November is a big month for thankfulness. This post is a preview of part of my December 1 newsletter, so those who read the blog are getting a special sneak preview of the newsletter.

1. 1000 friends village, and the ministry there. This year, it has gone from nothing to having a consistent group meeting every week. We don’t have a believer there … yet. But we’re definitely lifting that up, and know that when we are f8thful, the father will move.

2. My house – I am living on the 3rd floor of a local ministry center, which has been a true blessing. Even though I live alone, I am near many of my Thai friends and have easy access to them. They also have easy access to me.

3. Humor is the best thing ever. I dearly love to laugh, and I am thankful for that gift of laughter that rings through every day. In fact, I plan to blog more “funny” in the future.

4. Telling God’s story is one of the greatest privileges. Not only am I over here reaching the Thai people, but also, I am writing stories about how God is moving among his people. The journeys of faith I have encountered have rocked my comfortable little world in all the right ways.

5. On the 20th of this month, I celebrated the 27th anniversary of my birth – that’s right, 27 years (crazy!). I’m thankful for the ways that the father has moved in my life; making sure that I don’t stay the same person from year to year.

You got anything you are thankful for? Share in the comments section!

Why I think I’m hilarious

Sometimes, I get a big head and think I’m all that AND a piece of cake on the side. This is perpetuated by the fact that everytime I open my mouth to speak, people here pretty much die laughing. I’m starting to fancy myself a bit of a stand-up comedian, since I’m followed by the sound of laughter.

Here’s an example:

I’m walking through the market in Phnom Penh (which is in Cambodia, btw). It’s full of clothes of all shapes and sizes (but mine of course, which is completely normal).

A woman sitting in a stall piled high with bras and underwear calls out to me: “miss you want to buy underwear?” (Note: imagine the word “underwear” drawn out – kind of like “underweeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar.”)

“No thanks,” I replied. “I already have a pair on.”

I walk away, followed by a chorus of Cambodian women chuckling. Also, I should mention that I crack myself up, so I am laughing too. I laugh at them laughing at me, they laugh at me laughing at them – we’re stuck in this giant circle of laughter (which is awesome).

It’s just fun.

Anyway, since stuff like that happens to me all the time, I’ve decided that it’s time to be adding more of the “why my life is hilarious” posts. That, and many people have told me that I’m funny, so I figure it’s time to let the inner funny run rampant every now and then.

Get ready, people. I’m hilarious.

Adventuring (or how I narrowly escaped the Bangkok floods)

Have you ever had a moment where you think, ‘oh my goodness, this is SO not fun right now, but it will make a great story later.’?

That was me last night. I was dragging my suitcase through the bus station in Bangkok. If you haven’t been keeping up with the news, Bangkok is pretty flooded. That means that dragging my suitcase meant far more than just over rutted sidewalks and bumpy streets. No, that means traversing sandbags and sketchy puddles and people gathered in the station trying to get out of town.

My friend and I had bought tickets to go visit Cambodia last November for a super cheap price – AirAsia has nice sales here and there, so we’ve taken advantage of those deals as much as we can (but probably won’t do too much of it anymore, cause a cheap vacation never is actually cheap). Anyway, to save money on the way home, we bought bus tickets for the overnight bus.

In a perfect world, the bus leaves at 930 pm, and arrives at our destination around 6 am. Not with flooding…

But that’s for later.

Anyway, we race through the station, and find someone who has tickets. She’s only got three left, and there are more people approaching. I hold those suckers like there is nothing else in the world that I need – cause I have got to get back to my city! I can’t delay that return. Also, I have heard stories of people who stood in line to fill buses and airplanes leaving the city. These cheap last second tickets are not leaving my fingers.

We buy those tickets, and follow a little man the seller points to. “Go with him,” she says.

We follow him out of the terminal area. He leads us to an overpass, and points at a few buses on the other side of the road. “Over there,” he says.

I carry my 19.6 kilo suitcase up 30 steps and down 30 more steps, dripping sweat the whole time.

This was the point where I started thinking, “Oh my goodness, this is not fun now, but it’s going to make a great story later.”

I didn’t think the story could get better, honestly. But wait – it totally did.

So I have no problems taking overnight buses. I think they are great cheap ways to get from point A to point B, and as long as you take some sleep inducing drugs, you are golden.

We get to our bus, which is parked on the other side of the highway. The buses are double decker, so I figured that we’d take seats on the top deck.

Oh no.

The porter motions for us to get in the bottom of the bus.

So we look in. There are four seats (all taken) and a bunch of people sitting around a table. There is a small amount of room – a corner seat, and a bit on the side next to it. The man gestures that we are to sit in those seats, me and my buddy.

We crawl over the others already there, and settle into the spots. It’s so tight that we can’t move without bumping into someone else – me into a Thai woman on my side, or my friend, and my friend would bump into me or the two Thai guys nearby who found it highly amusing to stare at us (though honestly, I would have stared too).

And have I mentioned we were right next to the bathroom, which smells like … well, a bathroom?

As soon as the bus rattled off the side street onto the highway, me and my friend did what any seasoned traveler would do in this situation – we took some tylenol pm and drugged ourselves to sleep.

However, that was not a simple solution (note: I don’t think there is such a thing).

Right after we left, someone turned on a tv program featuring a standup comedian. Remember, thai stand up comedians are not like American ones. The shows are riddled with sound effects, and are just loud. Also, this was turned up at max volume. Another not cool thing – I was wearing my sound canceling headphones, and could still hear every single word.

Finally, they turned it off, and we tried to sleep. My friend sat next to me, and tried to get comfortable. I tried (and failed miserably) to get comfortable. The thai woman next to me pretty much had her feet on me as she did get comfortable and feel asleep.

The two young men sitting in the chairs facing my friend and I were eager to talk, so I got to have a nice conversation with them, exchanging pleasantries and all that. They did a fair share of staring, which is normal. I mean, the thought must have been going through their heads why are these two white girls riding this cheap overnight bus? They should be spending money and flying back to their city. And they speak Thai; they must be crazy. I mean, had I been them, I would have stared too!

Ultimately, after 13 hours, we arrived at our destination – exhausted and travel worn – but the thing is, we arrived.

Plus, we had a great story to tell.

ps. I really did enjoy this trip – this post is SO not a whine and complain one. ­čÖé

Stark raving mad, I say

Yesterday, had my first day back in language after two months off due to traveling. Travel does interrupt class, a lot – and I’d rather be consistent, you know?

It was so much fun. Me and my teacher, Khruu Muu, spend most of the 6 hours a week that we meet laughing (I can’t help it; I’m a funny person).

I say random weird things a lot in class – I told my teacher about calling friends to tell them I wasn’t going to be able to come pick them up.

Here’s what I thought I said: “I called my friends and told them that I would be late, and could not pick them up.”
Here’s what I actually said: “I called my friends I would not come, and could not put them in a cabinet for safekeeping.”

When I can’t remember the actual words, I just throw in some random Thai words and hope they are the right ones. Obviously, that does not always work for me.

Oh to live in a perfect world, where everything that comes out of my mouth makes sense…I promise, in my head it totally does.

But here’s where the title of this post comes from. Khruu Muu and I were talking about different people in the office, and how they have achieve language levels. I told him about my friend Dustin, who recently achieved level 4. Another friend, C, just attained level 5. (all long-term people are supposed to achieve level 5 – it’s part of our requirements).

He got a little excited. “Dustin got a 4? I told him that I thought he would get a 4, and he did.”

“Yep,” I said.

Let me pause – for those of you who get my update letter, you know that in October, I asked you guys to pray for language. I put there that a personal language goal was to hit a level 5 by next June (or July, I mix up those J months). I haven’t taken a test yet to determine where I am, but were I to guess, I would say high level 2, low level 3.

Back to the story.

Khruu Muu got all serious. “You know, if I were to grade your snapshot right now, I would give you a level 5.”

Me: “For real?”

Khruu Muu: “For real.”

I still maintain that he’s stark raving mad. But it’s given me a TON of motivation to keep studying hard and practicing my speaking. Also, as a plus, this month we will finally start reading and writing, so I can finally step out of illiteracy.

So excited right now.