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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Thai Cookie Cutters

May 30, 12:57pm
The rains are coming more steadily and heavily now, but life goes on whether wet or dry.  Parking my car for my Thai lesson.  My Thai teacher rents a small townhouse in a complex of hundreds and hundreds of these little cinderblock bungalows.  It's sort of a little city of it's own- there are convenience shops and launderers, lawn care services and plumbers, restaurants and auto repairmen bespeckling this peach painted community.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Larger Than Life

May 29, 2:41 pm
Boon and I drove a visitor up to Mae Ai today and we stopped at a hill tribe coffee shop on the way back.  There were these cardboard cutouts out front, all of which had been seemingly resized to cater to Amazon women tourists.  How do I fair as a pinhead Akha gal bedecked in all her finery?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Bit of Village Life

Back from the villages and so thankful for the opportunity to have met up with some wonderful, incredibly talented people whom I've had the privilege to train in Animal Health.  It was a fast-paced, 4 day trip riding up and down the mountains in a bright blue van resembling a jelly bean on wheels, eating delicious ethnic tribal foods, talking about local animal diseases and what to do about them, and feeling thankful and incredulous that God would call me to such an awesome job. 
Here's a few snippets:

Monday, May 21, 2012

Shock Value

Today was an day full of electrifying events.  Unfortunately for you, my picture-taking skills don't measure up.

This morning started before 6am when we drove out to Boon's village to electrocute a pig and prepare it for dissection (and tomorrow a barbecue) in the 11th grade at Chiang Rai International Christian School.  It was my first experience with electrocution, and I have to say it wasn't bad.  Much more humane than the ordinary village method of clubbing it or slowly bleeding it or a combination.  We managed the musculoskeletal, immune, respiratory, urinary, and reproductive tracts today, and they will finish up with a thorough look at the circulatory and digestive systems tomorrow.

After we got cleaned up and our leading lady safely stowed away in ice, I stopped by the MMF office to confirm plans for tomorrow's trip departure (this is the last update for a few days as I will be out of range) and arrived just in time to send off a visiting team with lunch on the veranda.  As we ate, rain began to beat down and lightening struck several times just across the street.  We had a front-row view!

On the way home, as it was still raining, I had my headlights on when I stopped to get gas.  Three minutes later, I had a full tank and a dead battery.  I am very thankful for the two gas station attendants who pushed my car out of the way and then as one of them used his own ancient white pick-up to bring mine back to life.  I had been waiting for this day - many mornings of sluggish starts finally caught up with me.  But a dead car in Thailand is ironically much less stressful than in America - and even though my automotive vocabulary is not up to snuff, it didn't matter.  Cars frequently die in the most inconvenient of places here (say, in the middle of a major thoroughfare) and life goes on around them with little more than an irritated expression from the guy stuck behind.

May 21, 12:03pm
Sometime between removing pig parts and removing car parts, we had a lovely meal.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Today Was No Exception

I could easily keep a blog about nothing but the interesting flora and fauna that I encounter here on a daily basis.  Some are more creepy than others, like the cockroaches the length of my palm that crawl in through the drains. As opposed to some people around here, I much prefer to meet them that way than fried and on my dinner plate.  But there is also the other end of the spectrum: the varietal shapes and rainbow hues of hundreds of species of orchids, the macadamia trees, the sugar cane growing in the fields...

May 20, 9:51 am
This caterpillar the length and girth of my pinky had happily munched several leaves off one of my potted plants.  I was wondering why that plant was looking thinner and thinner last week.  He was relocated.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


May 19, 11:38am
Today the office was open for a small graduation ceremony and celebration of another class of Milagros Scholarship Students finishing university.  The MMF staff take a great deal of pride in these students, and have sibling-like relationships with them after mentoring them for 4+ years.   The younger students spent all day yesterday rehearsing a song they sang together and decorating the room for the big day.  How cute is that sign made from cotton balls?

Friday, May 18, 2012


May 18, 1:38pm
At the nursery picking out plants for the landscaping in the office breezeway after hitting the noodle shop for lunch.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


It was too good to be true.  At last, I missed a day.  I'd like to blame it on the internet interruptions everyone around me has been experiencing, but that's not the case.  At any rate, I had a great "day off" yesterday, experimenting with my friend Ploy about how to make pineapple cake with the real deal.  I wanted to take a picture of her cutting up the pineapple with the machete, but my hands were sticky.

So here are two pictures from the last couple of days.
May 16, 10:10am
Everything you need for a productive work day.

May 17, 6:48pm
I came home last week to find that my lily pads had sprouted a tight green pod.  At first I thought it was another leaf, but as it expanded and lightened, it has eventually morphed into this blowsy bloom.  Can't wait to see it when it opens! 

The cake turned out delicious... a perfect birthday gift for one of the girls at the office today.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Small But Mighty

May 15, 9:03am
The humble facade of one of the most important buildings relating to my existence in Thailand: the Immigration Office.  Got my new visa today... all set to stay another year.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Don't Mind Us

May 14, 11:54am
Eating lunch with Pete and Boon at "The Pump" gas station restaurant.  Just overhead were three feathery hatchlings in their snug little nest with a very busy mama feeding and protecting her progeny from the humans consuming their distant cousin once removed, Chicken, just below.  I'm glad our pad thai remained unaffected by their bustling home life.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Bus Station

May 13, 6:01pm
Waiting at the bus station for some visitors to arrive.  And sweating.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Passing the Buck

May 12, 12:07pm
Today I traveled up to the border to celebrate with some missionary friends from Texas the graduation of their first ministry intern.  With no background in animal care, they began raising goats a year ago to teach poor pastors a way to make a living while serving in the church.  At the same time, the pastors receive Biblical training and a solid foundation to return to their own villages able to lead others.  I measure my time in Thailand by the arrival of goats on the farm last year, as we came just a few days apart.  Since then, I've spent hours working through the foreignness of this ministry with them: for me the situational surprises of raising goats in a foreign land; for them, the goats.  I have also gotten to know their hardworking intern well.  He graciously accepted our invitation to join our last animal health training where he skillfully translated from Thai to his mother tongue, which he shares with our other trainees.

They have come so far in the last year.  Their goats are healthy and happy, they work hard, and they are living out their vision by sending their first intern back to his start his own ministry.  I am proud of them!

We met under the shade of the lynchee trees at the goat farm for a ceremony which included the gifting of a plaque and 6 goats (5 does and a buck) from the farm that he will take back home with him to establish his own farm and ministry.  At the end, we took this group picture, Bertha the goat included (the guest of honor is the young man in the white shirt standing close to his new doe).

Friday, May 11, 2012

Tropical Living Principle #37

May 11, 2:24pm

If you can't stand the heat at your desk, make a new one in the breezeway.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Chinese Rain

May 10, 5:44pm

People say China affects everything here: economy, food, language, business, culture, foreign policy, religion.  And apparently China even affects the weather in Thailand.  Well, whoever's to blame for this storm cell, I'm okay with the cool breeze and the rain to ensue.  But the booming thunder and blackening sky don't deter the neighbor kids from walking down to the snack shop to get some potato chips or dried squid; at least until the rain starts falling by the bucket.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Creative Nature

May 9, 4:29pm

What purpose does this thumb-sized bug's brilliance and intricacy fulfill except God's imaginative pleasure?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

In It Together

May 8, 12:46pm
Today was an intense day of meeting with two other organizations to plan for our cooperative work over the next year.  I would like to say it's easy to find our unity in Christ and we smell nothing but peaches when we have opportunity to meet together, but the truth is that it takes an incredible concerted effort to build working relationships like this, and especially in Asian culture (not to mention the several Asian cultures represented at the meeting today) where "speaking straight" is just not done.  But these two co-workers of mine (and old friends of each other), who come from different countries, ethnic groups, and languages chatting away in the back of the room during lunch break, are the reason why the fuss is worth it.  To be family in Christ.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Going On 24 Hours Now

May 7, 11:13am
I love the rain.  I love the cool breeze that billows the curtains in, the patter on the tin roofs, even the overcast sky.  I love the smell of the wet pavement, not having to water my plants and having to use an umbrella.  I love the sewer gas that gurgles up through the toilet from swollen pipes in the middle of the night (just kidding, don't love that one).  But the one down side (okay, two, if you're counting the sewer gas wafting from the bathroom) is doing laundry.  You start to wonder... will the clothes ever dry?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Saturday, May 5, 2012


May 5, 4:15 pm
Reviewing my essay writing.  Obviously I have a few things to work on before the 6th grade language proficiency exam in December...

Cool and Pleasant Shelter

May 4, 9:45 am:  Work Retreat

"When my soul is faint and thirsty, 'neath the shadow of Your wings there is cool and pleasant shelter and a fresh and crystal spring..."

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Little Muffin

May 3, 12:22 pm
This little muffin was born into the Hmong people group just 3 months ago and comes to the office everyday with her mama.  She is quite used to being passed around to all her "aunties".  Traditionally, babies do not wear diapers and are trained to go on command (or have attentive mamas that can pull those pants down quick and hold the appropriate end over a bush), but of course accidents do happen, usually when the little chicken is relaxed and trusts the arms holding her.  I have been fortunate enough to be the recipient of such a (literally) warm sign of affection.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Seasons Change

I've been in a rut with this blog lately.  It seems there's just not much happening these days that has been capable of unlocking some creativity, and to be honest the heat and humidity have sucked all the extra energy right out of me.  Not much left over to devote here.  

So, in order to try to start new in this season, I'll be posting tidbits from everyday life: A Picture A Day for the Month of May.

Granted, it's already the 2nd and I will be without internet for the next 3 days and for another chunk of time at the end of the month.  But the title wouldn't rhyme if I waited until June, and what's the fun in that?

May 2, 4:18pm:
Rambutans (เงาะ), nicknamed Red Hairy Eyeballs, are one of my faves and are just coming into season.  I picked some up today at the market.