Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Another Opportunity...

... to practice the fruits of the Spirit.

After our first day back to teaching after our elephant experience, all I wanted to do was to go home and put my feet up (literally, above my head to help the swelling go down). However, when I get home and turn on the light switch, I hear "bap-bap-bap" coming from the fuse box. Oh dear, that's not good. I check around and unplug the things that don't NEED to be plugged in. I check the fuse box, and none of the breakers are tripped.

But the lights and the air-con that I tried to turn on were NOT on. I called our administrator and asked her to have one of the maintenance guys come over. A few minutes later, everything came back on, seemingly like nothing had happened. I call her back and tell her not to worry about the maintenance guy coming. Less than two minutes later, I was calling her again to say that everything had gone off and the fuse box was now buzzing.

Matt came home about an hour later from the store, and the power had gone on and off about 6 times. Matt left again to do some school work, so I stayed at home, reading in the dark (most of the time). By the time the maintenance guy came, I was upside down on our couch, with my feet up, and the lights/ air-con were briefly on. He looked around for awhile but seemed confused that he had been called. I had no way to communicate with him, and in my awkward position, it took me awhile to get up. By the time I got up, he had left. I thought he would come back, but he didn't. I hobbled to the staff room to enjoy some coolness--and, of course, internet. :) But we went back to the house when we were ready for sleep... the good drugs that we're on make me really sleepy.

I found myself flashing back to Uz and the many times of NO power at all there. I'm thankful for every 30 minutes or so when the air-con and lights do come on for a few minutes at a time. But it was a weird evening. It took forever to get to sleep since our room was over 90 degrees. But, we did get to sleep, and when I woke up this morning, my leg wasn't half as swollen as it was yesterday evening.

We can be thankful for things like that!

Unfortunately, the head maintenance guy just came back from checking out our house and said, "we've got a big problem." Oh dear, that's not good.

He's calling to power company in. Hopefully they'll be able to figure it out. In the meantime, Matt and I will enjoy being in our classrooms today with full power--and air-con! :)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

After the Fall (Part 3)

(From Tricia's perspective).
So, after moving far enough away from the elephant that I wasn't worried about being trampled, I looked over and saw Matt's croc under the elephant's foot. Despite the fact that I was in a LOT of pain, it cracked me up.

After he retrieved the shoe, we got up and started walking away. But my right knee hurt really bad. I knew I couldn't bend it. Oh. My. Gosh. I was thinking, "Are you kidding me? Who falls off an elephant?"

A lady who lived near where we fell just happened to work at the hotel we were staying. So, she drove us to the hotel clinic. They cleaned up our cuts and scrapes and were super concerned about my right knee. It had a giant knot on it and really hurt. They wanted me to go to a hospital, but I said I would be okay. I would just go and rest but if it was still hurting later, I would go to a hospital. (Most of me did NOT want to go to a hospital in another foreign country. My experience in Turkey was enough for me).

Well, they kept poking and prodding me, and it was hurting really bad. I was shaking and nauseous, so I thought maybe something was broken.

A hotel van drove us to the nearby town clinic. Two of the guys who worked at the elephant place came with us too. Thankfully, we had befriended one of them before we rode the elephant, and we felt comfortable with him helping us and interpreting for us.

When we got to the second clinic, they put me on a stretcher and rolled me into the ER. It smelled powerfully like death, and as I glanced around, I realized that there were A LOT of really sick people in there. There was barely enough room for my stretcher. I prayed that we wouldn't get something like TB just from being in that room, and I prayed for the other people who were really sick. I felt a bit ridiculous being in there. As I finished praying, a nurse came over and poked and prodded me. My right knee would not bend. It hurt a lot when she poked it. The nurse was concerned. But the clinic didn't have an x-ray machine, and THE (as in only) doctor was away on holiday. We needed to go to the next town to another hospital.

On our way out, as I'm NOT comfortable being wheeled around on a stretcher when I had just been thrown from something that should have been more sturdy, I saw a cat running around in the clinic. A cat, running around. In the clinic. Matt took a picture. He said there was also a mangy dog in there too. (More comic relief).

Alright, so were driven to the next hospital in the next town. Lots of pain but also laughter. I kept saying to Matt, "Are you kidding me? Did we really just fall off an elephant?" And I was thinking, how come I'm the only one that got really hurt? We DID fall off the same elephant. On the drive, we discussed the physics of the catapult. Since I was on the side that broke, I got thrown further and harder. Plus, that old expression 'the bigger they are, the harder they fall' must be true.

When we arrived at the third place, an actual hospital, we were taken to the er. A doctor came and looked and then a nurse took me to get x-rays. After x-rays, we went back to the er section, and they did more poking and prodding. The knot was bigger. Then they took me back to x-ray the other leg, to compare, I guess. The poor driver of the van and the elephant guys were following us around the whole time. When we got back to my section of the er, there was casting stuff. I looked at Matt and was like, oh dear, this is not going to be fun. But the doctor said, "Not for you. You don't need." I felt better immediately. Life in Thailand would NOT be fun with my leg in a cast.

Turns out it was just a bad sprain and lots of cuts and bruises. He did ask if I wanted a cast anyway. Thanks but no thanks.

After getting some meds and getting BOTH knees wrapped (to help with the swelling?) and instructions not to walk for 3-5 days (yeah, right!), we left.

A huge praise is that the elephant people also PAID for the trips to the clinics, and the van ride was complimentary from the hotel. (Remember that I still have no health insurance, so that was a big concern during the afternoon of clinics.)
It's now been about 24 hours since we fell. We are not nearly as sore as we thought we would be, and I'm able to put weight on my right leg. Still can't bend it comfortably, but it could have been A LOT worse. Plus, now we have a cool story. I mean, how many people can say that they...

fell off a daggum elephant!

Thrown from an Elephant! (Part 2)

(From Matt's Facebook note)
...Next to the resort is a place where you can ride elephants. Tricia and I decided that it would be fun and that we wanted to do it. So we walk over to the place and tell them we want to ride an elephant. First, we met the baby elephant and Tricia fed bananas to it.

Then, she fed bananas to the BIG elephant. After feeding it bananas, the guy takes the elephant to get harnessed and then walks him back over to where we are. We climb up the platform to get on the seat and we start walking.

Right away Tricia didn't like it and wanted to go back. The seat was not very wide and there is nothing to hold us in and no rail in front of us either. So Tricia says she wants to go back but I assured her that it was ok and that we would be fine, so we kept going. After another couple steps Tricia asks the guy to take us back. I tell her again that we were ok. The guy driving the elephant also turns around and says, "Don't worry, safety number 1." He tells us the elephant is number 1 and then he grabs one of the ropes holding the chair to the elephant and repeats, "safety number 1!" So we kept going.

We come to a place where there is a very steep slope that the elephant has to walk down. As soon as I saw it I also wanted to go back. The guy told us that when the elephant starts to go down the slope we need to lean back. We said okay and leaned back. The elephant starts to walk down the slope but then stops. However, he was already so far down that we were sliding out of the seat. Let me remind you that there was no bar holding us in. At this point the guy could not get the elephant to go back up or down, so I knew that we were going to keep slipping out the seat. I knew we were going to fall out. (The picture doesn't illustrate the fact that we were ON TOP of an elephant, going down this slope. Slightly terrifying.)

At that point I was just trying to think of what would be the least painful way for me to land, and I was thinking that Tricia was going to really get hurt. Well what happens next is that the ropes on Tricia's side of the elephant that are keeping the seat in place come undone so the whole side of the chair flies up and we are catapulted out of the seat, from on top of the elephant and onto the ground. I landed face down on the ground and Tricia landed on her knee. After the initial shock of what happened left, we had a new fear of getting trampled by the elephant (or stabbed by his tusks). Luckily, that didn't happen. I was able to get up right away and just have a few scrapes and cuts, but Tricia hurt her knee pretty bad. She was unable to get up for a while and was laying on the ground in tears.

After both of us got up, it took some time to get adjusted and to realize that the elephant wasn't freaking out. He wasn't going to hurt us. But I couldn't find my shoe. I asked Tricia where it was, and in the midst of her tears, she laughed and said, "It's under the elephant's back foot." It really was. The elephant guy got him to move, and I rescued my croc... which is surprisingly just fine.

Here's a picture of the guy trying to put the seat back on the elephant.

(From the smaller picture up top, check out the elephant with the tusks that I was feeding bananas to. Notice the large hump on this back, above his shoulders. This is where our feet were resting. The seat was higher than that bump.)

To be continued...

Khao Yai (Part 1)

We are on a church retreat this weekend in the Northern part of Thailand. It's beautiful up here. Despite the fact that Matt has had some stomach issues, it started off as a refreshing, relaxing, wonderful weekend away from school.

Friday night, we had a service and then played games with some friends. We went to bed at a decent hour. Got up the next morning, Matt was sick, so he slept in. I went to the service which was really nice, then went back to the room to find Matt. He was feeling better. We spent some time hanging out at the hotel for a while... then, we found some lunch. Meridith and I ordered spaghetti with garlic, looking forward to some good spaghetti sauce with meat. Matt ordered frog legs. Meridith and I got our noodles with garlic cloves... no sauce. It was decent though.

After lunch, we walked around the resort grounds. It's really beautiful here.

The hotel pool. We didn't swim, but it's pretty.

You see these all over Thailand. Small shrines to the gods.
Most people add fresh food and flowers everyday. We walked up to this area after lunch. It was beautiful.
Right when I snapped this picture, Matt said, "An elephant!" We love seeing the random elephants around Thailand. I think most people get used to them, but we haven't yet. We still think they're pretty cool. So, we followed this guy around for awhile.

Because it looked like so much fun, we decided we wanted to ride an elephant too!
(To be continued...)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Unreached People of the Day

Please notice the "Unreached People of the Day" today on our blog. It's the Northern Thai of Thailand.
Pretty cool that tons of people will be praying for this people group today. Will you join us in praying?

Matt and Henry

This is the first and probably only blog that I, Matt, will write.
So I teach Math to grade 2B. That is the only thing I teach them. Their main teacher, Ms. Amanda, has a stuffed animal monkey named Henry. Every weekend one of the students is allowed to take Henry home and they write a journal entry about the weekend and its all cute and fun and all the students love Henry.

Well one day I was walking around the room while I was teaching and I walked over to where Henry is kept and I picked him up and tossed him in the air and caught him. I did this very innocently, I was not trying to hurt Henry at all. Well the kids just freaked out and started yelling. So of course after I saw how upset they got I immediately put Henry down and apologized.....HAHAHAHAHA, yeah right!

I thought their reaction was kinda fun so I threw Henry back in the air again. This time they all screamed again but also jumped out of their desks and surrounded me trying desperately to save Henry from me. After I calmed them down and assured them that Henry was fine and that I wouldn't throw him anymore they all returned to their seats. Well of course I threw him up in the air again and caught him. So once again they all ran out of their seats and tackled me. I repeated this several times.

Later I discovered I could use Henry to get them to study their multiplication problems and do what I wanted. The next day I had a math bee with them. I had them all stand up behind their desks and I go down the line and ask each of them a math question and if they get it right they keep standing but if they miss it they have to sit down. Well I thought I could use Henry to help me motivate them to answer correctly. I informed them that if they answered the question right Henry would live but that if they answered their question wrong Henry would die. So the first few kids answered right and Henry lived for a while but then someone answered wrong and Henry died. After performing CPR on him though, life returned to him and he is ok now.

P.S. I, Tricia, walked by Matt's classroom yesterday afternoon and saw this craziness going on. I quickly grabbed the digital camera for proof. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

4th Grade Prayer Requests

We do Prayer Requests every Tuesday morning and spend time praying together.

Here are some examples of ones that we pray for EVERY week:
  • Mine--pray for my dog to not bite my other dog
  • Seven--pray for my fish to not eat its babies
  • Nat--pray for Adam and Valerie (she always remembers that I asked them to pray for them during their engagement)
  • Karoon--pray for all the sick people
  • Jame--pray for Mr. Matt and Mrs. Tricia to have a baby
  • Dream--pray for Mrs. Tricia's baby to be a boy
  • Pukboong--pray for the ______ test (whichever test we have that week)
  • Seven--pray that we can go on field trip to Dream World
  • Meen--pray for week to go by FAST
  • Fay--pray for my sister and me to stop fighting
  • Yok--pray for break to come fast
Those are all that I can remember that really and truly come EVERY week. Aren't they cute?

P.S. As I was writing this, Mr. Matt came into my class to ask me a question. Dream said, "Mr. Matt, when you gonna make a baby with Mrs. Tricia for us?" Poor Mr. Matt. :)

Oh dear, aren't they cute?!

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Family Gathering

Laura just sent me pics of a recent family gathering. My family and Matt's family got together last week for dinner. How cool is that?!

Definitely wish we could have been there though!

Miss all of you so much!Steven (Matt's brother) and Laura (my youngest sister)

Valerie (middle sister, bride-to-be) and Dan (Mom's hubby)

The newlyweds, Mom and Dan.The other newlyweds (married in March).
Dad and Gail (who doesn't like having her picture taken).

Steph, Mark, and Adam were there, too, right?

Our Weekend

We had a semi-normal weekend this past weekend, unlike the last few when we had extra teaching and school activities.

Friday night, we went over to Dan and Kristen's house and got to have a yummy dinner with them and their three fun kiddos! Then, we played Seafarers of Catan, which is Settlers--PLUS! It was really, really fun, especially since I won the first game and Matt won the second game. :)

Saturday morning, we both woke p at 5 am and couldn't go back to sleep--random! So, we watched a few episodes of Friends and thankfully went back to sleep. We woke up around noon, then went to the store, ate lunch at McDonald's and then had ice cream at Swensen's. A particularly expensive day. We bummed around for a couple of hours after that (some school work, working on Christmas presents, and Matt working on his Christmas movie wish list). Then, we went to dinner with Junior's family (one of my students). We went to this Thai buffet where you make your own soup. I didn't like it very much at all, but the conversation was good. Junior's parents both speak great English and help us learn new Thai phrases when we hang out with them. After dinner, we walked around the mall for awhile. We got back fairly early and then bummed around for awhile.

I'm re-reading some books I read when I was younger. My friend Kristen has a bunch of good books here, and I'm averaging about one a day. Robin Jones Gunn rocks! Anyone else ever read any of these books?

After bumming around until 11:30, we hiked across campus for our Skype date with Steven. I hadn't talked to him (or any family) in a really long time, so it was a wonderful treat! I didn't even mind staying up until almost 2 am.

Sunday, one of our students from 'summer school' named Tana came to church with us. His parents are Thai, and he grew up in California. But he lives in Thailand now with his grandmother. He looks Thai but only speaks English, so I think sometimes Thai people are confused by him. Anyway, he had a good time at church (his first time), and then we took him out to lunch at our usual Sunday restaurant, Que Pasa. (I just noticed on their website, you can watch the restaurant on a Live Feed. Interesting.)

The rest of the Sunday was very relaxed. We did Matt's favorite thing--sat around and watched movies (with some laundry mixed in). We watched Star Wars episodes 1 and 2.

Now, it's Monday and back to work!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Loi Krathong (sp?)

(Stole most of this blog from our friend, Kristen, from church. She explained it well! :)

Yesterday was Loi Krathong in Thailand.
"Loi" means "to float". "Krathong" is a raft about a handspan in diameter traditionally made from a section of banana tree trunk decorated with elaborately-folded banana leaves, flowers, candles, incense sticks etc. During the night of the full moon in the 12th month of the Thai calender, normally in November, many people will release a small raft like this on a river. In addition, fireworks and beauty contests take place during the festival. It was a ceremony to honor the original Buddha, Siddhartha Guatama. Apart from venerating the Buddha with light (the candle on the raft), the act of floating away the candle raft is symbolic of letting go of all one's grudges, anger and defilements, so that one can start life afresh on a better foot. Many Thai believe that floating a krathong will create good luck, and they do it to honor and thank the Goddess of Water, Phra Mae Khongkha.

The pictures are examples of "Krathongs" made by our kids in class. You may also have seen some of these in Matt's Facebook album--you can view it even if you're not on Facebook, which you SHOULD be!. (These specific ones were made by some American kids at the international school.)

Tomorrow is a day that the country will be grieving the death of the King's sister, who died last November.

These occasions have prompted good discussions in my class and around the school. I have also learned that the Royal Family is VERY precious to Thai people. When one of my students asked me if the Princess was in Heaven and I asked them what the Bible said about it, I got 'reprimanded' for speaking anything negative about the Royal Family. Lesson learned (by me, and prayerfully, by my kids also).

I know there are many people who believe that Buddhism is one more way to have a relationship with God--and that I'm pretty arrogant to say otherwise. Thankfully, Jesus being the only way to have a relationship with God is not my idea. It was God's. But I don't speak this truth in order to cast judgment. I speak it in order to share about God's love. It's God Himself who says that He sent His Son not to condemn the world, but to save the world through Jesus. (John 3:17).

As Kristen put it, "
there is a God of water, but He's also the God of everything else. He made the water and the heavens and the earth, and only He can command the winds and the waves --and they obey Him."

Please pray with us, especially this week, for the Thai people. Pray for our students, and for the truth of the Gospel that goes forth here at our school and at many Thai churches.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

November Travels

No, we haven't done any traveling this November.

I'm just one of those people who remembers dates really well. And this week in history looks like this:

November 2004: Tanzania, Africa with Amy Ray, Millicent, and Ginger. We went with Africa for Jesus. An unforgettable 12 days of walking, riding bikes, taking buses, and more walking across Tanzania for the sake of the Gospel. We were protected from spiders, snakes, robbers, and anything else that could have gone wrong. God allowed us to experience worshiping with Massai villagers, baptizing fellow brothers and sisters in the Indian Ocean, rivers, and even ponds. Hundreds of people heard the Gospel during that trip--most for the first time. I ask that even right now, you would pray for those people. Pray that God would remind them of what they've heard about Him. Pray for the missionaries and other believers in Tanzania. Pray for God's word to continue to go forth.

November 2005: Skand, Uz. One of my favorite places on earth. Beautiful fall, fun visitors, new believers, great team. Learning the language. Falling in love with the culture. I had the pleasure of being in Uz much longer than 12 days. Seeing God at work there was beyond amazing too. Please take some time and pray for these people as well. Pray for the persecuted church but more importantly, for God's light to continue to shine in the darkness there.

November 2006: Romania and Budapest. This trip was very different for me. Instead of feeling led to go to a certain place for a certain ministry, I felt God leading me to go on this trip WITH MATT. I felt like God was calling me to marry Matt at that point, but he didn't know yet. This trip was kind of a 'fleece' for us as Matt had prayed for God to show him if I was the person God had prepared for him to marry during this trip.

It's a great story, but the brief version is that on our very last day in Budapest, as we were getting on different planes to go back to the States, I realized that I had misplaced OUR journal. It was a journal that we wrote in back and forth to each other over the several months we had been dating. Somehow in the midst of my crying and Matt digging through trash cans trying to find it, he suddenly KNEW. God answered that prayer! During the trip, we also got to do overseas ministry together for the first time, which was really special for both of us. Steven and Jerry were with us too, and we met some other great friends who we still keep in touch with. Some of them are back in Romania this week with Matt's grandpa's ministry again. Please pray for Romania as well. In a very different way than Tanzania and Uz, this country is very dark spiritually as well.

Thanks for joining me on my trip down memory lane. :) Thanks for praying for all of these people who are dear to me, as well.

Tyndall Women!

An update on the Tyndall Gals for all of you fans.

Whether you've known her forever or not very long, Momma Beth finds a very special place in your heart. I can't tell you how many times I heard when I was growing up, "You have the best Mom. She is doing such a great job with you girls." They were right. She is the best mom. Through good times and bad, she's pretty steady. Full of laughter. As Val, Laura and I have gotten older, she has become more of a friend too, and that's really cool...

... which is why it is fun for me to tell you, cyber-friends, that Momma Beth is now married again--to Dan Brown, whom we affectionately refer to as "santa claus". Not the Dan Brown who wrote the DaVinci Code. Dan Brown who has swept our Mom off her feet, proposed on a hike in Saluda and has a cat named Lisa Bell. They were married on September 12th in Myrtle Beach. It was a quiet thing, just the two of them, and that's just how they wanted it! Next week, they will be honeymooning in Florida.

Mom and Dan don't like to be the center of attention, but if you would take some time and drop them an email and say "Congratulations", that would be really cool. You can thank Dan for making our Mom so happy again, and thank Mom for bringing Dan into our lives.

Another important Tyndall woman update is that Valerie is getting married soon! According to her knot.com page, there are only 190 more days! Then, my little sister will be married to Adam Gafford, my childhood best friend's older brother! Crazy how things work! :)

It's hard for me not to be able to be there during this exciting time of engagement. These few months are going to be such a blast and going to go by so fast! Enjoy it, Val! And maybe drop her and Adam a note on their knot.com page.

Congratulations to both of the very happy, beautiful couples!

My new Husband

A recent conversation that shows how being in Thailand has changed Matt:

Me: "Hey honey, what did you do for lunch?"
Matt: "I ate in the cafeteria."
Me: "Really?!" ****With lots of surprise. (On previous encounters with cafeteria food, we had sightings of hairs in the food, giant spiders on the tables, and just plain nasty food.)
Matt: "Yeah, it actually tasted pretty good. I could ignore the first two bugs in my soup, but after the third one, I gave up."


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Overnight Camp

100 elementary students for 30 straight hours didn't exactly sound like too much fun.
Especially since I had forgotten, and it snuck up on me.

But it WAS fun!

It was a normal school day, which was filled with extra-energetic kids! Right after school, we started gathering them around to start a round of games. Each grade rotated through lots of activities. I got to lead a game of elimination which ended up being VERY fun--except that I really thought my voice would be gone for days after all the yelling I got to do!

After games, there was a meal. Then, we had a giant game of Hide and Seek which was kind of like a scavenger hunt. The kids were split up into colored teams and had to find the teachers in a certain order. Matt and I were decoy hiders, and we ended up just trying to scare all of the kids.
After that game, there was a giant campfire. Silly songs and games. Then roasted marshmallows and hot dogs and fish/sausage balls. This is when Mrs. Tricia and Mr. Matt took a break from the kids for a little while. Had about 30 minutes of down time in the staff room that was much-needed and helped prepared for the rest of the fun-filled evening. Around 10 pm, the Thai staff started helping the kids get ready for bed. This involved lots of kids running in towels to the school bathrooms to be hosed off (naked) by the Thai teachers. This weirded me out a bit. I wasn't prepared to see all of my kids running around in just their towels or undies.

Matt and I slept in the room with the 1st and 2nd grade boys. We didn't have all of them because a lot of them went home. And some of them went home later. We had LOTS of tears and hysterics at bed time... and some in the middle of the night. Good learning experience for both of us.

***I will tell you what did NOT happen last night... much to my fourth graders chagrin. There was no baby-making. Even though my fourth grade seems to be obsessed with the idea. I think this is because the teacher who taught them before me had a baby. It's cute, though. We do prayer requests every week, and there is always someone who prays that we will have a baby soon. Before camp, they were asking me where I would sleep. I told them I would sleep with Mr. Matt and the younger boys. Without hesitation, one of the girls said, "Will you and Mr. Matt make a baby for us?" *** Awesome.

Anyway, this morning: woke up, got ready, breakfast. More time away for Mr. Matt and Mrs. Tricia... a quick run across campus to home for freshening up, though no time for a good shower. Though it was much-needed at this time.

The rest of the day was team-building games. These were really fun, and some pictures are below. I really loved being with my kids outside of the classroom and getting to know them more. They are a really great group of kids!

The Human Caterpillars.

Lifting MoMae through 'The Web'

**Sorry there are not pictures of Matt's class. I had our camera.**

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Day of Many 'Firsts'

Last night, we got home at 10:30 pm from a day of lots of 'firsts'.

Our kids were dismissed early yesterday (at 3:00 pm) because the school was doing some heavy-duty mosquito spraying. We were looking forward to some extra time to get some work done. Then, we found out that everyone was supposed to leave the campus in order to avoid the toxic, illegal doses of spray.

We left with another teacher to go to a health clinic to do some stuff for our work visa. Our *first* visit to a Thai clinic. The Thai teacher came with us to translate for us, and since she was coming with us, we took a tuk-tuk. Our *first* time riding in a tuk tuk (picture to the right). It was fun! Not much less expensive than riding in a taxi, but for shorter distances, the tuk-tuk will definitely be my ride of choice. They can weave in and out of traffic much easier than a regular car.

When we got back from the clinic, it was 'spray time'. I felt like we were in a hazmat zone the way everyone was masking up. We left quickly and went to one of the local malls. It was really our *first* time just browsing around
some of the stores. We usually just go in to get what we need. Didn't do any major purchasing, just looking and that was nice.

We also celebrated one of the other teacher's birthday yesterday at a new restaurant. It was caled 'Santa Fe Steak'. Our *first--and probably last* time eating there. Then, we got our *first* desserts at the mall. I got a DQ blizzard, and Matt got some fancy cake from a real restaurant. It was the *first* Thai dessert he's really liked since being here. We also went to see a movie afterwards--our *first--and definitely not last* time seeing a movie at a theatre in Thailand.

Matt loves movies, so I'm surprised we hadn't been before. I guess it helped that we were forced to leave campus for a few hours. Usually, we're pretty content to be at home. But it was nice to be out. We saw "Max Payne" which has an NC-17 rating here. We didnt know that until after we got the tickets, but we both ended up liking the movie. The guy who talked us into going with him is a frequent movie-goer, and he wanted to see it. The theatre was really nice. The seats reclined a lot, and it felt clean. I think it was about $4 each... definitely better than seeing movies in the States. :)