Monday, February 15, 2016

My New Normal #thelifeofThai

Last month I wrote a blog about how newsletters are hard because living in Thailand is my new normal. This month I would like to expand on that. I want to share with you some of the things that are now my new norm.

Where do I start? Let's start with the food. Thai food is oh so good and cheap! If you didn't have rice with your meal then it was more or less a snack haha. The Thai people like their food spicy. If it isn't spicy then it is bland. Or if you're like me and you can't eat spicy food then you get the child's version of the dish. Yeah, it can be embarrassing but this is my life now ha! Most Thai dishes are around 35 baht ($1). You can't beat that!

If you get your food to go it comes in little plastic bags. It might not look like a lot of food but it is! For you adventurous types, there's an array of fried insects to choose from. I've also seen squid on a stick, octopus leg on a stick, and various other types of sea creatures on a stick. Me, I prefer pork on a stick with sticky rice. One of my favorite things! Another cool thing is that you can eat the food from the street carts. Not something I've done in the other countries I've been to. I could go on and on about the food. But there's far too much to share!

Next, let's talk about driving. We drive on the left side of the road here. It isn't as hard to adjust to if you ride a motorbike. A car is a different story. I've driven both and I much more prefer the bike.

There's another kid between the parents
I feel 10x safer on a bike here than I do in the states. Motorbikes are a very common mode of transportation. So most drivers are very aware and mindful of us bike riders. It is easy to find parking. You get to weave your way to the front of the line at the stop light. And, according to the other drivers, the no u-turn sign doesn't apply to bikes. Sometimes bikes are driving against the flow of traffic. Sometimes you're that guy. Also, sidewalks are more like little side roads for motorbikes. Entire families fit on a bike. Grocery shopping can be challenging but you just find a way to make it work.

The downside to bikes... the a/c stops when you stop. Getting stuck behind a garbage truck is the worst! It smells so bad and you can't plug your nose. Driving behind a truck carrying dirt? Ouch! It's like teeny tiny needles poking any part of your skin that is exposed. I've taken a few insects to the neck, too haha. A butterfly hurts more than you'd think. Also, sneezing with your helmet on is just not cool.

 Kids start learning to ride a bike around 8 years old. Some as young as 12 or 13 have their own bikes.

I can't go into detail and put up pics of everything that is my new normal but here's a list...

 Language school. Two hours of class each day four days a week. It is mentally exhausting but I am enjoying it!
I get to help disciple 5 amazing young women! Watching them grow in the Lord is my heart's delight. Every saturday night they stay at my house. They keep me young lol.
My students at the center. I can't imagine my life without them. I look forward to my time with them every week!
There are no heaters. Not that you need them often but still. Even the cars don't have heat.
I have to miss birthdays and moments with my family. I get to see them on the screen of my phone but I miss hugging them and laughing with them.
We take our shoes off before entering a room, house, building, and some small stores.
There's no carpet in the houses.
Before every movie at the theater we must stand for the King's song. Movie tickets are only about $5 so it's okay :)
People here are calm
If you want to know about anything political or in the news or anything really, you have to look for the information. It is not constantly thrown in you your face.
There's a slow pace of life here. The focus is more on community and less about just yourself.
Spirit houses. Little houses (kind of like over sized, extravagant bird houses) are everywhere. Food, drink, and incense are set out every day to appease the spirits that reside there.
When you greet someone you wai. Hands together just under your nose with a slight bow.
I get 20 liters of water for about 95 cents
There's a festival for everything

I get to teach the bible to some really awesome kids each week
Some students can't tell their parents that they are Christians so they go to the center to study the Bible
I walk down roads where chickens are just hanging out
Line is the app to have
You can wear flipflops 11 1/2 months out of the year
Lots of westerners here with absolutely no regard for Thai culture. It's embarrassing. Tip: if you visit a foreign country do some research on how not offend them.
7-11 is your one stop shop. You can pay your bills, buy food, school supplies, up the minutes on your cell phone. Pretty much everything except buy gas.
If you're at a market and there isn't a price tag on an item the price is negotiable.

Those are just a few of the things that are part of my normal, everyday, life. Wish we could sit down together and laugh about the silly things and pray about the heavy things. I like my new "normal". I like that I get to live here and share the Hope of Christ with a people that are desperately seeking hope.

If you want to know more about any of these things let me know! If you want to make a donation or a monthly commitment to #MissionThailand and be part of #thelifeofThai with me click here!! Thank your for your support!!
Working the rice fields
Bible story time!

Shoes at the entrance of a temple

A view of Chiang Mai

Salty, sweet, spicy, and sour.

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