Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Voyage Home

This month is different for us. After over a year and a half in Thailand, we are planning on heading back to the US at the beginning of October. It's been a difficult decision for us, but we are sure now that we can be more effective in the US than we can be here. So this month has turned into a time of wrapping things up and saying goodbye to people and places here that have come to mean a lot to us.

Luckily the preparation for the transition has been going smoothly so far—we have found someone to take over our lease who also will be buying most of our furniture and household items. Our list of things we need to take back to the US is pretty small, and it should be no trouble getting it all packed up.

Alisha is finishing up the month with her homeschooling group, and Phil is wrapping up a few software projects that he's been working on with people around town. We have been making the rounds to the waterfalls and the restaurants around town that we have fond memories of.

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And of course we are looking forward to settling back in on the other side of the Pacific. The plan is to arrive in California with Alisha's parents and get over our jetlag, then spend a couple weeks in debriefing and counseling in Denver. Phil is looking into job opportunities, and once the employment situation is finalized we will be moving back up to the Seattle area where we used to live. We're looking forward to reuniting with our friends up there.

We have certainly learned a lot from our time here and have made some friendships we will value for a long time. We hope that we can take what we have learned about the complexities of migrant and refugee issues and use it as we interact with those communities in the Seattle area.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

July 2016

Now that we aren't hiding out in our bedroom that has A/C almost all the time, we tried to get out more this last month.  We took a spontaneous waterfall trip one Sunday, and it was gorgeous.  We hadn't been to this particular waterfall for over a year, so there was a lot of new things to see.

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Hagelberg boys

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A little cave inlet on a short hike

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Climbing around the waterfall

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Salahs around the reservoir
Even though we do school with other kids during the week, we do a fair bit of unschooling at home as well.  The boys discovered my LEGO Stop Action app on my iPad so they started to make some movies.

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We went to one of our favorite tea houses for breakfast one morning.

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Alisha recently got LASIK surgery as her eyes were getting worse while in Thailand, and had to go back to Bangkok for a follow-up appointment.  It was also Phil's birthday, so we made an event of it.  
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Our hotel room had a spiral staircase

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We didn't actually go to this museum which is located in
one of the malls, but the lobby area was fun
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We went to a waterpark on top of another mall in Bangkok.  Yes, on top!
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The lazy river went right up to the edge of the roof

We also went to the Discovery Museum.  This place was great.  It had science exhibits inside, a reading library, a splash park, a dinosaur excavation site, and a huge playground.  And it was completely free!

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Reading in the library

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Our budding archeologists

Our last day in Bangkok was my doctor's appointment and trip home.  We decided to take creative routes to get where we wanted to go including a water taxi.  I'm glad we only took two backpacks total for our luggage because it was pretty crowded, but lots of fun!

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N loved the water taxi

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By our hotel was lots of street food.
We have to visit the roti stands whenever possible.  =)

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

May and June 2016

It's time for an overdue update.  After our busy months of March and April, we settled back into routine with school and work for the next couple of months.  Basically, we just did our normal activities while doing our best to survive the heat.  Thankfully, rainy season has begun so we are no longer dealing with triple-digit temperatures.  Here are a few pictures...

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N wearing an ice headband (compliments of our water cooler)

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Getting a haircut in town.  For less than $1, the kids can be pretty stylish!

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Z painting at school

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Z lost his first tooth at the end of May.  In three months he's lost four teeth.

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Our mango trees have been producing a ton of mangoes.  We ate about 4 a day.

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The field behind our house.  We are a five minute walk from the airport
where they are currently expanding the air strip.

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The boys have been enjoying their Rubix cube that their grandparents
got them in March.  Z can do it on his own.

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Working on building a little clubhouse in our side yard.

In other news, I've started up my homeschool blog again.  You can get a glimpse of some of the things we are doing at school there.

Monday, May 23, 2016

April 2016

April began the hot season for Thailand in earnest.  Temperatures soared into the triple digits and didn't let up until the middle of May.  Thailand actually experienced it's longest heatwave in 65 years.  All the Thai schools take off most of March-May, so our little co-op did too.  This actually signifies the end of the school year here, but we just continued where we left off when we started back up in May.  We took advantage of the break to go visit Phil's parents in Penang, Malaysia.

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Phil loves using his motorbike to get around.  Occassionally, the boys get a ride on it too!

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We found a new coffee shop in Mae Sot.  It feels so modern.

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The coffee shop has a little pond with swings.  It's a lot of fun.

For a little over two weeks, we were able to go visit Phil's parents in Malaysia.  They moved there just before Z was born, and we've never been to see them.

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Taking the bus to the airplane.

Porch view
View from Phil's parents apartment

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Family photo on Penang Hill
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A bus stop

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The boys are celebrities wherever we go.  These lovely women were
swimming and playing in the sand with the boys for at least an hour.

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Superman

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Sand Castles
We also got to make traditional Malaysian batik.  We got to see how they use the hot wax stamps, and then dye the cloth.  Later we did some free-hand wax drawing.  It was really neat, but super hot!

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Putting on the wax stamps

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The boys' cloths before dyeing

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Mom and Dad got into the fun too
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The boys thought it was pretty cool

We spent a lot of time in the pool as well.  It was cooler in Penang than in Thailand, but it was still really hot and more humid.

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The pool at the apartment

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Pool at the Youth Park
We got to take a few dates as well.  It was nice to have grandparents around!

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The boardwalk near Georgetown
One other great thing was getting some one-year debriefing/counseling done as well.  We had a number of sessions that helped us as we prepared to go back to Thailand.

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We spent out last night there getting Korean BBQ with the whole family.  It was the first time the boys had been to an all-you-can-eat-buffet, and they thought it was pretty great.
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Seoul Garden

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All the Hagelbergs!

Thanks Grandma and Papa for a great time at your house!  We hope to visit again at Christmas!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

March 2016

Last month, we had the opportunity to see my parents again on their way back home from a recent trip to Asia.  We met up with them in Chiang Mai this time and got to play tourist.  We hadn't explored the city before (usually we come only for immigration issues and sit in visa lines all day long) so this was a treat.

Here are some of the highlights from the trip:

Doi Suthep
This is a wat (Thai Buddhist Temple) on the top of the mountain overlooking Chiang Mai.  We hadn't actually visited any wats before, and this one is a big tourist destination.  It was humbling as we watched people worship there.

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Chiang Mai Night Safari
This zoo is usually a night destination as most of the animals are nocturnal.  We, however, went during the day and had a lovely time walking around the big lake, seeing the animals, and playing in the air-conditioned (yay!) kid-zone.  We had the whole place almost to ourselves.

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Khao Mao Khao Fang (The Imaginary Jungle)
We wanted to take my parents out to a nice restaurant that evening so we went to a place that is located in both Chiang Mai and Mae Sot.  We liked the one in Mae Sot, so we tried this one.  It's got some amazing Thai food, and the setting was very pretty.

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The Old City
There are a lot of little shops and restaurants here.  We mostly just walked around, but at the end all the men decided to have a fish spa.  Basically, lots of little fish eat the dead skin off your feet.  They especially liked Phil's feet.  Yum!

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We took a Song Tao (pick-up truck taxi sort of thing) around the city.

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It was a quick trip with my folks, but quite fun.

Then it was back to school with these fun kids!  They are such a blessing to be around.

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We were introduced to a new restaurant in town that has each table in it's own little hut.  The boys loved watching the koi in the pond while we waited for our food.

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It is HOT season now.  We've been trying to get to the pool more, and Z learned to swim this month!  He's doing fantastic and even swimming under the water.  N learned before we left Seattle, but is learning new skills as well.  It's so fun to see their confidence in the water grow.

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We had a lovely Easter "sunrise" service at the dam with many of our friends.  Stephen and Kelli led us in worship, and we enjoyed some good eats.  I wrote more about our Easter here.

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Our egg dyeing looked different this year.  We hard-boiled the eggs and while they were still hot, let the boys color them with crayons so the wax would melt of them.  Super easy clean-up, but tricky with how hot the eggs were.  =)

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This month was also pretty tricky because our car's clutch went out.  It actually began to give way on our trip over the mountains coming back from Chiang Mai, but God kept us safe.  We couldn't drive our car the very next morning after coming home.  For various reasons we didn't get our car back for nearly 3 weeks.  We were blessed by our friends to borrow their car so I could get back and forth to school.

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Every week, we get to play and do crafts with kids in a village nearby.  These two boys are cousins and they both happened to be wearing the same outfit that day.  (One later became embarrassed by the fact and went home to change!)

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March is our first real month of hot season.  It doesn't rain, and it is also the time when all the farmers slash and burn their rice fields to get it ready for planting.  This means that it is extremely smoky all the time.  Sometimes you can't even see a few blocks ahead on the highway because of the smoke.  April and May are bad too, and we just look forward to when the rainy season will begin.