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  • Susan Brown

Getting Settled

Another beautiful day in Thailand!  I hate to make my friends back home jealous, but January here is just about perfect.  At night the temperatures drop down enough to make a blanket necessary and sleep pleasant.  During the morning it begins to warm up and it is in the low 80’s by afternoon.  Lest you sin by having covetous thoughts about our weather — I’m told it’s going to be uncomfortably HOT by the end of next month.  We’ve already been pricing the free-standing air conditioners.

Meanwhile, the people wrap up warm with stocking caps and scarves.  The men come to school in their heavy coats.

Yesterday was National Teachers’ Day and they celebrated by giving the teachers a day off.  It was a great opportunity to get acquainted with the children.  I don’t have them all sorted out, but I’m making progress.   I am regretting leaving behind some of the things I jettisoned from my suitcase in order to stay under the weight limits.  I wish I had left in the stack of children’s books!  The three I brought have been well read already – not just to little Arlong and Samuel, but also to the elementary kids.  I just “happened” to bring three books that are perfect for introducing English concepts.  “Meet the Animals On the Farm,” is a “touch and feel” book and is good for teaching the animals and textures.  “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” is perfect for animals and colors.  “Five Little Monkeys” is a good counting book — and they all thought it was funny.  Even the high school students hung around and listened. I just wish I had brought more of them!  I am beginning to tire a bit of these.

I brought a couple of games of Sorry, which the kids enjoyed yesterday.  Daughter Becky sent her game of Quirkle with me, and they quickly picked that up, too.

We were excited to have the addition in the school of another man who speaks English — well, better than most. He and Philip are on about the same level.  Sam is from the Karen tribe and has worked with Anond in the prison ministry.  When Anond preaches in Thai, he translates into Karen.  Sam pastors a church in Chiang Mai, although it isn’t one associated with us.  Since he is coming to the Bible school, perhaps that will change.  Please pray for these new men who have not been to our preacher’s school before, that they may see and understand truths that may be new to them.

Philip and his family are moving onto the mission compound today.  It’s not as big a deal to these folks as it is to us, since they have fewer possessions and they don’t require as many conveniences. There is an empty room in the student’s housing for Philip and Fon, and the children will stay in the dorms.  They want to be close so Philip can spend more time with Paul.  He can converse in English well enough to ask questions and is eager to learn.

I hope that our days will begin to fall into a pattern soon.  Right now we spend a lot of time just trying to get settled.  It’s back to Macro today for groceries and a few other things I neglected to get before.  Like a blanket and that electric teakettle I almost bought, but didn’t.  My only source of hot water is our bathroom shower.  It somehow just feels wrong to take my dishpan to the shower to fill it up and to rinse the dishes.  So I’ll get that teakettle.

I keep moving things around and changing things up.  I’m about to decide that it is just not possible to put everything away neatly.  Guess I’ll just have to live with stuff sitting out.  I can do that!

I remember reading about a missionary’s wife who lived in Africa in the 1800s.  There was a quote from a letter to her sister where she described how she had adopted the native custom of smearing dried animal dung on the floor of her house to keep the insects out.  She said,  “When I first saw the women doing this, I thought, ‘That’s one dirty trick I’ll never do.’  Now, though, I looked at my freshly smeared house with the same happy sense of accomplishment as an English housewife looks at her newly polished floor.”

In that light, having a cluttered-looking home isn’t really such a dreadful hardship!

Just got back from Makro, where I’m afraid I overestimated my ability to shop by myself.  It was a lot harder than I thought it would be without Anond to tell me what the packages say. I really empathize now with people who can’t read and have to go through life faking it!  I got the last electric teakettle, but forgot the blanket.  I still have the one Anond loaned us, so I’ll try again next time.  Now I’m at the condo to post the blog and then out to the mission to teach English to the children this evening. Anond told So Pic, our faithful taxi driver, he should come to my English class.  I think he is getting tired of translating between us!  I don’t blame him. I can’t wait until I can talk to everyone.  I also understand how babies and people with special needs feel now — knowing very well what I want to say but no ability to get it across!

Blessings from Thailand,

Susan

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