Tuesday, December 28, 2010


In the upper right hand corner of our blog we now have a link to an online calendar. This calendar has our vacation days as well as when people are coming to visit. If you are considering coming, you could use this to help plan your visit. I don't have my school calendar for next year yet, so September-December 2011 is not quite up to date yet. I'll try and keep this link up to date. 

FWM&G (fun with Mary and Greg!) or ZIPPING THROUGH THE HOLIDAYS!!

My mom wrote this last night, her last night here. The internet wasn't wanting to cooperate though, so I'm posting it now. She should be on her way to Tokyo now, next to Dallas, and finally in about 24 hours arrive back in Iowa. We are headed to Hong Kong later today to celebrate new years. Happy 2011! Now some words (I added the pictures) from my mom....

Greetings from Bangkok.  As my time here with Mary and Greg comes to a close, I’d like to add a bit to their blog.  This has been a very exciting visit.  If you are thinking at all about visiting Mary and Greg, I would strongly encourage you to do so.  They would love to have you!!
The Thai culture is “so different” (ask Mary and Greg how often I made that statement these past days!) and I have learned so much and have a list of things I want to learn more about----like why is their year 2553 and ours is 2010 and how exactly is a salt field maintained and operated  (we saw many on our remote train trip) and after visiting the Grand Palace and many temples, I would like to find out more about the Buddhist religion.

Wat Yai Chaya Mongkok in Ayudhaya

Grand Palace

I visited many places, saw so many sights, tasted so many good foods, smelled so many different smells on the streets, and met many of Mary and Greg’s new friends!!!!.    As far as adventure, zip lining on Christmas Day was probably one of the most spectacular highlights of the trip.  What fun and oh my, what beauty.  Three hours of flying high above the jungle was incredible!!!!
Flight of the Gibbon Zip-Line

Tonight I pack for home.  Leave the 90 degree weather and return to cold and snow.  It is a bitter sweet ending.  I loved every minute of this trip and I loved spending time with my daughter and her husband, they were such gracious hosts.  I love them a lot and  I will miss them so very much, BUT it will also be nice to be back home.  So,  SAWATDEE KAA 

Monday, December 27, 2010

FWM: Fun with Mom Part II

My mom's visit is nearly over, she starts her journey home early tomorrow morning. The second half of her time here has included more sight seeing and celebrating Christmas. She has done remarkably well with the time change and she has been lucky to have relatively cool weather when she has been here.  Our final day today will be filled with sharing photos, getting our Thai massage, laundry and packing. My mom is packing for home and Greg and I are packing for Hong Kong. 

Here are highlights of each day since the last post.

Thursday: Thursday was a day spent mostly home. In the AM I took my mom grocery shopping to experience what it's like in Thailand to search for something that you can easily find at home. My mission: Enchilada Sauce. I ended up buying ingredients I thought would make a green enchilada sauce from scratch, ended up making a red sauce and having enough ingredients for a homemade salsa to enjoy on Christmas day. We were scheduled to have our air-conditioners cleaned (in our lease to be done every 3 months) and also pest control came to spray for critters. The whole process took about 4 hours, but that provided time to rest and talk. For dinner I made the enchiladas (sauce from scratch and heated up in our electric skillet, remember we don't have an oven) and they turned out great. Here's the recipe: Homemade Enchilada Sauce

Friday: We went to The Grand Palace. Upon arriving we met 2 people traveling from Heidelberg, Germany and went on a guided tour with them throughout the palace and visited Wat Po together as well. 

With our German Friends, Kerstin and Phillip

Mom with a soldier. 

By the pretty bonsai trees

The Grand Palace!

Wat Po (the reclining Buddha)

Navigating on the river taxi home.

Saturday: Merry Christmas! We spent the day zip-lining through the jungle. It was wonderful to see God's beautiful creation while flying (or being lowered straight down) from 24 different platforms. We spent the evening skyping with family in Iowa, opening a few presents, eating a good spread of different appetizers, and watching Elf. 

We're ready to go!

You did feel like you were flying!

Go Mom Go!

One of two bridges we crossed

"Ah! So cute," says Devera.

This one two people could go at once, the "Honeymoon Zip"

Group Shot!
Looking back at the tree house we just zipped from, we took a water break there and then continued on our way.
Ready, Set, Fly!

High Up!



Sunday: We woke up at 8:30 for 2 skype dates with family in Michigan and then spent time up the Baiyoke Tower (Bangkok's tallest building). We now know we'd recommend this for anyone staying. Buy the observation deck ticket for 220 Baht ($7.35 USD), is well worth the money for the views, a free drink, and did I mention the views? We also went to a final after Christmas- Christmas Party last night. It was hosted by the American family at my school and it was just lovely. Great food (green bean casserole, eggnog, ham...) and great people. We even took part in a British Christmas Tradition- Christmas Crackers (Click Here for some background information). That's where we got some lovely crowns to wear. 
On Top of Bangkok. It was really windy!

The spread at the Christmas Party.

Christmas Crackers!

Our lovely crowns.

These 11 full days have gone by very quickly. We can't wait for other people to come and visit as well!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

FWM: Fun with Mom

My mom arrived last week Thursday. After missing a flight in Tokyo, she flew in 24 hours past her expected arrival time. The time in Tokyo has proven to help her jet-lag. We've been busy every day since her arrival and she's been doing just fine with the time change. Here are some pictures and the highlights of each day.

Friday 17th December- We spent the day in Ayutthaya where Greg works. It included a tour of his plant, visits to 2 old temple ruins, a floating market, getting caught in an elephant traffic jam, and Greg's work end of the year party. Our driver Pok is from here, so he was more than happy to take us (mom, me and Melanie) around for the day. 
HTO: Where Greg drives to work every day.
Our first temple of the day. 
This temple you could still walk up into. Melanie and I made the trek up the worn down bricks. 
Floating Market
There is an old Buddha Head in the tree. 
Traffic Jam!
There is always lots of food at any Thai gathering.

Saturday 18th December- We went to Ocean World and then went Christmas caroling on the river with our church.

The shark tank was really cool!
We even got a song book when we went caroling! 
We had a big boat for caroling, it held the 120 people that came nicely.
Views from the boat.

A view from the front. 

Sunday 19th December- Weekend Market, Night Church

Monday 20th December- Jim Thompson House, MBK Mall

Pictures were only allowed outside.
There we beautiful flowers everywhere.

Tuesday 21st December - Train Trip (same on that we blogged about before) to MaeKlong

After our first train ride, we ate lunch in Mahachai. After lunch we'd take the ferry below across the river to find our next train. 

Yes Mom, a train will come down these tracks to pick us up.

Enjoying the open air-train ride!

We enjoyed about 40 minutes in MaeKlong.

On our way back through Mahachai, mom fed an elephant.

Wednesday 22 December- Visit to Mary's School, Street Shopping

The new facade outside my school now features kids from my classroom!

Bangkok traffic at its finest.

On the street.

We'll try to post on more early next week. My mom has 5 more days here before she heads home.