Friday, November 03, 2006

Neighborhood Tour

If I had to compare September and October, they would be as different as night and day. September would rate somewhere around a 2 on a scale of 1-10 (1 being not so good and 10 wonderful.) Then October came. Things sort of evened out. Maybe it was the change of seasons from rain to winter (tropical winter, that it is, at a cool 80 degrees! :)Life became a little more predictable. October ranks around a 6-7, I would say, with some days heading towards 8-9! We are adjusting at last! There will still be rough days, no doubt, but we can see a life for our family here, and we are confident of God's leading us here. He will make a way.

One thing that has helped me has been the time we have spent with Pun's family. All of his aunts and uncles have been so wonderful in reaching out to us and making us feel at home here. We have spent many evenings out with them, and they come over often to play with the kids and visit. We truly feel like family now. I will introduce you to the family in the next post.

And oh yes, I have begun to tackle the Thai language. Wow! With 44 consonants, 32 vowels, 5 tones, and no spaces left between the words when they are written. It will be an unbelieveable challenge, but somehow, just beginning gives me a sense of being proactive in my adjustments.

Another very important factor to our adjustment is meeting other believers. We have made many friends at the church we have been "trying out." It is rather large but very friendly. The people have truly been the Body of Christ to us.

I promised a more cultural post this time so I thought I would take on a tour of the Soi (small street) we live on. When you give your address, there is a house number, a soi number or name, and then the main street name. A soi is not one straight street, either, just in case you are wondering. It is a maze of streets jetting off the main street.

So, here we are at Soi Thanom Chit (which means literally "Caring for the heart") right off of Sutthisan (the main street.) Turn on to our soi and this is what you will see...

A very narrow 2 way street where cars are parked blocking an entire lane! So if you happen to turn on the street and see a car coming straight at you, you must a) find an open spot in the other lane to pull into, or b) put it in reverse and back out. Oh boy, it will be a long time before I drive here!

Notice Helen and Daniel hiding between the parked car and the phone booth on the far left. Helen has become very good at watching for cars and motorcycles. If one is coming, we get as far out of the way as possible and wait until all is clear!
Now you know another way you can pray for us! Pray for our safety as we walk on the streets, especially for Helen and Daniel. It can be a bit unnerving..

Besides lots of cars and motorcycles and people just generally hanging out, there are a few other things that seem to be common to sois...

Soi dogs. Lots of them, everywhere! This picture actually shows 4. You can often find them sleeping under parked cars. It is amazing to me that they all find enough food to eat. Most everyone has a dog or two to guard their house as well.

And vendors. Some stay parked in the same spot all day and some are like these two who drive in an out of the sois announcing their produce or merchandise. Some even walk the streets.

There are several little stores on our soi as well. They are mostly run out of the owner's homes, like this one right down from our house.

Sometimes when we need a break from being in the house, I will take one or both of the kids to one of the stores and buy a drink. They really enjoy taking the walk and getting to pick their own drink out.

Daniel, with a delicious Chocolate Milk, on his way home.

In these two pictures you can see the spectrum of houses on our soi. The rich and the poor live together.

Finally, here is a view of our home, the home where Pun grew up.

And waiting for us when we come home now is a new puppy! Last week, Pun's parents brought home a Cocker Spaniel puppy for Helen and Daniel. His name is Choco. Of course, they are thrilled. Daniel has even added "Choco" to his expanding vocabulary.

Life is good in the Land of Smiles...


Anonymous said...

It's cool to see what your neighborhood looks like. Can't wait to get there and see it ourselves. The kids look great and the puppy is sure cute too!'

karen said...

Great post, Merri! Very informative. I can't imagine trying to learn a language like that, but I am sure you will do well. I'm so glad that things are getting better for you guys.

Has Pun had any luck with a job yet?

When you go to church, do they speak any English or can you even understand the sermon and stuff. Do they sing any music that you recognize?

Anonymous said...

Great pics! Like seeing your neighborhood. Your puppy has big feet.
Pun have a Happy Birthday.
It was a yes vote to except the offer on the sale of the church to Reed. Yipee!!
Love, Kim

Anonymous said...

Hello! Your mom gave me your blog address and it's so neat to be able to keep up with how things are going for you all out there. We've been thinking about you and praying for you, but now we know how to pray more specifically. We'll be praying for you as you get adjusted to everything and try to learn the culture and the language. Know that God will bless your efforts, especially as you witness to Pun's great grandaunt.
In Christ,
Josh & Christina Harding

Char said...

It's Monday afternoon and I've just caught up with your posts. It is so great to read and see what it is like there. The puppy is cute but the children are cuter! I printed out pictures of Helen and Daniel. We continue to pray for you and especially for your witness to Pun's family. Happy Birthday, Pun!
Love, Char

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