wood, golden statues and fluttering white prayer flags.

Our evenings were filled with night markets. If you know me you know I love to shop but even I was forced to call uncle at some point. The weekend markets are studded with vendor after vendor lining the streets and just when you think you’ve seen everything someone manages to offer something you haven’t seen before. I managed to find some treasures, including a new bedspread for our guest room handmade by one of the local tribes and and I shocking red elephant painting for over our bed.

Sunday we were invited to join some of T’s coworkers for a nice hike in the hills along some waterfalls. It was beautiful and great to see some of the countryside. It was not great to see some of the spiders, at least one of which was the size of my fist. Fortunately I managed not to swear in front of the children we were hiking with when I spotted the first one.

Our final morning we indulged in some leisurely cafe time at one of Chiang Mai’s awesome coffee shops and let some little old ladies with very strong hands at the spa work out the muscles that were aching from all that walking.

It was a lovely weekend and we can’t wait to go back!

Monday, October 1, 2018


I’m going to break from my standard format for a bit, bloggers prerogative, and make a product recommend.

You should know that we arrived in Bangkok during rainy season. That means it rains anywhere from a little to a monsoon/thunderstorm every day. This means we get wet...every...day.

I knew this was coming since living in Jakarta was experienced very similar weather. Fortunately here we haven’t had flooding.

In preparation for our transition I purchased three pairs of what I call Birkencrocks. They’re made from EVA and are super comfortable as well as water comparable which is great for when you’re slogging through the rainy streets.
I’ve always been a Birkenstock girl and was very sad to retire my original pair, they were older than my son, a few years back due to mold. (The aforementioned humidity in Jakarta had something to do with that.) so these fit my personal style and as well as my my new lifestyle.

They’re available in lots of fun colors but I stuck with white, silver and black and they all seem to get equal use. I will say I long for a hot pink or orange pair still. Maybe another day.

They’re just as comfortable, in fact maybe more comfortable, than my originals with their cushy sole.
And really pretty affordable at $40 a pair. Less than half a standard pair of Birks.
Definitely worth considering if you’re planning a trip to a rainy climate, and soooo much more comfortable than a pair of flip flops.*

I’ve hiked all over the city in them and my feet are still happy. Not that has stopped me from getting a foot massage. But that my friends is a different story all together.

*note I’m not benefiting in any way from this endorsement.