TUESDAY REVIEW & WEDNESDAY PREVIEW...maybe
One thing you always have to remember when on any kind of trip is to stay flexible. This is even more important when that trip is in a country where the way things are done is different than the way things are done in America.
Due to unexpected circumstances, yesterday turned out differently than planned but was still filled with surprise blessings and new adventures.
All of yesterday was spent either at the church/language school/missionary house or in the general neighborhood.
I had a good chunk of time to work on photos, blog, facebook, etc. as well as just getting to know the Thai staff, students, and others better. Staffers are often going out for a snack or a take-out meal and then generously sharing it with those around them including Pet sharing some little pellets that look like fish food but are really tasty tiny morsels made up of dried fruit, lime juice, and sugar. Someone had left Jack fruit out for others to enjoy...or not enjoy! Betsie hates it but I found it to be a mixed bag. Sometimes delicious, sometimes strange, and sometimes like eating an unripe persimmon.
Later on, Betsie and I walked up the busy boulevard in front of the church and bought a take-out order of veggie fried rice for lunch.
We ate it from a coffee table in the office while we conversed with those who drifted in and out of the office. And after our late lunch, I walked up the street again but this time with Kara Davis. Kara is a missionary from Oklahoma who is here for two years. She and I had good talks as we went for a late afternoon snack of fresh fruit sold from a street vendor. We purchased pineapple, watermelon, and rose apples. It was my first time to ever have rose apples. They are very, very mild. The street vendor gave us a little packet of salt, pepper flakes, and maybe sugar that you can sprinkle on your fruit. I put it on the mild apples. It was an interesting flavor.
About 4:00 I found out that I would be substitute teaching for Chrissy who was still not feeling well. I went over the lesson preparation with Chrissy and then met with my student. It is was a Level 7 class which is the highest level. I only had one student as the other student had dropped out of the class. Tren (or as I nicknamed him by the American Trent) is a terrific English student. He is 16 years old and hopes to go to America as an exchange student so he is very motivated to perfect his English and learn about American culture. Besides going over the written lessons in the book, we also talked about my family, the significance of St. Patrick and the holiday in America, and other cultural events and norms.
Meena, Betsie's buddy/my fb friend/David's fan, came with her friend Fang to visit while Fang was in English class. She sat in on my class for a few minutes and we chatted before and after. I'm teaching her and Fang how to say "See you later" and even added the silliness of "See you later, alligator" and "after while, crocodile". I also met a young Thai man in his late 20's who is a strong Christian and takes English classes here. Karn (pronounced Gahn) plays the guitar beautifully and I videoed him singing in Thai a worship song that we sing at Restoration Church.
After Betsie and I had both finished teaching our English classes, Kara Davis took to have Betsie's stitches removed. The place that the missionaries use is around the corner and a few/ blocks up another busy boulevard. The doctor there works at the government hospital during the day and then comes to this clinic in the evenings. It is a small clinic and very Asian in appearance with even the room where the doctor removed Betsie's stitches partly open to a lush garden in the back.
Jon Espy also had to have stitches taken out (they both had warts removed last week) so he, Debbie, and Matt showed up just a bit after we got there. We were all escorted back almost right away and the unpleasant task of stitch removal took on a party atmosphere as we laughed, Betsie shrieked, photos were taken, and the Thai staff beamed with friendly smiles! Definitely NOT you typical American clinic visit.
After that was completed, Kara and the others left and Betsie and I began our own adventure. We walked a couple of more blocks further down the street and arrived at Baandu (Bahn-doo) Market.
I was so impressed with Betsie's knowledge and ability to communicate. She says that she knows very little Thai but I was impressed. Yes, she did struggle some. She had to use a lot of sign language and really think through how to say things to get her point across, but in my opinion, she did great! We were able to buy several things to eat plus she bartered a bit over some hair accessories that I wanted to buy.
Most everyone was very nice and one lady generously let me try one fried grasshopper for free. Wait...did I just say that I ate a fried grasshopper? Yes I did!
It was actually not bad. The first nibbles of it did taste a good bit like fried chicken skin. The after taste was not that great. So, could I eat them if I was served them? Yes. Would I go out of my way to eat them? No. But it was an experience that I'm glad I had. Which is like many things I'm experiencing here.
Anyway, after making the approximately 15 minutes walk back home (yes, it is safe enough for us to walk out at night together --- at least in this area) we had our late night supper comprised of fresh mango; these little round dumpling things stuffed with meatballs similar to the goza I had on Sunday night but called khanom jip; a spicy dish made of pork, veggies, and peppers; a dish that I decided NOT to eat because even though I usually like what it was made of (bamboo, cabbage, and bean sprouts) it had a flavor that just didn't sit right with me. I decided that maybe the flavor was not because of the spices but that maybe it had spoiled. It just wasn't worth the risk so after a few nibbles, I tossed it out. The last thing I want to get is not listen to warning bells and then get food poisoning.
Jon had picked up some coconut ice cream and Betsie relished that for dessert. She eats her's with chopped up banana. It tasted very much like homemade ice cream and if you're a coconut lover, you would love it! I just had a bite or two since I'm not a huge coconut fan.
After spending time hanging out with the Espys, Betsie, and Debbie, it was on to bed for me. I am still not experiencing any jet lag, I'm having lots of energy, and I want to keep it that way.
This morning we woke up and got ready to go to the HIV/AIDS ministry but plans had to change due to transportation issues. Chrissy's car had broken down yesterday when she and Debbie had been out. At this point, we are thinking we will go to the Golden Triangle which means we will cross the Mekong River on a boat over to Laos. We will also see Burma. The three countries meeting makes the triangle.
Tonight will be the mid-week prayer meeting.
Please continue to pray for good health. Jon and Matt have had a stomach bug to varying degrees. Chrissy is still feeling bad. CyCy, their 3 year old daughter, has a yucky cold. At this point, Betsie, Debbie, and I are unscathed.
Also, just continue to pray that we visitors from Mississippi will be a blessing to those here serving the Lord and that we will be open to the Spirit's leading. We need to be reminded to pray more. We can't always communicate to the Thais the love of Jesus verbally due to language barriers, but was can show them love in action and we can always pray. Prayer has power to change lives no matter the language spoken.