Let’s go back in time to the first month we were here and capture some of the highlights, in pictures. I’ll hope to do this for each month since we’ve been here, as time allows (keep your fingers crossed!).
So, without further ado:
(disclaimer: it feels vulnerable to post our family vacation online-it feels more personal than I tend to share with an open audience. But then I’m writing this for our own memory’s sake, and I’m trusting that those who make their way here will love seeing plenty of pictures of the kids.)
We met some wonderful staff and other travelers from around the world and also got our first taste of just how much attention little Western kids can attract. Staff people would try to take pictures with our kids, and they would touch and get inside the kids’ personal spaces. Pretty quickly, Maja learned to assert herself with a loud “No” and an arm swing or two. That was a major grappling for me as a mom this first month–how can I support my daughter and protect her feelings of safety and personal space while still trying to connect with the Thai people who are giving this attention. I regret to say I erred on the side of asking Maja too often to accomodate others’ requests because when she would, it was so neat to see how happy they’d get (we came to Thailand to connect, right?!). This is a slow learning curve, and even months later, it continues to be an area that requires my vigilance and continued growth, for my sweet daughter’s sake.
I had my first rub with class and life here too. We got to know a Filipino staff worker early on, who shared that she worked here at the resort in order to support her 5-year-old daughter back in the Philippines. She wasn’t on great terms with the father, and it made the most sense for their situation for her to be the one working. She hadn’t seen her daughter in several months. Oh my heart. To be away from your baby. By the end of our stay, she updated us that she couldn’t do it any longer and was heading back home. She was going to try to work things out with the dad, who was going to take his turn heading to a neighboring country to work. I was relieved for her, but heavy-hearted to rub shoulders and share hearts with someone whose life situation looked so different than my own. There have been handfuls more of these realities that I’ve had to look in the eye since being here (which stir up rather thunderous thoughts on privilege, lifestyle, and how I can respond with my own choices).
We didn’t take a lot of pictures of the local culture because well 1) we didn’t have our phones yet and didn’t want to pull out a big camera and 2) we didn’t want to be insulting or touristy–this was our new community. More clandestine shots happened in July.
Final thoughts on June:
We rode it high and excited, celebrating and thanking Jesus for His faithfulness in bringing us here, even as we geared up to start settling down. I wondered that the sky was still blue and the grass was still green, that the sun still came up and went down, even halfway across the world. We did normal stuff like bedtime routine and washing dishes, and it felt good to do the familiar. The kids recognized the geckos’ chirps and Maja asked me “How do you say kiwi in Thai?” I/we mourned the loss of Brenden’s beard (which, we now realize, he can keep to some extent except for when he enters Myanmar) and the months of hearing Maja’s little voice say we were going to Thailand, even when in reality we were just going across town. We wrestled with how early it got dark, wanting to go to sleep with it, and slept so hard this first month that when our alarms went off, I thought we had mistakenly set them for the middle of the night. By month’s end, we were still struggling to figure out how to undo the rubber bands that secure much of the food here, especially when overhungry.
So there you have it. Month one in a nutshell. Guess that’s a wrap!