Monday, August 26, 2013

Where to find and air mattress in Bangkok

When we found out we were moving back to Bangkok we said we wanted to try something different.  We absolutely loved the place we lived in 2010 and 2011, but why not try something different?  Actually, it turns out there are a few reasons not to try something different.

1. The price
2. The view
3. The pool
4. The neighborhood
5. Proximity to the expressway and subway
6. All our things will fit perfectly (more on that later)

So, in absolute contradiction to our initial goal of trying something different, this last weekend we moved back into the same place we lived before.  Not just the same building, but the same unit, same landlord, same mailbox, parking space, etc.  It turns out the place has been vacant for the last 20 months, and the reasonable rent (for central BKK anyway) is now even more reasonable.  While settling in we've even had a few "oh that's where we left this" moments, with items we apparently left behind.

We really did look for another place.  In fact we looked at about 20 other properties.  But in the end we didn't see anything that we liked as much as our old "home".  So we're back at the Amanta Lumpini, and enjoying the view.

We have also leased a car so that I (Greg) can drive to work each day.  It also works for bringing us to the beach (pictured below).  It's the black 2005 Honda City.  Since many of the people reading this are in the U.S. and have never heard of the Honda City, it's like a Honda Civic, but smaller.  It's not sold in the states.

The beach we visited was Jomtien, about 2 hours from Bangkok.  The place we have normally stayed here was booked so we tried the "Jomtien Boathouse".  It offered a great view of the sunset from our balcony and the beach was right across the street.

Getting back to the title of this blog...

We are shipping our things over from the U.S. and have not received anything yet. We have an air shipment and a sea shipment, but even the air shipment hasn't cleared Thai customs yet.  There's a whole long story behind that, but in short things sometimes just take longer than expected in Thailand.  Since we are bringing household goods from the U.S. we have an unfurnished condo.  Our air shipment contains an air mattress, but delays resulted in us moving into our condo this weekend with little more than a suitcase each.  We know all of our things will fit perfectly here, since we bought many of them in Thailand, 3 years ago, for the exact same condo.  But for now, we are in a very empty place.

We needed something to sleep on.  I thought buying another air mattress would be a quick and easy solution.  Wrong.  I explained the air mattress concept to a number of Thai friends.  For the most part they all agree this is a great idea, and one they've never heard of before.  A google search on the topic led me to a blog post by another sleepless American who did eventually find an air mattress in Thailand.  They can be found in Thailand!  Apparently when the shipment arrived, the department store employees must have been confused as to what it was.  If you need an air mattress in Bangkok, look near the inflatable pool toys in the sporting goods section of the Paragon Department store.  I even found one that two people can float on.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Settling In

School has started. We've secured a lease on a car. We've signed our rental contract for our condo.... we feel like we are settling in, yet far from establishing a routine. Example: Blogging. We want to make it a part of our regular routine, but we just haven't done that yet. Give us 1 more month and we'll see...

A look inside my room. Minutes before they all arrived... so peaceful!

Life in the Echidna (eh-kid-na) Room at The Australian International School is going well. I have met 9 of my 10 students, the tenth returns from a holiday in Japan next week. As we begin to establish our routines, I have remembered how much I enjoy teaching in an international school setting. Two reasons that come right to mind are low class sizes and families from all over the world. Here are where the kids come from in my room:


 (Native English Speakers-1)

Another thing I am really enjoying about my classroom is the Mimio interactive whiteboard. My classroom is the only room at the school with one and I'm trying to make the most of it. Thank goodness for Pinterest and websites that teachers can share already made files! 

Greg should be home any minute and we'll need to grab some dinner before he has his Tuesday conference call. Next post: Our Anniversary Trip to the beach!

Friday, August 9, 2013

An American Dive Bar in Thailand

True or  False: The picture taken this week.  The answer is.... true! After reading about it on Coconuts Bangkok, we headed over to Fatty's Bar and Diner to check out their American food. It's only about a 5 minute walk from our hotel and in a direction we hadn't explored.

Turns out the owner is from Door County Wisconsin and has recreated an American dive bar here in Bangkok. We think he's done a pretty good job! We especially liked the Wisconsin State Flag hanging over the bar. With menu items like nachos with real Wisconsin cheddar, hot dogs, Wisconsin brats, and grilled burgers- we know we'll be back when we are really wanting a taste from home. The only thing missing was the craft beers on tap.

Hard to see, but some unique menu descriptions include the Italian Dog, "and a sprinkle of Elf Dust". and The Jack the Ripper Dog is "A bacon wrapped dog deep friend to crispy awesomeness." You can also substitute any hot dog for a brat! Where else in Bangkok can you do that?!?!?

Last time we arrived in Bangkok (2010) we went about a month before indulging in some "American" food. We weren't craving anything American the other night, it was just knowing that it was so close... we had to go.  We shared the poppers, Greg had a brat smothered in lots of good things and I had a burger. My pick for the best food item: Jalapeno poppers. Greg's pick: homemade oil & vinegar based coleslaw.

For the past two weeks we have definitely been enjoying the food this city has to offer. Lot of Thai of course (street food and restaurants), but we've also had sushi a few times, Chinese noodles, a Swiss breakfast (crepes), and of course Lebanese! We look forward to many scrumptious meals to come!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sea to Sea

After a great weekend, this morning I'm headed to my first day of New Teacher Orientation at AISB. We are supposed to bring an artifact representing us and our home country to share with the other new staff. I'm bringing my Sea to Sea devotional book.
Image taken from Sea to Sea's official website,

Sea to Sea is a cross country bike tour across the United States. Riders raise money to go towards world relief efforts to end the cycle of poverty. The tour started on June 21st in Los Angles, CA and will end in 3 more weeks in New York. Many of the riders do the entire thing! Greg's dad is doing the last 3 weeks, Grand Rapids, MI to NYC.

Grand Rapids is the 7th city stop on the map. 

The devotional book I'm bringing to school today is set up to be used by supporters and riders alike. Each day there is a short devotional story, an elevation map of the daily route, and even a quote about biking in the bike short section. While Greg and I haven't read it every day, I except we will to see Doug's journey.

Doug out on a training ride.

We'll be checking his blog to see his updates, and checking Sea to Sea's site to see daily route changes. We hope you join us in praying for him, the other riders, and the purpose of this ride. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

We're Back!

June 22nd was moving day at our home.

We've been back in Thailand for just over 5 days... it's hard to believe we are back! Here's an update:

We are currently staying in a hotel/apartment in a neighborhood just off the subway system. It's a neighborhood that we thought we might want to live in, but now we know it's just a little bit too Thai for us. Although it's growing on us. Nonetheless, we're blessed have a bed to sleep in, a fridge to keep our coconut yogurt cold, a decent Internet connection, a clean room, a Tecso Lotus nearby (Wal-Mart type store), and of course a 7-11 just across the street.

Picture taken from Internet

After a LONG flight (I really had forgotten how long you have to be seated in an airplane to get here) we have enjoyed getting back into the groove of city living in this wonderful country. Besides for some $20 bills Greg has stashed away for travels back to the US, we have converted all of our cash to Thai Baht. This was useful to do things like top up our train passes to get around the city.  On Saturday and Sunday we explored neighborhoods we thought we might want to live in this go around. A highlight on Sunday was taking the train to the Silom area, where we enjoyed a sushi dinner and an evening of worship at ICB. We're so happy to call International Church of Bangkok our home church again.

One big difference about being back, is that the people we had formed friendships with are mostly all gone. We did make it back just in time to be invited to a going away party for a young couple at church this Saturday that we knew back in 2010-2011. We do know this city has people coming and going all the time and we know we'll meet some new friends soon!

Monday and Tuesday we spent house hunting with a representative from a relocation company. In 2 days we saw around 20 places. We had unique requirements, Greg needs the expressway and I need the train (or be within walking/taxi/motor taxi distance) to get to work. We were told that our old building, Amanta Lumpini (that met our requirements) did not have available units to accommodate tenants bringing their own furniture. At the end of day 1 we thought we had it narrowed down to two places (one in our old neighborhood and one in a new area), but weren't excited about either of them too much. Our hearts longed to go back to our old building. So....

Long story short... On Monday night Greg emailed our old landlord to see if he had anything open in the building. Tuesday he emailed back to say, "Yes, your old unit". Tuesday afternoon we went to go see it again (a very weird experience!) and since the price has gone down a bit... we agreed to go back. Same building. Same unit. Even though we said we wanted to try something new...we know we will love it. We know our things will fit perfectly!

In our guest bedroom. 
Wednesday was a day spent together enjoying the best of what the city has to offer. First, we needed to purchase g a dry rack and do our first load of laundry. Our hotel has coin laundry for $1/load.  We then headed to lunch at our favorite Bangkok Bagels, followed by  foot massage. Ah, foot massages. We concluded our afternoon with a movie ( Turbo in 3D is cute Dreamworks movie) and walking around one of the latest shopping centers near our hotel. Today Greg was picked up in a van to travel to work and I'll meet some of my co-workers at my all day Thai-Culture class.

 We're back and we're happy to be here!