Saltwater, Sunburns and a Sublime Time…

I got so lucky this Memorial Day weekend. Not only did I get a 3-day weekend, I also got to go to the beach twice, eat lots of yummy food (the all famous “awesome burger” by Noel Roberts which includes two kinds of cheese, special sauce, and a HUGE piece of meat), lounge around in my pajamas for almost an entire day, watch lots of Top Gear episodes (haha…strange “joy” I know…but my dad and I used to watch those together, so I have fond memories of them), get to know some new friends and spend lots of time with a certain Blake Roberts. Such a good good weekend.

Fairhope, Alabama, on the bay east of Mobile, is a really cute/quaint little place. I feel like people ride their bikes and walk everywhere there. Almost like Pleasantville or a sweet little old town where there is no “worry.” Ice cream shops, pizza parlors, bookstores, cute local grocery shops, boutiques and candle shops line the 2 or 3 street downtown. I like.

And at the beach…

Despite the sunburn and the sand in places it shouldn’t be…I couldn’t have asked for anything more. We even got to see dolphins (lots and lots of them), sting rays, tropical fish that loved swimming between our legs (we named Sally Mae and George), and a few crab. I wasn’t so fond of the one that was discovered in my “hole” where I was going to be buried. Thankfully the 5 or so minutes I was “under” the sand, I didn’t meet any new crabs. Whew.

Got to see the sunset in Fairhope. That was really pretty out on the pier. Burin came with, he was a good little traveling buddy. He didn’t even destroy or make a mess of anything at our host/hostess’ house. Thankful for that!

I’m just so thankful for a great weekend. Hope to see many more of those in the future. I could stand to suffer through another sunburn if it means I get all those great memories to go with it. Yup.

 

The “Long” Awaited Promise…

Ok, so you haven’t been waiting that long…because I just wrote the other day…but here I am, fulfilling my promise. Woo hoo me! It’s pitiful really, I can’t even update this blog monthly, let alone in a more timely fashion. Forgive me. I’ll try to do so more often.

For now, I have to catch you up. There’s a lot.

I got back to America in August, as you know. And, it’s been an “adjustment.” I don’t really know if I can call it that, because it’s felt more like a brick wall than an adjustment…but nonetheless. It’s been great to see my mom and dad and grandma and her husband. Fabulous. Great to do American things like eat at Taco Bell and shop-til-you-drop at Walmart…but I have desperately missed “My Thailand” and the rest of the world that God allowed me to see the last two years of my life.

I’ve had the privilege and blessing of sharing at two churches about my time overseas. It’s been a great, and a growing, opportunity. I didn’t do so hot the first time, taking over an hour to share during the service, when I was only really given 30 minutes. Oops. Note to self: make sure you have a clock in front of you. So the next time, at a WMU regional meeting, I warned the crowd, “I don’t see a clock in here so please somebody in the crowd, let me know when I’m getting close to the end of my time.” I was given 30 minutes again…and I shared and showed pics for about an hour and a half. They never stopped me. 🙂 Needless to say, I have a lot to share. How am I possibly supposed to condense two years in amazing places, and amazing experiences, into 30 little minutes? It’s nearly impossible…but I’m trying. Two more scheduled “share times” so we’ll see how we do. God has used my mouth and given me the words to say, and the nerves to stand up in front of lots of sets of eyes. That is a blessing. Tomorrow I lead the Youth Sunday School at the church my parent’s have been visiting. I’m excited…and I’ve broken the lesson into two sessions, at hopes of keeping it “on time.” 🙂

The beginning of October brought a phone call from my former boss saying, “Hey, you wanna go to Vietnam?” Uh…yes. 🙂 So, I headed out for a two week coverage in the country of Pyramid shaped sun-hats and had an absolutely great time. Our team (video and writer) was great. We had a blast, and probably laughed way too much for our own good. We met amazing people, unbelievable stories to tell, and even got to visit one of my best friends from Thailand. What a blessing. The last day, I got sick, and was sick in the airport and on the way back to America, but besides that…I have no complaints.

Here are a few shots from the trip…

Pastor of the largest Baptist church in Ho Chi Minh City baptizing a new believer.

Village Pastor who was previously a Viet Cong…amazing story

Rice fields…

Reminder of the communist rule in Vietnam…

We went to the Cu Chi Tunnels…crawled through the bat-infested and dark holes in the ground…

Thank you for your continued prayers…

From America…

Wow! I’m back! I can’t believe it myself. Mostly because the first 3 or 4 days of my stay consisted of a feeling of “my brain is disconnected from my head.” And then the last three days have consisted of coughing, runny nose, and yucky feeling…yep…I’m sick. I guess it’s from the temperature change. I went from 90 degrees and up to 43 degrees. 🙂 No comment. Temp change, along with lack of sleep, jet lag, and missing my Thai family…all combined doesn’t do my body good. So now I’m sucking down Sunny D, extra Vitamin C, Airborne, and TheraFlu. That and a nice rest on my parent’s bed and watching good old American TV like the Travel Channel, Food Network, and ABC Family. I’m likin it. 🙂

Today is one week that I’ve been back…and it’s been a busy week. Went to Taco Bell, PetCo, ordered a cell phone through AT&T, shared a small message at church, spent an hour or two in the book store with mom and dad (just like the good old times) and bought a car! (well…got a loan for one at least)

Mom has also told me about a job opportunity she heard of at a local elementary school…recess guard (but it’s perfect for me…because I don’t have much else going on right now…and with the chance of doing some sub work later)…we’ll see…but at least it would be a little income for now.

Still planning on sharing at as many churches and places I can. If you know of someplace that would like to hear me speak about the time in Thailand and missions in general, let me know…please.

For now, I’m trying to get over this sicky-ness, adjust (as much as I can) to America (that’s proven to be interesting so far) and try to catch up with folks here, but not lose touch with my fam back there.

Love to you all…

50 things…7 days

That’s only one week left. Not that I’m counting, but there’s something about having a plane ticket in hand, that just makes it easier to count down. Not that I even want to…my parent’s are already though. Ha! They asked what I wanted to eat first…and after two years, waiting for American food, yumminess…guess what I picked? Taco Bell. 🙂 Some of you may be disgusted, but some of you may understand completely my desire.

26) P’Nira…(my sweet older sister here who I met the 4th or 5th day I was here at a special Christmas time market) she recognized me the next time I saw her at her shop near where the market was held, but I didn’t recognize her. That same situation happened to me numerous times in Thailand, a Thai person would be like, “HI! How are you Neisha? Haven’t seen you in a while.” And I would not know who this person was, thought I’d never met them before. I’m getting better at that now. But…anyways…America has no P’Nira.

27) Khuay Tiaw Soi 1…(the best yummiest khuay tiaw place around…in my opinion) it’s spicy pork soup with peanuts and veggies…delicious. 30 baht.

28) Motorcys…(there are so many, and so easy to drive, and and and fun) sure America has motorcycles, but they don’t have the motorcys of Thailand…smaller, cheaper, slower little bikes (more like scooters) that are so fun and prevalent here.

29) Karaoke…(ok, so I’ve never actually been (A HUGE SHAME I KNOW) but I’ve heard it’s fun) and I’m going for my first time with friends on my last friday in Thailand.

30) Kad Suan Kaew…(an older mall with tons of quirky little off-name shops and cheap clothes, shoes, yummy food, etc etc) there’s just not a mall like this in America. I do love the hi-so malls of America, to be sure, but there’s still somethings special about “my mall,” the one I can see out my window. The one I saw a shining “Pizza Company” sign on the first night here. The one that tempted me every time with puppies for sale. The one that I went grocery shopping at when I had no transportation.

All for now…

Blessings…

50 things…and 12 days…

18) Mo’c Mo’l…(better known among us all as Mo’s coffee because we hardly ever go to the restaurant part, but rather to the coffee shop part) a magical coffee place, with big lights, a band, good chaa yen, a pond with a bridge. It’s really indescribable.

19) Late night airport runs…(our airport is basically…amazing) it’s close to the city, and the city is not very big anyways, so we can always go and do midnight runs to the airport to pick up or drop off a friend. So many many memories in the airport.

20) Sticky rice…(yeah…chewy yummy warm goodness) rice that is “sticky” as in it sticks together and you use your hands to eat it. Great to dip in spicy sauce and go with yummy chicken.

21) My friends…(yes, I have friends in America too, but they are not the same friends I have here) I will miss them dearly. All my Thai friends, and farang (foreigner) friends have made my time here so memorable. Without them, I very well could have found myself very quickly back in America, without finishing my two year term here.

22) Starbucks…(haha, I know it’s in America too) there’s just something about Starbucks, it’s the same every country you are in, which for some could seem boring, but let me tell you, when you have one of those “I miss America like peanut butter misses jelly” kind of days, you need to go to something familiar. 🙂

23) Jewelry…(the little stores in markets or along the road are so cheap and fun) easy to buy and fun to accessorize your wardrobe, jewelry hand made and otherwise is so fun here.

24) Cockroaches…(I think I made this list with the intention of listing 50 things that I can’t find in America, but that doesn’t mean things I only like about Thailand) this little bug (or usually rather large bug here) is not my friend. I’m still freaked out by them, eventhough they are pretty much every place that you go to, at your condo building, at the mall, at the tailor shop, the nail salon, the friends store, the restaurant…you name it…these pesky guys are there. Eww…

25) 7-Eleven bill payment plan…(yep, any 7 allows you to bring in your phone and internet and electricity and other bills and pay them with cash) totally awesome way of doing bill payment, especially since there are usually at least three branches of 7-Eleven on each street.

And the 12? That means…only 12 little days left here. 🙁

Please keep me in your thoughts…the 24th Thailand time, around 5pm I will be leaving my current home. Please pray for safe travels, not too many tears, and secure luggage. 🙂

Blessings…

50 things…

11) Rains that bring the cool…(In America, I never liked rainy days. I guess it’s because I get a bit depressed with the gray skies and no sunshine) here the rains bring the cool. I relish in the rainy days. The cloud covering (although I still love the sunshine) brings with it a peace and a still that only rainy season brings here. The hot season (which is nearly all the time really) is brought to a screeching halt when the rains come…and oh how swee they are.

12) Constant scales…(scales as in “fat scales”…in the form of people) everyone here, well mostly the women, will instantly tell you your weight. Whether you’ve gained weight or lost weight, you will be told, in a matter of minutes, which way it is on the “scale.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told, “Oh you have a pouch.” Or “You lost weight.” I mean, I always like the second phrase, but the first one is still taking time to get used to, even though it’s always true, it’s still hard. But I’m getting to the point where I can laugh it off, because it doesn’t mean the same thing here as it does to Americans in America.

13) Awesomest Cell Phone structure…(Thailand has it down…) no lengthy contracts and outrageous monthly bills here. Thailand knows how to work the cell phone. You buy a phone, a SIM card, and you can do a month by month plan or buy minutes for your phone whenever you’d like. It is so much cheaper and smarter. I love it.

14) Massage…(ladies and gentleman, come here for this wonder of wonders) Thailand must be the master of massage…really it feels great, good stretching, getting all those knots out that no one can reach, and it is on average about $5 for an HOUR! A whole hour! In America, it is definitely about 20 times that price and not nearly as good.

15) Guards…(every business, home, or condo building has them) a guard to watch your home, a guard to watch the people parking in your parking lot, a guard to guide the traffic from the entrance/exit to your business. It’s cool…it gives them a job, and adds a bit more protection (I’m not sure from what…because there isn’t much crime here) and helps with traffic. So great.

16) Hard wood/tile floors…(there’s really not many places here with carpet) granted it’s nice to have a cushy rug or carpet to lay on and watch tv at night, but it’s great to have easy to clean floors at home, in restaurants, and every store. A broom and mop is all you need.

17) Smiles…(there’s not much more to say about that)…but really, Thailand is the land of smiles. It’s lovely…and when you’re having a bad day, nothing can really  make it better like a nice and warm and friendly smile. So lovely.

All for today.

Blessings…

50 things…continued

Here’s a few more…

6) Awesome Thai Food…(so in America, I know they have Thai food but…) Krapaw Kai (chicken with basil) Kuay Tiaw (chicken soup) Pad Phak Ruam (stir fried vegetables) Khaaw Niaw Kai Thawd (sticky rice and fried chicken) I mean….it’s stinkin good food…and unfortunately, it’s just not the same in America…and way more expensive to boot.

7) Driving on the left side of the road…(although it took me a little while to get used to it) it’s so fun! The traffic is bad sometimes and the things drivers do here would just send American drivers to the moon, but really I feel like I’m a better driver here than in America. Ok maybe not better (because there are no rules here) but a more “skilled” driver. I have pulled through tighter spots than I could have even imagined in America, without a scratch. HA!

8) Thai Church…(amazing to sit and worship the same Father in a different language) wow…I’m amazed each time I go to church here. Really. It knocks me off my feet. Yesterday we had the Lord’s Supper and I was just reminded of His great love, that He chose me, and my Thai friends next to me.

9) Wat’s so intricately decorated…(they are beautiful and big and golden) last night I went and saw the biggest wat (temple) and pagoda (another part of the temple) in the city…it was huge…the pagoda has been broken by lightening years back, and now is only the brick insides (since the golden exterior has worn away after so many years).

10) Walking Street…(super cool, large, fun, and crowded market on Sunday nights) went there last night for maybe the last time before I leave. I went early, to beat the crowds, but the crowds still came as the sun began to set. It’s awesome. So many little stands, hand made things, t-shirts, food, and all of it is just free to sell there. In America we have cool flea-markets, but it’s just not the same, plus you have to pay to sell at the market, here you just find your place, set up shop, and make money. So fun.

That’s it for today…

Blessings…

50 Things, 5 to Start…

Nearing the end…less than a month left in this place God has put me. (silent pause)…

Emotions and thoughts and feelings…they are trying to figure themselves out. I think they’re having a hard time.

It’s like I’m a person cut into two parts…one half is so excited to return home, hug my mom’s neck, pet my cat, go to Taco Bell, make a shopping run to Target. The other half is desperately trying to grab onto all things I love here, and even the things I don’t.

Learning to cook Thai food so I can have a taste of this place, buying a few little things that remind me of Thailand, spending lots of time with friends and having some great conversations.

My days are currently consisting of editing previous trips, finalizing some slideshows, writing a story to go with a video from India, waiting on a response from Southwestern Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas, planning my itinerary to America (looks like maybe the 24th I’ll be headed out), selling my furniture, having a few dresses specially made, enjoying the rain as it cools the temps here, and preparing my pup for travel.

The differences in culture and life is hitting me hard…I keep seeing all the differences in Thai culture and American culture, where as before, Thai culture became the norm. I thought it would be interesting to share 50 things that pop in my mind that I cannot find in America (special to Thailand)…maybe when I’m back in America I’ll do the reverse and do a list of 50 things you cannot find in Thailand…

Here goes…

1) Markets (open all day long…and sometimes into the night) filled with fruit, fresh meat, fish, clothing, plastic goods, shoes, anything you could possibly imagine or want at a minimal cost…(better than Wal-Mart for prices…but much more unpleasant for the nose)

2) Coffee shops (on every corner) we’re not talking about Starbucks here, I mean yummy lovely and cute little shops with delicious Chaa Yen (Thai Iced Tea) and awesome atmospheres, not to mention the company that goes with you into these little shops

3) Elephants on the street (usually at night) you can see them walking down the highway or side street with their owner, looking for money and food…and as you might imagine, they draw attention, especially for the tourists

4) Mountains surrounding a huge valley (completely surrounded by mountains) this place does hold in the smog and rain and smoke from burning fields, but let me say, the sunrise is absolutely breathtaking coming up over the mountains and pouring out onto this place called home

5) Tuk-Tuks and Rot Deengs (the easiest and cheapest form of transportation) these three wheeled and covered motorbikes called tuk-tuks are awesome, but mostly for tourists, then there’s the local (and way cheaper) truck called a rot deeng or song taew for the locals, it’s a truck with a covered back and two rows of seating (awesome)

That’s all for now…more to come.

Please remember me, my friends that don’t know Him yet, and my time here as it comes to a close.

Blessings

“New Look, Same Great Quality”…

Well, or so they say. Dad made a new template for this little old blog…and I kinda like it. 🙂 Thanks Pops!

New blog look, new projects to edit and work on, new world headed my way. This week it seems like I’ll be heading back to America near the end of August. (I say “this week” because I’ve gotten used to not making any kind of stone hard plans…so next week it could be entirely different…and that’s ok). The end of August…that leaves about two months left…two full months. Got lots of projects coming down the pipe, a camp for MK’s in July, and a week long conference to follow that, both of which I am to be interviewing folks and taking pics to make an LMCO thank you video for during the last two weeks of July. Whew. The awesome news? I’ve been asked to sing with the worship team for our yearly conference. So excited! Thanks God!

My last two weeks have been filled with (well, are you ready for the gory details?) puppy licks, nibbles, smelly chicken food, a new leash, squeaky toys, puppy poo, and piddles. 🙂 All for the low low price of 1,500 baht…that’s about 40 bucks. In exchange, I got an adorable little Shih Tzu pup who’s name is Burin (that’s a famous Thai singer here, he sings in the band Groove Riders…I learned one of their love songs and have sung it at two Thai weddings)…and the name means “king of the city.” My little pup. He’s my baby. 🙂

The last two weeks have also been filled with ideas of returning back to America. Honestly? I’m a bit frightened. You know, sure I’ve only lived here for two years…but in two years…a lot can happen. You adjust, adapt, become part of the culture you live in. You learn the language, you fall in love with the culture, the people, the food. 🙂 I’m a bit afraid of what I will think of America when I get back. I know it will be quite a ride on the reverse culture shock monster…and I’m praying He will be my seatbelt and constant. It will be difficult for friends and family as well, because where I have been changing and growing in Thailand without them, they have been changing and growing in America without me. And we both have not seen each other through that gradual process, as we would if we lived in the same country. No…this way is drastic. No gradual-inity in this transition. Get ready Neisha.

Can you sense I’m a little tense? 🙂

Well, if it comes to mind…lift up a little prayer for me, my family, and my friends. As well as those I will be leaving behind here. I will miss them dearly.

Blessings

A Little Visuals…

Here’s something you can look at to see what I’ve been up to the last two weeks. More to come in words…

P.S. Trying to work out the kinks of a video insert…sorry if the quality is quite up to par. Hopefully I can fix that in the near future. For now, you can get a “preview.” 🙂

Blessings
[kaltura-widget uiconfid=”535″ entryid=”0_1m0kf3zg” width=”400″ height=”330″ addpermission=”” editpermission=”” /]