Monday, December 29, 2014

Loy Krathong

Loy Krathong is an annual holiday in Thailand. It's not one that people get off work, but it's one that is widely celebrated here and in other Buddhist countries. As with any holiday anywhere, you can ask people what it's about and you'll get a range of answers.

Most Thai holidays fall on a full moon, which is an important part of the Buddhist Calendar. 
Loy Krathong falls in November (this year it was 6th November) and is near the end of the rainy season/beginning of the cooler dryer season (winter). People celebrate by floating (Loy) a decorated boat (krathong) in a body of water. It's a celebration to thank the water gods for the rice season and  a chance for Buddhist to repent/float away their sins, and make wishes for the next year. Also similar to many holidays, it has become very commercial, adapting an almost Valentines Day meaning- something you do with your sweet heart.

We joined thousands of others at  Benjansari Park right downtown. With easy access from the sky train, this was a very popular destination for people living downtown. 

We've been in Thailand for three different Loy Krathong celebrations. At my schools we take time to part take in the celebrations which also include Thai dancing, singing, and games. This year Greg and I joined a group from church (and thousands of other people) to float krathongs in a local park. For us, it took on a different meaning.

My students' krathongs ready to go! 

A few friends from church and our krathongs. 

Enjoy our pictures below, along with handout we read during our experience.


John 1:1-5 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all people. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

As you look upon all the lights. Remember Jesus who is the light of the world. How has Jesus provide light in your life? (Optional: Share 2 ways he has done this with a partner)

Light Your Krathong.

Remember that as a Christian you are part of the body of Christ, called to be part of Christ’s light in our world. Think of one way you can bring the light of Christ into someone else’s life this week. Now commit to doing it.

On top of every kratong is a candle and incense. 


1 Kings 8:46-51. 46 "When they sin against you—for there is no one who does not sin—and you become angry with them and give them over to their enemies, who take them captive to their own lands, far away or near; 47 and if they have a change of heart in the land where they are held captive, and repent and plead with you in the land of their captors and say, 'We have sinned, we have done wrong, we have acted wickedly'; 48 and if they turn back to you with all their heart and soul in the land of their enemies who took them captive, and pray to you toward the land you gave their ancestors, toward the city you have chosen and the temple I have built for your Name; 49 then from heaven, your dwelling place, hear their prayer and their plea, and uphold their cause. 50 And forgive your people, who have sinned against you; forgive all the offenses they have committed against you, and cause their captors to show them mercy; 51 for they are your people and your inheritance, whom you brought out of Egypt, out of that iron-smelting furnace.

Take a few minutes while looking at your lit Krathong to reflect on your life. Is there anyone with whom you are angry? Are you holding any grudges? What are some things you are involved in that you shouldn’t be? What are some things you are not involved in that you should be?


Here is how the book of Matthew describes the birth of Jesus. Referring to Mary, Matthew says, “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Place your Krathong in the water and watch it. As you watch it, thank Jesus for overcoming your sin with his death on the cross.

We really enjoyed the celebration. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Websters Came to Thailand

Over Thanksgiving we were very blessed to have Greg's sister and our brother and law come to visit us. They were in Thailand from the 26th November through the 9th December. Andrew had just finished volunteering for 3 months in the northern UK for a mission's organization. Ann also joined him for the majority of the time and volunteered in the community as well. After their time here in Thailand they returned back to Michigan and their jobs- but we were so happy they decided to swing by on their way home.  To learn more about them, check out their blog at:

Ann and Andrew are excellent bloggers and facebook updaters while traveling. The majority of the pictures you'll see here are taken right from them. We really really enjoyed showing them Thailand. We showed them the beach, two unique markets, and of course the big city.  During their time up north by themselves they saw the mountains, spent a day with Thai elephants and enjoyed the country side. They really saw the best of what this country has to offer, which right now includes US!

Happy Thanksgiving! Ann and Andrew met about 30 of our friends from Bangkok for a Thanksgiving Feast at a local hotel. Yum Yum!

Greg and I both took the day after Thanksgiving off and we took the Websters down to Koh Samet. We enjoyed the island life of laying on the beach, snorkeling, eating seafood and getting massages as they recovered from jet-lag. 

After Ann and Andrew returned to Bangkok from their trip to Chiang Mai we took a day trip to Meklong to see the train market and toured through the nearby Amphawa Floating Market. It was our first time to the floating market as we didn't realize how close the two were located! 
Another day in the city was spent getting massages (boys) and pedicures (girls), going to a movie, venturing up Bangkok's tallest building for sunset and eating dinner at a mall on the river.  Since the King's Birthday- also Father's Day, a national holiday is 5th December was during their stay, we saw plenty of photo opportunities for dads and the Baiyoke Tower was no different!  I had Greg stand by the Daddy Engineer display :-)  (middle right)

Other adventures with the Websters included a bike ride through Bangkok's Green Lung, dinner at our favorite Thailand Wisconsin dive bar Fatty's, putting up our Christmas tree, going to worship with us and ordering dinner afterwards from our favorite kebab vendor Jack.

Ann and Andrew also spent time in the Bangkok exploring the Grand Palace and partaking in a cooking class, "Cooking with Poo" as well as just relaxing before heading back to their home in Grand Rapids, Michigan. You can read all about it on their blog.  We feel so blessed to have now had a majority of our immediate family come and see us here in Thailand. Thanks for coming!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014!

It's been awhile, a LONG while, since we have updated The MacLeod Thaimes. Instead of trying to update it all now... let's just start with where we are... Merry Christmas!

While people know what Christmas is in Thailand, people don't really know what it is about. Sure, it's about Santa and gift giving, putting lights on trees, decorating things with snowflakes and snowman, and eating yummy food- but Jesus is usually left out.  Just take a look at every mall in Bangkok and you'll see evidence of this.

Some of the pre-Christmas traditions that we participated in this year included caroling and cookie making- albeit Thai style.  Caroling was organized by our church and was on a river boat up and down Bangkok's Chao Phraya (we did this a few years ago with my mom as well). Cookie making was done at a co-worker's (who happens to be from Milwaukee) apartment that has an oven (we don't have an oven).

After the hours of baking we delivered cookies to our school and also kept plenty for ourselves. Greg and I provided platters for our building staff as well as his co-workers. 

Setting off around 4:30  on a Saturday afternoon we enjoyed being on the river at it's prettiest time: sunset. We were led by a worship team to sing church classics such as Silent Night and kid's favorites like Frosty the Snowman. My favorite time was when families/groups from different countries came and sang carols in their home language. We heard songs in Thai, Japanese, Persian, Tagalog, Spanish,  a few different African languages, Malay, Urdu and plus a few I think I'm forgetting.

Our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day this year were very different. On the 24th we enjoyed a dinner out at a favorite local restaurant.  Because of Greg's extra long commute we did not make it to church. We then opened just one gift each from our stockings. On Christmas Day Greg went to work and I spent the day with a few groups friends eating too much. Greg joined in the second gathering which included eating roasted turkey, turkey enchiladas, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, carrots, stuffing, and a choice between pumpkin or pecan personal pies from a local Mexican restaurant. It was a modest gathering and our eyes were bigger than our stomachs when ordering- so we all even took home large plates of left overs!  I even snagged the turkey carcass to make some homemade stock. We just finished opening gifts today (27th) and somehow even though they aren't even here in person Baby Mac got the most...I wonder if this is how it will always be....

My morning at Sam and Jamethon's home was just lovely! Their friends Zach and Neung (in the picture) also joined in a relaxing morning of eggs, bagels, fruit, moneky bread, and even egg nog! I especially liked their poinsettia Christmas bush!

From Sam and Jamethon's I traveled by taxi to my friend Chris's house for another gathering. Our meal was catered by a local Mexican restaurant and was just fantastic. Chris lives in a house with yard just north of downtown in quiet neighborhood so visiting him really feels like going over to someone's house in the US. The top left photo shows the day after stock making with the turkey carcass. My plans for that include making a turkey and bacon split pea soup.  

Even though Greg had work this week, he said it was fun time to be there. On Christmas Day he wore his light up Santa Hat (see middle bottom picture taken by our tree before heading to work) and brought chocolates to give the guards and toll booth workers on his commute.  He participated in the office Secret Santa festivities that accumulated with the New Year Party on Friday night with  dinner and bowling. He was on the blue team. 

Of course all of our Christmas activities have been planned tentatively because we are anxiously awaiting Baby Mac's arrival. Their (we don't know if it's a boy or a girl) arrival date is scheduled in just 10 days! We are also anticipating the arrival of our lifetime friends Steph and Danny Kimball in a few days.  They will join us for 4 days around Bangkok and then travel to Cambodia, then Chiang Mai Thailand before spending one last day with us (maybe the 3 of us!) before heading to Japan for some more traveling.

We hope this blog post is the first of a string of them to help keep you (and document for ourselves) what we are up to over here in Thailand. Merry Christmas!