Thursday, April 30, 2015

Re-learning Some Basics

In some ways, moving to this new country is like being a toddler all over again.  Some things were expected.  We knew that we'd have to learn to "speak" all over again.  We'd have to acquire the skills to attain what we want in a gracious way without having the ability to communicate clearly.  Certain words come in helpful.  "Khow-to, ka/krup" (meaning Excuse Me or Sorry!) goes a long way.  A "wai" (pronounced "why") is also pretty helpful.

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Our Yamaha Fino
We also had to learn how to drive all over again.  In Thailand, we drive on the left side of the road and the driver sits on the right side of the vehicle.  Our car is a manual transmission so we shift with our left hand although the clutch thankfully is still in the same spot.  It's been a while since we drove a stick, but it's come back to us pretty quickly.  The adjustment to the car being flipped around has been more fun!  We sometimes find that we are turning on our windshield wipers instead of our turning signal!  Then there is our motorbike.  It is one of the simplest ones out there - completely automatic, Vespa-style, and low cc's -  but it scares Alisha like crazy.  Turning a throttle to make the thing go?  Using that same hand to brake?  Phil's taken to it without any problem, but Alisha still prefers to use a bicycle if she has to go anywhere alone.

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This bucket served as our shower, kitchen sink, kiddie pool,
and washing machine for two months
Other adjustments weren't expected.  Taking showers for example.  In our village house, we took bucket showers.  We filled up our little black tub with water, and used a little bucket to dump water on ourselves.  If we "showered" in the morning, we'd often boil some water in our electric kettle to make the water warm.  Usually, though, we want a shower in the afternoon at the heat of the day.  Cold showers are fantastic.  I'd never thought I'd say that.  We've now moved into our new home with real shower heads and a water heater, but we still take cold showers throughout the day.

Toweling off though has been more rough.  We have these tiny little ants that like to bite.  They also happen to like living in our towels.  Too many times we've trying drying off only to find ourselves being eaten alive by these terrible creatures.  We've succeeded in avoiding this trauma by forgoing the towels.  We just put our clothes on without drying off and we find that we are completely dry within five minutes!  Which of course means that the temperatures here during the day have ranged from 93º to 102º F which in itself has been quite a change.

For the most part, though, we've been transitioning pretty well.  We really like our new house, and we feel comfortable moving about in our city.  We are looking forward to getting busier with the Charis Project as things progress.