YoungLife Thailand

We have become good friends with the Vechprasit family in the last couple of years. They also happen to be the folks heading up YoungLife Thailand. And they’re our neighbors, too! How random, right 😉 Well, in acknowledging just how too well things have aligned themselves for us to be more intentional in the relationships we make while here, our family has entered this new (school) year with the commitment to be as supportive and involved as possible with the literally down-the-street YL crew.

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What does that mean? It means as much as we are trying to assimilate to life abroad we are also more fully embracing being native-English speakers and engaging with the youth in this language area they themselves are learning at school and in anticipation of their future work opportunities. It means baking monthly birthday cakes. It means baking cookies in this humidity and heat. It means going on camps and day trips. It means really trying to learn who we are as individuals, as a couple and as a family — and using both the strengths and weaknesses tools for love and generosity and hospitality. It means stepping out of our respective comfort zones and being challenged to grow in ways we could have never concocted ourselves. It’s been tiring and beautiful and always always always worth it.

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Recently Dan went on a one-day trip to Ratchaburi with a looooooot of high school students who he has never met before from a school he has never stepped foot in and proudly wore the awkward badge of farang. To say I was and am proud of this man of mine is quite the understatement.

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And, really, if you know my more introverted people-watching better half who prefers not being in the limelight on a personal level, you can definitely understand just how outside of his comfort zone this trip was. But you can also probably imagine how much he rose to the occasion and gave it all he got. What a guy!

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We just celebrated our four year anniversary…and where we are now versus where we were all those years ago when we were in the “technically not dating but kind of seeing each other but are just friends and maybe more but not that but yeah maybe that and I don’t know” stage is so much better. We really have no idea what we are doing 68% of the time, but it’s so much nicer being bewildered and still committed to whatever may come together.

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Happy Birthday (month), Dan!

To say that Dan likes to be the center of attention would be a bold faced lie. I think if there were to be a movie made about him, he would still push for his role to be secondary. The guy just isn’t into much fanfare when it comes to him. But I know he can get feeling forgotten in some regards over here. It’s hard standing out (as something to stare at or held up to observe) but not connecting completely…language and culture differences can do that.

But one of the best parts of being here is that we have befriended amazing folks, and they love celebrating and connecting and doing life together. And who better to make feel extra special and loved in the great month of March then the bearded man in our midst who shares a birthday with Chuck Norris?!? 
In the Harris home we celebrate a birthday for a month because how can you possibly fit all that quality time and all the potential new experiences in a day? In a week? Is it a bit overboard…yes, yes it is. But it’s also fun. And with a month you get to do all sorts of things that would usually be put on the back burner. It also just puts you in the mindset to just go with it for the next four weeks. And so things were planned, things were schemed and things were enjoyed!

He saw movies with friends who could stay quiet during a movie and truly enjoy the viewing experience. We would do surprise visits to his work and pick him up at the end of the day for random family outings. He went out with friends (The Revenant). We went out on dates. We stayed home and lounged. He pet llamas with Louis. He snuggled with Estelle. He drank IPAs with me (Paulaner Garden Restaurant and O’Glee). With the help of his coworkers and students, I threw a surprise party during his homeroom period (baked treats from On A Sweet Note). And the sweet nature-loving man chose a pool villa for me to whisk him away for on the last weekend of the month for us to be together as just a family in the quiet and peace of Khao Yai National Park (Kirimaya Muthi Maya).

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International Love | Bpa Olay, Tao & Euy Leslie

Hey-o! We had family visiting in the fabulous month of February: my mom, my sister and my niece said “see you later” to the respective men in their lives and hopped on a plane to cross the great Pacific Ocean (side note: how brave is my 9 year old niece to fly for the first time on an international flight???) to spend 16 wonderful days in Thai suburbs with us. I would like to think they desperately missed me and Dan but we all know it was for the kids, as evidenced by the fact that upon their arrival they handed over their luggage and waltzed right in looking for Estelle and Louis. It was nothing less than expected 🙂

Despite the heat (“No, no too hot!”) for my mom and the smell (“Everything smells like poop.”) for my niece, we did get in a few random trips outside for walks (“There are flies. Do you know what flies do when they land???”) and drives (“It’s not that I don’t trust you driving, it’s just I don’t understand why that man seems like he’s trying to get into our car on his motorcycle.” and “Leslie Leslie Leslie oye!”) to different shopping centers. It was the exactly the kind of easy, crazy, boring, exciting and hilarious time I had been missing with these fine people of mine.

   
    
    
    
    
    
    
 

   
    
    
   

Siam Ocean World

We went to Siam Ocean World in November one weekend; it may have been because we were having a staycation in Bangkok. (I can’t remember. It was like four months ago.) It had been on our list of “oh that would be neat to check out” since we first moved here, and timing + location finally seemed to have worked out for this to happen. Plus, Louis was of an age where he wouldn’t be asleep or just staring at his fingers the whole time.

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2 out of 3 of us liked the sharks. The one “no, thank you” vote echoed rather loudly in the tunnel, so there was quite the dash through to get back into bright lights. Dan’s theory: dim lights mean bedtime and the kid wanted us to know that he was NOT going to sleep.

Coming to America: Louis + Kozickis/Van Wyks

Oh this is terribly late. BUT I definitely want/need to finish the postings from our October visit (when Lou was 6 months old) before we head back over the ocean for summer vacation (when Lou will be over a year old). We stayed with Leslie’s sister, and it’s funny how we don’t have as many pictures with them as you would think since most of our time was spent with them. But maybe it’s because we were just content to just be together? That’s the excuse I’m sticking to…

(For any and all subscribers…you’re about to get way too many emails. Sorry, but hope you enjoy the pictures!)

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Coming to America: Louis + Anna

We also got to spend time with friends from Dan’s days in Redmond. It was great getting to reconnect and just hang out with them in that comfortable way that is unique to rooted friendships. We had gone out on a late dinner in Seattle a few nights prior to this particular get-together, but the lighting was dark and the wine glasses too full to take pictures. But then we had a classic game’s on the TV, there’s too much food but they are all so tasty, what do you wanna drink kind of party, where no photos of adults were taken but lots were snapped of the two littlest ones in our midst.

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Coming to America: Louis + Weyers & Jepsens

Family is a beautiful thing. And in the heartache and brokenness and dysfunction of life, the goodness of family gets clouded. But we have both been given opportunities upon opportunities to see, embrace and revel in the love we have experienced in all the families we get to call ours. We are thankful that our tribe is so big and that Lou will get to learn from so many. He is already loved by them afar, and it’s going to be great when it’ll all be “in person” one day.

Dinner time with the Weyers and Jepsens was so good. Just so so so good. Plus, Hank playing with Louis like he was a puppy? ADORABLE.

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