Saturday, April 30, 2005

Our Anniversary pictures

Golf gave me these beautiful roses, I picked out two -- one for each of us. The photo below was taken at our wedding party.

The pretty roses close up.

Me with my pretty flowers.

The happy couple!

At Reflections restaurant, where we had our wedding party a year ago.

Enjoying my mixed fruit shake.

Mamma's happy when there's food around! We had this grilled fish with salt rubbed on the outside and lemongrass stuffed in the center, cashew chicken and our favorite shrimp ball over the shitake mushroom with Chinese broccoli in an oyster sauce. We were STUFFED and it was just delicious.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Happy Anniversary Honey!

Today is my husband's and my first wedding anniversary. It's been a great year that has flown by so fast. I love you so much! :) :) Tomorrow I'll blog about what we get to do tonight.

Last day and a complication

Today is the last day of summer school and we just finished the performance that the school puts on for the parents. My class did well as all the kids did and I'm now officially done!

However yesterday I discovered a glitch in my immigration status. My passport is stamped until September, but my work permit could be cancelled at any time after the termination of my employment. If that happens, I have exactly seven days to leave the country. They know this when they look up my passport number in the computer at the airport. So the director today said that he could use me to help tutor some kids until we leave the country in late July or early August, and I believe he was also agreeing to keep my work permit active until that time too, because he was approached by one of the Thai staff about this issue earlier today. Thank God cause I was really worried. I simply could not leave the country at 9 months pregnant nor could I leave the country with a newborn baby to have to take care of. At least I know I won't have severe penalties and fees from overstaying, but still, it's a screwed up system.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Latest tidbits

Yesterday Golf and I left for our doctor's appointment in town. I left school at noon and we got into town to Subway just before 1 and we enjoyed a sandwich for lunch before going to the hospital. It's quite a long walk from the Skytrain station to the hospital and lately the weather has been unbearably hot and humid. Take a look at the weather page for Bangkok here. Yes, it says heat index 115F!!!! JESUS CHRIST, MAN! We took it slow and easy to the hospital. My clothes were sticking to me and I was sweating like a pig. And I'm already hotter than ususal as I enter into my 9th month. You can read about my doctor's appointment in my pregnancy journal if you're interested. All's going well!

Our doctor's appt ended at about 2:30 but the prenatal class didn't begin til 5, so we had some time to kill, and we went to our favorite mall for more bread and just to hang out til time to go back. We had to take a taxi there though because of the long walk to the skytrain at both places. Normally I can do it with no problem, but with this heat and more of a suseptibility to get too hot right now, we had to spend the money and deal with the traffic. So we enjoyed a Starbuck's coffee (decaf for me) and Golf had bought a few more Thai books and I got my bread fix.

After our prenatal class ended at 6:30 or so, we went to an Egyptian restaurant for dinner! Our hospital is near an area of town called "Little Arabia" and that's obviously where there is a large population of Middle Easterners. I had been to a restaurant there before with Haviva and it was tasty, and this time I just chose a random restaurant that said it was an Egyptian place. Just for something different.

I ordered tabouli, this fried bread stuffed with fragrant meat and a lamb biriyani type rice. All the food was just delicious. It came with an appetizer of pickled vegetables, green onions and lime wedges. I ate the pickles, but wasn't completely sure what the onion and lime were for.
The tabouli was great, but could have used more of the cracked wheat, but the abundant parsely was very refreshing in the heat. It was tangy with the lemon, but not too sour. My favorite dish was the meat-stuffed bread. Not too greasy and the meat was seasoned beautifully. It was served on a bed of shredded cabbage, which was OK, but I didn't eat much of the cabbage. The lamb with rice was delicious too, but the lamb was terribly fatty in some parts. The meaty parts weren't too gamey and it was tender, so that made up for the fatty bits. The rice was flavored with tumeric and saffron and had some crispy fried onions on the top for garnish. Lovely. It was just the right amount, as we weren't sure how much was enough when ordering. Good thing we didn't get more!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Not a whole lot going on

So lately nothing much has been happening worth blogging about. I had my first week of summer school last week and it went smoothly. Only five more days to go for my career as a teacher -- at least for now, who knows what the future may bring. With that transition comes the excitement of bringing in a new baby and my new upcoming life role as a mother. I see my belly rolling around every day and this coming Thursday I will be entering my 9th month of pregnancy, so it's coming up quickly! Golf and I are both nervous and a little anxious, which are both normal.

Our time line is that in the first week of May, we're going to finish preparing for the baby, in case he decides to come early. Some things we need to buy and do:

* Get Golf's mattress -- for mother's arrival, she will be sleeping with me in the bed, Golf gets to sleep on the floor.
* Borrow a few extra pillows and a blanket from his niece.
* Wash all the baby's clothes.
* Set up the cradle next to our bed and wash the bedding.
* Buy a large nylon bag to send extra clothes home with Mom when she leaves.
* Buy a couple of nursing bras.
* Bottle nipples -- May (Golf's niece) already gave us some bottles, we just need the nipples for them. And I will be breastfeeding, but these bottles will be used for the pumped breastmilk for occasions like going to the hairdresser or the big dental appointments I have to have before we move back to the States.
* And finish buying some of baby's needs such as baby wipes, diaper cream, cotton balls, gripe water (an anti gas syrum for fussy babies) and some infant Tylonol.

I think that's all! So that's a summation of my life right about now -- everything BABY. :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Second day of summer school

I'm teaching the second half of summer school, which, in Thailand, is April. The last week of March and first week of April were for half of the foreign teachers, and then we had a week off for Songkran. Now the last two weeks are for remaining foreign teachers.

My schedule is very light -- two classes of English per day except Friday where I have only one. Then I have computers twice a week, which is really just the kids getting to play the games they enjoy on the Internet. And every Friday they have time for a video, which for me, I'll just go to Blockbuster and rent a kid movie for them to watch. Tomorrow I even have one English class taken over by a potential new teacher who will do a demo teaching during my time. SOOO easy for me!

I have eleven girls between ages 9-11. They are well behaved and I relish the small class. I've got lots of ideas ready to impliment and have more or less already prepared til the end of the week. Next week will surely be cakewalk too.

Good thing too, because the HEAT is really getting to me. I'm moving slower and have to take it real easy because the heat and humidity lately has been stifling. I had a serious dizzy spell last night on the way home from dinner, from the heat and stuffiness outdoors, so I had to lay down for awhile in the bed til I felt better. I'm much more susseptible in my 'delicate condition'. As it is said in Thai, it is RHON JING JING!!! (Truly hot!)

Saturday, April 16, 2005

How things will be different

Just brainstorming with DH yesterday about our move back to the States and the big changes ahead. We're getting our game plan together about packing already! So many things are going to be different there than here in Bangkok. It's truly going to be a different life.

* A baby to make our family three! Constant care and attention.
* I will be closer to my friends and family and will get to see them and talk to them much more often. That's something I'm really looking forward to.
* Libraries. How I miss being able to check out lots of books in English for FREE.
* New job for me -- taking care of the baby, running the household and helping DH with his business.
* DH will be much more busy with his work, whereas here he gets jobs periodically due to the fact that all his clients are US-based.
* I will be COOKING again. Here I have no real kitchen and we eat out for just about every meal because it's actually cheaper than cooking. (It's true!)
* We'll get a car and be driving again. Neither of us own a car here, and we'd be crazy to try and drive around in Bangkok. We intend to own ONE car and use it frugally due to such high gas prices.
* All the luxuries that new parents must give up -- for us in particular would be going to the movies on a regular basis. It's fairly cheap here to go. For two people it's less than $7 and on my salary, it's easily affordable. This change will happen right after the baby's born, but restaurants in Thailand are different. Food markets where we usually eat, and casual restaurants are highly tolerable to infants and young children, so we'll still be able to eat out like we normally do.
* Gee, poor me, I will have to do my own manicures and pedicures upon returning to the States. Here in Thailand, getting a manicure and pedicure is incredibly cheap, as are facials and massages. I haven't gotten a facial or massage since becoming pregnant, but plan to after the baby gets here before we move back.
* I will be able to watch TV again and listen to the radio. For DH it's no problem, since he is Thai he watches Thai news programs on TV. I can only watch DVDs and use the internet for my entertainment at home. I look forward to seeing my favorite programs on TV in English in the USA and I will also get my KGO Radio fix -- I admit to being addicted to that station!

These are just a few of the things I was able to come up with right off the top of my head.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Songkran -- Thai New Year

April 13-15 this year marks the lunar Thai New Year called Songkran. It is famous throwing water, and making merit to your parents, monks and the Lord Buddha. This time last year I was visiting my own parents in California, but I have participated in the revelry-making a couple years ago, and it was alot of fun. Thais and foreigners alike really get into it. This year, however, my husband and I are laying low in our apartment. An 8 1/2 months pregnant lady isn't exactly up for merriment and getting soaked with water outside in the heat. I watched many of the festivities on a TV special that broadcast from many different cities in Thailand. For those of you who have never heard of Songkran, there's a quick little photo gallery from BBC World and a well-done more extensive website that teaches you the history, rituals and activities as well as a photo gallery. Enjoy and I hope you learn a little about a different culture today. :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Movie and a new haircut

Yesterday Golf and I ventured forth into town. I hadn't been in town in a few weeks, and we wanted to go to see a movie and get to my favorite bakery to stock up on the breads that I like. It's also the Thai New Year -- Songkran -- the big water festival. A significant population of Bangkok has up and left the city to go to their hometowns making it easier to get around for us with less traffic and crowds. Today begins the water throwing, so I'm glad we went out yesterday and can stay inside the rest of the time.

We went to see the movie Hitch. Golf and I ususally like to see at least a couple movies a month, but lately they've all not been interesting til this one came along. I like Will Smith and the movie was really funny and lighthearted. We found out that the new Star Wars movie is supposed to be released the day my mother arrives to Bangkok -- one week before my due date. We'll have to beg her to come see it with us if the baby isn't already here or on his way. That movie will truly be our last one in the theatre for a long time.

Lately I've also been feeling down about my looks. No surprise there with my weight gain and pregnancy hormones all amok. But I'd been especially unhappy with my hair in the twice failed attempt to color it the way I wanted. It's still a bit too dark for my liking but it will do for now. What I wanted was a slight change in style. The leading lady in the movie had long hair with lots of layering, shorter at the top and cascading down. Really sexy but modern, almost a shag but her hair is too long for that. I'd contemplated that style for awhile. Then looking at my reflection in the mirror after the movie made me want it more -- I looked horrible! Golf's hair salon happens to be in the same mall we frequent and he said why don't I just go in for a cut today? It was a total spur of the moment thing, but I agreed, and only 200 Baht, which is about $5! And he did a superb job! I'm really happy. No length taken off the back, but my hair is shaped differently now, but not a whole lot different.

I don't want to be the woman who has the same hairdo as she had in high school, nor do I want to be a woman who has the hairstyle of a 20 year old -- you know, that try too hard look? Mid thirties can be tricky. I still want sexy but a tiny bit more mature than more radical cuts that teenagers and 20 somethings can get away with. Kinda like clothes too, which I will have to rethink once I get my figure back.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The biggest bug I ever did see!

I go walking around our condo complex when Golf doesn't feel like walking with me. This evening as I was walking by one of the buildings, I noticed something strange looking on the wall, so I went in for a closer look. Oh my GAWD that's the biggest bug I have ever seen in real life. The USA has the largest of many things, but for me, Thailand has the biggest bugs, spiders, cockroaches, bees, and snails that I have ever seen with my own eyes!

Close up of the bug -- it's actually quite pretty. Golf zoomed in, for there was no way I was gonna get THIS close to it!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

More fear, violence and unrest

Earlier this week, there were about four seperate bombing incidents in the Southern provinces of Thailand. The thing that is different in these cases are that they did not occur in the three provinces that had had the most violence in the past, but had moved northward to the next province. Because of the northward migration of violence, naturally the fear that violence would spread to Bangkok has arisen. Of course that has me on edge now because my mother is expected to come in May for a month to help with our baby and then we will be leaving this country for good come late July or early August. I'm hoping and praying there will not be violence and danger here in Bangkok -- not EVER, but especially not until we leave. It's a pity, this whole situation. If you want to read some more details about this, there is a CNN article.

(Side note, I'm going back to the original text size because the larger text wasn't showing correctly on the screen -- on MY monitor anyway!)

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Monday Madness

Time for Monday Madness!

The following questions all begin with Where you live...
1. ...did you have to turn your clocks forward one hour this weekend? No, Thailand does not have a time change.
2. ...what is the price of gasoline? I'm not entirely sure since I don't drive here, but I know it's been making news headlines since the price has skyrocketed here, too.
3. ...which natural disasters, if any, do you have to worry about? Tsunamis! Although in Bangkok itsself, it's not a threat.
4. you have a local newspaper, and if so, do you subscribe to it? No, I read it occasionally and watch English language news on TV now and then. I prefer to read US papers, particularily the San Francisco Chronicle online (SFGate) and BBC World.
5. you subscribe to a local cable company for television viewing? No. Too expensive with programs I'm not interested in watching.
6. ...what is the speed limit on your road/street? There doesn't seem to be a speed limit! On weekend nights, there's drag racing down our street and I feel so badly for the few families of poor people who don't have thick windows or AC to drown out the noise like my DH and I do. It's terrible -- and this is a GOOD neighborhood, believe it or not!
7. far do you have to drive to the nearest post office? Not sure, I mail all my mail at this Mail Boxes Etc. type of store.
8. ...what is the average temperature in April? Upper 90s. UGH!!!! Hottest time of the year.
9. ...what is the average temperature in December? Mid to upper 80s! A little better. This is a tropcial country, afterall.
10. ...are your four seasons drastically different from one another? Not at all. Thailand has three official seasons: Hot (March-July) Rainy (August-November) and Dry (December-February).

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Lotsa free time

With no work for me until the last two weeks of April, Golf and I have been just cozying up in our apartment all day long. I'm too pregnant to want to go out and do anything -- it's also in the mid-90s every single day here in Bangkok. We are both concerned about the amount of energy we are using for electricity. We've just got to have the AC on all the time, or else it's simply way too hot. My body temperature is already elevated due to my being preggo as it is. This time of year is also moving into the hottest part of the year, around April-June or July. We're talking upper 90s to low 100s. I can't just sit in an apartment all day long with nothing to cool me! Sometimes I will turn off the AC and have the fan directly on me and I use a spray bottle of water to mist all over, but that works only for a few hours. I eventually get too hot. We're just going to have to deal with a few more high electricity bills before we move back to CA. And we keep the AC on 25 C, which is an energy efficient temperature. I can't wait to live in a cooler climate again. It sucks to either have AC on or be too hot -- either/or. :( I look forward to opening a window and feeling FRESH, COOL air coming through. <<>> Only a few more months to wait...

Speaking of high energy costs, I saw that San Francisco reached the highest price for gas in the entire nation on Friday. From the SFGate article: "Prices were highest in San Francisco, where a gallon of regular unleaded gas was selling for $2.53. A gallon was $2.48 in Oakland, $2.44 in San Jose, Fresno and Santa Cruz, and $2.43 in Salinas and Yuba City, according to the automobile association" Golf and I plan to own ONE car, and we plan to use it sparingly -- trips we cannot make on foot or bicyle or for his job when he has to go on site, or for big grocery hauls or for visiting friends and family. This is an area where we must be frugal, because it looks like a huge money pit.

Lastly, I had a terrible night trying to sleep. If you really want to know about it, read about it in my pregnancy journal. It's going to be a long 2 month road ahead!