Sunday, September 28, 2008

And the World Is Right Again

For a gal who has been accused of being too independent at times, it was shockingly easy for me to ask my mom to come and help us. I have a sneaking suspicion this whole transition is chocked full of lessons for me, and I try hard to keep my eyes open for those life lessons when they present themselves. Knowing when to ask for help is the message I'm getting here, and we are all awash in gratitude for my mom hopping on the plane and coming to the rescue.
Sojo is particularly joyful because popo is here in the flesh and not on the computer. Everything is, "popo do it," "popo have one," even down to Sojo asking her to change her poopy diapers (we especially love that one!). We played so hard yesterday that when we finally arrived home, my mom sat down in the chair, and Sojo said, "popo tired...nap." Everyone slept well in this house last night.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Upside Down


Life has been a bit upside-down of late, so this is the perfect picture.

Long story short, our fabulous nanny has been called back to Burma to help an ailing mother-in-law, leaving us with no child care...again. The idea of running around like mad in one week to get a new nanny just seemed very wrong on so many levels, so popo is flying in to save the day. What a champ she is--I asked her to come on Wednesday morning our time, and she will arrive on Friday night, about 72 hours after our plea for help. I have this feeling I may crumple into tears when I see her in the airport tomorrow night as I can't remember the last time I wanted to see my mom so badly.

We'll be hitting the pavement next week to find a permanent nanny, but in the meantime, Sojo gets to wake up Saturday morning and find popo in our house--the best almost-two-years-old birthday present a kid could ask for.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Picture's Worth a 1,000 Words: Mama's Home!



Nothing but joy permeating the household today with Mama back home! Look at those smiles! No need to write anymore: the picture says it all!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

14 Suitcases No More!


Seriously, we arrived in China five years ago with fourteen suitcases - that's it! But, today was a different story. At 9:30 this morning, the full-size truck above pulled up to our apartment, ready to deliver our shipment from Shanghai. I asked if the whole container was ours; the man looked dryly at me, "Yes."

An hour later this was our living room:


The two upstair bedrooms looked the same!

But overall, it was a wonderful day of surprises ("Did we really ship THAT?") and meeting old friends: Sojo meeting our statue from Kenya, Jambo. (Note Rocky Raccoon is securely in her left hand - he went EVERYWHERE with her as soon as she saw him in the shipment.


Sojo didn't know what was really happening. As Tara is in Shanghai at a conference, I asked our mae baan (nanny) to take Sojo out for a walk, to the playground, etc. in order to avoid the chaos. When Sojo woke up from her midday nap, the movers were gone, and there were surprises everywhere. This one was her basket of stuffed animals from Shanghai. Sojo couldn't figure out how to hug all of them at once, so she just laid on them!


What a great weekend! The shipment arrived Saturday and Mama comes home Sunday!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Missing Mama



With Tara at a conference in Shanghai, Baba and Sojo are having a good time, but there is always the frequent inquisitive look from Sojo and then a cute little voice that says, "Mama? Library." I try to explain that Mama is in Shanghai, and Sojo comes back with "Shanghai. Xiao Liao . . . Bobo . . . Mimi" who are all of her little friends from last year in Shanghai. And, last night Sojo fell in love with Mac's Photobooth program: she'd scream happily at herself and she saw herself on the screen and then at the picture the program took. Counting down the days until Mama comes back! Only two more!

Homesick


Strangely enough, I'm back in Shanghai for a technology conference this weekend. It's wonderful to catch up with good friends, but weird to be going back to places I knew for so many years, to be speaking Chinese again, and even weirder to not be with Dale and Sojo. I hear reports on Skype that the two of them are having a ball back in Bangkok and enjoying their quality time together. I, on the other hand, was walking through my old neighborhood last night, so homesick for their presence that it hurt to breathe. How I love my little family. If I had to be stranded on a desert island with anyone, it would be the two of them.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Living in Vacation Mode

Our first getaway weekend to Hua Hin was a success. Of course, when traveling with a toddler, success is defined as a hotel with a playground and a kiddie pool, and we no longer travel without investigating these things. We all loved getting out of town, and we hired a van and driver so we could sit back and not have the stress of figuring out Bangkok traffic and new roads just yet. One bad thing is that it seems we have already become Thailand beach snobs because this beach wasn't the crystal blue water and white powder sand we are used to in our previous island trips. Still it's only a little over a 3 hour drive to Hua Hin, and you can't beat that. The best part of the weekend was coming back to Bangkok knowing that it was still sunny and still warm and still pool weather all year round. Hands down, the weather is our favorite part of living here.

Highlights of the weekend included

riding with baba on the alligator slide
hours spent walking on the beach looking for crabs and shells
a restaurant with dairy-free chocolate sorbet
and a short horse ride on the beach

We could definitely get used to this...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sleep Revisited Again

Oh, sleep! We are getting so much of it lately, and so is Sojo. The wee hours of the morning wake-ups are becoming a distant memory to us as she now sleeps 12 hours each night and has since we arrived in Thailand.

However, the other morning, she woke up at 4 a.m. crying. Sometimes she'll whine a bit and then fall back asleep, but she kept at it this time. We brought her into our bed and we all laid there in the dark together, Dale and I not so secretly loving every minute of her being with us like the old days.

As we laid there, her tiny voice in the darkness said, "baba...sing...tinkle"

So Dale sang a sleepy version of twinkle, twinkle, little star.

"yea baba...good job."

Funny how when you finally get consistent sleep again, a 4 a.m. wake-up every now and then starts the day out with a bit of magic.

Off to a beach for the long weekend tomorrow with friends. Sojo's new hand-me-down towel cape from a sweet friend is perfect timing for the trip.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Off to See Mimi

Sojo's new routine of going on a "trip" each night and then getting all her stuffed animals ready for bed is so much fun to watch. I love that it's totally independent, and she changes their diapers, sings to them, puts on their skin medicine (that one hits in the gut but we are seeing progress enough that her whole life's routine won't involve this!) and puts them to sleep.

A few nights ago, I talked with Sojo about her friend Mimi in China, and how Mimi's fabulous mom wrote to me and said how Mimi and Sojo are looking more alike everyday. These two cuties are from the same area in China, and even though we are missing her and her family, I feel so blessed that we had a space in time to live near them.

Later that night, Sojo determinedly found her Curious George lunchbox and her rubber lizard, and announced to us, "sojo go trip...Mimi." Not a clue what the plan was with the rubber lizard, but that was my favorite part.

A photo from the archives of Mimi and Sojo. Wild, eh?

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Community

Our school apartments are pretty close quarters, which can be both good and not so good. One of the great things about it is the sense of community that proximity breeds. We live on the bottom floor and leave our door unlocked during the day, as do most people. Kids are everywhere (oh, those poor people wanting some peace and quiet) and tend to be quite cool about playing with everyone of all ages. Sojo has been known to take a detour while on the way to the playground to join a group of kids she sees having fun in a random apartment. Ok, that part of barging in is a bit embarrassing, but people don't seem to care very much. Today, having our door unlocked brought us a surprise...I took Sojo to the playground for a while and came home to find these great alligator pajamas waiting for us on the couch, a gift from a neighbor whose child never wanted to wear them. Lucky for us because Sojo put them on right away and loves them. Between the toys left on the porch from those who know we are waiting patiently for our shipment, to dinner invites and random pajamas, we are enjoying the sense of community in this place, even if it does feel a bit like college dorms all over again.

Here are a few extra pics since I've been lax on blogging this week. Plus, I get free popo points that way. :)
Out at school this weekend at the playground

Funny face about running out of dried mangoes for snack. Some serious drama.
Ok, this one is a shameless plug to show my new shirt I bought at a huge outdoor market. How much do I love that Thailand is filled with flowy, tye-dye shirts? My inner Stevie Nicks is so happy!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Toddler Time


People say that this international teaching gig is really 3 degrees of separation instead of the normal 6 degrees, and it really does seem true. Turns out a gal I worked with about 12 years ago in Ecuador is here in Bangkok, and she runs a structured play group for toddlers in our apartment complex. Sojo went for the first time on Monday, and it was her first, real, more-than-a-playdate, oh-please-remember-to-share-with-others, toddler time. According to Shila and Sojo, it was a huge success. Dale and I felt more than a bit sorry for ourselves that we had to work and miss it. When I asked Sojo about it, it went something like this:

Me: Sojo, how was toddler time today? What did you do?

Sojo: (long pause)....Bubbles.

Me: Cool! what else?

Sojo: play aminimanals (LOVING every second of this new word)

Me: You played with animals. Awesome. What else?

Sojo: Chasing. (Oh, how this girl loves chasing)

And the piece de resistance, her first masterpiece. We could look at it all day.
p.s. Found out from the gal who runs it that there were no bubbles, so that was totally wishful thinking on Sojo's part. It's probably a good thing because we have yet to play bubbles without a complete meltdown of some sort.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Venturing Out

We live about 30-40 minutes from downtown Bangkok, so it's not too often we venture in with the little one because we have so much fun with the pool and the playground on the weekends. However, this weekend we wanted to check out the aquarium, which strangely enough is housed in the basement of a major mall. It's been almost a whole year since we visited an aquarium, and Sojo still loved it. An extra bonus this time was that she got to touch a sea star. The concentration on her face and watching her get absolutely silent while oh-so-gently holding the sea star was a highlight. Sometimes she just seems to sense when something has a sacred element to it. Finally remembering my camera to take a photo of the Thai-styled Ronald McDonald was another highlight. He is doing a 'wai,' which is the traditional way to hold your hands while greeting someone in Thailand. I get such a kick out of seeing such reverence in the symbol for a Big Mac.