I’m not sure I can put this week into words.
We knew it was going to be a bit crazy: we were coming back from the village with four days to conquer the world. There was a house to be cleaned, Christmas cards to be sent, photos to be posted, reports to be written, videos to be finished, and meetings to be had.
They have almost all been done; some Christmas cards will make the trip to Chiang Mai in hopes of being completed and magically shipped around the world before Christmas.
However, in addition to these planned tasks, we had these surprises in our four-days-of-chaos:
A new water pump. Our landlord installed a poor quality pump when we moved in, and for the past year Stephen has been making minor repairs to the pump each month. It was pretty sporadic and made some horrible sounds, but worked. But those days are gone, and we returned to have no running water. This is quite unfortunate when you have two backpacks full of dirty clothes and were really looking forward to a shower before you go to work; oh, and it’s 5am and you just arrived in on a nine hour bus ride. Anyway, it was sorted. We have a nice new pump that makes normal sounds and provides excellent and appreciated water pressure.
A flat tire and a popped tire in the same morning. After arriving at 5am, we slept for two hours and got up to shower and head to work. We walked outside to find the back tire on our motorbike flat. I slowly rode the motorbike to a nearby shop to have them fill it up. At this point, it’s quite hot and we’re already late. I go back to the house, we both get on the motorbike and head to work again. Within a block, the tire pops; it was simply worn. I then slowly ride the motorbike back to the same shop, while Stephen walks there, and ask the kind old man to replace it. We sat in the sun for about 45 minutes, now thoroughly hot and really needing another shower. And then we went to work anyway.
A broken lock and bolt cutters. Each night we chain our motorbike to a post of our house and lock it. On Thursday, we went to unlock the padlock, only to have the key break off inside the lock, all while our motorbike is still chained. After calling to find out where we find bolt cutters, Stephen rode his bike to the office to borrow a motorbike and get out to a friend’s house to borrow the bolt cutters. Again, we arrived at work quite late and significantly hotter than we intended.
There were some fun activities, too. On Thursday night I attempted a small Thanksgiving meal since we were out of town for the holiday. We picked up a rotisserie chicken in town, and I made fresh bread, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and spice cake. Unfortunately, the green bean casserole and mashed potatoes left quite a bit to be desired; perhaps more sleep is required for sufficient cooking skills?
We then pulled out all the Christmas decorations and set up our tree and nativities. For the kids I made a door decoration, though it is nothing you will find on Pinterest anytime soon. I simply tied twelve bells to a string and hung it from the door knob, knowing that they’d love the ringing bells. After just one day all the bells are clumped around the bottom, and I already had to get on to a couple kids for attempting to steal them; but they are rarely silent.
For the kids, it is all the will power within them to stay outside and look at the tree. Everyone is just bursting at the door and loving the twinkle lights. And heck, so am I!
As we were finishing our decorating on Thursday night, we heard our gate open about 10:30pm. A woman had gone into labor, and we soon found ourselves at the hospital. It was fun to have the car full of excitement and anticipation this time, and we were thankful to be able to drop them off. We laughed on the way home, as it seemed a fitting end to our welcoming of Christmas–for unto a child is born!