Our first days in Thailand and we have already our favorite restaurant, found our favorite meals, developed a love-dislike relationship with the heat and tried out our little bit of Thai.
After long flights from Calgary to San Francisco, then to Tokyo we finally arrived in Bangkok. When we stepped out of the airport we were welcomed by the heat and by palm trees which made us very happy. That night we immediately fell asleep. We woke up very early in the morning by the heat and the noises of the city. The first two nights the air conditioner in the girl’s room didn’t work. Later we found out that we just didn’t know how to turn it on. Now we have it nice cool in our room and love to relax together. It feels like a big relief coming in the room after stepping up three floors in the heat.
Some people of our group (Karin) need to be forced and scared by horror stories to drink enough water. Alycia told us about someone from Turner Valley, this person just felt a little bit weird and suddenly had to throw up and it became very serious. Later he found out that he had been dehydrated. The horror story helped for a little while, unfortunately not long. So if you have an idea how to force Karin to drink water just let us know. And we will find out if it works.
In contrast to water, we don’t have to force each other to eat the delicious food we get here. I personally prefer rice with chicken. Some of the others love Pad Thai which is stir-fried noodles with small pieces of all kind of food like shrimp, tofu, egg…. On our first day we found a cute little restaurant on the side of a road. Since then we came back for at least once a day. Now the owners made a menu in English for us. Even though Evan impressed us with his Thai when ordering for us, we were very thankful. This is also a reason for my first-week impression of the Thais: They are very, very friendly, kind, helpful people, a little bit shy. To me it seems that they are really respectful to others. We’ll see how this impression changes during outreach. I am excited to get to know them more.
On our first day here we had a culture-orientation. We learned for example how to greet. Women here say “Sawatdee Ka”, men say “Sawatdee Kap’. We also practiced the Wai. That is the form of greeting here. You put your hands together in front of your mouth and then bow your head a little bit so that your nose touches your fingers. Then we talked about the use of the squatty potty. That is the Asian version of a toilet. Basically it is just a whole in the ground. In theory we know how to use it, now it needs practice. One morning Alycia and I went to the market and there we saw some monks in their orange robes. They got food from some people. The people were kneeling and bowing their heads before the monk who gave them a blessing. Honestly it really hit me and I realized that people actually believe this, and that Buddhism is reality to them. That day we also did a prayer walk through Bangkok. We visited a huge temple. There I saw a young, modern woman worshipping a Buddha statue. As much as the Thai people are friendly, it seems to me I can’t really describe – but that they are missing something like peace or joy. That makes me sad. I am looking forward to what we’re going to do to represent Jesus to the people here.
If you want to pray for us you can also think of Karin who feels sick sometimes.
One last thing I found quite funny: Evan had a reunion with a dog he met 2 years ago at the market. He was really happy about that, I believe.