Thanksgiving Abroad

We had a full and busy week, which helped keep our mind off the fact that we were missing our first major holiday away from our friends and family. I thought it would be appropriate for me to blog in the format of giving thanks this week…

A shot of John during his first time driving in Thailand - and quite successfully I might add!

  • I’m thankful for learning about another Thai-Buddhist holiday called Loy Krathong. It coincides with the 12th full moon of the Thai lunar calendar. The Thai people celebrate by building little boats out of banana leaf and pushing them out onto water, as a symbol of letting go of anything you have been holding onto throughout the year.
  • I’m thankful for the Loy Krathong party we had in the Garden, where we live. It was an awesome party. There were lights and dancing, games, a contest for whose banana-leaf boat creation was the best (based on creativity, beauty, ecologic, and floating abilities), dance performances by the children/teens of the Garden, music performances by John and yours truly, and so much good food. I was stuffed for hours afterward! We had an amazing salad with squid, delectably seasoned. We had several other yummy dishes and a new kahnome: think a sweet version of a mini-taco, stuffed with corn, topped with coconut and sugar. Mmm, mmm, good.
  • I appreciate celebrating Loy Krathong a second time this week! By going into downtown Nongkhai and pushing our banana boats off into the Mekong River, along with hundreds of other people. Our boats were made by one of our coworker’s daughters - and were beautifully done! We brought along the teenagers of the Garden, and I am coming to appreciate how teenagers are similar the world over (not sure that this use of the word appreciate is exactly in the vein of thanksgiving, though). 
  • I'm grateful for being able to Skype with my family and John’s for their Thanksgiving celebrations for a bit. It’s never enough time, but we appreciate what we got. It’s also never enough time when internet doesn’t work properly, yet I’m still grateful that we have the option to go somewhere to Skype in the early hours of our day - to be able to connect with our families at all, in spite of the time change.
  • I appreciate all of the cards you gave to us before we left. I love picking one out at random to read regularly. 
  • I’m also thankful for the cards and packages we have received thus far. It’s so great to get a little taste of home sometimes.
  • I’m grateful to continue to feel more settled here. It’s the little things, like knowing when people have upcoming birthdays, so we can plan ahead to buy/make little gifts on our stipend budget.
  • I’m especially thankful that our Thai community here knows how to party! :) We have lots of parties upcoming in the Christmas season, and I know it will help distract me from missing my family.

GoGo (upper right) with a friendly puppy

  • I’m thankful for my family back home: both the family I was born into and the family I married into. John and I are so blessed and lucky to have amazing families.
  • I’m grateful for my oldest niece asking me, “What’s the biggest difference in Thailand so far?” I didn’t have a good answer at the time, but I have been mulling it over and it may be fodder for future blog posts… 
  • I so appreciate the fact that my sister and her husband are traveling all the way from Germany to visit us in January. 
  • I’m so grateful that we can afford and get the time off to go on a vacation with them in January.
  • I’m grateful for Go-Go, our new dog in the Garden. 
  • And, perhaps most importantly, I’m grateful for french fries.