Thursday, January 29, 2009

On The Other Side of the Table

For the first time in 16 years, Dale and I were on the other side of the Parent/Teacher conference table. Hard to believe, but preschool has conferences as well. Mind you, we took Teacher Amy off guard a bit when Dale set up his computer to take a photo of us having the parent conference. We promised we'd be good listeners as soon as we got the blog photo taken. Tee hee!
Teacher Amy told us that Sojo is doing well in preschool: happy, very independent (really?! who knew?), and a great listener. We were told that she loves to paint and she enjoys going up on the stage and singing songs by herself. Interestingly enough, she is not prone to any temper tantrums at school, which just means she's got our number at home. Busted, Sojo. Busted.

In case you are wondering, that is still my same husband, but sans facial hair. He does this every few years to change things up. Once, when we lived in Africa, our cats wouldn't go near him for days b/c they didn't recognize him.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Another Van Fan

Van Morrison is king in this household: we've got tons of his music, Crazy Love was our wedding song, and most of his tunes hold special significance to us.

And you know how when you hang out with someone for a while that you really dig, and you slowly realize you have taken on some of their mannerisms and likes/dislikes due to so much bonding time? Well, it's been about a year and half of hanging out with this special girl, and we are like three peas in a pod, even when it comes to taste in music.

We had a good laugh the other day when she hopped up on the chair, put on her cap, attempted to strum the guitar and belted out some Van...

"Hey where we go?

Days when rain came!"

Our own little 'brown-eyed girl' to knock our socks off.

Our work is done.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Xin Nian Kuai Le

Happy Chinese New Year! We welcomed in the year of the ox a few days early with a special trip downtown to a gorgeous old library that had a special children's celebration. Sojo loved the lion dance and didn't seem to mind that it was very loud. Thankfully, we still have a Chinese dress that fits her, and she got pretty excited to put it for the special day. At this stage in life, she is usually quite stubborn about what she wants to wear, so building things up is awful important. Even she admitted that this morning required special attire.... "I can't wear my guitar shirt," she told me.

Finding myself missing the hooplah of China a bit now during this festive time. On the flip side, Sojo would be so bundled up from the cold that we couldn't see how gorgeous she looks in her qi pao. Xin Nian Kuai Le!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Things We Are Loving

Things we are loving at the moment...

1. Lime soda, or as the Thais says, 'lime sodaaaaaaah.' It's the perfect tropical soda--limier than a Sprite and super refreshing. Seems like there is a daily run to the corner store to stock up.
2. The new Winnie the Pooh velcro towel Nie Nie got Sojo when she was here. It's a dress, it's a towel, it's fabulous fun! Thanks Nie Nie.
3. In the search for Sojo-proof treats, I stumbled across a recipe for homemade Reese's peanut butter cups. As you can imagine, these fall into the category of chocolate nirvana, and we all gobbled them up pretty quickly (so quickly that I didn't even get a picture, so I am substituting some recent cupcake love). With somewhat healthy ingredients like dark chocolate and sugar-free peanut butter, it's almost like I was doing us all a favor making them.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My Country 'Tis of Thee

Even though it was WAY past our bedtime on a school night, a group of us headed downtown to a pub for an inauguration party, which happened at midnight our time. We could have watched it on YouTube today, but we wanted to feel the buzz and the energy and to be a part of it as best we could on the other side of the world.

And now, the morning after, exhausted at 6 a.m. and headed to work in a bit, it was worth it.

Last night felt hugely important. To my heart, to my country, and to the future.

And the icing on the cake is that this Chinese sweetie is growing up in a different world. She will have to turn to history books and her old parents to tell her that the highest offices used to be reserved for specific genders and skin colors. Oh, the possibilities...

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sojo Steals the Show!

Sojo got a hold of Dale's microphone while he was doing a sound check before a gig last night and went to town. Yup, that's the old favorite, "Hey, Hey, we're the monkeys!" She's definitely taking after her groovy baba in regards to music and the whole stage presence thing. But, really, who knew she was listening to Shakira while we are at work? And we thought it was just toddler tunes that rocked her world...

Hide n Seek

This is the director's uncut, unedited clip of yesterday's hide 'n seek game with Sojo, her friend Stella, and Stella's mae baan on the playground. I love how they just don't get that they are supposed to stay hidden. I love even more that we can see the silliness of a lovely childhood friendship emerging for her.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Goodbyes

The inevitable goodbyes are definitely the hardest part of living anywhere except right down the street from your family and good friends. We loved our time with everyone, and it feels more than a wee bit empty this week with most everyone gone. Lucky for us we still hung on to our niece, Courtney, who will be hanging out with us for another month or so. Besides loving her company, she's the perfect excuse for us to take some weekend jaunts outside of Bangkok in the next weeks. In order to actually get a taxi to leave our house, you must act out the driving motion to the motorcycle guys at the end of the street. They then hop on their motorcycles and go bring a taxi to you for a small fee. I get a kick out of it every time.

And on a totally unrelated note, we finally found some pint-sized flip flops with the extra bonus of bells attached to them. The "fancy shoes" are a hit.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Roughing It

Poor Patsy--as you can see from this picture, she is having a real hard time adjusting to Thailand. Ha! As most of us do, she has become somewhat addicted to Thai massage. Happens to the best of us, and it's hard for it not to happen really. How can you beat a bunch of friends and family sitting around in the living room, chatting, drinking ginger tea and getting a massage?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Now THAT's a Market!

Bangkok is famous for many things, but there is a weekend market called Chatuchak that is one of the biggies. To give you an idea of the size, it's about 35 ACRES of stuff, you actually need a map to figure out where you are, over 250,000 people visit each weekend, and I once thought I had covered a large part but found out later it was only a smidge of what is out there. The coolest thing about it is that there are some really different, funky things to be found, as well as almost every item you could ever wish for. We found baby bunny rabbits right next to home spa supplies, followed by party goods. It's kooky and very fun to grab a coffee and just wander around and engage in some serious people watching.
You might even see a grandma selling thong underwear in the middle of an aisle. On the Sojo front, she is soaking up all the extra attention in the house and entertaining us all. She's even been kind enough to sleep in a bit as she is sleeping in our room this week due to a full house. One more reason to love her!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Grand Palace

We hopped a river taxi to get to the Grand Palace in downtown Bangkok yesterday. Our cool season is over here, so it was a hot one but a very lovely place to see and a fun way to bypass Bangkok road traffic to get there. The sky was a gorgeous blue, and the gold was stunning against it. The Grand Palace had a Taj Mahal feel to it with all the grandeur and the obvious labor of love. I found it to be quite a peaceful place, even with the huge amount of visitors. Thinking I had thought of everything, I brought a scarf to tie around my shoulders and 3/4 length pants to enter the Palace. Well, I was inappropriately dressed but was able to borrow clothes there. And such stylish clothes they were. Ha! That'll teach me to bare my shoulders.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

One Little Monkey Jumping on the Bed

...she fell off and bumped her head...

well, actually, she did a somersault off the bed accidentally (kinda missed noticing the edge) and scared the bejeezus out of all of us. Since it happened at bedtime AND she had a mammoth-sized lump on her forehead, we decided to play it safe and make our first emergency room visit to check it out. Fellow teachers told us of a local hospital not far from our house, so Dale grabbed his backpack and somehow managed to stuff enough things in there for us to have traveled to Iceland and back, and we were off.

As is becoming the norm here, we were met by lovely people at the emergency room who took great care of us. The doctor spoke English and was sweet as could be; he suggested a few x-rays to be safe, and that was the only part that Sojo protested. This girl is not one who likes to be restrained in any way. At one point afterwards, she blurted out, "I don't need a shot in the butt!" A bit later, she announced, I'M OK!" with a big dramatic arm wave. Still cracking us up even in the emergency room.
Sign that I really love blogging--me asking Dale in the taxi, somewhat sheepishly, if he had the camera with him. I mean, come on, it's a good picture for the blog post!

Catching Up

Guess who is on her way to becoming a travelling superstar? She was fabulous. Of course, it was an hour flight, but still...there is hope that the parent-imposed travel ban may be lifted.
A trip to the beach and a house full of people made for a bit of a blog break for us. I find that it's hard to catch up after losing the groove, so I'll just say that we are having a ball with Patsy and Courtney and Pierre and Sharon.

Sojo fell in love at first sight with Pierre and Sharon and has been following them around like a sweet puppy dog since their arrival. I knew those kindred souls would connect deeply.

We had a fabulous dinner near our house at the River Tree House/Baan Rabiang Nam right on the Chao Praya river. Amazing Thai food and a sunset on the river made this a real treat. Plus, we ate like kings and paid only 35 dollars for 6 of us. Can't beat that.