Saturday, February 28, 2009

Grade 4 Students... Part 2

Here's the 2nd batch of kiddos for ya.

This is Meen. He is really cute and funny. He tries hard and has great parents to help him along. He's also a golfer and spends most of his time outside of school golfing. I like him a lot and hardly ever have any problems with him anymore.

This is Babe/Beb. He's a little roly-poly, and that's a lot of his appeal. He is so cute, and he's so tender. He likes to come up to my desk and tell my random things all the time. Like, "Guess what, Mrs. Tricia? My family went to the mall yesterday, and we got to eat ice cream." Awesome, Beb! He's not the smartest, but he tries, and I really appreciate that about him.

Gade is new to GES this year, with her twin brother, Golf. That means that this is their first year at an English school. Gade has grown sooo much in English and learning this year. She has gone from not talking at all to raising her hand to ask questions. She even has a best friend in the class now which really makes me happy. So sweet.

Golf is Gade's twin. Haven't quite figured him out yet. He's a little bit awkward, and I've wondered if he should be tested for some kind of syndrome. He twitches a lot and every once in awhile squeals because he gets excited. He's quiet, but he's working hard.

Seven oh Seven. I definitely have a love-hate relationship with Seven. I appreciate him for his individuality, and I am thankful for his humor... but, I definitely do NOT appreciate his non-stop energy and his failure to listen to me. He lies to me constantly about doing his homework. He also lies about things his mom 'says' in order to get out of doing things. Though, on the occasional day that he makes up his mind to try to do a good job, he really does.

This is Dream. She's a handful. When she is in the right mood, she is a great student, but that's not the norm. She's very talkative and dramatic. She's bigger than a lot of the kids, so she frequently pushes them around. She definitely keeps me guessing... and laughing. Much like Seven.

Round 3 will finish it up next time.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Meet Grade 4... Part 1

This is Nat. She's a sweetie but can be pretty sassy every once in awhile. She loves Jesus and has a sweet spirit that I could learn a lot from. She's a smarty-pants and is good at pretty much everything... including P.E. This is what sometimes gets her into trouble.

This is Pukboong. I have to kick her out of my classroom at the end of the day... she would probably stay until 7 pm if I let her. Haven't quite figured her out. She keeps me guessing. She likes to talk about how 'soft' I am. There is a video of her on Facebook that makes me laugh.

Praew. Not much to say about her. She really perplexes me. She hardly ever talks unless she's not supposed to be talking. This past week, we have been learning songs for devotions, and she doesn't even open her mouth. When I called on her to sing individually, she just gave me a blank stare for a long time. Maybe one day I'll figure her out.

Mew. This is Praew's best friend, but Mew is much more vocal. She's kind of silly but very serious about her school work. She does just enough to get a very good grade, but I'm sure she's capable of much more. She likes to know that she got the highest score on a test. She usually does.

Yok is one of my favorites. She's very shy and reserved in a respectable way. She's very much a leader in the class. She's awesome in P.E. and pretty much everything. I am thankful that she is in my class! She recently gave her heart to Jesus.

Oh, Karoon. He still is one of my favorites, even though he claims to hate me. He's very soft spoken and timid in class and even most of the time when I see him around campus. He tries hard in most things, and I appreciate that a lot about him.

The rest of them will be continued later...

Thursday, February 26, 2009

follow... please

Hey guys, There's a cool feature on this blog site that allows me to know who is interested in reading this blog. If you check in on us, would you click on the link to the left that says, "Follow" and become a follower? Thanks!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Remembering my Grandpa

My mom's dad, Charlie Jones, passed away 2 years ago today. Family functions just haven't been the same since then, and I know they never will be. My grandpa was a man of faith, and he was very practical. Almost every time I saw him, he would lecture me about saving money instead of spending. I wish I had followed more of that advice before. He had the best laugh, and I remember him doing everything he could shirtless. Yard work, walking the dogs, burning the trash in the ditch, sitting around the house... all shirtless.

He would drive from Spartanburg, SC to our home in Mount Pleasant, SC (about 3 hours) just to cut the grass for my mom. He wouldn't even spend the night. He would just eat a sandwich and go back.

He loved u-picks. At any time of year, my grandpa would be out picking something. In the late Fall, he collected pine cones so my uncle could make wreaths. He picked strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, peaches, and anything else that was pick-able. He wanted us to know that food didn't just come from the grocery store, and we love him for that! When he wasn't picking fruit, he was visiting friends... mostly those who were widowed or shut in. He would take them his fresh goodies, visit awhile, do anything practical that he could for them, and then he'd go on to the next. Even year after he retired from the grocery business, he would still go to the local grocery stores every morning just 'to check in'. It was very rare that he sat still.

I did some googling (that is a verb, ya know) and found a newspaper article that was written about my grandpa. It highlights his career as a grocery store manager. My favorite part is when it talks about how he always cared so much about his customers. I remember hearing stories about how he knew pretty much everything about anyone, even without them saying anything. Anyway, if you have a minute, you should read the article. It does a great job of bragging on our awesome grandpa.

I also found his obituary, which you can view here. It's pretty much just the formal stuff.

What I like best is the following story that my cousin, Charlotte, sent me about a year ago. This is an even better example of the kind of man he was:

Mom and I went to Summitt Hills (a retirement home) to have Valentine's Day dinner with Nonnie and the other residents. As we were leaving, Nonnie was introducing me to her friends and their guests. In conversation, Nonnie brought up Papa and explained to the guest that he was my grandfather. I wish I could remember the woman's name, but at the time i didn't know that the story she was about to tell me would mean so much.
Her face immediately glowed, and she shared with me her memory of Papa.
Her family relocated to the east side of Spartanburg in 1966. She said her family had a wonderful dog, whom they loved deeply, but she would sometimes run off and visit the neighborhood. One day the dog was gone for a long time - longer than she had ever been 'lost' before-- and it had started to rain. Suddenly the phone rang and she overheard her mother say, "thank you so much; we will be right there to pick her up." When they arrived at Community Cash, their dog was found safe, inside the store and Papa had opened up a bag of dog food and was feeding their beloved family pet.

The family was so grateful and have always remembered that day. After telling me this story she said, "it was unbelievable. I mean, what kind of a neighborhood grocery store takes in your dog, brings it inside from the rain and opens up a bag of dog food? And then takes the time to track down the owners!"
I simply responded, "yes, that was my papa."

Unfortunately, I don't have any digital pictures to share with you. Just trust me in that he was a handsome, joyful man!

a random task to entertain (or distract) you

1 - Go to "wikipedia." Hit “random... Read More”
or click
The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2 - Go to "Random quotations"
or click
The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3 - Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days”
or click
Third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.

4 - Use photoshop or similar to put it all together.

Here's what I got...

Fancy Toes!

I know that 98.9% of you could care less about how I get my toes painted. But it's such a fun treat for me. This is my third pedicure here. I really do need to get lots more and take advantage of the cheap pampering while we're here. :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"I hate Mrs. Tricia"

It happened today. I was starting to think it would never happen. I thought that IF it ever did happen, it would be from Seven... with whom I have a strong love/hate relationship.

But it was from one of my favorites. Gasp!

We were grading workbooks in English class today, and we went through everything with no mishaps, which is slightly unusual. As the kids were passing back the workbooks to the correct people, Manna walked up to me. She said, "Look what is in Karoon's workbook."

I glance down and see: "I hate Mrs. Tricia. She is so mean and ugly and fat." Whoa, buddy! "Karoon, can I speak to you outside please?" I take the workbook.

I found the page, which was not a page they have done any work on. I showed it to him and said, "did you write this?" He hesitated. I didn't want to believe it, so I was hoping that he was trying to decide whether or not to tell on one of his more rowdy friends.

"Yes." He looked down. (My chest tightens as I thought about what this meant... do they all hate me?) "Why did you write this, honey? What did I do to make you hate me?"

"You made me run laps in P.E. when I didn't even do anything wrong." What?!? You hate me because I made you run 2 laps in P.E. one day? "Well, Karoon, there was a reason that I made you run laps, but even if there wasn't, would that be enough reason for you to hate me? Hate is a very strong word."

He hesitated again. "Karoon, this makes me very sad. I'm so sorry that I did something to make you so upset, but do you really mean that you hate me?" "No, Mrs. Tricia." "Well, because I can agree that sometimes I am mean, and I will even allow you to say that I am fat and ugly... but I cannot accept you saying that you hate anyone." He is getting really fidgety now, and I was wondering if I should explain to him that Jesus tells us if we hate someone, it is like we are killing them. I didn't explain it.

I explained that I love him and the rest of the class, and it makes me very sad that I did something to make him hate me. I explain that he had to run laps because he was not listening to directions in P.E. class. Did he remember that now? Yes, he did. Then, I said that I was so sorry for causing him to be so mad at me. Then, he started crying and said sorry. I said I was sorry too, but I told him it was very disrespectful for him to write that in his book. He apologized again, and I forgave him and hugged him.

We walked back into class and continued on as normal. After school, there was a note on my desk that said:
I am sorry I made you sad.
I am a bad student.
Your student, Karoon

Noooooo! I don't want him to label himself as a bad student. It's like he missed the whole point. I wanted him to feel responsible but genuinely sorry. I didn't mean to heap guilt onto him.

Any suggestions from parents and teachers? Obviously, I have a lot to learn.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fragrant and Hot Crap

My friend sent me this, and it cracks me up. It reminds me of how my students told me my hair looks. But it definitely doesn't look very appetizing the other way around. is always good for a laugh. It's very enlightening to our lives here sometimes too. :)

Thanks, K!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Full Weekend!

Right after school on Friday, I rushed home to take a shower and get ready for a Girls' Night Out. All the ladies without kids from our LifeGroup went out (while the men were having a poker tournament).

We rode the river taxi to an area of Bangkok where lots of foreigners hang out. It's called Soi Khao Sarn, which is translated "Backpacker Road".
Our dinner was at a very unique restaurant which specializes in sushi and middle-eastern food. (Interesting combination, huh?) The ambiance was very cozy, though the lay-back seats weren't the comfiest.
After dinner, we moseyed along Khao Sarn Rd. There are lots of shops and things. I bought some fun t-shirts and almost bought a very special present for my sister, but I'll have to go back for it. I also bought some big sunglasses with our upcoming beach vacation in mind. It's a fun place to go to hear all kinds of different languages and wonder where people are from and what they're doing in Bangkok.
After wandering for awhile, we found a bar off the main road, with the perfect setting for yummy drinks and great conversation... as well as great music which we thoroughly enjoyed singing along with. It was also right by Starbucks, so we also got some coffee before doing more meandering down the street.
On the way home, we entertained our taxi driver with a sing-along featuring songs along the lines of Baby Got Back, Disney favorites, Beyoncee, and even make-up-as-you-go songs. Poor taxi driver. Fun girls.

This morning, we joined a handful of other GES teachers on a trek to the Grand Palace. We had tried to go before over Christmas break but didn't get to go in because the dress code is pretty strict, and we didn't feel like waiting in line for an hour for the free clothes they let you borrow in order to be 'properly dressed'.
About 8 of us left GES, rode the river taxi downtown and began our stroll along the palace grounds. It was beautiful in some places. Several temples, lots of decorated Buddha statues, lots of old, fancy Thai art. There were some pretty famous landmarks in that area like Wat Phrao Koa, the Emerald Buddha, as well as the palace itself. It definitely was cool to be walking around thinking about all the other people, through the centuries, who had been there. But it was hot!
Neither Matt or I were dying to go there, but it was something we felt like we should do during our time here. And since we only have a couple of months left, we figured we would go today with other teachers. It was about 95 degrees while we were walking around today (which was pretty toasty), and if we had waited much longer, would probably be a lot hotter.

So, we were starving after our couple of hours of walking around the palace. We re-grouped at a Panera-type restaurant across the street for snacks. After being recharged and spending some money on souvenirs, we split up into two different taxis to head to Siam Paragon (the mall with the aquarium, car dealerships, 7 stories and movie theaters) to get movie tickets for the evening. One taxi got lost, so our taxi ended up getting the tickets for everyone, and we all met up at an acclaimed restaurant for dinner.
It's called Cabbages & Condoms, which is part of the intrigue, and it turned out to be a fancy Thai place which is part of an organization that raises money for the development of Thailand. Specifically, providing food (cabbages) and safe-sex awareness (condoms) for some of the poorer parts of the country. The atmosphere was awesome, and the decor was very different. Everything was made out of birth control packs and condoms. Apparently, the place has won some awards for public service, so it was pretty cool to know that the money that we spent for dinner (good food) also went to serve a purpose.
After experiencing Cabbages and Condoms, we took the SkyTrain back to Siam Paragon to see our movie. We saw Valkyrie, which was fabulous. We loved it. I would watch it again right now if I could (which I probably can since this is Thailand and I could by a pirated copy off the street). You should definitely go see it.
After the movie, we walked around the Siam area for awhile and then headed back to school. It has been two days in a row of doing fun, out-of-the-ordinary things, and I'm ready to chill at home tomorrow! But I'm so, so glad we're starting to enjoy (and be able to afford) life in Bangkok more.

Grade 4 Prayer Requests of the Week

These seem to be everyone's favorite, so I am trying to remember and take pictures of them for you. Enjoy!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

February 20th is my Mom's Birthday!
Happy Birthday to my beautiful, wonderful Mom! 54 today!
Love you so much, and we are so thankful for you.
My kids wanted to sing Happy Birthday to you too, so here it is. :)

Also, Happy 10th anniversary to Mark and Steph! Love you both too!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Matt changed his mind... and speaking of changes...

Matt decided he likes wordpress better, so his moved his blog over there. In his words, "Wordpress is where it's at... well, Wordpress is where I'm at." Awesome, honey.

So, he has changed his blog address. Again. Bookmark it. Follow it. (And while you're at it, Follow Me too!).

And let me know what you think about his latest post. I was rolling! Here's a little teaser for ya...

The Jesus Film... and Grade 4

My friend, Karl, is on staff with a ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ called the Jesus Film. He sent us a package recently (collective gasp for those of you who know Karl... love ya, buddy!), and the Jesus film in Thai was one of the exciting goodies.

This week, my class has been watching it... in about 30 minute segments. After every segment, I have students write sentences about what happened.

Here are some examples:
  • Jesus make the bride (meaning blind) man to see again.
  • Jesus make the bad ghosts go from the gross man into the pigs. I liked the pigs better.
  • Jesus make the sins of the bad girl go away.
  • Jesus told the dead girl to come up, and she came up.
  • An angel told Mary she would have the baby.
  • Jesus cried so hard the blood came out of his eyes.
  • The friend of Jesus cut off the soldier's ear.
  • Jesus put back on the ear to the man's head.
There are many more, but those are some of my favorites. Pon was actually very disturbed by the fact that Jesus sent the demons into the pigs. He liked the pigs better because they seemed happy, and the man just seemed crazy. :) (Story in Matthew 8:28-32)

Today, we finished the Jesus film, and I was praying that hearing and seeing Jesus's life and the Gospel in their own language would bear fruit. It did. One student, Manna, whose family goes to church, invited Jesus into her life today. She shared with me that this was the first time she understood and wanted to give her life to Jesus. Praise God! Yok (wrote about her earlier) and Nat (also wrote about her earlier) both confirmed that watching the video helped them understand even more about what they believe. Again, Praise God! Fay also shared with me that she had given her life to Jesus before but that the video helped her understand more. She started crying when I asked her about her faith, and she said she cries a lot because her parents 'believe to Buddha and not to Jesus'. (I had no idea she was a believer.) Precious heart.

It's been a week of frustrations for me, but watching the Jesus Film with my students helped to get it all back into perspective. I'm here to share about Christ's love with them. Hopefully, they'll learn Math, Science, and English along the way too, but ultimately, God brought us here to share about Him. Even though most of them are excellent English speakers, it was SO important to me that they hear God's Word and a clear Gospel presentation in their own language. I can see that it was even more fruitful than I thought it would be. God truly is amazing and will accomplish His purpose, no matter what I do --or do not-- do.

Please continue praying for all of my students. Even though these 4 girls are definitely believers, they are the only ones in my class of 23. Karoon, MoMae, Pon, and Gade are names of other students who I believe are starting to understand the Good News. Pray that the seeds in their hearts would one day bear fruit... even if it's years from now.

"F is for..." Fresh!

My blog needed a new name. Flagler Family Forum seemed a little too... something. Since blogging is becoming way too much fun for me, I wanted it to be just right. I was thinking F is for Flagler... F is for Faith... F is for Friends... F is for Family.

Then, I just decided to keep it general. F is for...! That way, I can be creative with the names of my posts.

I'm excited! And a total dork, I know.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Nat's Story

In this video, one of my students shares about how she first heard about Jesus and asked Him into her heart.
Nat's parents are Buddhist but are not opposed to her believing in Jesus. Buddhism seems to be generally accepting of other beliefs.
Nat got her first Bible for Christmas. It's Thai and English, so her parents were excited because it will help her learn English. I was excited to give it to her so that she can read God's Word in her heart language. Pray for her as she grows closer to Christ for the rest of her life!

Notes that might make this more meaningful:
Nat's mom walked in the room halfway through, so this required a lot of boldness for her. She's 9. Also, this was the first video I've ever 'edited' since I had to do one for a class in college. I chose to edit it to make it shorter. This is at least the 9th time I've tried uploading it, and shortening it made it upload in less than an hour... other times it got cut off after 15 hours, so I should have done this a long time ago. :) Good times!

Praise God for the faith of children!

Matt has his own blog now...

It's true. Matt started his own blog. Check it out!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Cocoa Caffe Yen (Iced Chocolate Coffee)

... where would I be without this cup of goodness?

I asked one of my students today how he would describe me to his PenPal. He said, "coffee".

Last week, I overslept and did not have time to walk down the street to get one. The sweet coffee lady gave me her cell phone number and said I could call her anytime. She would make it special for me (not as much ice) and bring it down to the school for me. Matt said I was only allowed to do it three times a week. I've only done it once so far.

Every time I yawn in class (surprisingly, often), the kids say, "you need caffe cocoa".

Sometimes, Matt will surprise me and bring me one. I get so excited... it makes day! The kids all clap for him when he does it too. They're so cute.

Seriously, though, 16 Baht (less than 50 cents) for this big cup off bliss? This is definitely one thing I will miss when we go home in May.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Our Full and Wonderful Valentine's Day

Matt's Valentine's present... cupcakes!
And some treats from Steph's package. :)

Our day started with an hour ride to downtown (only because of traffic).
We shared a thing of corn on the cob that Matt bought from a street vendor.

Then, we got downtown, to the mall, but spent at least 30 minutes finding the right mall with Outback. Our Outback lunch was wonderful, complete with yummy drinks and good 'lovey-dovey' conversation.

After Outback, we walked two malls down to where the aquarium is. Ocean World is on the bottom of one of the malls.
It was a great aquarium, but we are glad that our friends had given us passes to get in.

We loved spending most of the day at the aquarium.
We like aquariums a lot...
have had a couple of special dates at aquariums...
and our wedding reception was at one!

This car was turned into a fish tank...
they also had refrigerators and washing machines turned into fish tanks. Cool!

But this was the coolest part-- a Happy Feet, Happy Fish massage!
For 400 Baht (about $12), we both got to have our feet in this tub for 15 minutes.
These fish (can't remember the name) eat the dead skin off your feet.
I'm pretty sure my feet were like a Thanksgiving feast for them!
After you get out, you get a leg massage too! Wonderful!

After the aquarium, we got snacks at Mos Burger.
(We didn't love it, Kristen, but we're glad we tried it.) :)
Then, we walked around the mall in search of yummy dessert.
Found some and enjoyed some fancy coffees with them too! :)
We also walked around the mall for awhile.
On one floor of the mall, they have car dealerships.
Not just any cars, though... pretty much just fancy ones. :)

And on the top floor of the mall is a movie theater.
Apparently most of Bangkok wanted to see a movie on Valentine's Day.
We joined the masses and saw "Confessions of a Shopaholic",
which we both thought was pretty cute.

We walked around more downtown afterwards and found a taxi to drive us home.
I think our special 'date' lasted over 11 hours...

What a wonderful Valentine's Day together!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Grade 4 Pictures and Randomness

This week in Grade 4:

1. Seven was absent, which made for a completely different class!
I'm not sure if I missed him or not.
2. We had class pictures.
A little disappointed that Seven was missing.
3. We had a class party for Valentine's Day.
4. At least one class was disrupted for giant spider-killing.
5. I thought it was one of their Thai teacher's birthday.
It wasn't, but at least the decorations made her feel special.
6. We received our Pen Pal letters, which is ALWAYS a hit!
(In the picture, you can't even tell how much Karoon loves his dollar!)
7. In Science, we are learning about our bodies.
This prompted Mrs. Tricia to make up a song...
... with motions to help them remember things.
Not sure where that came from.
But I think they'll remember the stuff.
As long as I can keep the motions straight.
8. Prayer Requests continue to be pretty consistent.
pic of #5...
You can see what "Happy Birthday, Kru Mameow" looks like in Thai.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Missing our Nala Bean

Even the worst Thailand day would be turned around completely if Nala Bean were here with us. We miss her so much... it's quite ridiculous. She is the perfect dog, and most definitely the perfect dog for US. It stinks to be away from her right now, but at least Aunt Laura keeps us pretty well-stocked with pictures of Nala and Keto.

We are trying to work out living together when we get home because we're just not sure that we can separate the two. They've become best friends!

Nala naps are the best,
and Aunt Laura seems to enjoy sleeping with Keto AND Nala! :)
Laura actually got Keto in Texas.
This is Keto and Nala last March, when Keto was living with us.
He's MUCH bigger now! :)