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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™

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. πŸ™‚

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 Β 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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚ 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? πŸ™‚

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

What to Write…?

That is the question…

I realized tonight, while my mind was wandering in a youth group meeting (it was in Thai…so I don’t feel so bad that my mind was wandering)…that I have not written in a LONG time. I thought it had been about 4 weeks…but now looking at the blog itself…it has indeed been longer than that. The answer/excuse…depending on how you look at it…is my computer.

It is true…if you set a laptop on a small table, have dinner and an open water bottle on the table as well, and you get up from your seat and hit the table with your hip along the way, the bottle will topple over, and it will spill onto the keyboard and into the computer…and it will in fact, cause your computer to short out, shut down, and not turn on again. In which case…one might take it to the Mac Store, be told it might cost you $600 to fix, and then continue to wait 3 weeks for it to be fixed…but luckily only costing about $40…but then have to return to that same Mac Store (let’s see…) about 7 times (literally) to finally get your laptop back…still with problems…and not having a working wireless access or email program. So…lesson learned? Don’t have any kind of food or water near your laptop at any time…I don’t care how careful you are or how often you do and have no problems…just don’t do it. Oy.

Now I’m in the south of Thailand…near Phuket with a family I met last year at MK summer camp…spent today with a team (Thai) from Bangkok and we went out to a nearby village sharing the Gospel. Very amazing. Very hot…but amazing. Then this evening was the youth group…only about 10 or so showed up…but still a good evening. Tomorrow we’ll do a children’s camp with the Thai team and then I head out in the afternoon to return back to Chiang Mai. The family here…they’re quite hilarious. I have to say only nice things on here about them (because the mommy reads this sometimes) hahaha. No but really…they are great. The mom…she’s a bit scatter-brained, super energetic, and simply makes me laugh. The dad is pretty calm and collected…and handles his family so well. The two kids still at home are adorable…the youngest has the bluest eyes and smiles like a million bucks. The daughter, 14 now, is a cutie…and pure servant heart. Such a sweet fam. They’ve been great letting me stay, feeding me, and even letting me crowd the couch to watch American Idol from the internet. πŸ™‚

Pictures soon to come of this little adventure…it was a rush project that the WMU needed…so I’ll get the pics edited soon and put up a few. Even got to do some family portraits this afternoon with the fam. Good times. And…the mom likes photography so (hopefully) I’ve gotten to teach her a few things about it along the way. She’s been a great listener and I’ve gotten to process some things with her lately. Good trade. πŸ™‚

Blessings…

Thought Wanderings of A Girl That Lives in Thailand…

So, have you ever had one of those days when nothing seems to fit? To work? To be fun? Well…it’s one of those days. Lots of things running through my mind, decisions to be made, ideas to be formed, videos to be edited, pictures to be taken, chaa yen’s (thai ice tea) to be drunk (drank?…I always get confused with the past tense of that word).

Sitting in my favorite coffee shop, it’s yellow on the inside and I’ve gotten to know the owners (a cute little family who just had their first baby girl)…and I started thinking. What a day. What a place I live in. What opportunities lie ahead of me. What mistakes I will make. What lessons I will learn. Somehow…it feels as though I’m on the edge of something and I’m not quite sure where it will take me. This all sounds very vague and “Alice in Wonderland-like” but really…it’s pretty scary…but amazing. I know I’ve changed so much while being here…my ideas about myself…my confidence level…my faith…my ideas about church…my hopes in sharing God’s love…my ideas about how to do that…etc etc etc. But now…as this time begins to come to a close (only about 4 months left…one of which will be filled with conferences and MK camps) I begin to think about the time as a whole that I’ve spent here…and the lessons learned along the way. I’m eternally grateful for the experience. I know I’ll never be the same. I hope I have grown closer to God and more like His likeness…and I hope that I continue to do so in the future.

Right now I see all the things that I used to be afraid of here…and all the things that I love here now.

Past fears:

-language – cultural inappropriateness – not sharing my faith clearly – not sharing my faith enough – messing up at my “job” as a photographer – not satisfying folks in the company that I work for – letting people down with my “results” – driving – getting fat from all the delicious food – and more

Current loves:

-language – cultural things I’ve learned that I now know how to handle – being able to share my faith in small ways and in big – loving my “job” and being confident that God’s equipped just for this time – aiming to satisfy and glorify only God and not man – I love to drive here and think I’m a better driver because of it – I love Thai food and have gained weight but then lost it again πŸ™‚ – the friendliness of the culture – the relaxed Β nature of the culture – the community driven ideas of the culture – the mountains – the funny sounds I hear coming off the street – the prettiest flower in the world ΰΈ₯ΰΈ΅ΰΈ₯ΰΈ°ΰΈ§ΰΈ”ΰΈ΅ lee-lah-wah-dee – and more

So fun to look back at how I viewed this place in the beginning and how I view it now.

As a last note…I love the rain. I never liked it in America really, but here, it’s like a breathe of fresh air. Literally. The smoke and pollution accumulates in the valley we live in and then the heat makes it worse. So…the first rain (the one I prayed for and asked others to pray for) was such a relief.

So as one song I really like says…”bring on the rain.”

Blessings!

Question…

For many reasons, this question is on my heart today…what is the core of being a believer and where should there be lines drawn? Not lines of separation per say, but boundary lines…lines that protect…lines that guide…lines that keep truth? In America, in college, I was faced with deciding against my friends, against my fellowship at school, against the things I had been involved in for two years, and go a different way because of my belief, to fight for and stand up for the Truth. It was possibly the hardest thing I had done at the time. I thought those days were over, and I would no longer have to deal with this idea of “having to draw lines” and “choosing to separate for the Truth.” I was wrong.

Although America does not compare to international places in terms of cooperation, love, and “One Goal” there is still a line that one must draw as a believer, a believer in the Truth. Where is the point where we can say, “Ok, this person doesn’t believe EVERYthing the same as me, but the core is the same (and that’s all that matters) so I can still fellowship with them, love them, and serve with them.” ? And…where is the line where one must say, “No. I’m sorry. I do love you. I do care for you. I do want to serve with you. But I cannot adhere to what you are teaching. I cannot go with what you are interpreting in the Word.” ? Does there need to be that line? And if there does…where should it be drawn?

I love this place because much of the infantile separation that occurs in the states is diminished, and almost non-existent here. It’s lovely. People working together for one purpose: to reach the lost, those that have never even heard the name of Jesus. Here, it is not a matter of “What church do you go to?” or “What denomination are you a part of?” but rather “Do you know who Jesus is?” and then when believing friends meet, sometimes you may go months or even years or even a lifetime before you even know what “denomination” they a a part of. It’s no longer “Are you SBC or Lutheran?” It’s simply, “Are you a believer?” And the answers? No longer, “I’m Methodist” but rather “I’m a Christian, a follower of Christ.” I feel like in America there is so much fighting, so much pushing away, so much judgement…in unhealthy ways. Ways that separate and defile what God made the church to be. It saddens me.

But…where is the line?

Have you ever thought about this, or dealt with it? Just curious…it’s worth thinking about…because one day…I’m almost certain…you’re going to face it.

Blessings…