Monday, January 31, 2011

100 Days in Thailand :: Things I'm Getting Used To...

Our 12th day in Thailand was kind of boring - or should I say relaxing?! I stayed home and rested, journaled, etc (which was definitely needed with all the traveling we've been doing!) while Rusty went with Ray to Bai (a town about 3 hours away) to look at a motorcycle. So, since I don't have an interesting day to share, I thought I would share some things I'm getting used to while living in Thailand!

The kindness of Thai people 
I am planning on sharing more about Thai culture in a future blog, but let me just say here how WONDERFUL the people are!!! They are the most kind, gentle, respectful, and honoring people I have ever met. It is truly a joy to be in their country and learn more about their culture!

            The Wai
The Wai is the traditional Thai greeting. It consists of your hands pressed together (as in prayer) and a little bow to whomever you are greeting. Your hand placement and the depth of your bow determines the level of respect. So - if I am greeting an older person who is a goverment official, I would place my hands high on my face (in front of my nose) and bow a lower bow. Everyone does this here everyday - we were even given a wai by a precious little toddler! It was the sweetest thing EVER!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

100 Days in Thailand :: Day 11 - Cross Cultural Apartment Hunting (+ photos of our new place!)

If you've ever house hunted or apartment shopped, then you know how stressful the process of finding a place to live can be.

There are so many factors that go into your decision making... the size of the place, the location, the neighborhood, the amenities, and of course the PRICE! It can be an overwhelming and exhausting experience.

Now just imagine apartment shopping - cross culturally! Add to all the factors above being unable to speak the language, unable to get around, and the cultural differences that are applied when you move to another country. Now you're beginning to understand what the past few days have looked like for us!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

100 Days in Thailand :: Day 10 - Don't let the BED BUGS bite!

For the past 7 days or so, I've been noticing little red dots popping up all over my body. Most of them are on my arms and hands, with a couple more on my face, leg and stomach.

I first noticed them around day 3 or 4.... at that time there were maybe 5 of them on my hands.

By the next day there were 11.

The next day there were 18.

I stopped counting when they went past 39.... but I'd say by now I probably have 50 or so on my body!!!

They did NOT look like mosquito bites (and I have been wearing lotion that keep mosquitoes away since we arrived) so I could NOT figure out what they were for the life of me! That is, until this morning....

Friday, January 28, 2011

100 Days in Thailand :: Day 9 - The Grocery Store

Today was our first full day in Chiang Mai. We spent most of the day looking for an apartment online and getting settled. Since we don't yet have our own apartment, we are staying with Ray & Candace for a few days (and their daughter Maele, and two missionaries that live with them too - our old friend Mark Stratmann and our new friend Charity). So, part of that "getting settled" required a trip to the grocery store so that we could pick up some snacks, drinks, and lunch/breakfast food.

I'd been telling Rusty that this trip felt very different to me than any other trip, probably because I hadn't felt very much "culture shock" here in Thailand. I guess I've traveled enough to feel somewhat "normal" overseas... and honestly Thailand reminds me a lot of India (only cleaner and quieter). Well friends, I definitely spoke too soon. Nothing will culture shock you more than a trip to a foreign grocery store.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

100 Days in Thailand :: Day 8 - Chiang Mai

Wow - I have been out of touch! It's been almost 2 weeks since I've blogged - please forgive me for being MIA! So much has happened lately, and on top of the busyness we've had quite a few days with no internet. Sooo, bear with me as I try to update you on the past 12 days or so!

We'll start with our 8th day in Thailand!

On January 26th we left Pattaya and flew to Chiang Mai. Finally, we were arriving in our "home" for the next 3+ months!! Our friends (and Thailand partners for The Sound of Hope) Ray & Candice Ward picked us up from the airport and we enjoyed a nice dinner out together...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Under the Red Lights

We went shopping a few nights ago on the street in Pattaya. While walking around we took a turn down a soi (side street). Suddenly, it wasn't clothes or shoes or hats for was women for sale.

It's amazing what happened when I walked into the Red Light District for the first time....when I really saw the horror close up. Suddenly I didn't react how I expected to react. It's as if my body took over, involuntarily, to protect and preserve me. I just SHUT DOWN. Mentally and emotionally it's as if someone flipped a switch. I just went NUMB.

Here's a glimpse of what we saw that night. Take note that this is just ONE little side street, and that it wasn't even in the worst area. Rusty interviewed me to capture some of the raw emotion I was feeling in response to what we experienced...

(*note - you may want to make the video full screen so that you can really see everything... we only have a little bit of footage and it may be hard to see because it goes by quickly.)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

100 Days in Thailand :: Days 5, 6, & 7 - Pattaya

For the past 3 days we've been in Pattaya, Thailand, enjoying a little R&R! We came down to meet Rusty's 80 year old cousin Sam (more about Sam here) who has lived here for 30 years. Well, Sam insisted on putting us up in an incredible hotel AND paying for all our food AND arranging for his nurse to pick us up and drive us here. To say we have been spoiled would be an understatement!!!

It's been SUCH a blessing to have such a luxurious three days in tropical Thailand. We couldn't have asked for better timing (we were finally able to catch up on sleep in a comfortable bed and take a hot shower!)

I'm sure we will be missing this place when we are camping in the villages in Northern Thailand with no running water, so we have done our best to enjoy this blessing. There couldn't be a better example of Philippians 4:12 than our lives right now....
"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."
Boy am I thankful that God loves to give good gifts to His children! (and thankful for generous people who are vessels of blessings of plenty!)

Enjoy the pictures below of our time in Pattaya!

Monday, January 24, 2011

100 Days in Thailand :: Day 4 - My Thai Massage

Today I got my first Thai massage.

Rusty has been raving about these massages - how they are long and CHEAP (we're talking $5 for an hour people!) so I have been SO excited about trying one! We thought today would be a good day to get a leg & foot massage, since we spent all day walking around the city yesterday and were pretty worn out.

Except, I've never had a THAI massage before. And they are very, VERY different from those in the US.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

100 Days in Thailand :: Face to Face with the Sex Industry

I never expected it to be so blatant. So common. So normal, and accepted, and horrific all at once.

Call it whatever you want... 

It's real, and here it is IN YOUR FACE EVERYWHERE YOU TURN.

I was faced with it for the first time today on the sky train when a man walked on with his "rented" Thai girl. She was young and she was BEAUTIFUL.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

100 Days in Thailand :: Day 3 (Part 2)

We spent the day in the city with my good friend Frank. For those of you who have followed my blog since 2008, you may remember Frank as my co-leader of the AWESOME team we led to J-Bay South Africa!

With Frank outside the Siam Paragon Mall

Frank has been serving here in Thailand for the past 2 years, and this is the first time I've seen him since 2008. It was so good to hug him and to get to introduce him and Rusty! They got along great (I knew they would, they are both "manly men"! ;) and we had a WONDERFUL day together!

Rusty & me in Bangkok - our first picture in Thailand! The lanterns are decorations for the Chinese New Year.

100 Days in Thailand :: Day 3 (Part 1)

  • Woke up feeling like someone tried to beat me to death in my sleep. My back and hips ache! This bed is not doing good things to me (even though last night we added our thermarests under the sheets to make it more bearable.) 

Friday, January 21, 2011

100 Days in Thailand :: Day 2

We woke up so SORE. I swear we are sleeping on the hardest beds I have ever felt! There is not a spring to be found in the mattress – we have both commented that the floor might actually be a better option. I’m pretty sure the mattresses are stuffed with straw…but it doesn’t feel like straw. It feels like we’re sleeping on a king-sized ream of paper. Or a cement block. Worst. Bed. Ever.

Rusty tells me first thing in the morning that there is no hot water. Not like, the water heater is broken….there is NO hot water. Never was any. Not even wired for it. Oh Lord help me!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

100 Days in Thailand :: Day 1

This will be the beginning of my “100 Days in Thailand" blogs! I’ll try to post as frequently as possible and include stories, videos, or pictures from the day. Some days might be deep, meaningful blogs, others might just be funny stories or “bullet points” of my day. I’ll try to keep it open and honest and really let you in on my experiences. I’ll also try to include fun/interesting details for those of you who’ve never traveled overseas (or just never been to Thailand!) There will probably be a lot more of that kind of blog here at the beginning (sights, sounds, experiences, etc) while my eyes are fresh and everything is new and different to me!


Well, day one was really night one, since our plate got in late on January 19th. And technically we didn’t get out of the airport until after 12am, so I guess that would be day two. BUT, for blogging purposes just humor me, okay? Great ☺

So, here are the highlights…

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

100 Days in Thailand :: Why I NEED to GO

As promised, here’s my blog full of thoughts, struggles, etc that I had before we left. I'm being really honest here and telling you what I've REALLY been thinking, just in case you think I'm some super Holy Christian who doesn't struggle with this sort of thing. Because, I am SO not.


Everyone keeps asking me if I’m excited about going to Thailand, and I know what answer they’re expecting. But I can’t lie. I’m NOT excited.

A post from Bangkok...

Please forgive me for not posting sooner! We arrived as scheduled and are now in our 2nd full day here in Thailand!

I was hoping to have two blogs posted by now, but jet lag coupled with a lot of necessary "to do's" of getting settled have gotten in the way. I do have 3 blogs in the works though, so hopefully I'll be able to post them later tonight or early tomorrow. They are full of funny stories and situations we've already encountered - so I hope you'll enjoy reading them!

In the meantime, check out Rusty's blog from today here:

Thanks for all your prayers and sweet messages/comments on facebook! I can't wait to share more with you soon!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

100 Days in Thailand.... on our way!

I had every intention of writing a blog before we leave for Thailand, sharing how I'm feeling and what I'm thinking as we're preparing to go. It was written in my mind, and I was SO excited about being vulnerable and really "letting you into my thoughts"....

.....but it's 12:35am and our shuttle arrives at 9:00am to take us to the airport, where we will begin our 27 hour travel day.... so I think sleep is going to win out! Sorry friends! I may try to write down my thoughts as we are traveling and share them once we arrive :)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

There she is... Miss America!

Before I start posting about our trip, I thought I'd share one more blog about "regular life" here in Michigan!

I just posted about Auburn winning the National Championship, now I thought I'd post about my birthday night and my Miss America party! (A National Championship AND the Miss America Pageant all on my birthday week.... could it get any better?!? ;)

For those of you who don't know me well, you may not know that it was my lifelong dream to become Miss America. I wrote about it on my old blog here (and about how God changed my path). Though I no longer compete in pageants, I did compete for 19 years, so it was a BIG part of my life. And while I never fulfilled my dream of becoming Miss America, I still love the Miss America Organization (and all the wonderful memories I have from my time as a titleholder!)

So, every year, I try to get a group of girls together to watch Miss America! We wear crowns and girl talk and just have a fun girl's night. This year, it just happened to fall on my BIRTHDAY!!! So some sweet girlfriends came over to help me celebrate. Check out the pictures below!

Saturday, January 15, 2011


With only 4 days left before we leave for Thailand, I'm sure you were expecting a different blog post... probably something about what's going on in my heart and mind as we prepare to leave....or maybe how stressful packing is....

But if you know me at all - even a little bit - you would know that if there is anything that must come first on my brand new blog, it's a celebratory post about my BELOVED AUBURN TIGERS winning the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP!!!

And so, here it is! Just a little glimpse of what my game watching experience was like...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A New Season

Welcome to my new blog!

For the past three years, I've worked for Adventures in Missions (and blogged on my AIM blog). I've learned and experienced so much, and it's been incredible to share it all with my family, friends, supporters and others who are faithful blog readers (though really, I think of you as "friends" too, even if we've never met!)

I love my old blog, and all the memories and life-lessons it holds... but I've been wanting to expand it for a while...