Monthly Archives: September 2014

Our First Year in Thailand!

This month marks the one year anniversary of our arrival in Thailand! It’s crazy to think that we’ve already been here for an entire year! We’re so thankful for all that we’ve been able to be apart of and for all of the great relationships that we’ve been able to form during this time. Here are some thoughts from Michelle looking back on the year.

Things that I experienced for the first time over the year:  

  • Living in a city of over 15 million people.
  • Visiting Thai temples and seeing the many ways that Buddhist worship to make merit.
  • Eating a bug.
  • Visiting Malaysia and Cambodia.
  • Seeing and feeding wild monkeys.
  • Riding an elephant through the Thai jungle.
  • Getting a leach after a long hike up a mountain.
  • Bathing with bugs, centipedes, geckos and frogs.
  • Bathing with freezing cold water out of a bucket.
  • Learning how to use the handheld bidet (a.k.a. butt hose).   
  • Learning how to flush the squatty potty.
  • Teaching a class of students English as a second language.
  • Eating Pakistani food.
  • Going out to bars and ministering to prostitutes and strippers. 
  • Getting stuck in downtown Pattaya in a storm with half of the city flooded. 

Things that have become a normal part of life over the past year:

  • Riding a tuk tuk (3 wheeled vehicle used in SE Asia).
  • Mosquito zapping (with an electrified racket).  
  • Using squatty potties.
  • Pouring sweat the second we step out the door.
  • Constantly haggling for a good price with taxis, tuk tuk drivers and shop keepers.
  • Visiting with refugees and hearing their stories.
  • Seeing extremely deformed and impoverished beggars almost every time I go out my door.
  • Living 37/38 floors high.
  • Forming relationships with our local street vendors, our condo employees, local coffee shop baristas and market employees
  • Dealing with visas every 3 months.
  • Showering 2 to 3 times a day.
  • Taking shoes off when I come home or go to someone else’s home.
  • When leaving home, always carrying an umbrella because come rain or shine I’ll most likely be using it. (We use umbrellas here on sunny days to keep our lovely white skin.)
  • Wearing tank-tops and short-sleeves, shorts and flip flops year round. Forget about boots and a coat, it’s hot here!
  • Getting stared at whenever I go out.
  • People commenting me on my looks almost every time we go out. Thank goodness, they think I’m “suay” (beautiful). I’ve heard many foreigners get comments about being fat!
  • Waiing others (traditional bow and greeting).
  • Smiling a lot and saying “Sawadee ka/krub” (hello).
  • Converting baht to $ in my head or vise-versa .
  • The sounds of geckos.
  • Worshiping every week with people from all over the world. (Thailand, England, Pakistan, Philippines, China, America, etc)
  • Getting around without a car. Relying on my own 2 legs, the BTS (skytrain), taxis, tuk tuks, song taews (truck with seating in the back), buses, canal boats, etc.
  • Always pushed to get out of my comfort zone.
  • Getting up in the mornings or staying up late in the evenings to talk to family via Google chat, Skype or FaceTime.
  • Seeing taxi drivers publicly relieving themselves in brood daylight. 
  • Seeing my niece and nephews growing up through Facebook.
  • Missing family during holidays, birthdays and special times when our family gets together.
  • Being pursued by the tuk tuk drivers, massage parlors and shop owners.
  • Throwing my toilet paper in the trash can and not the commode.
  • Eating out, picking up something or ordering in instead of cooking.
  • Experiencing Thai politics with all of the parades, grenades, shootings, camping out, closing down huge areas of the city, military coup, etc.
  • Standing for the King’s song before a movie.
  • Seeing huge pictures of the King and Queen everywhere.
  • Eating (not always the cleanest) street food.
  • Hearing whistles from the protest

      Written by Michelle Ford