It’s almost hard for me to believe this, but yesterday wasn’t quite so exhausting. And almost miraculously, today has been … dare I say it? … calm.
Wind and Sky (Huun and Waat’s self-determined nicknames) are legally required to attend school. So while we still homeschool the rest, those two are at school Monday through Friday. We are all, ever so very slowly, settling into some semblance of routine.
And let me tell you, it’s been hard fought for.
This week marks the first we’ve really taken a genuine stab at resuming our actual homeschool since arriving in Thailand over 2 1/2 months ago. That feels even more pitiful to admit out loud than it did in my head just knowing it was true.
Have I mentioned before that it’s taking us much longer to adapt and assimilate than I expected?
The truth is, I know this is normal. I know our lives turned literally upside down and NOTHING is currently familiar. I know we’re attempting to learn a new language, a new culture, a new way of shopping, cooking, and eating. Even showering is different. In fact, we’ll do a house tour video and put it up on our YouTube channel. Don’t worry, though … we won’t show anyone showering. Just the unique bathroom and shower. You’re welcome.
I think I knew it would be overwhelming but I guess I expected that somehow, because God led us here, the impact of all that overwhelm would be negated to a degree.
All else aside, it’s hard just wrapping our minds around not having an actual paycheck. We’re literally reliant on God to provide with whatever and however He determines is best. That’s a beautifully scary, and incredibly humbling, place to be.
Most of our family is vegetarian and most of the food in Sukhothai is definitely not. We happened upon a little vegan shop last week with the sweetest two ladies (mother and daughter) who run it. So we’re currently buying whatever they have on hand to use for our lunch everyday. This is giving us lots of experience with meatless Thai entrees and curries, but it’s also saving us money because we’ve been trying to shop too Americanized and that’s an expensive way to do it here.
On top of that, it’s enabling us to establish a relationship with these ladies and it also gives us a means to support their little shop. It’s win-win-win.
And it’s also a significant portion of the reason why our last couple of days have been slightly less stressful. I haven’t had to attempt to cook as much. The daughter delivers milk on the cutest (apologies to my older sons who gag a bit when I call things cute) little motorbike with an attached fridge. The other day, Hannah and I were taking a walk around the loop in our village and we crossed paths with her. She was delivering milk on the next street over.
She recognized me from her shop and immediately started pulling bags of food out of her little fridge and gave them to me, refusing payment. And then she told me she would follow us to our house, which was amusing because we were on foot and she was on a motorbike. So basically we followed her after indicating where our house was.
And then again yesterday, she stopped and honked her horn in front of our house. I was doing schoolwork with the little boys but Robbie went out. She had come to give us more food she had leftover from the day. Everything in us wants to pay for each item we accept but God seems to be wanting us to embrace her kindness.
And so we will keep patronizing her shop and just see where all this leads. We know every encounter with another person is not coincidence and it’s exciting to watch things play out.
We’ve had our beloved Jesse here for several weeks. His time with us is about half over and there aren’t words to describe the blessing he’s been. The kids flock to him, sit by him, and beg for LEGO creations by his hand. Most days find him, at some point, out on the street by our gate watching them so they can bike safely.
We’re going to miss him and his servant heart so much!
Alex is leaving to return to the US on December 3. He’d planned on staying 6 months but the itch to get back and figure out what’s next has pulled on him since he arrived two weeks after us. He’s only 18 and having us move out of the country on him has left him feeling a bit like a ship without a rudder. I can’t blame him for feeling a little like he’s on pause here since this is not where he sees himself staying.
I’ll be honest, though, I still haven’t adjusted to being so far from my older boys. Micah and Nik are both in NC, going to school and working, and I sometimes feel a million miles away. Reminding myself we’re only like 8000 miles or so apart doesn’t seem to help my heart or mind much.
But last week, one of the verses I chose to memorize was from Luke 18:29-30 and it says:
… There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God’s sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting.
I’m claiming that promise since we’ve had to leave most of those things. It’s getting easier but the pinch of pain still hits to some degree most days.
The days go best when we busy ourselves with what God has put before us rather than sitting around grieving what feels lost. There’s no way for us to experience receiving “manifold more in this present time” if we’re always pining for the past.
But, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m praying for God to make a way for me to visit my big boys early in the new year. He may choose to deny my request right now, but I somehow think He understands the asking.