It seems that things will just keep moving, so I might as well just make a few notes as we go along.
We spent last week in Chiang Mai, going to meetings, chatting with friends, and a making a few purchases we can’t make here in Mae Sot. It was probably the most relaxing trip I’ve had to Chiang Mai, completely due to the overwhelming generosity of friends. We had some oh-so-kind friends that let us stay with them for the week, including my parents once they arrived, and let us borrow their motorbike and car to run errands and make it to meetings all over town. I was genuinely refreshed by their kindness, and seems noteworthy.
And then my parents came! And we are giving them a true taste of our lives, as you’ll see.
Our bus ride to Chiang Mai was a unfortunate: it was old bus, we had seats in the back next to the toilet, our driver was terrifying, we were stopped & woken up repeatedly by police & military checks; the list goes on. It was around this time that I was questioning why we thought it was a good idea to take my parents on the bus.
And then they took the best bus ride ever. We had a brand new sparkling charter bus, with seats across the second row. Our stewardess spoke English, which is more of a novelty than I can describe. Typically, we never know how long the bus will stop at each break; we take turns getting off with the splendid plan for the other to yell for the bus to stop if it started to pull away. This time–for the first time ever–we knew that we’d be stopping for 5, 15, or 30 minutes, which makes the trip much easier, I must say. We were also only stopped by the police once, and our driver was spectacularly safe.
We celebrated Christmas that night and opened piles of presents for both us & the neighbor kids! This included, but was not limited to: new clothes, dolls, candy suckers, parmesan cheese, and microwave popcorn. Oh, and candy corn, bringing fall to our doorstep, despite the temperatures raging over 90 degrees.
They were quickly surrounded by a neighborhood of kids, plus one or two that needed bandaging up after some accidents. Mong Ey, our sweet Karen neighbor, came to us with fifteen stitches across her head from earlier in the week, and news of a grandfather that had passed away. We had taken him to the hospital a number of times, so we knew the family. Friday was quickly consumed with a visit to the family to pray for them and give a small monetary gift; we were then asked to help with transport for the funeral.
My dad had an allergic reaction to something when he arrived, so Mom & I took over for the funeral, followed by a five-hour hospital visit on our Saturday afternoon. With a few market trips in between and kids on our doorstep now shouting, “Kelli! Stephen! Mother! Father!”–they are seeing Mae Sot in full swing.