Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Nichada
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!
Over Christmas and New Year, I took both as long weekends. I worked on the two days between and one of those was Sports Day. This is a big annual event and I will post a blog about it soon.
For the Christmas season, I went to my friend’s house, while she was in the USA. I was taking care of her Jack Russell, Turbo, who is known in the expat community that I meet when I go to church. It is only 20 minutes down the road, but it feels so different. Her house was amazing and the dog was an enthusiastic buddy.
Although Christmas Day was quiet with me, Turbo and my traditional Christmas dinner, I had many other fun-filled things, getting to know friends better.
I went with one of the office staff from work (a dear friend called Mew) to a winter-fest market in Bangkok. We had a great time and some amazing food (best sausage ever) and I even got to decorate a cupcake. We had so much fun and this led to plans for another fun time: an evening treating her and her Mum to bangers and mash, veg and gravy, with apple crumble and custard for pudding. It was great to be at Jessica’s house and have the means to cook and host them.
The carols by candle light service on Christmas Eve was really lovely and then a social after the service at the pastor’s house gave me a chance to catch up with many people.
While in Nichada, I got to have two catch-ups with one of my very busy friends and that time was lovely. I was able to see a friend who had recently had knee surgery and we played some rounds of the word game Bananagrams. It was nice to have the time to catch up.
At the church I attend in the expat community, we have children’s packs when there is no Sunday School and this is the ministry I head up. We need to keep the packs re-stocked in an efficient way. It was great having the time to get them done. On one or two occasions, I got to catch up with some of the ladies when I went to do them. Spending that time in conversation really slowed down the pace of life. Also, a sweet young lady helped me pack them too on one Sunday, so they were ready every time they were needed over the festive season.
That young lady is actually a sweet, not yet teen, member of a family within the church who is a sibling to six others. This season (while I had a golf cart to get around in) I was able to offer the parents a break and have the privilege of taking the kids out, originally to go to the movies, but on our first attempt the movie was not on at the time we thought. On that occasion we ended up just near my house bowling and having ice cream at my local mall. It was an adventure for them and a fun time for me. We managed to go to the movies the following week to watch ‘Mary Poppins returns’. It was a great movie. I enjoyed their company loads.
During my last few days at the house and the first few days of 2019, I was able to have my dearest friends round on New Year’s Eve.
We walked Turbo, had a swim in the community pool, then a buffet meal, some games and a movie. Turbo loved the fun of the children, but struggled with being restricted from sharing in the meal. He was not keen when the fireworks started and got anxious, but at this point it was just him and me, so hugs for the fifteen minutes of fireworks and he was fine.
Finally, I had a lovely evening with another family, who are sadly leaving Thailand to return to the USA for good. Spending time with them and their kids was lovely.
All in all, a season that can be very lonely for the solitary missionary had many fun and engaging conversations with members of the church. I’m thankful to Jessica for letting me house-sit so that these interactions were possible and I was less isolated than I might have been. Thank you also to those who made it easier with a card to get out the gate and helping change the water cooler bottle.
The downside to this gentle pace of life and free-spirited time was that coming back to the kids at work, it’s clear we have challenges to face. Many of my six children have postural challenges which have increased with the time not stretching and the lack of time off the ward has enhanced issues that are a struggle to manage – like the hip position or the legs crossing. The mission to improve these starts again. Please pray for my patience with this and that I will see the challenges for what they are and move on in good motivating ways.
Wishing you all a great start to the New Year that I hope will be one of great happiness and success for all of you.