Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Year 2007 Coming to an End

The year 2007 is coming to an end soon. A few more days to go. I am not sure what to feel or think. The year has passed so fast that I hardly noticed.

It has been a very different year. Unlike many in the past, it was a year in a new country, new friends, new church, new lifestyle, new language and new almost everything. A whole new life. Something that I have never experienced before, transplanting my life from Malaysia to another country - the whole family, far away from what has been familiar.
  • Home - When we initially arrived, I had to do all the cleaning and unpacking myself, without any helpers. Just my children and I. I had backache for a week due to that. There were heaps of unpacking and cleaning - 1 container load! Joel and Ethaniel were great helpers. Our homeschooling has trained them to work as a team.
  • Friends - Being an extrovert, I was left with a few friends and far away from my home. Bangkok being a huge city, t takes 1 to 1.5 hrs to get to anywhere. Unless you stay in the middle of the city.
  • Mobility - I used to own a car to to anywhere I wanted. But suddenly without it, I felt handicap. I had to use taxi to anywhere.
  • Family - Be far apart from family members.

I knew that I had to succeed in adapting because I knew that my experiences and emotions will influence Ivan and especially the children. I had to immerse myself into routine, in order to get some kind of normalcy for the children and I.

Life was immediately busy due to homeschooling, cooking, chores and etc. It took a big chunk out of my daily life. Somehow time just flew by. I also took the time to be free from the hustle and bustle of life to re-commit my life to God. I knew that He had to take me away from the busy life in Malaysia.

To think back, it has been tough but God has been there for me all through the way. He has been my sustainer. Where He leads, I have decided to follow.

One thing I have learnt is to trust God, seek Him, look to Him and He will never fail. So, no matter what lies ahead in 2008, I know I can trust God to be there. Change is a sure thing but so is God. In fact, I look forward to new things which God is preparing for my family and I. The road ahead is tough, that's life! The great comfort is to know that our hope is in Christ.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Part V - Muak Lek, Supanburi & Kanchanaburi

To read Part 1, Part II, Part 111, Part IV

Check out my online album for this trip.

Day 4 – 9 December 2007, Sunday (Part 2)

Sai Yok National Park

After that, we headed towards Sai Yok National Park.

It was a new experience staying on a boathouse. It is exciting having new experiences, for me and especially for the children.

We purchased the fishing rod yesterday from the Fun Fair for B199 (RM20). The children used the rod to fish upon boarding the boathouse. Uncle Ken and Uncle Tang are expert fishermen.

After waiting for awhile, we were pulled by a motorboat to a nearby bank so that we can swim and park for the night. There were 2 other boathouses booked by Thai holidaymakers, which was pulled together with us. I observed that they were very well prepared. Their boathouse was loaded with food, alcoholic drinks, pack of cards and even karaoke sets - a few huge speakers. We would eventually experience the capabilities of those speakers...

Ethaniel & Joel playing in the water

Once parked along the bank, all of us changed and went down to swim. The children played "sand bomb" and was using it to throw at the adults and each other. It was a fun time being crazy. Needless to say, I started it ;-). I have been trying to teach Joel to loosen up a little and to be able to take crazy jokes like this. He is slowly getting used to it, unfortunately, and even does it to me!

We had our food 'home delivered' by boat. Such an interesting concept! We ordered it after booking the boathouse. Talking about door-to-door service.... boat-to-boat service?

Our "home delivered mineral water and dinner

We had an early night after dinner. I was still feeling ill and my body was tired from driving and lack of rest.

Our only source of light

It was a very different experience to be sleeping in open air on a river. I woke up at about 1.30am and saw mist everywhere. It was freezing cold! I couldn't see the waterfalls or the other boathouses parked near us. The mist was that thick! It was a very special feeling, experiencing God's creation and nature at work.

Day 5 - 10 December 2007, Monday

When we woke up in the morning, we had a 'floating restaurant' coming to us... Oh, hungry, hungry... Joel and Ethaniel each had two bowls!!!

The cook

The ingredients

The consumer

After breakfast, we had a scenic ride along the river...... watch the video

That was the end of our holiday... time to go back home.... This is the last part of my blog on Muak Lek, Supanburi & Kanachaburi holiday.

Thank you for reading!

The end.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Sally and Family Visited Bangkok

17 December 2007, Monday

As I mentioned in my early blog, I love to have Malaysian friends call on me when they visit Bangkok. Its just wonderful to catch up on old times and fellowship.

So, I was really glad when Sally told me she was visiting Bangkok with her whole family.

We joined them at Dreamworld and had an excellent time scaring ourselves to death on the rides. Joel was even more crazy! He went on The Hurricane, The Vikings and many more with Sally's teenage children. Its a real difference when they go together in a group. It was much more fun for Joel to have gone along with children his age. He was really daring and loved it!

The crazy rides I went on... Screams all the way!!!

And more screams!

Winter slides... Fun!

Ethaniel also had heaps of fun, together with Elijah. Playing the games suitable for their age.

Ethaniel with Sally

Ethaniel & Elijah paddling boat. So cute!

Of course, needless to say, I had a great time too. If you know Sally... its a guaranteed crazy fun time!

Me, inside the freezing winter land

Joel and his sweet tooth!

Sunday, December 23, 2007


Christmas is a few days from now. Every year its always spent in church, whilst we were in Malaysia.

Last year, being our 1st year out of Malaysia, we had a Christmas eve celebration in church and went to Heather's house for Christmas lunch.

This year is different because Joel and I have decided that we will not put up the Christmas tree or have an elaborated Christmas. Both of us absolutely love Christmas! He because of the presents and I because of the glitter and Christmas songs.... It always gives me a wonderful feeling!

I have heard a message on the origins of Christmas tree and that it has nothing to do with Christ, Christians or the message of Christ. Anyway, we will still celebrate Christmas to remember that Jesus Christ came to earth to die for our sins because He absolutely loves me!

So, Blessed Christmas to you too.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Life Back to Normal

Mom has just left on 21 December 2007, Friday morning on an early flight via Airasia. So, life is going back to normal. Cooking and chores all by myself... with some help from Joel and Ethaniel.

Everytime I return to Bangkok or Mom returns to Malaysia, there is often an air of sadness. Leaving loved ones behind are not easy but life has to go on, unfortunately.

I know that Mom will miss Joel and Ethaniel terribly. She just adores them. It will take time for her to get back to normal routine again.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Immigration in Thailand

It was due for a visit to renew our workpermit and visa. So, we made a trip there yesterday.

The location of the office is at a very nice building in Rasa Tower, Ladprao.

It was crowded to the brim when we arrived at 10.00am. Since its going to be a long wait, we went downstairs to check out the shopping, breakfast and walk around.

The cook

Mee hoon soup with char siew (pork) and wan tan (B30 /RM3.20). Joel & Ethaniel each had 2 bowls.

Other stalls selling desserts

The famous Mango with sticky rice. Have not tried? A must!

Isaan sausage with salad. Ingredients - a little meat & rice (Not our favorite)

When you are in Bangkok, no one goes hungry! There is practically food stalls EVERYWHERE. I was very sceptical of roadside food when I initially arrived in Bangkok but now, I do eat some of the roadside stall food but only limited to those hot food. I try to avoid pork or chicken.

After I finished the late breakfast, I walked along the roadside stalls selling clothes, earrings and make-up. You can get good bargains anywhere in Thailand. A shoppers heaven!

The immigration officer signed our passport at about 12pm and we were on our way out of there! Since we were near Central Ladprao, let's do some more shopping! Central is similar to Parkson Grand or Jaya Jusco chain. Its all over Bangkok.

The good looking immigration officer... Looks more like a Thai celebrity

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I have been living away from my parents for the last 12 years. I have realised that I am very used to doing things my way. Hanging up the wok here, putting the pan there, fork and spoon in drawers and etc. Mom has her way of doing things which is very different from how I do mine. I still like to do it my way even when she is around and its not unusual that she wants to do it her way too.

I learnt about boundaries in the last few years and I feel that it has been good. I felt that all my life, people has bull-dozered me and I have allowed them to do it just because I am afraid to hurt them. But the problem is, I silently resent them and felt a lot of frustrations inside.

The best thing about a Mother-Daughter relationship is that, we can tell each other off without holding grudges. There are things which she does not agree about me and vice versa. We will get it off our chest and move on.

I first learnt about boundaries through Elijah House - an inner healing ministry. I felt that God was teaching me to put up boundaries and not allow people to keep pushing their way in my life. Its not a right Christian attitude to allow people to 'step all over' me. When Jesus was on earth, He had many boundaries whereby, He left to spend time by himself rather than allowing the crowd to be with him 24/7. He also was never pushed around expecially by the Pharisees. He even showed His anger and told them off. It didn't mean that He doesn't love them but He knew when to put up boundaries.

One of the most effective boundaries I have practised are with my children. My children knows that they cannot push me around by excessively serving them, insist on getting their way - especially when tired, throwing tantrums and etc. They must respect Mommy's needs as well. And it has worked excellently well. When I tell them that Mommy is tired, they need to help out, immediately Joel and Ethaniel empathizes. They have learnt to put their wants aside to fulfill another's need. They have learnt not to gratify their own wants all the time, have a little self-control every now and then. It will not kill them! They still push their way every now and then, being human, but I also know when to put my boundaries.

Life is indeed a journey.... a learning and growing journey.... Some are easy and others are hard...

More of My Mother's Cooking

"Chia Chia's Ginger Wine Chicken is very delicious" commented Joel. All of us love this dish - Joel, Ethaniel and I. We absolutely adore it! We can just eat this dish alone with or without anything else. But we MUST have chili padi with soya sauce, together with it.

Mom has not only been doing all the cooking but has helped to do cleaning up and washing. I guess, Mothers will always be Mothers. They will always pamper their children when they get the chance. I really appreciate all she has done in the last few weeks.

We will definitely miss her cooking. It has been the best! Indeed, Mother's cooking is the best and I am not biased!

Part IV - Muak Lek, Supanburi & Kanchanaburi

To read Part 1, Part II, Part 111, Part V

Day 3 - 8 Dec 2007, Saturday (Part 2)

We had a good dinner under the stars – no, not by the campfire but cooked by the restaurant.

Dinner under the stars. Joel said that it was the darkest dinner he ever had!

We were all sitting around talking when I suddenly realized that Mom has disappeared. I tried to look for her and found her amongst the campers from Chiang Mai and even joined in their games.

The Thai campers sitting around the campfire

It was pretty unbelievable to see her having so much fun and excelling in a game which was fully conducted in Thai. She even won a prize!

Mom joining in the games

Talking about language is no barrier! It was hilarious!!! That speaks volume… Yes, my Mother the extrovert. Shyness is obviously NOT her middle name.

Later, Ken’s wife and children joined and eventually Joel and Ethaniel also. They had fun.

Ethaniel having fun playing games

Joel too!

We slept at about 10.30pm and the Thai holidaymakers were just starting their karaoke session. Unfortunately for us, the karaoke went blaring late into the wee hours of the morning. Karaoke is part of the Thai culture. At every occasion and I am not exaggerating… from Company dinners, weddings, birthdays, holidays and almost every occasion they can get together, they will be having a sing-along. There was no way we can request for a tone down. They not only sing but loud speakers are a requirement. I took some cotton bud and stuck it in my ears. Ethaniel requested some and insist that it was not good enough…”I can still hear it, Mom”. He was very tired and it took him 15 mins to doze off. It was very cold and I did not have a good sleep that night.

Day 4 – 9 December 2007, Sunday

We rose very early. I think everyone didn’t have very good sleep; having been used to sleeping on comfortable mattresses. We had a good breakfast, packed up and headed towards the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum.

I was absolutely impressed with Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum. The well explained exhibit, well maintained building, beautiful trail and it was completely free. It was sponsored by the Australians.

PoWs walks a difficult daily journey to the Hellfire Pass - inclusive of the ill ones

I really enjoyed the 1.5 hrs walk to and fro the Hellfire Pass trail. It was beautifully surrounded by bamboo plants all along the trail. It also had an autumn feel to the surrounding.

We had an audio explanation throughout the trail which Joel, Ethaniel and I absolutely enjoyed. Joel benefited a lot from it. He was very engrossed with all the explanations.

Ethaniel & Joel standing in the middle of Hellfire Pass

A picture drawn by one of the PoWs before he died

Exhibits at the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum - belongings of PoWs

Equipments used to work the railway

Lookout for the last part of the trip at my next blog ....

Check out my online album for this trip.