Friday, June 29, 2012

21 days and more good byes

Today Moe and I made our final trip up to Michigan.  We are here for a friends wedding and then heading up further north for family time!! It is strange sitting here on my roommates couch knowing that this will be the last time I see her for a long time.  The goodbyes are getting harder and the days are going faster.  The emotions are getting stronger for leaving as well.  I am EXTREMELY excited to start/organize my classroom.  I am very very nervous for the new culture, new food, new housing, new EVERYTHING!  But as it gets closer, I know that this is exactly where I am supposed to be.

We are now 21 days until arrival in Thailand.  We have a little over a week in Michigan and then a little over a week in Ohio.  Wow.  It is really sinking in tonight.  BUT again I am so so so excited.  Moe is too.

Ok that is all for now.  I need to go to bed.  And stop thinking for today.  I love and appreciate you all for your support.  It means more than Moe or I could ever express.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

27 days but many blessings

We are now down to 27 days until arrival in Chiang Mai. It is quickly getting closer!    Trying to fit in doctors appointments, friend visits, family dinners, and everything else is quite interesting.  Our days are crazy.  But we would not want things any other way.     
I also wanted to share some blessings we have recently received.  Wednesday we received our VISAS!!! I was so so so so excited.  When Gramma brought me the mail I truly shrieked with excitement.  It took only 12 days (7 business days) and 2 shipments of information from me.  I assume that if I would have sent all the proper information the first time that it would have been done in 3 business and back to us in less than a week!  Thank goodness for efficiency within the Thai Embassy!!  

Secondly we received a check from our land lord.  This was something completely unexpected.  For those of you who don't know we broke our lease in order to save money.  We left 3 months early.  We were told that if they were able to rent our apartment within the next month we would get a prorated amount....blah...bah...blah!  The point is they were able to get our apartment rented fairly quickly and we recently got the check for the prorated amount.  I was stunned when it arrived.  Although I loved the apartment and did not think they would struggle to find a new tenant, I was not holding my breath for more money! But again God had a different plan and blessed us yet again!  

Thank you all for your support.  We can truly feel your prayers and are so blessed by the support system that we have here.  Every day is a reminder that we are following His will and in His hands.  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

30 days and counting

Today I had a sad but exciting revelation.  We are now 30, thirty, yes 3-0, days from arrival in Chiang Mai.  Once I had this realization I knew a countdown was in order and a timeline for making sure that we stayed on top of everything that we need to do!! So here is the calendar that I have made on my beloved white board.  This is also one of those things that has been with me for forever.  I LOVE it.  It is probably the teacher in me.  If possible, I would take it with me, but I don't think it will fit in my suitcase :(

This also means that the updates might increase since more things will be happening.  You can see that we have some wonderful things coming up, but also quite a bit of empty days.  We would love to get these dates filled so any invitations would be greatly welcomed!

I decided to have the countdown be days until we arrive because we have such strange leaving dates. We leave Ohio on the 17th and leave the country on the 18th but arrive on the 19th.  Plus I wanted to start on an even number (again I know weirdo!).  The times listed on the calendar are local time for where we will be.  More information about our departure can be found at the previous post, plane ticket trials.

We still have a lot to do here.  We are still awaiting the return of our visas.  I firmly believe that everything is perfect with them now (after the second round of information was sent!).  They arrived at the Thai Embassy in DC on Friday so I am certain they are being processed.  We also have to pack. duh.  We are both definitely avoiding that task!!  Cleaning is another thing that we are both ignoring.  But again, thirty days means we better get on these things.

Ok this is enough.  I am quite distracted by the Newlywed Game on TV.  These people are crazy!! That is all for now.  Hopefully I will have a better update and better information for you soon!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Transportation Information

Recently, I made another major step toward moving away..... I gave away my car. {insert pouting face here} It was a major move for me. I love my car! It has been my baby for the past 4 almost 5 years. It has been with me through many travels all across the country. It went to Kansas City, Virginia Beach, all around Michigan and Ohio, and I'm sure many other places I cant think of. Isn't it lovely?? Yes, I know it is a thing of beauty.

Please dont panic when I say gave away my car.  It went to a well deserving brother Zach.  He is the one who inspired me to blog but has recently become quite the work-a-holic.  {haha, just kidding Zach.  You are wonderful. I wish you would blog more because I love hearing your thoughts!!}  Anyway,  Zachy-poo has been suffering with a car with no air conditioning or properly working windows.  He has had his eye on my car for quite some time now, so has my whole family honestly ;).  But Zach really does need a new car.  So while we are away he will be using it and taking the best care of it he possibly can...right??

Anyway, the real reason for this post was to explain that 1) I gave up my car and 2) to explain transportation in Thailand.  Moe and I have had the privilege of talking with lots of people recently about our adventures and one of the questions most often asked is about transportation.  So let me try to explain some things I have learned so far.  First, we hope to live within walking distance of the school, which I know will be quite easy.  This will mean that I will not need to use any sort of transportation other than my lovely feet.  This does mean however that we will be 10 minutes from the town center and about 20 or so minutes from the school that Moe wants to attend.  So the need for transportation will be needed, at some point.

Similarly to the States, there are many types of transportation available in Chiang Mai. Buses are available but mainly for long trips to Bangkok or other larger cities.  Thailand is known for their tuk-tuks, which are the major form of public transportation.
Datei:Tuk tuk 2006.jpg
Also available in the form of taxi are the songthaews, which means 2 rows.  These are red trucks with a canopy as pictured below.  They are generally cheaper than the tuk-tuks because they can hold more people.  An average ride within the city is about 20 baht ($ .64), although I have heard they will try hustle the foreigners into paying double or triple that amount! {Hopefully, I will remember this once I get there!}

As far as personal transportation there are still many options.  I have subscribed to a classified ad for expats/missionary type people coming and leaving Chaing Mai.  It has all sorts of things from pets, electronics, to housing.  One of the other sections it has is transportation.  One of the most popular forms of transportation is the motorbike.  There are many available to rent or to buy.  This is probably what Moe and I will get once we get settled.  Also available are small cars and trucks.  Honda seems to be a popular brand there but again many things are available.  
This is how the locals ride motorbikes
Hopefully, this has given you a little insight into the transprotation systems that we will be experiencing in Chiang Mai.  I have heard that traffic is not as crazy as Bangkok and other large cities in the area, but that it can be stressful at times.  I have already been warned by my principal that if/when we do get a motorbike we will at some point in our time there get into a small accident but we will come out better once it has happened! Hope this answers some of your questions.  We will definitely share personal experiences and pictures once we get there!  

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Teacher freebies

         I have had a wonderful revelation.  The network for teachers is unbelievable.  The past couple months I have been perusing the blog world, pinterest, teacherspayteachers store, and all sorts of other avenues.  Now that I officially (well almost) have my own classroom, the hunt for things has been much more serious.  And to make it even better there are sooooo many free things!! I love finding things that are FREE.
          I have been stocking up on spelling activities, math activities, labels, borders, free desgins, all sorts of things for my classroom.  I only spent money on ONE thing.  Which I think is pretty impressive.  I bought the owl themed classroom from Middle Grades Maven.  However, it was on sale!  It has soo many things in it.  I cant wait to use it.  I cant wait to use all of the things that I got, especially this poster.  
          I am going to have to reorganize my computer files.  It is time to get rid of all of my college nonsense and  get ready for teachery things galore!  (really teachery is not a word.  Its about time to update that one dictionary :)) All of the stuff I have already gotten, I cant imagine what my files will look like in the years to come.
          The other thing that I have been thinking about A LoT is what my classroom will look like in Thailand.  I have only really seen a few pictures from other teachers or on the schools website.  I am very intrigued.  I have been told of some things that I wont be able to get while in Thailand such as bulletin board borders and wall calendars, so I am stocking up on those things.  I also think I am going to take a few things that I know I want to use, just in case they dont have them there.  Plus I will be taking some of my gifts that I got earlier in the year for sentimental reasons :)
          Anyway, finding all sorts of things for free has made me even more excited to be a teacher.  I cant wait to get in my classroom and get things started. Not to mention how excited I am to meet my new class and begin this new adventure.  August 14th (the first day of school) is not that far away, only two short months!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

First Anniversary!

          A year ago today my life changed forever. I married my best friend and confidant. It has been a crazy year.  But exciting none the less. We moved 21/2 times. We both had multiple jobs. We spent lots of time with family and friends.  We traveled all over...Ohio and Michigan at least).
         We are also very very excited about what our future has in store.  We can not wait to see what the future holds and what the years ahead will entail.  More than that though we are excited to continue to share in the journey together and be with one another.
          Ok thats enough of the mushy stuff.  At least you now know (hopefully) how much we really do love each other.  But this whole anniversary thing has made my craftiness come to life.  I wanted to do something to honor our anniversary but nothing too crazy.
Oh my word, my husband is launching his socks off of his toes.... Good thing I got the mushy stuff out of the way first... wow I married a mature man...
ANYWAY!!! I wanted something that we could take with us to Thailand and continue but also something that was fun and would last our lifetime.  I love the picture holding your previous anniversary.  Here is the only example I can find... sorry for the picture, I cant find the original :(  The only problem I have with this is I'm not sure if we will be able to maintain this while we are in Thailand.  The other bonus is that Moe likes this idea too!  That is always a plus when he is excited about something.  Unfortunately we forgot to take the picture today so hopefully tomorrow we can take one.  We decided we might as well take it and then we can later decide if we like it.  I thought it would be fun to do it for major anniversarys or every 5 years or something so that we dont have to do it every year.
          I also found this lovely idea which involves making an album specifically for anniversary pictures.  All we would have to do is take a photo every year and add it to the album.  We could add something about what we did or top events of the year or something.  I REALLY like this picture and concept original idea found here.  So I decided to start on this project.  Since we did not have a whole lot of time I quickly grabbed one of our wedding photos that we already love and added a block to the bottom.  I also took our picture from this year and added a count to the bottom of it as well.  What do you think?  Should we have something explaining what we did on our anniversary or explain what happened that year?  Do you have any other ideas for projects or fun anniversary things?

In case anyone actually cares, here are the pictures that I made/what we took today!  Any thoughts?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

plane ticket trials

We have been trying to get our tickets forEVER. I know... its terrible. We are leaving in close to a month and still hadnt bought our tickets.  Today was the day though.  We had everything figured out and sure enough the prices went up TODAY! I literally cried when I saw it. But we found a different website and figured out a different plan.  We went to pay for them and encountered another hurdle.  I cried again.  It was awful. We FINALLY!!!!! figured it out and it WORKED!! Can you tell Im excited?  We officially have tickets and are good to go.  Now we just need to figure out the visa situation.  

In case anyone cares, here is our travel information.  Eric, Matt's brother, will be driving us to Chicago Tuesday evening and we will be staying in a hotel in Chicago.  Our flight out is at 12:45 and we will be flying to Seoul, South Korea.  We will get there at 4:25pm Korea time.  We will leave for Chiang Mai at 7:20pm and get there at 10:50pm Thailand time.  We will be traveling for over 25 hours!! eeeeeek!  This is what our flight will look like....

This is what I wish we were riding in!?!?!?!

If only!!  But enough about our flight.  Our trials are over.  We are officially able to move!  I guess we still have to wait on our visas, but at least we have tickets now.  I have to say special thanks to Moe for getting us through this crazy ticket situation and keeping me somewhat calm!  Also, to both of our parents for being willing to help in whatever way possible.  We are so blessed to have such awesome parents and support.  Thank you both, we love you lots!!   

Friday, June 1, 2012

turned in the keys

       We can now check something else off the list to make moving to Thailand even more of a reality.  Today we turned in the keys to our apartment and officially moved into the in-laws.  As you know this weekend was CRAZY!! But we have unpacked most of things, well really we have repacked most of our things and placed them in storage here, and have settled in to a new routine.  I definitely have to get used to the new commute.  We were 5 minutes from school and I could run home whenever necessary.  Now we are 30 minutes away and have to deal with traffic...ugh...not my favorite thing! 
       Anyway, we are here.  We are blessed to be here, to be saving money, spending quality time with family, and being more flexible.  It was definitely sad to lock up the apartment for the last time and drive away for the last time.  It was such a cute and wonderful place to live but everything has a season right?  I am trying to stay positive about it, but the realities of what we are leaving is hitting me hard tonight.  I miss our apartment; I will miss living in Ohio; I will miss our families and being able to stop in and see my mom whenever I want.  BUT we haven't left yet.  I will cherish each moment leading up to our departure.  Although I am very excited about the journey ahead tonight I am saddened by what we are leaving behind.  

Sorry for the depressing words tonight :(