Monday, January 31, 2011

Ninja Training in the Art of Patience

I'm safe and sound, home from Thailand. I'm missing it already, my dry skin in particular. The warmth and humidity suited it well. I fell miserably ill the night before my flight. Whether from the flu, something I ate, or just a really awful migraine-ish type episode, we'll never know. I also slept in that morning. Again, not sure how. Lucky for me, Momma Gailey was on top of things, and she got me up in time. I cried at the security checkpoint when I said goodbye to her. That's saying a lot, because I don't do tearful farewells. Even with Donald, I think I've cried maybe once at the gate. Heidi is an angel, and miss her already.
I'll be blogging the remainder of my trip soon. :-)

Three days after the onset of symptoms and I'm feeling much better. It's great to be back with Donald, too. His frequent deployments and training exercises have made me a separation champ, but ME leaving HIM for vacation was entirely different. I don't think I've ever missed someone like that. It was kinda freaky. It didn't help that he had minor surgery 5 days before I came home. Leaving the post-op care of my husband in the hands of friends probably added to my guilt a great deal, no doubt. Overall, I think he'll agree that it's nice to have me back.

Moving along...

We're currently waiting on the liquidation of our mutual funds for adoption costs. Apparently that takes a while. We pick up the check on Thursday. After its procurement, we must MAIL it in (we bank with USAA, and they have no physical locations), and wait for funds verification. That could be another day or three.

I am GREAT at waiting (uh, hellloooo? Army wife?). To call me a patience-NINJA is to speak absolute truth.
....but THIS? This is a real trial.
How do other adopting parents do it? It physically hurts to think about the extra days they're spending without me. They need me, and I want them. Isn't that enough for them to come home?

*dramatic sigh and frown-smile*

So... let the re-mastering of patience begin!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Andrew Peterson - "Planting Trees"

This song led to some serious spiritual reflection on my part. It's beautiful, and honestly... as cheesy as it sounds, all I want to do in life is bring all my children home (however many there may be, and in whatever way they're intended to come to me) and one day, maybe, hopefully, come CLOSE to being the wife and mother who's described in the last verse.

She rises up as morning breaks
She moves among these rooms alone
Before we wake
And her heart is so full; it overflows
She waters us with love and the children grow

I only have two more days left in Thailand. As sad as I'll be to leave, I'm eager to see Donald and continue the work of bringing our boys home.

We chose the spot, we dug the hole
We laid the maples in the ground to have and hold
As Autumn falls to Winters sleep
We pray that somehow in the Spring
The roots grow deep

And many years from now
Long after we are gone
These trees will spread their branches out
And bless the dawn

He took a plane to Africa
He gathered up into his arms
An orphan son

So many years from now
Long after we are gone
This tree will spread its branches out
And bless the dawn

So sit down and write that letter
Sign up and join the fight
Sink in to all that matters
Step out into the light
Let go of all that's passing
Lift up the least of these
Lean into something lasting
Planting trees

She rises up as morning breaks
She moves among these rooms alone
Before we wake
And her heart is so full; it overflows
She waters us with love and the children grow

So many years from now
Long after we are gone
These trees will spread their branches out
And bless the dawn
These trees will spread their branches out
And bless someone

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Bangkok River Ride & Flower Market

On Monday Heidi took me to Bangkok via a river boat.

At 10 days into my trip, my impressions of the Thai people have been overwhelmingly positive. They're happy, welcoming, warm, helpful, and did I mention happy? I've traveled many places where the locals seemed less than thrilled to have tourists and other foreigners around. I've even been made to feel unwelcome by locals in my own town.
Not the Thais though. Whether they be neighbors, street vendors, our driver, the lady lady giving me a pedicure, or the random strangers we pass on the street. Everyone is friendly.

However, they have no problem littering. So that made the river ride a bit depressing. The various bits of garbage floating in the water surprised me... like, how do barbie dolls and broken dog food bowls even find their way in there? Almost seems like it'd be easier to drop it in a public trash bin. But, it is what it is... and aside from the trash, this is a great place.

Our ride:


Heidi on the ride:


Some of the sights along our way to Bangkok:







Now, for some of Bangkok:


This blurry picture sums up Thailand pretty well. Thais zooming by on motorcycles, and a "peace to all who enter here" sign with monks strolling past.


The Thai people genuinely love and respect their royalty. Pictures of their king and queen can be found everywhere, though most often displayed in elaborate shrines outside of major businesses.
This tattered photograph, however, had been adhered to a dark and dirty alley's wall with masking tape. While Thailand does have its problems, a secluded picture of royalty would have been defamed if it was anywhere else in the world.


The highlight of my day? Visiting the Little India area of town and eating some WONDERFUL food:


Oh, and forget about to-go boxes. Chicken? Pepsi? There's a bag for that.


After dinner we took a took-took(?Took-toot? I'll have to clarify with Heidi on the spelling/pronunciation) to the flower market. That little thing was wild.




(I love their HOT PINK Taxis here!)

Me in the crazy vehicle:



Aaaaand we arrived at the flower market unscathed:



The flowers were SO beautiful! I couldn't get over ALL THAT COLOR!










Hmmm I wonder if I can talk Donald into applying for an embassy job here. ;-)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hup Two Three Four!

Keep it up, two, three, four!


The same day we visited the monkey temple, we also spent some time with elephants.


Big animals have a special place in my heart (which might explain why we have such large dogs), and I would gladly raise a baby elephant in my back yard if the home owners association allowed it.



Look at his cute little tongue! :

Heidi was so cute feeding him!


Then I fed some of the big boys:


And then I RODE ONE!



Now, I felt a little bad after finishing the elephant ride. Surely, these sweet guys would be happier in the wild...

And then I realized that this is Thai culture. Elephants are a HUGE part of their national identity, and always have been.

It was fun, plain and simple. I loved every second of it, especially my time with the wittle baby elephant.

I can't believe I've already been here 6 days. Only one week left in this beautiful place!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Adoption Progress!

A small bit of progress was made in the adoption today.

We needed to get our home study tweaked to include additional approval for some special needs not initially written in, and for 2 weeks I had been emailing him about it.


I got myself VERY worked up, and of course took it personally. His assistant was responding to some of our other questions, but anything having to do with adding their needs in, and I got stone walled. Naturally, our social worker must be an avoidant flake who would crush any hope we had of bringing home our boys, by refusing to approve us for them.

I put my fierce momma bear face on, and give him a call.

He was very pleasant, and I appear to have been very wrong.

He had been out of the country.

Lesson learned: breathe, and never jump to conclusions.

(Oh, and he said their needs shouldn't be a problem! Hurray!)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Monkeys Everywhere! (Thailand)

Ya'll know how much I love critters, and yesterday was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. I played with monkeys!


Heidi and I went to an old Buddhist temple where the monkeys have taken over, and it was AWESOME. They roam free, doing whatever the flip they want!

Not the best picture, but here's one little guy jumping onto me:


And another, while climbing up me:




The monkeys were all so cute. You could find them doing the silliest things, and sleeping in the most random places. :-)



















Evidence of their distinct personalities:


More of me with the monkeys:




See the little turd with me here? The fat monkey who already has a piece of corn cob in his mouth?


...yeah, he border-line attacked me! He jumped on me and stole the bag with remaining cob in it, right out of my hand!

And here the filthy bugger is, enjoying his spoils:



As you can see, the monkeys own the town:




Not only were the monkeys a blast, but the temple was stunningly beautiful.






There's a certain magic about old buildings that we just don't get in the Unites States, where we're sadly lacking in architectural evidence of ancient history. Sometimes it seems like the West Coast suddenly sprang into existence 150 years ago. It's one thing I've really missed since moving back from Germany, and I'm definitely enjoying it again in the old Thai structures here.

In conclusion:








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