Challenges of self-care and home maintenance…
…in a busy season of life.
Getting round to writing the blog has been a real challenge in itself. As you can see from all the blogs before this, life is a little manic. After the holiday concluded and the wonderful ladies of the expat community did all the kids’ holiday laundry, I didn’t get a chance to sort it back into the storage drawers. One of the other ladies offered me a drawer at this point for free, so that doing laundry of bulk loads like this would be easier. The challenge was coordinating when to get it to my place.
Once the volunteers left Pakkred for home or holiday, I had about four days before Miss A went to hospital. This gave me enough time to pack her a hospital bag and do some laundry of my own. Then, as you saw, Becky and Grace were here for a day (Help to brighten isolated days ), we dropped in on Miss A and then I did my final airport run and farewell.
While Kait was staying, the house came up with a few new challenges of its own. The toilet is draining itself, so to flush you need to manually fill it and pull the internal chain before it drains again. I found a creature had eaten the plastic piping under the outside kitchen sink meaning that it drains on to your feet.
On Facebook there is an expats’ selling page and I saw a mini dish washer on there. In order to be kind to myself, I felt this would be a great little investment in peace of mind. I must confess that washing up is my least favourite household chore, due to the low sink, the new drainage onto feet issue and the area where the sink is situated is horrid.
It’s common in Thailand to have an area of your house that you try to ignore: the room that leaks or is damp or, in my case, that is open to the elements and lets in every type of creature. My church here kindly gave me funds to get this area fixed up and I’ve every intention to do this … it’s just the age-old question – when? Preparations for the Huahin holiday ruled my life and now hip surgeries (well only one it seems so far). I need the builder to come in and change the back-yard kitchen’s guttering and roof, the plumber to do the sink and toilet, and people to service the air conditioner. I’ve also the tumble dryer and dishwasher that need to be fitted by one of the first two people. I am aiming to call them all to come on the same day and do their tasks, so I only need one or two days off work, so not to mess up the rehab for the recovering child and the emotional wellbeing for all.
You may have noticed that the title of this blog had two aspects. I’ve told you about the challenges of house maintenance, so let’s move on to the self-care.
It’s no easy feat to juggle so many things and travel back and forth to Bangkok and the other hospital without private transport. I’ve taken taxis a few times when I’ve had strollers to bring back. I’ve used busses to go into Bangkok which has been fine, but not to come back. I had three standing journeys for one and a half hours. On one of those I was almost sick and a lady gave up her seat and provided a plastic bag for me to prevent that happening. Due to those incidences, I have a ‘no bus home’ rule as part of my self-care. Travel sickness on the express way in stop-start traffic is no joke. The other option is travelling by minibus, where you have a seat and they are not crowded, but if you time it badly you can be standing in a queue for an hour prior to getting on.
When it comes to meals, with all this travel and hospital visiting, there are two options: grabbing luke-warm street food, like fried meats with sticky rice and snacks, and eating while being watched and heckled by a small person or buying something either before or after the journey home. In light of the travel sickness, eating is somehow less appealing on return home.
I am letting myself have some treats and, on some days, I head to work a little later. I’m trying to get salad and veg when I can, but they are less common from general street venders and the market is often sold out by the time I get back.
One sweet thing is that when I do get to the vendors to buy, they say they have missed me and so far no one is saying I look rough… and, trust me, generally those around here don’t feel too shy to say it.
In recent months, I’ve also been aware of a need to seek back up for my emotional wellbeing, as well as taking care of myself physically. I’m looking to address that and would value your prayers for the right way to do that, as my circumstances are significantly unusual and hard to get your head round, even for those who have seen my work up close.
As part of my aim to give myself some time not thinking about the orphanage and hospital, I have been doing some adult colouring. This is something I enjoy as it’s creative, but also it’s a task I can complete and feel I’ve accomplished at a time when life is out of my control. These are the ones I’ve completed.
As you can see, I would value your prayers in many ways: for more time for all the children to get my quality attention, but also more time for me to feel like I’m doing ok. Please pray for less journeys when I’m feeling sick or standing, and more strength and energy for me. Also pray for no more things to go wrong with the house and for anything that does go wrong to be fixable. Thanks to God for the kindness of those from whom I got the dishwasher, tumble dryer and laptop charger and to those providing a new kettle. Blessings like these dilute the frustrations and challenges. Pray too that tasks like paying bills and getting those kids’ clothes sorted get done, even if it is at a very slow pace. It has truly felt like a satanic attack at times, but spiritual warfare is God’s forte, and with that I will continue to trust God. Prayer that Satan will give up already would be nice, but if he persists, please pray that God can be glorified by carrying me.
Thank you all for your support for 1Step2Step and me. I promise that it will be a rare occurrence for a blog to be about my personal struggles, but this is a reality also.
All though self care today has been challenging due to waiting around for 6 hours while a child has hip surgery i was blessed to have a good veg based meal at lunch and come home to a lovely expat lady made sausage and lental stew full of great taste and nutricain. Thankyou Andrea. x
Hi. I just wanted to let you know im doing much better now Miss N is back at the orphanage, although it’s sick ward. The journeys back and forth to Bangkok are a distant memory and I’m slowly getting into a easier routine. House challenges are still not resolved but I’m hopeful to maybe have found the ultimate solution maybe. I wait and see. I am used to the manual flushing of the toilet but will get that fixed and the air con checked soon.
In myself i feel better. The kids are being a bit challenging with their feeding and that is hard to manage when i want them to gain weight but it’s a process of getting them back on track. Prayers for this and patience would be great.
Hi, dear Nicola, good to read your blog so can feel a little how things are there. (challenging I would say!) Glad better than they were. Love from Jill D