Saturday, April 30, 2016

Things I Learned in April

I recently moved from the U.S. to Thailand, so I learn approximately fifty new things every day. Here are just a few of the things I've learned this past month.

Tofu is tasty. I'm one of those not-picky-at-all foodies who will eat anything. Except tofu and hot dogs. I've always hated both. Until last week when a friend served us homemade veggie stir fry with fried egg tofu. It was fantastic. I bought egg tofu and made it for myself tonight. Here's Michael learning to cook from the Thai food master, Bpop.

Instagram is fun. I'm, like, five years late to the game, but I've started posting over-posting on Instagram. It's easier than blogging and anything that makes life simpler and easier is welcome in this season of my life.

High heat and high humidity make for the stankiest garbage trucks ever. I seriously cannot believe the smell that enters my home when the garbage truck comes by.

How to put contacts in with a fan blowing. If the fan is on, my contacts blow off my finger before they reach my eyeball. If the fan is off, I sweat buckets. I've learned how to turn my back to the fan to minimize the breeze and to wait for the precise moment that the fan has oscillated away from me to practically throw the contact into my eye. This is an important skill for living in the tropics, people.

Don't store car seats in an unventilated storage closet in Bangkok. We brought car seats to Thailand, but we don't own a car yet to put them in, so two months ago they entered our storage closet. A couple of weeks ago, we pulled them out to install them into a car for a long ride out of the city. We were shocked to find them covered in a blanket of thick, velvety mold. All I wanted to do was throw them away. But, since replacing two car seats would cost almost $1K here and because we're die-hard Americans when it comes to vehicular safety, we washed them and used them.

I love, love, love my cheap-o espresso machine. In mid-February, we packed two boxes of stuff (toys, pots, books, etc.) to ship on the ocean to Thailand. I put my espresso machine in. I regretted it every single day of the approximately 70 days I lived without it. Next time I move around the world, my espresso machine goes in my carry on.

In the Thai language, "tam-ngaan" and "nam-taan" are not the same thing. I've counted at least three drink vendors located within a five minute walk of my house that serve Thai iced coffee. It's pretty tasty and dirt cheap, but way way way too sweet. 

To remedy the sweetness, I recently ordered my iced coffee with just a little "tam-ngaan" (which means "work") and then felt confused the vendor still dumped a couple of tablespoons of sugar in my coffee. Now I know to order it with a little bit of "nam-taan." (which means, you guessed it, sugar)

Exercise beats culture shock and transition stress like nothing else. Several times a week, I blast the A/C and fan in my bedroom and do 20-30 minute workout session courtesy of Afterward, I always feel better. And, I've been exercising so much that with the light at the right angle, while flexing, if I let my vision get a little blurry I can sort of maybe make out the beginnings of a six pack. Yes!

And last, but certainly not least, little girls do not do this: Or at least mine don't.

When I found out that our second kiddo was going to be another girl, somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind, I imagined my two girls hair curled, wearing floral dresses, sitting in a meadow having a civilized tea party.

Fast forward two years: Most of the time, my girls ignore each other or fight over toys. When they play nicely together, they never have a tea party. Their favorite pretend games are flying on an airplane, being a train, going to school, and throwing a birthday party. I love it. These are my goofball girls...

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