Yes, believe it or not, we are still here in Thailand. The long stay here has been nice, but I think we are all ready to head back home to China. Even Claire has been throwing fits today about wanting to go back home, screaming, “I want to go back to China!” It’s a good thing we are picking up Claire’s passport today and going back in a couple of days!
Our time in Thailand has been wonderful. We started with two weeks at the beach with Cameron’s parents. We stayed at the beach in a nice hotel that seemed to be a favorite among people from all over the world. During the time we were there, we met people from at least twenty-five other countries and only one other person from the States. Oddly enough, it didn’t matter where in the world people were from, a lot of them seemed to know plenty about our home state! Here are a few of the funny comments we got after we said we were from Texas:
Polish guy – “I won’t hold that against you.”
German guy – “We all know why that city is famous, but hopefully it’s improved since then!” (referring to Dallas and the JFK assassination)
A boisterous group of Danish – “Yeehaw!!”
Australian guy – “All of my exes live in Texas!”
At the same hotel, we also witnessed some awkward cultural exchanges which probably happen a lot at that hotel with so many cultures in one place. In my last blog, I already mentioned the vast array of swimming attire ranging from long sleeves and hats to topless swimwear. We also witnessed a couple of awkward interactions regarding lines and personal space. Having lived in Asia now for 4 years, I can understand why Asians tend to cut in line. Westerners leave so much space in between people in line that it is really hard to tell sometimes where the line is! We also witnessed an odd exchange at breakfast one morning. A Thai waitress took away an Indian man’s mostly empty plate who had left it on the table while he went to get a drink. When he returned, he angrily told the waitress that he was not done with his food and that she should have known not to take away his plate away because of how he had arranged his eating utensils. He gave her a lengthy lesson on how the fork and knife is placed on the plate to indicate whether or not a person is done with their food. It was the first I have ever heard of such a custom, and I am guessing that was the first time the waitress had heard it too!
After Cameron’s parents left, we met some friends at a different beach hotel that was about an hour away from the first one. This hotel was very family-friendly, so we spent a lot of time outside at the beach, the pool, or the playground playing with the kids. The beach, in particular, was a great place to play since the ocean was extremely calm and had a nice, gradual slope.
After two and half weeks at the beach, we hired a driver to take us to Chiang Mai which is a city in Northern Thailand. Most people make that journey by plane, but since we didn’t have our passports in our possession due to our China visas being renewed, we had to travel by car. It was a really long day of driving, but we finally arrived in Chiang Mai. We then spent about 4 days going to doctors and dentist appointments. We really like getting medical and dental procedures done in Thailand because the healthcare is great and extremely cheap compared to the States. For example, Claire went to a wonderful pediatric dentist for an exam and cleaning and her visit was only $18!
We then had a week of meetings in Chiang Mai. It was a really nice time of connecting with people and processing our past year. Thinking back on 2015, Cameron and I agreed that while we had a wonderful year work wise, we have some areas of improvement in our personal lives. Therefore, we made some goals for 2016 to focus on things like physical health, alone time as a couple, more socializing opportunities for me, etc.
Now we are on our last week here and are planning to pick up Claire’s passport today so we can head home in a couple days. It is a little difficult to entertain kids in Chiang Mai because it is a busy, crowded city without many places for kids to play. However, we have gone to some of our favorite spots – the zoo, the city park, and and some indoor play places. We found one indoor play place that was a few stories high! It was amazing. Even Cameron and I found ourselves running and crawling through this giant maze and sliding down the huge slides.
We will miss Thailand and all the memories we made this year, but there is always next year!
The hippos are our favorite part of the Chiang Mai zoo!
Claire’s annual bird hunt at the city park.
We were all a little surprised when she actually caught one.