Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Ok, so some people have requested pictures, so here we go!

This first one is a picture of Opal and I last night when we were out with students for Japanese food. Mmmmm.... sushi..... I always find that once I have it, I crave it for sometime afterwards. Maybe it will pass.

Ok, this second one is the three girls who show up regularly to my first class. That's Waan on the left, Gift in the middle and T.O. on the right. The other two who never show up are Fern and Jeab.

Ok, and this is a picture of 5 of the 7 students in my last class. On the left is Pi Kee, then there is Jin, who is very nice, but rather quite. Kay is next, she's quite good in English, and one of the class leaders. Then in the white is Ding, who just started. And last, but not least, is Nok, my good friend, who often drives me home in her car or on her motorcycle if it is getting late and she thinks I should not drive!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Monday Nights

So, every Monday night we have a Bible study at the Centre for the Thai students, led by one of the Thai workes, Max. (Or Pi Max, you add "Pi" to show respect to someone older than you)
Last night, four of my students from my second class came! It was really exciting! With my students, there were 9 people there, plus Tim and myself. So it was really cool! Then afterwards we went to The Milk Zone, for sundaes. I was so happy when so many came. I really didn't expect it at all.
Tonight is "informal night" where we just ask our students to go out for supper or shopping or other things. I've asked one of my students, Nok, to go out for Chinese food. Opal will also be coming. Please pray for us! Who knows what opportunities might come up!

In other news.... my bike is still up and working, and I've found out that it is slightly downhill from the Centre to my room, which makes me happy because the ride home at night is really easy. Unfortunately, it also means that the middle of the day ride is hot and hard work.
I'm still sticking to my Thai exercise program with Opal. We run every weekday morning, and then do a variety of other exercises as well. I've also been refusing to use the elevator, prefering to walk up the 4 floors.
The food here is great, but can be really spicy. So it's important to ask for "pet nitnoy" or little spice, so that you can actually eat what they give you. I've found this place near the Centre that makes a killer chicken fried rice, and the guy that makes it is kind of bigger, has long hair and wears flip flops. I've started calling him my Hawaiian guy, because he looks like the cook off of "50 first dates".

If you guys have any questions, be sure to post them! I usually just post answers to the comments, so remember to look back and read over any extra comments!
Miss you all!

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Adventure Trek!

Yesterday (Saturday for me), I went on one of the local adventure treks. Tim and Claire organized it for me, so it turned out to be really cheap, about $21 for a day of hiking, waterfall viewing, elephant riding, village visiting and bamboo rafting. It was awesome!
When we hiked up to the first village (hill tribe) I found some boys building a structure, but instead of using a hammer, they were using this humongous knife. And everyone had their fingers all around the work area. I was sure something was going to be severed, but nothing was, thankfully.
The highlights for me were the elephant riding and the bamboo rafting for sure! My friend Jennifer, from the Centre, and I had this big ol' elephany that we were riding. And then that got sorta boring, so I asked if I could move down onto the neck. The driver said I could, so I jumped down, but it turned out to be rather uncomfortable because of all the shifting muscles. So then I got back up. Then, in a move inspired by PA, I motioned to the driver that we should switch places, which he did! So now I was sitting on the head, driving the elephant! I yelled "gu-ay!" (go) rather impressively, and rocked back and forth, and pulled on the ears, just as I saw the driver do before. And in no time, that little elephant was... well... following the elephant in front, just as it had before. Anyways, it was fun and everyone else in the group thought I was crazy. Not that that is anything new.

Then the bamboo rafting. They had these bamboo poles, probably about 25 feet long, lashed together. And then in the middle there was another log, lashed across for us to sit on. Everyone else went aboard and sat down. My guide stopped me, giggled in her own little way, handed me a bamboo pole and motioned me to step onto the back of the raft. Then as it moved away she yelled "Don't worry, you'll find your balance in about 5 minutes. Have fun!". I looked down river and saw some rapids coming all too rapidly my way...
Basically, it's not that hard to balance on the raft, considering you have about 10 independently moving logs, each about 10 cm in diameter. You just need to be careful, watch your footing, and try not to slip. I was just getting the hang of it when the driver from the raft behind me rammed into me with glee. Then he would use his pole to slap the water and soak me completely. I did my best to get back at him, but I think he got me a little more wet than I got him. Then he would jump onto our raft, causing it to dip, dunking the people who were sitting down further up. It was great fun!
I jumped onto his raft once, and then my raft driver started poling his way downriver really quickly, so that I wouldn't be able to get back on. So I had to do a running leap back onto my raft. It was awesome.

So, you might be wondering, is it all fun and games over there? Well, mostly. But I am still teaching at the Centre, and working on language aquisition, and biking everywhere. One of my classes is going really well. I'll try to get a picture up of them.
My other class is not going so well. Attendance is random, and I'm having trouble planning because I never know who will show up, and they are all at different levels. Please pray for all the classes that are going on at the Centre!

Thank you!

Cheap Thai Bikes are REALLY Cheap. Lesson #1

I bought a bike. It was about $60 at Tesco's, the local walmart equivalent. And not to worry (mom) I also bought a helmet that cost about half the price of the bike, a good American make.
I also bought a small repair kit so that I could elongate seat. Little did I know, that when I slid it out to fit me, I slid it out to it's last half a centimeter of length. (People here are short, it seems they make their bikes short also. Honestly, it was just the right length). Anyways, I was biking home and I could feel the seat moving around a little, but I didn't worry about it, I just thought I'd fix it when I got home.
No sooner had I turned onto my own street (Nemanhemin) than the entire seat fell off onto the road behind me! I slammed on the brakes, parked my bike, ran back and recovered the seat. As I said before, I had attached it at the very end of the shaft, and the little bit holding on actually bent, causing the seat to fall off. So I re-attached it a little lower and kept going. There has not been a problem since.
So, here's me hoping that there is no lesson #2!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

My Master plan is going to work! Buahahha!

Ok, so it seems that my plan to download images into my gmail accounts is going to work. This means two things: 1) you guys will all get regular image updates, and 2) I don't have to buy a million camera cards.
Ohhh... there is a gecko running down the wall in front of me. First time I've seen one of those here!
And I forgot to post this, but last time I was in here the song playing was "take me to your heart" - for all you China trip people.

Well, things are going well. I ran for my third time today with Opal. It's good. I walk for about 20 minutes to get there, then we go jogging, and I walk home, usually picking up breakfast on the way. I'm thinking about buying a bike, because it would be cheaper taking the "song-tau"'s, or the red trucks. Also, sometimes you can wait 15 minutes for them, by which time you would be almost home if you walked. Also, for the fare you pay, I can buy a meal. So, yup, food over a free ride, anyday. That pretty much cinched it for me. Also, in the long run, I'll save a lot of money, and stay in shape.

We have a new girl who came in last night, Jennifer. I haven't met her yet, but I am no longer the new kid on the block! Woohoo!

Speaking of being new, most people can't believe I've only been here 4 days because of my speech. I'm guessing I've learned about 300 words in the past couple of days. My head is spinning and hurts almost constantly from the effort, but I'm learning! I'm also forgetting my Chinese, especially when the words are close, my brain seems to block out the Chinese entirely. Someone asked me how to say "no problem" in Chinese, and for the life of me, only the Thai came to mind. Or the French. It was painful. About 7 hours later, the Chinese came back, but it took some effort! "Mei wen tee!"

I've put some pictures up. The first is the view from my balcony. The second are the people who saw me off at the airport. The third is my room from my balcony, and the last my room from the door. Yup. It's pink. I know. What can be done?

My classes are going really well. I have a lot of fun with my second class. There is a lady named Kee (Pi Kee, add the prefix for respect) who is absolutely hilarious. At cooking night last night, she was the master chef. It was awesome food, and 4 of the 5 students who came were mine. :):)

I have some prayer requests:
Tim and Claire got food poisoning and are in recovery right now. Pray for their health, and for other people who eat at that restaurant.
There's a cold going around the centre right now, so please pray for that too.
And Friday Night Party is coming up soon, and it is the main time that we use to speak about who Jesus is and what he means to us. So please pray that that would go well. I think Jim is sharing his testimony.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Just to let you all know, I love it here!

The people are great, the food is good and I just started my Thai training program.

Let me explain. Opal, who has a little bio on the Centre's site, has been showing me around. She was really surprised when the first night I wanted to have local Thai food instead of foreigner or "farang" food. I explained that I'd just had farang food, and so wanted to try the local food. It was great. Later that night, we went to a karaoke party for one of the graduating students. It was a lot of fun. We sang some english songs, but even for the Thai they showed the phonetics, so I followed along as best as I could. What I lacked in pronunciation, I made up for in volume. :):)
Anyways, Opal found out two ways to make me her new best friend. 1. she drives me around on her motorscooter. Lots of fun. 2. She finds me good Thai food, and doesn't let it get too spicy. Oh, and one more thing. 3. She's my new jogging partner. We went this morning and then had breakfast together. (For those of you from ECAC, she is a 25 year old version of Angelica Lee, Amelia's sister. Exactly the same. Makes me giggle) We had grilled pork on a stick with sticky rice, all of which you eat with your hands. Delicious! She pointed out a bridge over canal this morning. It's a flat bridge, maybe 15 meters long. She told me that when she saw that bridge, she knew she wanted to study here in Chiang Mai, because it must be a good place to have a such a bridge. Then she told me she came from a very small home town. I was still trying to figure out what bridge she meant.

I started teaching yesterday. I have two classes. My first is a level 2 class (the centre goes up to 4). There are 5 students, but only 1 showed up, because it is graduation ceremonies at the University, so most students are very busy for the next 2 days or so. The other class is level 1 1/2. They don't speak very well at all, but they are very enthusiastic. They are taking me out for supper today and Thursday. That will be fun I'm sure.

I almost cried this morning. I found a place near the Centre that makes bubble tea. Such transports of joy flowed through my veins I wasn't sure what to do. So I bought one and quickly consumed it. It was delicious. I think I'll be back. A lot.

I left my camera at the Centre this morning when I went running, but I hope to download pictures tomorrow.

They keep asking me if I'm cold at night. I look at them incredulously. I think it goes all the way down to 17. No, I'm really not cold. And then they look at me like I'm weird. I should pull out my pictures soon. They only have three seasons here, winter, rainy and summer. Right now it's winter. I laugh. I tell them we have the same in Canada, except that they are almost winter, winter and still winter. I'd add construction in as one too, but I don't know if they'd find that as funny.

Well, my brother is harassing me to phone home, so I'll post more in a couple of days! Miss you all!

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Hello from Chiang Mai!

I just got here, and Tim and Claire got me installed in my room. It turns out it is a hotel of sorts, but I'm still uncertain as to how 'hotelish' it is... I don't know if they clean or anything. I'll find that out tonight. It's not a huge room, but is very clean, has a large bathroom and a small balcony.
It's beautiful out there, probably about +26-27. Relatively humid here too, although we are far from the ocean.
Tim told me that the local attractions include elephant riding, bamboo rafting and hiking. And it costs about $20 to do those things for a day, including transportation, food and the activities. I'm quite excited.
I seem to be situated on a whyte ave. type of street. I think in my 15 minute exploration I found about 10 coffee shops. The Lord is good. :)
Right now I'm in a little internet cafe that is about a dollar an hour. So I'll be talking to you all a lot I'm sure.
Well I'll get back to you all soon! Remember to e-mail and post comments!

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Hello from Bangkok! I can't believe I'm actually here.... well except for the humidity, and it must be at least 25C now at 7 in the morning.
Kalen met me at the airport, with her supervisor, Michelle Williams of the PAOC. Awesome place she has! When I get my camera hooked up in Chiang Mai, I'll send pictures!

I wanted to say a big thankyou to all those who saw me off. And to Sylvia who made this INCREDIBLE scrapbook for me with messages for me from people all over the place, as far as Slovakia even! It's beautiful, and I do not doubt it will encourage me on the hard days.

The flights were pretty uneventful. All were on time, and I didn't have any difficulty with boarding passes or anything. The most memorable part was probably flying in Incheon airport in South Korea.

Have you seen it? There is nothing like that sunset descent into the airport. You descend amongst the clouds, radiant with golden light. The sun sinks slowly into the sea, blood red and beautiful. The islands along the coast loom up black and mysterious, fortresses rising from the shining silver sea. From my window seat, I was in a perfect place to witness the spectacle of God's glorious creation. It was beautiful, majestic, glorious. It would have been perfect... had it not been for the blood pouring from my nose.
So imagine me. The seatbelt sign is on, we are just about to land. The stewardesses are running for their seats. And I am trying to staunch the prodigious red flow, my nose deciding to imitate the first plague of Moses. My seat mate, Richard, looks over. His eyes widen. He starts pushing the flight attendant button wildly. One comes, takes a look and runs for the nearest bathroom. She hands me a couple of kleenex, then dissapears. Another one shoves a box of kleenex at me and runs to her seat, trying to get her seatbelt on before we land. Richard starts ripping off wads of tissue, motioning for me to insert them up my nostril. And there I am, giggling amongst the kleenex and the chaos. Which makes me sneeze. You get the picture.
Richard was lots of fun to sit with. He manages a campgroud in one of Korea's national parks. And he's been studying English for a month. So, with the limited vocabulary that we had in each other's languages I understood this:
-He wants me to marry his son who lives in Prince George, B.C. His name is Steven and he's 25. I think that's gotta be a record, not even off the plane and I got a marriage proposal.
-He wants me to postpone my flight home in Korea so that he and his wife can take me travelling along the east coast of Korean beaches.
-He wants me to come and teach in the "Korean Academy" school.
-He doesn't like blood.

Well, that's all for now folks. Kalen says a big hello. (Rick and Judy, I said Hi to Michelle. She says Hi back.)

Next post: From Chiang Mai!!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

A last wave goodbye...

Well peoples, here we are. At the very eve of the departure. Tomorrow I'm gonna go to the other side of the world for a while... weird. Mind you, with all this snow and the weather getting colder and colder, I can't exactly say that I'm too too sad. A little poem came into my mind this afternoon, but as I am really not a poet... I probably shouldn't share it... it goes something like this:
As I leave this land of ice and snow,
and go whither I do not know...
There's something after that I don't remember... and then it end with a big bang:
But when the ice away doth blow,
and April flowers do once more grow,
I'll be not far from returning home
To see your smiling faces.

So, like I said... I'm not a poet. :) I'm thinking of reciting it tomorrow at my departure, but I think I'll just let them read it here instead.

At any rate, I just want to thank all the groups that have committed to praying for me as I go. I know that there are many individuals too, but I can't get everyone!
First, the wonderful folks at Vanguard. Thank you. Your support has overwhelmed me.
City Centre Church. You're my home.
The good folks at Sol Cafe.
Church of Christ & Maureen. Thank you for your warm welcome. I enjoy celebrating Christ with you!
Sherwood Park Pentecostal.
Cochrane Alliance.
The folks at ECAC.
And last but not least, "T-dog's" life group.

Next time I post, it'll be from Thailand!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

"Are You Excited?"


Thursday, January 12, 2006

A little cultural info...

Ok, so I haven't given much information about where I'll be or what I'll be doing. So I'm going to do that now. I am heading to the city of Chiang Mai, which is in North-West Thailand. I will be working in a place called "The Centre" which works in with Thai students from the nearby University Campus. Mostly I'll be teaching conversational English.
If you want to check out where I am working, their website is:
In terms of what they do, their mission etc. it's probably better for you just to read what they've put up. After all, I'd hate to be redundant.
Here's what I know about Chiang Mai:
" Popularly known as the Rose of the North, Chiang Mai is blessed with stunning natural beauty and unique indigenous cultural identity. Founded by King Mengrai the Great as the capital of the Lanna Thai kingdom by merging the various city-states in the region in 1296. Today Chiang Mai is the economic, communications, cultural and tourism centre of Northern Thailand.

About 700 kilometres from Bangkok, Chiang Mai is situated on the Mae Ping River basin some 310 metres above sea level. Surrounded by high mountain ranges, it covers an area of approximately 20,107 square kilometres. The terrain is mainly jungles and mountains, parts of which are within national parks which are still fertile and verdant with plentiful flora and fauna. There are many sites and locations where tourists prefer to visit to study the lifestyle of the tribal people who live on high"
To be more honest, that is what I stole from another travel website about Chiang Mai.
Population ideas seem to vary. Some say about 250,000 while others say more than a million. I guess we'll see!
Other than that, it is a cultural and religious centre, with over 300 Buddhist Temples in the area. Should be interesting.

Monday, January 09, 2006

A big thanks going out...

I'm leaving in 11 days now, and I just want to make sure I say a big thanks to all the people who deserve it!
Roger, thank you for helping me through the whole application process, finding my ticket and pushing me along!
Mom, thank you for your help and support and for making sure I have everything I need in terms of safety and health! You're great!
Tim and Claire (who will be my supervisors) thanks for having me!
To all those who are praying for me (and who will no doubt be sending me large and lavish care packages) thank you. It couldn't have been done without you.

And so... tomorrow the count down begins.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Looking Ahead

I've always had a strange obsession with the old sea stories. There is something about setting out into the vast open ocean on a small wooden vessel that has always captured me. The smell of sea salt, the creak of timber, being powered by the winds of the earth, the stars as your guides. I can't get over it.
And then there are the battles! You come face to face with your enemy and at point blank range fire bowling ball sized projectiles at them. I can't even imagine the courage, or stupidity, that would take. And all in order to protect King and country.
And the discovery of new lands! A whole new world of opportunity opening up, appearing on the horizon alongside the rising sun. Danger. Adventure. Exploration. It intrigues me.
All this to say, I think I've watched Master and Commander far too often.
I sometimes wish I could live back in those days, heading out into the wild unkown. And now I realize that that is exactly what I am doing. I will board a giant metal bird, be whisked at amazing speeds to the other side of the world into a place where I know no one and where I know nothing. I will be like a child, stripped of all language, cultural knowledge and familiarity. Frankly, I'm kind of scared.
Maybe that's how they all felt, scared. Scared, yet exhilerated by the boundless opportunities that being willing to losing sight of land opened up for them. Maybe not.
Either way, I think I'm in for a wild ride.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

We are actually going!

By "we" in the title... I mean "I".
I got my acceptance letter two days ago, and my Thai educational visa today! Woohoo! I can't believe this is actually happening!
Next on the agenda: Flight tickets and traveller's insurance.

Just a note: I think this job is absolutely made for me. We don't start until 1pm each day! Sure, it goes late into the night, but that is not a problem! Not until 1! I love it!

Check out where I am going: