Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you may go. Joshua 1:9

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Burma Visa Run

A smooth trip, great hotel, the formality of crossing borders, and Bee getting car sick. That about sums it up. It was an exhausting 3 days but we accomplished it, learned a few things, and made it back to our rental none the worse for wear.
We had to take a ferry from our island Koh Phangan in the Gulf of Thailand over to Chumphorn on the mainland. From there we took a mini-bus across the mountains to Ranong on the west side of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. The mini-bus was FAST. Daniel saw the speedometer going about 110 kilometer an hour and the driver pretty well was on the horn the whole time getting other drivers out of his way. And the poor lady in the front of the bus was sick the.whole.trip. I felt so bad for her. She wasn't even the quiet kind of sick. Oh no...puking, gagging, every-one-knows-she's-throwing-up kind of sick.
Once we made it to our hotel we just crashed. Enjoyed the pool, hot-tubs, restaurant, and slept on the best bed we've had in Thailand. Yes, we could have stayed there forever.
The next morning after a delicious continental breakfast, we were taken over the the pier to begin our journey to the border.
We got to the counter where they took a picture of us and checked our passports and visas. Much to our surprise, we discovered we overstayed our visa by 1 day. We had seen the stamp which had the date of our entry into Thailand....but evidently we overlooked the one stamp which said when we had to cross the border. Uhem....have we not learned our lesson about checking things yet!!!???
So we paid our fine, got our departure stamp and found a guy with a boat to take us over to Burma. And here is where all my blog reading and google searching of travel forums paid off some. The boat guy said he would take all 3 of us to Burma and back for 500 baht. Hahaha, well, nice try buddy. I knew from my reading that we should be able to get someone to take us for 100 baht and certainly not more than 200. He laughed and said he have to have at least 100 for Bee too. "No way! She's a baby and she sits on my lap. ONLY 200 for all of us". Funny guy kept trying for more but in the end he took the 200 for all three of us.
Our trip back to the island was the same as going there, only this time Bee got car sick. Poor girl. She had never thrown up before and was so upset about the whole thing. Especially since it got on her night night which was worse of all. She kept asking for it and I would ask her why she couldn't have it. "Cause it got nasty hot dog stuff on it...but MoM!! I just need to smell it!!" Oh gross. Sorry babe. You'll have to do with your spot pillow for now. (For those who don't know her, she has her Night Night (a special kitty blanket from Gymboree) and her spot pillow,  two most prized possessions. She likes to suck her thumb while smelling and rubbing said pillow or night night).
We are back to our little house on the beach now. We were welcomed by a night of arguing followed by making up which not only kept us awake but forced us to cover our heads with pillows so we wouldn't hear everything going on in the room next door. This morning we prayed together that God would allow for one of us to have to move out so that we could have some peace and not hear all the drama next door. The hotel management showed up at our door 2 hours later and said we could move into a new unit today rather than next week. Praise the LORD! We were so excited and have now settled in nicely to a smaller though much more private unit.
Peace....sweet peace.
Enjoying the "red phone" since her ipod is gone

These are the visa run boats

A happy girl despite being sick and exhausted

Burma/Myanmar in the distance

immigration/passport control in Ranong

waiting for our bus

cramped mini-bus

leaving the islands behind us

Our great hotel room

Saturday, February 25, 2012

If you asked me...

If you asked me.....
I would tell you that as much as we have loved traveling and exploring Thailand, we miss our friends and family in the States.
Crazy. Bad. Homesick.
If you asked me I would tell you this trip has been a huge learning experience. From missing trains and booking awful rooms for a month. 
To trusting that God will provide our needs, and excitedly watching my husband get healthier every day.
If you asked me I would tell you I miss my iphone AND Bee's ipod. Getting dunked in seawater is not a good thing!

I would tell you that I really wish Bee had a younger sibling. And it hurts a little every time I am asked why we don't have another on the way yet. 
I trust God's timing is perfect and will try to wait patiently.

I would tell you my BABY is going to be 3.years.old.
It's just not right that she's growing up so fast. We are going on 3 nights of waking up dry or waking me during the night to go to the bathroom. (she's been day trained for 9 months)
I am SO proud of her.

If you asked me I would tell you I have a real true love for adoption. And feeling convicted that as a Christian, it is a responsibility of ours to care for the orphans. 
Whether through sponsorship, volunteering, fostering, adoption, or just helping families who are trying to adopt. 
I don't believe it's a question of if.....just when.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Between a rock and a nude place......

Yes, that's where we are. Literally.

Our beach is not really a "beach" until the tide is low but then it's rocky and Bee doesn't care for it. So we can walk along the beach to get to the nicer beaches. do that you must walk past the nudist colony currently living on the beach. I kid you not.

And the room we were given? We share a bamboo wall with our neighbors. Bamboo people!! There is no insulation, not even mud thrown between the slats. We hear E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. Yes, everything. Every sound, every word, smell every smell. It's pretty horrid. So, thankfully, the hotel people agreed to let us move into a stand alone unit that will be available in 1 week. Can. NOT. Wait. It is a smaller room, but I will take smaller over no privacy here and having to hear our neighbors 24/7.

So for this reason, we will be taking our time doing  our visa run to Burma next week. We've booked a nice hotel for 2 nights and will enjoy our time "in private".

I must add though that we have the most stunning sunsets from right here and water is crystal clear and we've been told the snorkeling is fantastic. So we're making the most of it! Iphone was dunked in the saltwater and is out of commission until further notice. So, there will be a sad lapse in my picture posting online.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


That's what we've been doing the last few days. Naps, watching movies, laying on the bed talking. I think knowing we'll be here a month has given us the chance to recover a bit from lots of activity. We can take things slower and not feel like we have to get out and see everything right now.
This will be good for us...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Be Still......

This has been on my heart and mind a lot these last few weeks we've been in Thailand. Be still. Something that is SO hard and almost unnatural for me.
To be in the moment.
To not try to always do two things at once.
To be here with my family, physically and mentally.
To just listen.
I always felt like I was being lazy if I wasn't always doing something.
But I'm learning it's ok.
God wants me to be still, and have my full attention.
Because only when I'm still and quiet do I have the chance to listen to Him.
To hear His words for me.
That He loves me and all my insecurities.
That He has a plan.
That He knows my fears.
He knows my dreams.
He hears what keeps me up at night and says,
"I've got it, just be still".

This is my lesson right now.
And it's not easy for me, and I fight it.
But I am learning.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Nang Yuan Island

This is a little island just off the coast of Koh Tao about 10 minutes away by longboat. We are so glad we went!! We rented snorkeling gear and took turns exploring the area. I couldn't believe the variety of fish we saw. So many! And you didn't even have to go deeper than waist to see some, they just came right up to you! I saw a starfish, anemones, sea urchins, clown fish and corals plus easily 30 plus varieties of fish. Every time I thought I'd seen all that were there, a new one would pop from under a rock. I wish we'd had a camera so you could have some idea of what we saw, but I know it would not have done justice to the beauty of the place.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy valentines!

We had a beautiful valentines day on our side of the world. Beach time, naps, family movie, and dinner to a nice restaurant. Couldn't be better!
The sun is setting..
My TWO valentines!
A pic Bee snapped of my during dinner
Pictures By Bee ...I was telling her something when she snapped this one.
We will be spending a lot of time right here...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Bankok, night train, bus, and ferry

Getting off the bus at the pier at 6:30 a.m.

 Well, our trip was exhausting but we were just thankful to make it here without too much trouble. Our time in Bangkok was brief and only saw the train station and a huge park in downtown. Next time we'll spend less time at the station... It was disgusting. Sitting at a table in front of a restaurant and watching roaches crawl around the floor and up the table legs. I kid you not! We moved to a different area to get away from the roaches; only to discover the overwhelming smell of rat urine. Seriously, if we go through there again, we'll wait outside the station till it's time for our train. We did really enjoy the park we spent several hours at. Except for some nasty little something that bit Bee on bottom of her foot. It swelled like a balloon and was so firm to the touch that we were getting a little worried about it. She wouldn't walk on it and cried big elephant tears if you tried to touch it. THANKFULLY, it started improving yesterday and today it feels like a normal little toddler foot.

Our night train was on time and a little more comfortable. Bee slept with me in a bottom bunk....well, she slept. I snoozed for 40 min at a time the whole night because I wanted to make sure we heard them call out our stop which I knew would be sometime from 3:15 a.m. - 5 a.m. It was about 4:30 when we heard the call. Poor little girl was so tired and wiped out from barely sleeping and cried for a bit while we waited at the station for our Bus to take us to the pier. But the second we got on the bus she was out for the duration of the 1 hour ride.

We arrived at the pier and after a short wait we boarded at 8:15 a.m. for our 1.5 hour ride to the island of Koh Tao. I didn't get a picture of the boat but it was a very nice 3 level "catamaran". We sat on the bottom level in comfy seat with a.c.....very nice!

We are so glad to be here after 2 very sleepless nights and long days. Our current "home" is a 15 min walk from the beach with beautiful mountain views. It's the perfect size for us and we'll be looking for something similar to rent for a month here. Speaking's beach time here!

Sawadee Kah!

The very large, nasty filthy Bangkok train station
Neat contrast in architecture
First view of the Gulf of Thailand
Chillin' in the park in Bangkok

Train Lesson 1: Check departure times

Yes, we had to learn that lesson evidently. We arrived at the Chiang Mai Train station ready to climb into bed and sleep all night, arriving in Bangkok refreshed and ready to explore! But that's not what happened. We believed our train was to depart at 7 pm so we arrived at 6 pm in pleeeeenty of time. I noticed a train there but didn't think anything of it. We sat at the little restaurant and ordered something to eat while Daniel took our tickets to check on our train. Meanwhile the train pulled away.....our train. Oh yes. We misread (or didn't even read) the tickets and discovered our train was actually to leave at 5:55. Maybe it was still there because they were waiting on us. Either way, it was gone along with our first class sleeper cabin. Daniel went back to the ticket counter and was able to purchase the last two available tickets of the night. A 9 pm air conditioned sit-up-all night rapid train. After being delayed several times, we finally left the station at 10 pm.
Bee was a real trooper through it all. She made friends with some seniors at the station who played peek-a-boo with her, hugged her, gave her treats and just "grandmothered" her for an hour plus. There was also this little old man who Bee friended all on her own. She kept going over to him, patting his hand, and right out flirting with him. He tried giving her his snacks for the train like fried pork rinds, and little sugar cube candies. The senior lady by us who spoke English couldn't believe how good Bee was with the older gentleman. She said that is so rare and we had a sweet girl with a beautiful heart. (insert proud mama moment here! )
We settled in on the train and pretty quickly started to doze off. I tried getting comfy with Bee sleeping on comfortable as one can be when you know you'll have a sleeping toddler on you for the next 12 hours. Aye yi yi.....a very long night ahead!
Being a Rapid Train, it goes faster than the other trains do. This would be fine during the day, but at night not so much. It was very rocky and bumpy making it a very jarring ride. And we also happened to be just under the AC vent which literally had us so cold we were cuddling close to warm each other up. Brrrrr! I fell asleep a few times for 45 min to an hour each time. Daniel said he never fell asleep, yep rough night. We finally mad it to Bankok a little before 11 the next morning and we were SO glad to be getting off!

Next: 8 hours in Bangkok