It has been thus far in Chiang Mai a banner day. The rain is tapering off after a brief but torrential downpour, and the post-shower breeze is providing a delightful though momentary respite from the humidity.
We arrived in Chiang Mai yesterday afternoon. Tutu and her husband Dan surprised us by booking us for two nights at the Horizon Resort, a beautiful hotel in Doi Saket filled with topiary gardens and bike paths. Despite our protest, they’re also picking up the tab – which is considerably more than the $15 per night I usually budget for these kinds of trips.
This morning, we slept in for the first time in weeks. And I mean I really slept in, like to 8:30 or something. It was pretty luxurious. Pak misses Cambodia badly, but is thrilled at the slower pace. At home, if we let him, he’d stay in bed every summer day ’til noon. On this trip, we’ve been by 6 daily. Here in Thailand, the kids are in school until 4pm, so there’s really no reason for us to rush to get up in the morning. And also, I don’t have a car here and there’s no public transportation this far outside of the city, so hitting the streets in the wee hours means inconveniencing staff. So I slow things down. Sometimes that stresses me out; I’m the kind of guy who likes to suck the marrow out of each hour of the day. But today, it’s been nice to relax.
We spent a couple of hours at our main Doi Saket campus last night, singing, playing and worshipping with the kids. It was a blast. The kids were very happy to see Pak and I, and excited to meet Seth. There were, however, a few disappointed teenage girls who were looking forward to another visit from Chien. There’s one girl in particular who has had a crush on him since he first visited as a ten year old. Sorry, Walai. Chien couldn’t make it. Sigh…
After a leisurely morning at the hotel, we went into the city with Tutu. She had some errands to run, and we needed to stop at a store to pick up some toothpaste and other personal items we’d either lost or used up. I also picked up a sim card for my phone so I can be in touch in case of emergencies.
After a delicious lunch, we went to a bookstore to buy Thai Bibles for some of the kids, and then Tutu paid for Seth and I to have an hour-and-a-half traditional Thai massage (all therapeutic, no funny stuff). If you’ve never had a traditional Thai massage, I’d suggest that (after you confirm that it’s all therapeutic, no funny stuff) you go get one. Most of the experience skates the fine line between relaxation and torture: lots of knees in the back and very firm pressure on the shoulders, legs, neck and face. Good stuff.
We’re now back at the hotel taking a short break before heading out of town to our Hot Springs home. I really enjoy spending time with Pastor Suradet, his wife, his kids and the staff. They live about 20 minutes away from most of our other homes, so they’re a bit isolated. They get to visit the rest of the kids on a semi-regular basis, but they don’t enjoy the same kind of drop-by-for-sugar kind of relationship with other Asia’s Hope families.
We’ll have dinner, play with the kids, spend a little time singing and praying, and then we’ll head back. If we have any energy, we’ll drop by the Chiang Mai night market. Tomorrow, we head to Wiang Pa Pow, where we’ll spend a couple of days. I don’t know what kind of internet access I’ll have, so this may be my last communiqué for a while.
Keep praying for us. We’re all healthy and happy, and we’re not yet completely tired of one another. God is so good. It’s an honor to be a part of this ministry. Thanks for your support and encouragement.