Hello Bangkok! Our first week in Bangkok has been a blur (thank you, jet lag and culture shock). While we arrived safely, all seven of our bags containing all our belongings were lost in transit thanks to our first flight out of Denver being delayed three hours. Thankfully, all our bags were delivered in-tact to our apartment within 48 hours of our arrival.
Though we arrived to our apartment at around 4am that first day, we went ahead and joined Celeste, the founder of Dton Naam, and a couple of other members of our team, Josh and Beckah, at a local church to worship before heading to lunch and then home to get Jed a much needed nap. Matt even ventured out on his own to Tesco Lotus (a local version of Wal-Mart) to get us some essentials on our first day.
Our first week has been filled with meeting our team, joining in a prayer time at the Dton Naam building and many trips to different local stores to get our new home established. (I say that as though it’s quite simple, but since we don’t have a car we are navigating the BTS Skytrain line with our purchases and walking about a mile from the BTS to our apartment each time we venture out so it’s no small undertaking.) We also visited one language school and tried to visit another, but due to the Songkran holiday they were closed for the entire week. We will visit that language school next week to see which language school we will attend with the beginning of the new module in May.
Songkran began on Thursday and officially went through Saturday. While I was able to go out and get our family breakfast each morning without getting soaked, the afternoon into the evening was a different story entirely. While not every street seemed to be playing Songkran, ours was! In fact one of the hotspots on our street was right outside the only entrance to our apartment so we couldn’t leave once they began playing without getting wet. That being said, though, everyone was really respectful of Jed so if we were pushing him in the stroller or wearing him, they would let us pass and then pour water down our backs without completely soaking him. They did want him to join in the fun, however, so they would often come up with cups of water and pour it on his legs and gently splash some on his face so as to not overwhelm him.
We had heard that there was a major party happening at Silom, one of the BTS stops across town, so on the last day of Songkran we navigated the line to go play with everyone. On our way there, we couldn’t help but notice the floor of the skytrain was completely wet and everyone on the BTS was armed with water guns. When we arrived at Silom, the roar of the crowd below partying met us and we realized there were thousands of people shuffling through the mile of Sukhumvit that had been marked off for the festivities spraying water. A firetruck was there hosing folks down and the entire area looked like it had been raining for some time! I offered to let Matt go down and play while I stayed up on the BTS with Jed but we both decided that we weren’t quite up for that much Songkran and navigated the line back home.
Easter Sunday, we joined Sarah, a friend and teammate, to worship at her church and then went to her house for a delicious Easter dinner she had prepared to share with a dozen of her friends.
There are so many little moments we could share with you from this week of joy and growing pains with culture shock. We’ve been so blessed by our team’s warm welcome to Thailand and have enjoyed meeting everyone and getting through our first week without too many disasters to speak of. Though it seems there is always something small that needs fixed or a little mishap that occurs or a moment where culture shock seems overwhelming, our team and the Thai are gracious and welcoming and it has been a fairly smooth transition thus far.
We’ve had so many unexpected blessings along the way, too. One night we were trying to navigate the BTS with Jed in his stroller, two big boxed fans and a trashcan full of purchases and two gals saw us and helped us carry our purchases not only down the stairs but also the mile home.
When we were trying to decide what to bring and what to leave behind we made a decision to leave our guitar at home since we didn’t have a hard case and would have had to pay for an extra bag to bring it as well and it just seemed like too much. At our Easter gathering, Matt saw a guitar in the corner of our host’s home and asked where she had gotten it just to see where we might be able to find one. “Are you in the market for a guitar? I don’t play, it was left behind by someone who came for a short term stint and bought it. It’s not a great guitar, but it would be a start.”
Kisses from Jesus. He’s so kind to us and is so present with us, even in these little moments and we love seeing that.