Thursday, 5 December 2013

Turtles, Geckos & 12 Degrees Celsius.


Hilltribe. Curious.

I am back in beautiful Thailand!

Chiang Rai is home once more and what a rich, full, busy, vibrant one it is.  I have been back about 6 weeks now, though it seems that I never left. 

It’s getting colder and colder (Sorry to sound pathetic to any people living in actual cold nations). I wear a beanie regularly.. sometimes to be cool & ironic, but more often than not it’s due to the weather. 

I just ran over a live fish. 

Yes. I was on my bike overtaking a tiresome truck and I saw what looked like a leaf-slash-giant-slug on the road and of course went right over it. It “squidged” on my tires and I looked back to see a fish slapping and flipping all over the road. 
It obviously escaped the market life; I hope it finds water or a BBQ hot plate soon. 

I also accidently froze a gecko in my freezer. Poor guy- he looks like he was an animated, energetic little guy. Sorry animals. I am not good for the fauna in Thailand it seems. 

There happens to be a few killer dogs in my neighbourhood. Actually many. Mangy, street gangs roam the back alleys of Chiang Rai and finding dogless exercise routes is proving difficult. 
I am thankful for a gift give to me of a pepper spray can & baton to protect me. For days now I have been anxious to leave my house, but fear no longer wins when I step out of my house.
(High five Oliver Mason) 

It’s been an absolute blessing to be back here and see familiar faces. Seeing different friends and different rescue girls make my heart want to explode. Many changes and big challenges have occurred with Destiny Rescue over the last few months-pruning to increase the fruitfulness.
I was only away for 2 months, but I can visibly see the strength & growth that has happened in people here. Rescue girls and workers alike, a visible refining process has taken place.     There is lots of anticipation brewing here, for the next year and what fruit will come. We are changing up the program and the way aftercare happens for each rescue girl going through our program. A new, efficient & intentional timeline for each girl means that will be personally & holistically invested in. Bless.

Ex-cafe girls working in new restaurant. Boom

The dance project and program is up and running. I have girls from prevention and rescue programs involved, aged 13 - 23yrs. The video project is constantly evolving. I am learning so much and being challenged to think outside my expectations for this vision. 
In my head I had professional dancers to work with, but this is obviously not the case.  I have children with no previous training. Learning to create dances that are quality with simplicity of movement & musicality is a new challenge. I still believe we can make something powerful to move people.
 I think God has a good hand on it to be honest. I just need to keep giving it to Him instead of stealing it as my own task. I simply cannot create the energy and power needed for this project- easier said than done sometimes. Especially if you are Bess “CONTROL SITUATIONS” Kilpatrick ;) 

I ended up on a team trip 2 weeks back- a rad schoolies team from Australia needed a female leader (14 girls and 1 very lucky boy on the team) to travel through Bangkok, Chiang Mai and back up to Chiang Rai for Destiny Rescue.
It was a fun blessing to be a part of it- I miss working with Aussie youth! #suburbanyouthidigyou.
Not that I am a wise old soul, I'm quite an average one, but to challenge young minds and to try present Jesus Christ throughout my actions is an privilege.
I loved seeing this young crew take hold of what Destiny Rescue is trying to achieve and desire to be a part of it. 

Thai's Tie-Dying. No Thai's died.

And so firework antics, caving and hilltribe visits, water-rafting, laughs & crafts with rescue girls, dancing and my terrible volleyball skills keep me entertained amidst the learning I am experiencing. 
Pangpoi Ahka Hilltribe Rice Fields

I am learning how much life changes and throughout it all there’s an Almighty God that is over all.
Loving Jesus is a blessed state to be in. Life really hurts sometimes and confuses the heck out of me especially when I see much evil and brokenness around me. Even my own life feels heavy & burdensome on occasion. 
But above all this is a saving Grace that has already won the victory. 

A lifestyle and direction that you choose for yourself will never excite you or fulfill you like one that looks upward to a Creator for that path. His ideas and purpose for you exceeds your human mind & desires.
I am learning this in a very tangible way these days. 

"I know that You can do all things; no purpose of Yours can be thwarted"
                                                                                                              Job 42:2

Loving and missing home excessively, coming home reminded me of how rad the humans I know are!

Y'all the Bist x
(celebrating the accent influences of Southern American & New Zealand I am surrounded by)
Roommates: Absolute Delights! Shall miss you little Clifton. #ihavealargehead  

Monday, 24 June 2013

Pink Dragonfruit is back in SEASON!

I am not entirely certain this is the Novotel Hotel.

I may be wrong

I have always thought that I was an extremely tough human,  you know, fairly fearless, etc etc. Last night I realised that I am a girl- (actually I realised this a few years prior, there are a few dead giveaways, but for the sake of drama.. let me be) 
-Toukay's are large, strong geckos that look rad- blue with purple spots, not attacking critters, though quite defensive ones. They are always seen outside the houses up here- I like them. On walls. outside. out of reach. Last night, in a friends house, on the roof above the dining table was a huge Toukay (on par with crocodile) just hanging out.. Flip. A male buddy here decides grabbing at it quickly is the best way to remove said Toukay. Incorrect. They are fast and will flip mid air and scurry everywhere. This is where my i-am-girl realisation kicked in. My heart triple-sped up, my running gait was impressive and my whimper-slash-hyperventilation yelps were undeniable. Dang it. Gecko got grabbed, within the next few moments and after some tormenting minutes (for me and other ladies) the thing was flung outside. Humbling. I am indeed pathetic.

On the other hand, I am quite a competent little rider here around Thailand. I think. Scooters are such rad fun. Especially when you play games whilst riding. For all parents and protective older brothers reading, these are all hypothetical situations of course.
Games are fun. One fun game would be to turn off and throw your friends bike keys on the road as the light is about to turn green. What fun. How funny, of course this would only be done on quiet streets. if ever done .. ahem.
Another fun bike game is to booty tap, smack, hit, love grab your friend from behind when they are riding their bike, unknowingly, hand to backside whilst riding is always a hilarious surprise for everyone involved.
Of course I wouldn't do these things. I have only heard of them. dot dot dot.

I would however tickle the feet of a Thai man sleeping in his truck.. He loved the surprise wake up I am sure. Life can be quite fun when you act first and think later. I do not think this is clever for all endeavours in life, but the semi-safe ones, it's all good
Recently, I took the cafe chicks out for dinner at Korean BBQ. With great pride I organised this big hang out and yet the flipping Thai language keeps getting the better of me; I told the girls excitedly that we were going out to eat chairs, not Korean food. Mmm. Blast. Just when I thought I was the boss of Thai language.

So, I have approximately one month before my first year in Chiang Rai at Destiny Rescue is complete. What an absolutely insane ride it has been thus far.. A flipping fun one. For real- I am sitting here in a cafe which I have been blessed to upstart with 20 (now 17) girls that don't speak English, that are aged between 14-20yrs old. These girls rock my world and have made me laugh, cry and various other emotions- some excellent, not so pleasant. Best. Blessed.
Cafe Cuties. Love-er-ly

But news! I am going to be leaving my job at the cafe as of the next few weeks and move into a different role with Destiny Rescue. This is perfect timing and whilst I am sad about leaving this crazy part of my life and the girls- I am pretty stoked about what is to come in the next few months of my life.
I am hoping to be working more in a personal development program and creative program, how vague you might say. Yes.
At this point, it is a bit vague- the true description is being fleshed out at the moment. So slowly I will transition from insanity into a new venture, that I am sure will be just as challenging and insane! I am so excited to invest in a richer way in the little ladies' lives.
Get them thriving and energized about their futures, as if that's not the coolest role ever!

I have mentioned that my health has been lacklustre. It is definitely time for some rest, nourishment, home and the likes! The girls are pretty upset to see me leave this management role, but I told them I can now just be their friend instead of boss them around and they like that :) I like having 17 little sisters. 
 So posted, I will keep you and in your prayers, please keep me!

I was privileged to go spend a weekend or two back at an Ahka Hilltribe. I spoke at the local church service. I felt a rad presence of God that weekend, travelling up with mates and seeing the big, big needs in this village and thirst for truth.
Ahka girlie from PangPoi Village

I am buying audio bibles in Ahka for the village tonight, as very few of them can read or write Thai or Ahka. Crazy.
We take our resources and education for granted so often. Man oh man. If you are reading this you probably own the computer you are reading from and my guess is you are in the top 11% of the worlds wealth. In fact, I know you are.
So when you think you are broke and need to save a few more thousand dollars for "just in case" or for I don't know, instead know what a blessed and rich human you are. Don't take it for granted. You are abundantly rich financially.
 I am also guessing you are reading and are not having this verbally read out to you- sweet, you can read.
Think about how many things everyday you read over. That isn't the reality for everyone hey, don't take it for granted either. Speaking and reading to the Ahka people that were literally being filled up as words were spoken was a humbling experience. I don't want to be blasé about what I have and what I have been given. Be it education, position, or a skinny cappacino.
Use what you have been given- big or small, skilled or just totally willing.
"Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who does nothing because he could only do a little" -Edmund Burke

I feel like I could explode with excitement of what life is about and what is to come in the upcoming months, years of my life. Not just my life though, yours too: be further than before.
2 Samuel 22:30
"For by You I can run against a troop; By my God I can leap over a wall."

I recently ripped my pants scaling a roof- I'm off to get them mended.
Bless you all. SEE ALL YOU AUSTRALIANOS SOON! Big Love xxxx
Just some great DR workers.. I think I eat too many raw carrots #somewhatorange

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Unexpected Events & a Sweet Stand-off

Nothing out of the ordinary..
I am sure none would think this, but Thailand, let me assure you is never too dull.
 Chiang Rai is unfortunately not the party dance scene of Southeast Asia nor is it the best place to shop for some sweet sweet clothing (Thankyou ASOS online, I love you).
 BUT other than once or twice and for no longer than 10 minutes, I have never been bored living in Northern Thailand.
Here is why.

Firstly, to those who may not know me well-  I am not a domestic pet lover. Especially ones with a coat that molts. Inside. On furniture. On me. Not my thing. God bless you all who do. 

However, I am speaking directly to you now stray cat, do not bring me dead lizards and then proceed to birth 4 kittens in my laundry. You cheeky little minx. Poor form. 
My housemates and I stared at this little things wondering what the flip we must do. Syringing milk into a kittens mouth was not in my plan for this week, but I am pleased to announce- I am not entirely heartless when it comes to nursing little things to life. BOOM.
The kittens are now with a family down the road- being loved and fed, worry not.
Thailand- not dull :)
I admit, I feel an inkling of warmth..

Every 3 months, I border-cross to Burma as a Visa requirement. There’s a big dodgy marketplace at the bordertown which is good for all your “real” Blue-ray DVD and Lacoste leather needs. My trip up this week was... not ideal.

I jump on my bike for the 1hr trip, head up the highway and within 20minutes, my tyre pops. Dang. Rough directions lead me to a roadside mechanic with 11 men standing around with nothing better to do than watch the stupid white girl as she awaits a new tyre tube. Why did I decide to wear a dress this day?! 15 minutes of awkwardness and I get back on bike.. all good.
 Zooming at 90km, only 12km from the border and I get a fling of what I thought was maybe mud spray from a truck in front, incorrect. It was a swarm of bees. Yes bees. Still driving, getting stung, and yes, sticky residue (honey?!!?!) all over my helmet, and clothes, I try not to die and fall off bike.. Laughing-slash-crying in pain, with a very vibrant red, bitten neck, I shake them all off (still driving). Nek minut, pours rain. Yes, this all did happen.
Oh and when I get home a few hours later, my only desire is a shower, but ahh yes, all water in the house I live has been turned off.
Classic Thailand.

See? Not dull. On top of that recently, I have started Muay Thai kickboxing, met some wonderful, wonderful people, gone tubing down rivers and am currently mapping out an attack on a huge cave up here that needs me to explore it :)

I am a very lucky girl- I think I have had visitors almost every month in being here. Sarah Tibs, plus Mark, Leah & the rad Jonny Ryder all came a-calling a week or so back. Good times, such a cool thing to collide my 2 worlds. It made me think of home and how flipping fun my friends are. Honestly, you guys should all meet my friends. I don’t want to take my relationships for granted. I understand this more, being away from them.
Tibben & I. My golden friend. We giggled much.

As always, Many things are constantly challenging me and enriching my life.. I still get blown away that I get to be here. I wouldn’t choose me. But for some reason, here I am and definitely not by my own merits.

I saw a beautiful picture of what restoration is a week or two back. When we get girls rescued up here, they are often brought in the cafe to chat with our Thai staff about Destiny Rescue and to learn of our vocational training opportunities. Last week, 6 new girls came in wearing trashy high heels, lycra hot-pants, big makeup/hair: the whole deal. They were so tiny, definitely under 16 yrs old. They looked pretty sheepish walking right through the cafe. As they pass the kitchen about 5 of my cafe girls come out of the kitchen door. Every girl stares at each other. It is the sweetest stand-off.
On one side are girls dress like hardened night-workers, hoping so badly for this opportunity to be real.
And the other side, young women wearing cute modest uniforms, smiling with confident voices welcoming these new girls to Destiny Cafe. I was so proud of my girls and so excited for these new little ladies.
 It was such a joyful picture for me to see. I think my heart smiled.

Sometimes I can get so caught up in work, skills, bettering myself, doing ‘good deeds’ , making great plans/programs, but if not for the blossoming of broken children to thriving ones- what the heck is the point.

“Those from among you
Shall build the old waste places;
You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach,
The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.”
 Isaiah 58:12

Being all cute

Family, friends, other people.. I miss you. Lots.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Valium, Songkran and a freedom tale

Option One  for the win @ my favourite street side food shack.

So it's about time I did a little pensive look back don't you think? 
Like an old man remembering the “lunch for 20cents” days.

This time last year, Melbourne morning were getting cold- I'd be driving over the Westgate freeway at about 6.30am, sipping from my KeepCup with Earl Grey tea and soy milk & honey- probably listening to Red Symons, but switching to Triple J every now & then to remind myself how young and cool I was.
 Off to work at an organics store, planning youth activities or social outings in my head, thinking of my future, God's will etc, etc.. 
 Northern Thailand was not on my to-do list.

I am now the manager of a restaurant/cafe in Chiang Rai; I train beautiful young women and help enable them to have greater job opportunities than their previous bleak options.
 I am starting a dance program to use as therapy, skill development and a fundraising medium for Destiny Rescue.
I own a scooter, fake ray-bans and have not made money for about 9 months. I live with 2 excellent Americans and many geckos.
Life has changed a tad. 
I speak English less well than I used to and I speak Thai more well than I did.
Just to highlight some of my Thai verbal skills, I promise that I can easily tell you to put mint & blueberries atop the crème brulee and that now, you need to stop talking, turn left and start kneading the bread dough, and no you cannot have a holiday this Saturday. I can also say you are a fat child and your eyes look the same as stars.

I have spent the last 9-10 weeks unwell. I have been bedridden, fatigued, and enlarged spleen-ed.. 
I have also been hospitalised twice, most recently with a virus that turned ugly; causing me to stress the old nervous system out- vomiting so violently that I become paralysed, had slurred speech and require valium to knock me out. 2 nights in hospital and way too many needles to care about.
 My glandular fever of the previous 2 months obviously robbed me of a decent immune system so what should have been an average bug, became a massive humbling experience. Thai Hospital. Thai Hospital food. No energy to even pull up my pants. Awesome.

But chin up! I have spent the 2 weeks feeling well, ... WELL! Praise the good Lord above. After 5 days of recovering from this virus, I have honestly been on the rise. It's exciting! I have started exercising, dreaming big things and managed to THOROUGHLY enjoy my beautiful little Stacey Steane visiting me here.
 Proud “youth-leader-slashie-sort-of-big-sister” moments as she gave her testimony to about 60 young Thai women and taught another few the tricks of the Macaron-making trade. Joyful times.
I am being wise about building my health- even my little ADHD mind says GO CRAZY AND DO A MILLION THINGS RIGHT NOW. I shall not.
 I am learning my lessons properly this time.
"I'm a hipster photographer" oh Gorgeous Frangipani 

I have been involved in my first Songkran. Please put Songkran on your bucket list. A nationwide water festival is essential to experience.
Don't focus on the beer-infused humans, unhygienic water, deaths and drownings, broken bones (Shout out to my housemate Tina “Whistle” Cairo who broke her collarbone). Focus on the laughter, smiles, foam parties, photo-bombing, dancing and motorbike rides down streets with literally 1000s of people splashing about instead. A 5-day new years party with no rules. Yay!

I went down to Chiang Mai with some friends whilst we shut cafe for a few days and had a wonderful adventure over this holiday. Songkran participation in fullswing but also many pleasant massages, chats, night spots, swims and FOOD to bring me into a happy state. Seriously- I have spent the last few months being quite down, annoyed, frustrated, angry and tired of all the sickness I've experienced. It was such a blessing to be joyful and energised.

I have been emotionally rocked over the past few months, but I have a specific story I want to share. One that broke my “tough” little heart once more. It may be just another story to you , but to me- it is about a young cafe girl under my charge whom I love dearly and desire hope to be hers. (Please note- it''s a happy ending, so worry not) 
She comes to my office with her bags and tells me she is leaving. Leaving Destiny Rescue. Leaving the cafe and friends. Leaving her lovely Christian boyfriend. Through rough communication I ask the problem, she skirts around the issue. She looks fearful, sad and not straight into my eyes.
She soon realises that I am not allowing her to go without truth.
She is going back to her village to marry a 60yr old Japanese man to clear her parents debt and the hate/shame that her grandmother has towards her despised and poor family. She is 17. She will marry so her parents live comfortably and if she says no her younger sister will be the next in line to be the young prize of an old man. This girl is already a rescued girl from sexual slavery. She speaks no Japanese and there is no honour in the mans intentions.
 I am broken. She is too. So heartbroken. But somehow willing to do this for family honour.
 I love my parents & family so much. But I cannot understand this family loyalty, after so much betrayal already.
 She loves God and asks why this is happening. We (another worker and I) tell her that this is not His plan for her life. I tell her I will do everything in my power to get her out of this situation. She doesn't believe it. We pray.

Continuing in short, others get involved. Our country manager is notified and members of our rescue team hightail up to her village to speak with parents and offer aid with the large debt. They accept. The Japanese man identity is able to be tracked. Immigration is involved now and we want him out of Thailand.
My girl is safe. She is so joyful and you can see the light in her eyes again. She comes beaming into the cafe the following day and hugs me. She's just a kid. 
I don't know where you stand with God, but you need to know this: God saved that little girl from a fate that many face. A life that would have taken her light and joy. I believe that the prayers and her cries to Him were answered. He is victorious.

He hates this stuff. All this evil stuff that goes on in this world. You ask why does it happen then? 
Well, humanity chose flesh and self over God.
 But He wants us back and He pursues His children. 
We can never know all the why's, but we can know the truths and we can know peace. 
I never knew why my parents discipline, withheld things I wanted, made certain decisions for my young life, but I now know it was for my best. For good. 
 God is for the good of those that love Him. That doesn't always mean shiny sparkly unicorns, skipping merrily to a boy band song (actually that sounds pretty terrible), but it does mean for the good of His kingdom. For weak to be made strong. For the broken to be made whole. For the lost to be found. Simple.

I know that you can do all things'; no purpose of yours can thwarted” Job 42:2

Oh gosh, I have so much more to share, my future plans, my going home plans, my probably coming back here plans....the fun times, the cafe stuff, rescue stuff, more visitors, but for now I will just say this to you, my friend: I hope you are not in the same place this time next year as you are now. Of course I do not mean your physical location necessarily, but I hope you are furthered and know joy.

Much love. B
Fun with my little friend Fai 

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Adventures of the glandular kid... or lack of..

Personally I think that buying a shade seems
 like a much more efficient, clever idea..
 Oh Thailand.. 

Hello various friends and family members whom I love! 
How are you all?

I will disclaim from the get-go that this post may not be my most exciting one.
Of recent days, the most energetic part of my daily routine includes going down to the market to buy green mangoes (which taste better than yellow, i kid you not) and deciding if i should nap first or watch a movie first. 

I have glandular fever again. Ugh. 
Yes, and before all you wise, sensible souls say I told you so… I say,  yes, yes but my life is usually very exciting and  "resting and slowing down" have always seemed like boring options..

I will admit defeat.. with gritted teeth. .
 I didn't realise it was GF (mono, to you Americanos)  until some blood tests proved my diagnosis of exhaustion, muscle aches and very painful spleen to be unfortunately correct… 
I have to say - going to hospital with 2 of the May-Tans: Karla and Anna, actually was a pretty fun (can i say that?) event. If you need hospital buddies, take them. 
 They made me laugh lots, wish was very dangerous in case my spleen exploded. Which in itself is funny, sort of. 

 One of these 2 lovely females rather enjoyed commentating on the sick, dying bodies around my hospital bed, the other wanted to join me on my bed and hide her eyes.. My shneaky spleen pain was nothing compared to the 4 motorbike accident victims that came in whilst i was there.. bit of perspective really..  So i took my little sore spleen home and have been sleeping ever since. 
Spleen is a funny word. 

 I was supposed to head to Bali in mid February with some friends up here- but due to illness, I spent the time 2 doors down the road at the Mays residence..  So Bali would have been incredible BUT I did have a chilled out, loving, fun and joyful time watching Chuck episodes, snoozing and drinking soda water.
 Life is good on a couch sometimes... sometimes. 

 it's near a month of being an invalid and I won't lie to say it's been as much of a challenge as being incredibly busy.
 It's testing my patience to be still. To rest. To allow others to help me. To not jump on my bike or dance around.  I know I am generally way too energetic for my own good- now I have as much energy as a newborn koala drunk on eucalyptus leaves.  

On a positive note: I am FLIPPING INCREDIBLE at Tetris and Ruzzle now. Virtually unbeatable and my tetris scores would rival an 15yr old, freckly nerd from the 80's wearing a TRON tshirt. Ahh yeah.  Being bedridden is the training ground for mastering iPhone game Apps.

The Cafe has not blown up or lost millions of baht in my absence.. I'm happy to report that I am coming home cos I am not needed here anymore.. Puet Len! (just kidding) As if.. 

BUT the girls HAVE risen to the challenge of being responsible, hard-working and using initiative without me around.  I have had a few excellent people around me help to cover me too. BIG THANKYOU TO THEM!  
Some very, very cool young ladies..  

I have struggled somewhat not to be frustrated with this health setback and not to think I am a useless piece of human here. I know I am learning all those 'patience-related' character traits that I missed out on along the way.. 

I know I have purposes here, I am just being rebuilt- to pour out again.. I am slowly becoming refreshed, nourished and hopefully back in the game soon...
Plus I miss the drama of working with 20 teenage girls.. 

So many new Destiny Rescue volunteers and the return of old  great ones here in Thailand is expanding the social circles..
 It's pretty great- new friends are always a good thing. 
Being in the cafe is rad, because it's the central hub for everyone to come many times a week- it's fun to meet travellers and catch up with the DR staff too. 
The business is slowly growing. :) 

Destiny Rescue is experiencing incredible growth right now. 
As of this week, another 16 girls have been rescued with the target of 400 girls this year likely. I cannot believe I get to be a part of this.. 
Every time I get angry or feel helpless about the evil that has such a powerful grip on this billion-dollar industry though out SouthEast Asia- a little precious girl gets rescued... She chooses to leave her bondage and reach out to freedom offered.
Another girl helps another girl out too. And then one gets baptised and confesses her faith. And yet another prays over a saddened friend. A bunch of them smile and laugh their heads off. There is light here.. Oh heck, there is lots of darkness, hate, trauma, pain and healing needed, but there is light and abundant futures. Blessed. 

I am planning to start up a Destiny Rescue dance program which will be an audition-based entry to join. Training will be relatively intense in different dance genres, performance knowledge and strength training- the intention will be to one day tour as a creative team that can raise funds and awareness for DR. Locally and OVERSEAS. Pretty excited about the prospects…. baby steps though- i can't even walk 200m without wanting a nap at the end currently.. 

Anyway enough of this.. I love you all. I feel comforted in all situations because my God sees me and loves lavishly. His grace is proving sufficient. 
Next time I write there will be adventures of exceptional grandeur I promise! 
Love to you all.  
Excellent Thai dinner with some Australian chocolate lurve..  

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Wintertime in Thailand.... Oh, that's nice

Just some of the latest of offerings down at Destiny Cafe & Restaurant. 

Whoa. It's been a while since i wrote. 
About that. 
I have just finished 5 weeks of having wonderful family and friends visiting the adventure that is Chiang Rai.
Somehow, and I do not know how it got there, but there was some water in my eyes when hugging my mumma hello and good-bye. Gosh. Don't read into it- I am still pretty tough and hate "The Notebook".... 
We all need mum around sometimes hey . Oh Bless.  Plus parents pay for things.. I didn't just say that. 

 I am pretty sure about 1000 wonderful things have happened in the past 6-7weeks. So I will summarise and then hone in when necessary :) 

Sleep: Lacking.. I get a good few hours per week. Often interrupted by my alarm or by our Thai neighbours who play the heinous music at all hours of the day & night. I initially thought the music was coming from Ash's office and questioned her coolness, but then realised that it's coming from a greater distance; I do have some leftover fireworks that may need to be thrown in a certain direction. 

Parties: Many. 
Surprise bday/farewell party: the cafe girls throw a surprise party for me and Al (rad Master AlexTan who sadly left Chiang Rai in Dec): we both got 20 roses going up the stairs to the cafe rooftop (it felt a little "proposal" like- we were both a tad skeptical at this point), a fruit buffet, gifts, giggles and sweetness. They used up their tip money to throw us this party.. Felt bad- but oh so lovely. I have many cutesy gifts & letters that make the long, hard days worthwhile :)
Sweet Love from the ladies.. xx 

Real birthday: 20 odd random people together for a caving experience which led to a snowy Thai Christmas festival complete with a real zebra and ice-skating. I am still perplexed about it as well. 

Christmas: A real turkey! Good times with the Loftis' in Chiang Mai and Mum, Dad and sister Ezzie.  A little slice of home with a Merry Lofty-Killer Combination :) 

New Years: Started with fireworks and an INCREDIBLE feed with a Thai family out on a pig farm. Mew and Boompap, Dee-Jii and Yindee- Thank you!!!! Even though I almost got blown up. My own fault I guess.. 
Then down at the crazy big clock tower countdown. Good times with the DR family, lots of ghosting and wild Thai people. Some famous Thai rock band was present. (slightly better than my neighbours music)  

Thai House warming party: 200 guests, spontaneous dance performance, much alcohol, many ladyboys.. those last two things mentioned should never met. So confusing. 

Cafe: still standing. Many volunteer teams throughout January which is great for business and practice for the girlies.  KEEPCUPS have arrived! A big shout out to Zac Livett & to Suburban Youth/Young Adults for raising money and helping this project happen.. We have already sold over 30 units.  

The girls still make mistakes, but they are trying super hard.. I am learning to be a boss as well as friend & mentor. Sometimes I have to be the 'boss lady' which I do not enjoy, but I know they need to learn boundaries and why we have rules and expectations. I want to set them up for life in other workplaces beyond the shelter and protection of DR. 
I would much rather joke with them and teach them some dances, but sometimes docking pay or setting higher standards is the way to go..
 I don't even really care if they spill an entire iced latte all down my new light blue t-shirt… ahem.  I'd rather me then a paying customer.
 I love them. They cry, laugh, mess up, don't speak English well, but I love them. 
Kids running a classy restaurant in Thailand. What the!? 

Wildlife: I found the most crazy dog I have ever seen. It reminds me of Alf- for all you born in the 80's peeps.. (look up Alf.. do it) It is totally huge and ridiculous..It literally flaps at great speeds. It technically would do well having a haircut BUT i kind of like it's unkempt look. Brilliant.

We now have 3 teeny pet turtles. Our house-cleaner screamed a whole lot as she found one that had done a mad dash (well, turtle-paced mad dash), across our living room floor… It is about as big as a .50 cent coin, so it's a good thing she didn't step on it.

Pig: Britney. Rad. Tiny. Runt. Missing. She runs like she is wearing high heels so I don't think she has gotten too far Indy, don't worry.. xxx

 Tea plantations: found one whilst riding the bikes towards Burma. Great little detour. 

Needs: a whole lot.. Thanks to the 5 people who put their hands up within 1 hour to help give to the medical needs here at Destiny that I mentioned in a Facebook post. Generosity abounding. You have bought eyeglasses for one of our chicks, plus some expensive medication for another. Thank you.
If you would like to help out in anyway, do message/email me. There are always needs!

Giggles: daily. Whether it be my father dunking his fingers into a little teacup thinking it was a muscle relaxant at a massage parlour or be it a Cafe chick running down an unsaying customer, only do bring him back and find he had paid, or watching people run into our perfectly cleaned glass cafe door or in watching a healthy dose of Karl Pilkington.. teehee

God: the best. He sustains me. Protects me. Gives me wisdom and even more grace. I am super inadequate, but somehow here. I have been blown away by His presence in my life these past few weeks. Big Time. 
 Thank you King, for this adventure and the ones to come. 

I am excited about what this year will bring, I have no idea what is in store. I feel X % certain that I will be here for a bit longer than just July this year.. There is just so much to do and so much here that I can see myself being a part off. We are about to launch the Destiny Rescue Dance Program (Cos I have way too much spare time on my hands, ye know?!)
 Our opening workshop will be Feb 10th and it will be a fairly legit training program, not just a fortnightly light-hearted class. I want to teach them how to perform properly, technique, strength and many styles of dance.. We have some pretty cool dance/performance opportunities that may arise from this new  venture. Watch this space..

Love you all back home. I am sad not be around around for the weddings, babies, summer days, Sarah's departure, my new beautiful niece, Tash!!  the Melbourne times, friends & family, but I know you are all still there and still care.. Come visit.. There is alway a spare bed, or hammock lying around..

Bessie.. X
Thanks Karl. It gets you thinking doesn't it? 

Friday, 30 November 2012

Fish Pancakes & Beggs Enedict. . .

Okay, where the flip do I start?
 I am pretty sure the last month has been the most hectic month I've been in: Flash mobs. Restaurant openings. Moving 15 girls into a building. Parties. Wonderful people coming & going. And Loi Krathong: Thai fireworks/lanterns festival (highly dangerous fun)… 
 I've loved almost every minute of it- well, that's a bit of a lie. It's been fairly tough in sections, I admit!  I miss sleep, the gym, fluent English conversations and my yellow Vivienne Westwood boots, (this is a note to parents saying please do all you can to bring these over when you come at Christmas? My feet need some bling).

It's pretty insane having 21 staff who speak little English and getting them to waitress IN English, make quality coffee and cook a decent 50-item + menu.  We are shooting for western quality in the land of no rules, way too much MSG and few flushing toilets..   What was I thinking?! Like.. Seriously.. 

Things that have broken in the past week: the oven (multiple times), toilets, gas, dvd player, coffee machine, water taps (multiple times) and a plethora of glasses, plates and condiment dispensers. You may think these are all fairly key pieces of equipment when running a hospitality business.
 You are correct. 

I hate to admit this on a public forum, but last night I may have shed my first "cafe-related" tear.. let us just say that working between 13-17hrs per day for the past 2 weeks is not my brightest move ever. Anyone who knows me well knows that I fail to string intelligent sentences together after about 9pm- i guess for the girls who speak little English, there is no difference in what I say. It all sounds unintelligent gibberish. 
Except of course when I tell them nicely and clearly how to say a breakfast dish it comes out BEGGS ENEDICT. . . They all call it that now. Great.  Anyway, last night with a leaking coffee machine (a very expensive one I might add) and my forgetting to eat during the day led to a bit of a feeble cry. Sigh. 

But oh the sweetest:  a few of the girls saw my pathetic sorrow and all started crying for me. Whoa. Probably for themselves too- they have been working so hard! "Bests I feel for sorry you. I love you. I make hat for you"  Nawwwwww. I love sympathy beanies..  Sometimes, I forget that I'm surrounded by young friends all trying to make this work too. 

I know now that I am going to get lots of "look after yourself" emails, and I will- soon, I promise, I am being looked after by kind people here and receiving an extra pair of helping hands here and there when needed.
 I know there are still big things to do but honestly, amongst the insanity, wrong orders, (including somebody get a plate of plain rice instead of a steak) new challenges of this job (for me and the girls) and the sheer monstrosity of things I need to remember there is some beautiful things happening. 
These girls are starting to thrive. Some girls whom we thought might not have what it takes are absolutely gunning it! The smiles, good English, the taking initiative, perfect (almost) coffees and chocolate brownies (when not burned) that will make you think gluttony is actually okay, make me realise that for every little thing that goes wrong, there are so many things going right and being done well. 
Plus I get to be a part of it. It's really pretty amazing.  I dig it.  The girls rock. I'm in Thailand. God is cool. Enough said. 

So enough of my tiredness, life is fun!! Loi Krathong is awesome. You get to light fireworks and direct them at people. You get to chaperone lots of cheeky girls that say they are going to buy more fireworks but what they mean is go dance with boys.. You get to lift massive lanterns into the sky and feel a bit peaceful as you look up at 100's of them.
 I am pretty sure that we made the dance party 20 times better and I am pretty sure that I have lost a bit of hearing in one ear. Fireworks are LOUD. I recommend getting into it one year. Next year. Come visit me.. (Cough, cough, this is my first little slip of thinking I might stay a bit longer than a year) 

Oh yes, this part is the less dangerous part- lantern lighting :) 

Christmas is coming. Yep. I like this. I like a bit of "festive" . I like the Busta Rhymes/Justin Bieber version of Little Drummer Boy.  I like Christmas catering. I like that the Thai's say "Kisstmass"  Kissing on mass sounds alright. 
  I've made an advent calendar for the cafe chicks (in my spare time) and am fairly happy that Mum, Dad & Erin will be joining me for a few weeks VERY SOON! We hopefully will see Chad & Erika Loftis with the kids too. January brings in my golden bestie, Erin Koppa and brudda Nick.. Plus a few more great people over the next few months. Best. 

God is showing HIimself faithful and strong. I have been blessed so deeply in these past few weeks. The centre of God's will is the most peaceful place I could ever be.  Even when my feet really "jet" and the massage parlour has gone up to $8 from $5, I have energy from somewhere. I know it's not my own. It's been given to me from Him. 

So right now, I'm at the cafe, the girls are making cookies, cappuccino's and chopping up papayas for some fiery lunch dish, it's nice to finally sit, sort some things and write this flipping blog once more!!

 It's pretty good here.. and when it's not so good: there is always the Thai cowboy across the road who owns an art shop and wears the full hat and spurs. He tells me he is lonely and invites me over for beer. I politely decline. SUSS MAN. He is definitely 40+ yrs. 
Love you all. Good times. 



WILDCAT in Chiang Rai..