Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Bangkok shipment arrived ALREADY

We weren't supposed to get our shipment for another couple of weeks yet! I'm sitting here jet lagged and reading the notification that it's already arrived. Too much is happening too fast -- I'm still jet-lagged and we're both caring for a three month old baby whose stamina certainly must be taken into consideration. Poor little guy.

Yesterday was a big day getting the deposit to our landlord and getting keys and we did some shopping at Mervyn's. Then my parents came by at 3:30 to go to IKEA, but we really needed a rest after our trip to the apartment. Aidan was exhausted. Then we headed out again for IKEA to eat some dinner there (cheap and tasty restaurant on the premesis). We needed to buy a bed and mattress. By the time we loaded the furniture in Dad's truck, it was 9 PM, then we had to go out to our apartment again to unload it. We're on the third floor and while we have an elevator, we still needed to be quiet for the other tenents. It was a terribly long day for me with only two hours of sleep from the night before.

We thought we'd assemble the bed and bedside tables and do a trip to Wal Mart and the grocery store tomorrow, then go to Sac for the rest of our stuff the next day, but with just now getting the email that our Bangkok shipment has arrived, there could be a change of plans. I don't know if they charge a fee every day that it's not picked up, but I'd of course rather do it over the weekend so that I could at least have our basic essentials for our home already like cookware and the baby's bed. We don't have ANYTHING in our apartment yet. The timing is not good.

Also, we are checking out of our hotel this morning and won't have internet access until September 9th, so I may not be blogging for the next week or so. Let's see what happens. How will I ever get through the week!?!? :)

Monday, August 29, 2005

It happened so fast!

We've already got our apartment!!!! Holy toledo, what a relief and what a blessing. Tomorrow we go to pay the deposit and first month's rent, which, I might add, is well below the maximum price we were willing to go. Then we'll get the keys and begin our shopping saga. We have no bed or mattress, so that's the first, most important thing to get. We plan to meet Mom and Dad back here at the hotel about an hour after meeting with the landlord. Then we're off to IKEA for our bed and mattress, to be assembled there at the apartment that evening. We'll need to go to IKEA again for more things, but I'll have a better idea once we get the bulk of our stuff moved in. All I know is that we're going to need a lot of stuff since both of us had to give away or sell all our furniture (not possible to keep with an overseas move). Here is that online photo album of our apartment.

Must use word verification

I've been getting comment spam lately. All these weirdos posting comments in my blog are spammers, so unfortunately, I have to turn on comment spam where you have to type in the funny looking word in the box before posting it. Sorry for that inconvenience! :(

Can't sleep

I woke up about 3:15 or so because Aidan did -- he was hungry. Now he's sleeping again and I can't go back to sleep. Gotta love jet lag. So I'm surfing the net! We go to see the apartment I mentioned in my previous post. I sure hope it's what I'm building it up in my mind to be. I'd really like to get a place soon since this hotel is not cheap -- even if my parents ARE paying for it.

Before I woke up, I was dreaming about bicycles. Alameda is a smallish island here in the Bay Area and it's flat with wide streets and traffic is pretty slow. I would like to buy a bicycle and one for Golf too, if he wants. On mine, I plan to install a baby seat and some baskets -- one between the handle bars, and two overhanging the rear wheel, like saddle bags. This way, all my grocery shopping and other errands can be done without taking a car and Aidan can come with me without a problem.

I'm really excited about my new life!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Updated Photo Album Already!

Golf is on the ball, man. He took some really good photos of Aidan and my parents, sister, and brother in law, and he's already got it uploaded on our online photo album.

I saw an apartment listing I really like and it also included an online photo album of the place. We're going to go see it tomorrow and I have a good feeling about it. Somehow with all apartments I've gotten in the past, I've had a positive feeling about it beforehand. So let's see how it goes. I just love Alameda! It really is the perfect neighborhood for us. The beach picture on our photo album is in Alameda, with the San Francisco skyline in the background. The weather has been absolutely beautiful with an intense blue sky, no clouds, and crisp, cool air. It feels SO good not to sweat!!

Oh, the jet lag! I managed to stay awake til about 6 PM, and Golf hadn't slept at all, which is great and hopefully that may get us some sleep tonight. We finally turned the light off to sleep at 3 AM last night and one second after doing that we heard the ah ah ah coming from the crib -- Aidan woke up and was ready to nurse. I got to doze off and on for three hours with Aidan in the bed with me. By 6 he was fully awake and that meant we were too. It will get better gradually every day.

Please give us some good vibes for our apartment appointment tomorrow!

Friday, August 26, 2005


Wow, I didn't think I'd be able to do a blog so early in our return home! But the Holiday Inn we're staying at offers free high speed internet access!!! That makes apartment hunting much easier since we are using Craigslist to find our place.

OK so travel details -- in summary, our baby was a complete angel the WHOLE way! He slept almost the entire long-haul portion of the flight from Taipei to SFO. He was one tired baby by that time, so it wasn't surprising. It will be very interesting to see how he adapts to the time change. For Golf and I, we didn't get to sleep til about 2 AM last night and Aidan slept a few hours but woke us up at 5 AM for a feeding. He's been awake since then, and consequently Golf and I woke up too. We'll be sleepy this afternoon once we get back from our first apartment appointment in Alameda this morning.

My parents were so thrilled to see their grandson! It was the first time my own father met my husband and my child. It was so cool. My best friend is coming with her husband, sister and niece later this afternoon and Mom and Dad will come again tomorrow along with my other best friend and possibly my sister.

I'll give an update later to say how our apartment hunting is going.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Over & Out

We're off to the temple this morning for blessings on our journey. Then we pack up the rest of our things and head to the hotel this afternoon. I'll likely be unable to update my blog until we get our apartment w/ internet access. But I'LL BE BACK! ;) Until then -- adios amigos and Goodby

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Day After Tomorrow

No, not the movie -- that's our big day to move back.

We had a hell of a time at the bank yesterday. The Thai system is completely screwed up (using nice words here, feel more like the f-word!). I don't want to go into details about our banking woes, but let's just say that it's amazing that any business gets done at all in this country. Even the bank tellers were commiserating with us that it is, indeed, a sucky system.

So we have to go BACK today, and hopefully it will work out OK. We have to go to a certain branch that is a bit of a pain to get to. Anything not within a few miles of home is a pain to get to because of the infamous traffic here. Thank goodness Aidan is a mellow baby.

Last night some of my colleagues had a going away dinner for Golf, me and the baby. It was our first time going out to dinner with the baby and he behaved so well! Thais adore babies, especially luuk krung or half Thai half white westerner. The waitresses were all over Aidan, trading him off with each other and cooing and gaa gaaing at him.

Went to school yesterday too, to get my final pay and Golf and Aidan came with. The Thai teachers were just all over that baby -- they make such a fuss and it's so fantastic to see. :)
I also got to visit my class from last school year and they were SOOO excited to see me and the baby. Golf took pictures of the whole class with us. I'd like to make copies of each photo and send it to the class after I'm back in the States, along with a San Francisco postcard. They'd like that, I'm sure. :)

OK, so off to do more errands -- doing laundry, finishing our banking errand, Golf's got to run to the IT mall to get some more software, and I'm sorting and packing more things. Then later this afternoon I'm getting my manicure and pedicure. Hooray!

Monday, August 22, 2005

So busy getting ready for our move

The heat is on folks -- the final homestretch! Today Golf's niece came by get our bookshelf, shoe rack, some other shelving, and the extra mattress, pillows and blankets that we borrowed for my mother's visit. We then went to do some banking errands. Our apartment is nearly empty! Today was a big day to get some important stuff done, and well, tomorrow and Wednesday too. I guess Thursday as well! Jeez, til the day we leave for the airport we got important stuff to take care of but the rest of this afternoon we have free. Golf went to get his Thai massage and I'm enjoying the internet while Aidan is taking a nap.

We've also been enjoying food that you can't get in the States, and unfortunately, much of it is fattening. The seriousness of my weight loss will begin once we get settled into our apartment! I'm even going to document it here on this blog so I can hold myself accountable. OK -- off to surf around some. :)

Saturday, August 20, 2005

All the noise

Our son slept the longest time so far last night -- from about 8:30 PM to 6 AM!! He normally gets up between 3:30 and 4:30, which is something also fairly new beginning only a few weeks ago. It's fantastic to get such huge chunks of sleep!

We laid in bed til about 7, after Aidan finished nursing. Turned off the air conditioner and heard incredibly loud Thai music blaring from the home below our condo unit. These condo units house hundreds of families, and here was this family below next to the street just blaring it out of loudspeakers. I just don't understand how Thais tolerate such NOISE. About a month ago I kept hearing shouting and whistle blowing in the early Saturday morning and it was coming from the opposite side of us, from the courtyard. I went over to the other side of our building to investigate and it was all the security guards doing calisthenics military style. Here they take security guarding seriously -- sort of. Anyway, nevermind that it was right in the courtyard surrounded by two buildings 15 floors each with hundreds of people trying to sleep in on their Saturday morning! AMAZING THAILAND, for sure. I will NOT miss all the noise noise noise noise noise (Think the Grinch scene here). They never seem to tire of loud, chaotic noises all competing for domination.

Anyway, today I get to have my hair highlighted! I will post before and after photos later on today. :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Aidan has recently discovered his hands and notably his fingers and therefore puts them gleefully into his mouth (the first of years to come!). He doesn't yet know his mouth's limits and he tries to stuff his whole hand in there. He's gotten in three fingers at once and often he gags! It's so funny to see because it doesn't bother him, he smiles and laughs afterward. However, if he's gagging and doesn't take his hand out by himself we help him out. It's a whole learning process. I think Aidan's learning process will be a source of great amusement by his parents -- hopefully amusement more often than being horrified! LOL!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

I feel so NAKED....

.... without my wedding ring!

Yesterday Golf, Aidan and I went to MBK shopping center which is a madhouse Thai-style shopping mall. We went in the morning of a weekday in the hopes that it would be quieter because we needed to get some last minute shopping and errands done before we leave in nine, yes, NINE days!

Quieter? HAH! In this shopping mall, if you get there early (as in nearly 11 AM) hardly any of the shops are open. I needed to get new shoes and saw ONE place that looked like they carry my size -- an 8 1/2, which is a HUGE female foot in this country. They simply don't have my size. The largest is size 8 and that's a rare find too.

Well as she shops started opening, the noise increased. You have huge screens advertising movies and other products that are over big speakers, individual boutiques that think they are a mini nightclub with all the loud techno pumping out of it; in the middle of the mall you sometimes have promotion performances with girls with squeaky voices shrieking on a microphone. Etc. etc. etc. We covered the baby's ears as much as we could. Here is another picture of the madhouse.

Anyway, the whole point of me coming with Golf to this shopping center is that this is where we bought our wedding rings and they were about three to four sizes too big for us and we wanted them resized before we left. Had to wait til after pregnancy when my fingers weren't so swollen.
Now we made the big trip into town, which took longer because of unexpected extra traffic on the streets. We also had to look out for Aidan and hope he didn't get too overly stimulated.

We get to our jewelry shop and it's CLOSED FOR ONE DAY!! The very day we come. I am NOT taking Aidan back to this circus! I am so PO'd it's all I can do to retain my composure. And my shoe store is still closed too, so my coming with Aidan was completely useless.

So we go to eat some lunch and think about our next move and Golf suggested that we take our rings to a different jeweler. There are so many of them in this mall, all competing with one another for business. Good idea. So we went to this other one and yes, they can resize, reingrave our names and re-brush the silver around the rim. Both for 700 Baht or $17. I have no clue what the charge would be in the States -- about $100 EACH ring maybe??? Thank goodness for the quick thinking on my husband's part. They will be ready on Thursday and Golf will go by himself to pick them up and buy some more shirts.

Then Aidan was getting fussy so I took him to the Tokyo department store and found a dressing room and nursed him for half an hour while Golf exchanged some pants that he bought before that didn't fit properly.

After that, we checked to see if my shoe store was open. Yes, it was. Golf held Aidan one floor below -- the furniture floor that was always quiet, while I shopped for my shoes. I was looking for the kind of sport shoes that are thin soled that you just slip on. They've been kind of popular the last year or two and I like the styles. Of course the feminine ones only went up to about 7 1/2 and I had to settle for a pair of men's shoes that didn't look too masculine. They are an olive green with dark blue. Could go either way... Bought them for less than $10.

I also bought alot of hairbands and other hair accessories for cheap. Then we went home and just chilled the rest of the day. Had to after battling such crowds and noise with a baby not quite three months old!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Monday Madness

It's time for Monday Maddess!
This week's questions are all about you! Nothing personal; just for fun...
1. On what day of the week were you born? I was born on a Friday.
2. Do you look forward to birthdays? Not since I turned 30!
3. How do you usually celebrate your birthday? Nice dinner out and my sweet husband buys be a beautiful bouquet of flowers. Don't know what will happen this year since we have a baby, but likely we'll get a friend to babysit for the evening.
4. Do you like surprises? Only good ones! I don't like being surprised by something unpleasant.
5. Has anyone ever thrown you a surprise party? No.
6. How many family and friends' birthdays can you remember right off the top of your head? 13.
7. Do you send cards to your family and friends on their birthday? E-cards, usually, since I'm living abroad. Once we live in the US, I will buy a paper card to send by snail mail.
8. What kind of cake do you like? CHOCOLATE!!!
9. What kind of ice cream goes best with it? Chocolate chip or maybe chocolate chip mint.
10. When is your birthday? (You don't have to share the year with us if you answer this question.) December 12th. Kinda cool, I've always thought: 12/12. Incidently my favorite number is 12. :)

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Today is Mother's Day

Today is a national holiday in Thailand. It's Mother's Day! The Thais make much more of Mother's Day and Father's Day than they do in the States, where it's just marketed to buying stuff. Here, these holidays revolve around royalty. The celebration of Mother's Day happens on Her Majesty the Queen's birthday, which is today, August 12, and Father's Day is on His Majesty the King's birthday on December 5.

All around the country you would find huge portraits of the Queen, mostly when she was still younger and beautiful, along with blue flags bearing her insignia. The portraits are displayed with flowers, lights and the other items you see in the photos below.

In my family, we celebrated Mother's Day by showing Mom how much we appreciate her. We clean the house, treat her to a massage (done by one of us kids), and cook breakfast, lunch and dinner AND clean the messes from that.

Here in Thailand, according to DH, the kids use this time as kind of a confessional to Mom. They confess to her all the things they did that year and ask for her forgiveness. In schools the day before, mothers would come to a special assembly and the kids would put on a performance. Then each child would have a small gift that he or she made for Mom and the mothers would go up on stage, grade by grade and their child would present the gift to the mother and wai (hold hands together in a namaste or prayer like way). It's very ceremonious and touching.

Here is an example of the portrait display at our condo entrance. It's a rather simple one in comparison to most others around Thailand, but it gives the reader an idea:

This photo shows part of the Queen's royal insignia. All members of the royal family have their own design and colors. It's like a coat of arms.

So far so good

Had the wisdom teeth pulled last night. The experience wasn't pleasant, but it wasn't horrible either. Today I have a very sore lower jaw and throat. Not much swelling. I'm eating soft foods. This morning I had a rice congee and will likely have a rice soup for lunch. I was still able to have a couple cups of coffee this morning, but have been regularly rinsing my mouth with room temp water. I told my DH this morning that my pain and swelling feels just like when I had my tongue pierced about 10 years ago! LOL! And I didn't have any anesthesia then either! Nor did I take any pain killers afterward. (Incidentally, I had that piercing only about two and a half years, much to my parents' relief!) I have to take 400 mg of Ibupofin and two antibiotic tablets three times a day. I'm sure I'll be fine in a few days. :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Getting a wee bit nervous

Today at 5 PM I have my appointment to get my two lower wisdom teeth jerked out. Kind of an odd hour for such a thing, but that's when the dentist that does tooth extraction is in. Golf pointed out that it's a good time of day to have this procedure done because about four hours afterward I'll be going to bed and getting a lot of rest. We shall see how it goes! I need to pump a feeding for Aidan so I can just chill afterward.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Two square meters is ALOT!

The movers came this morning and practically gutted our apartment! We hired this international shipping service to move our stuff by boat and it will all arrive at the Port of Oakland in about one month, which is about two weeks after we arrive. We hope to have our apartment by then.

Anyway, we ordered two square meters of boxing because that was the minimum required. Well, I thought it was not that much space and was thinking I was going to have to find another box to take stuff as check in luggage on our flight. No, I was seriously wrong and we ended up throwing in most our clothes, all our plastic coat hangers, some bathroom stuff, virtually all my clothes, since none fit after giving birth, and our DVD player. Any movies we want to watch for the next 17 days will be on the laptop computer. In total, they took away eight HUGE boxes of stuff. Now we just whittle away the days til we go home.

Aidan also got his plane ticket delivered today. Glad he is able to come with us.



Sunday, August 07, 2005

Taking advantage of more Thai luxuries

So yesterday I had a massage, the day before I had my teeth cleaned for less than $15, Thursday I will have two wisdom teeth taken out for about $40, and today I'm going to get a manicure and pedicure. I regularily have this done since it's so cheap. With the tip, it ends up being less than $5. I try to have it done every couple weeks and I plan to do it again 'round about the day before we fly back home. I may do it once a month once we return too, because I'm a nail biter, a really bad one, so if I keep my nails nice looking, I won't want to bite them and make them ugly. So they're either really nice looking or really ugly. No in betweens for me, unfortunately. It's worth it too, I think, because Golf really dislikes it when my nails are bit short and look ragged and have stumpy looking fingers. I don't like it either. Lastly, I plan to have my hair highlighted before our big day. I look younger and better with lighter hair, just kind of a pain to maintain once the roots start growing back. I plan a life of frugality, but some beauty regimines must be retained to keep me feeling good about myself.

Monday Madness

I haven't played in quite awhile, so here's a Monday Madness meme:

What would you do in the following situations?
1. The store clerk undercharges you for an item you purchase? Tell the clerk the correct price and pay the correct amount. Or I would ask if it's on sale.

2. The cashier gives you change for a fifty dollar bill when you only gave her a twenty, and you don't realize it until you're out the door? Turn around and give back the difference. Gotta keep the karma good!

3. You see your best friend's husband/wife with another woman/man at a neighborhood restaurant? Don't assume anything -- could be a co-worker for all I know. But ask my friend how everything is in their marriage maybe?

4. Your 15 year old asks you if you ever tried an alcoholic beverage before you were of legal drinking age (and you have)? Tell the truth. Hey, I may even give my kid a glass of wine -- I don't believe in the 21 year old drinking age limit anyway. But I will tell him to obey the law when he's out in public. When in my house, he may have some drink every once in awhile, for special occasions, and only under parental supervision. This way, alcohol won't be some forbidden fruit he will likely be eager to abuse away from his parents' eyes.

5. You find a one hundred dollar bill laying on the floor of a department store? When it comes to cash, there's no way to find the rightful owner. So you win some, you lose some. I will put it in my pocket and buy something nice for myself, hubby and son. :) OR I might pay off some bill of some sort. And then I won't complain too loudly when it happens to me next time.


Whew! My mother just notified me that our insurance has been approved, so when we get to the States, we'll be medically insured the moment we step off the plane. That's such a relief.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

In eager anticipation today

I have about three ounces of breastmilk in a bottle in the fridge that Aidan didn't drink yesterday, so I'm taking advantage of that and going to take a two hour Thai massage today. I'm so excited about it because I haven't had one since I became pregnant. Gotta take advantage of all these luxuries that we can get in Thailand while we still can. MMmmmmmm!!!!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Medical Vacations

Darshani made a comment on my blog yesterday about my getting my teeth pulled and she said "By the way, if it makes you feel better about cost, I just had two fillings repaired and my portion of the bill was $130!"

There is a trend going on right now for medical vacations: people come to Thailand to have surgery or have other medical procedures done at about 1/4 of the price the US charges. Golf's former boss comes to Thailand frequently on business and while she is here, she gets any medical care done here such as regular check-ups or dental care.

Here is an article on the phenomenon with links on more information and here it is if you don't want to go to the link.

Are you planning a surgical procedure in the near future?
What is it going to cost you in you home country?
Perhaps you could combine that surgery with your next holiday and take your convalescence at a beachside resort. Medical vacations are becoming a growth industry thanks to a fortunate combination of low cost, but high quality medical care and a wide variety of very affordable tourist attractions.
Popular treatments vary from general checkups, dental care, hip replacement, lasik, plastic and heart surgery. In
Phuket there is one hospital that specialises in sex change operations.
The combined cost of travel, accommodation and surgery may well turn out to be less than the cost of the surgery alone in your home country.
Thai care even proves popular among those with government health insurance. Many say they would rather pay for everything themselves than wait several months for admission in their own countries where medical staff may take an off-handed approach.
From my own experience I can say that having a tooth crowned here will cost around $300 for a molar. A procedure to remove a gall bladder, using the latest "key hole" surgery techniques was $700 and involved only 2 nights stay in hospital. Hospital room charges are most expensive in
Bangkok, but even so will be less than $100 per night and in Pattaya the charge will only be $50 per night for a private room with air-conditioning, television and refrigerator. All private hospital rooms have a full length couch, where a relative or friend can sleep if they wish to stay with the patient.

More yummy goodness found only in Thailand

Yesterday we went to the mall and on the way home, Golf picked up roti with spun sugar. The sugar looks like stringy blonde hair and is lightly toasted. Sometimes you will see the sugar dyed different colors like pink or green, just like cotton candy. The rotis are actually thin crepes that are only slightly sweet and soft. You put the sugar inside the roti and roll it up like an enchilada and eat. It's SOOO delicious and not something I've seen anywhere but Thailand. It's a good thing I did my powerwalk yesterday!!!!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

It will be MY turn next week...

Last week my DH got a wisdom tooth pulled and yesterday he got his stitches out. Yesterday we went to a nearby dentist about two blocks away and got a consultation for my teeth. I have to get my two lower ones pulled! They have caveties already and it won't be long before the nerves are affected. I'd been told by dentists for years that I needed to get them pulled, but always chickened out. In the US, we don't plan on getting dental insurance, so now's the time to do it. I will get one pulled next Thursday (a week from today) and the other the following Thursday. If Golf's dentist charges about the same as this one, then each tooth pulled will cost only 2,500 Baht, or $61. The pain relief drugs will cost about $5. Go to a dentist in the US for the same service and I shudder to think what they would charge. Hence the rush to do it now before we go back! I will report my experience here....

This Tuesday the shippers come to get our stuff. Two cubic meters of books, CDs, DVDs, clocks, a wall altar, and our wedding portrait. Hopefully it will all fit. The service costs more than double what I expected, but oh well, we have to do it and it's a one time thing, we aren't planning to move back to Thailand once we are in the States...