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.. 

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Oh lady, they are not fake Raybans, just for you $2...

A fairly perfect view in the village rice fields

Some things are universal- like smiles and the gangham style. Some things are not universal- like eye contact, to use a western-style toilets  (I found footprints on the toilet seat of the staff cafe bathroom.. I'm thinking it's the sneaky Thai cafe builders that need some 'how-to' lessons… ) and the English language (The people of the Tower of Babel- i shake my fist at you). 

.. Sometimes we whitey's think we are a majority in this world, but I am now daily reminded here that we are not! 
It's weird being the 'cultural' outsider. It's kind of cool, a tad challenging, but fun. Fun to be the unusual one and to learn new things daily is super great. Though it does suck to have to have a white-person sized body. Free size- yeah right. Free size for teeny people. Blast my mesomorphic body type in an ectomorphic country!! 

I just got home tonight from my flash dance mob practice. I think i have mentioned it, but we are doing a big surprise dance in some public locations up here to advertise the opening of the cafe plus DR in general. So last week was practice number one, whilst I wanted all DR people to know they are invited to join- I did not expect the 200 people that showed! Truly! SUCH a JOY. I had a big, dork smile on my face.. Everyone having a sweet time, getting their unity on. Especially after some big days and mental strains, this dance thang is a fun outlet with everyone seeming to want to be involved! I plan to take over a shopping mall, a night market and a local football field. Teaching 200 people to shuffle and do gangham style is no minor feat. Backflips also included.  Stay tuned.  
Village Food. BEST.

A few weekends ago, I went to one of the Ahka Hilltribes with one of my cafe girls and her friends. Whoa. Cool experience. A 7-hour truck/bus/caribou (not really the livestock part) ride into the mountains, we crossed into Myanmar un-visaed, I got proposed to, couldn't speak the local dialect, slept on the ground, got hugged, smiled at and fed way too much. But wow. Amazingly gorgeous people, delicious food, breathtaking views. Went to a baptism of 8 villagers, including my DR girl. God is doing cool stuff. It was fun to hang with my girls and see how they grew up. I won't go into the whole parents selling/allowing their kids to work in the heinous industries they have been to exposed to.. That is for another time. It hurts my heart. 
As far as their new cooking/kitchen skills go- they are definitely a far cry from hacking up a pig with a blunt, rusty machete now.. I give them a 'look' if they aren't using the red chopping board for their uncooked meats. Ha. Beautiful, priceless experience though my shower felt like magical fairy dust when i got back to Chiang Rai.. Man, us westerners are a soft lot.

So anyway, the next time I write- we will definitely have an open cafe! What the heck? That scares me somewhat!! Even though the main reason for moving here was to open a cafe. Hmm. The fact that the building now looks like a venue for serving and eating food flips me out!  I have had my mind focused on training these girls and now they go and get all 'competent' and 'able' on me.. Gosh, darn it. 
The construction of the building is the slow part- but Thanks to Cam Hodges and co it's getting closer and closer to completion. We are planning on November 1st to be the opening of the cafe! 
We are doing 4 trial runs of meal service next week with each of the 20 girls taking part in cooking, waitressing and/or coffee-making. It's going to be an intense week, but I am looking forward to seeing how they perform. They are all rad, simply put! Though flip. Their names! I have Pon's, Nid's, Ni Sar's, Sa's, Fon's, Pim's, Da's, Dia's and no-ideas.. I also have a Porn. There is something not quite right about yelling out her name loudly. Bless her. I am the king of good memory, though the thought of writing up work rosters with this many girls is not a fun thought. it's a "I-am-going-to-procrastinate-til-the-last-minute-and-then-handpass-it-off" job I need to do.. That list is getting longer. ;) Logos, uniforms, wages, menus, merchandise, which coffee sugar to use, you know, all that fun stuff! 
 They fit.. sort of 
I did my first visa border run to Burma last week. Massive market place on a dirty, hot border. Dodgy area, whatever drugs you need you can get. It is annoying how pushy the sellers can be. So I just gave in. Ha. Joking. But seriously. Means I have been here for 3 months- time is FLYING.

I have felt real love from people around me recently. A shout out to my family here in Chiang Rai- I feel like I am a daughter and sister here. I get hugged, prayed for, paid for, loved on, i get invited over for sleepovers (and generally by the mamma's not the kids!) and I even got a roast lamb dinner last night.. Whilst I love and miss my crew at home, I am being unduly doted upon and cared for. 
I am constantly amazed that I get to do this. Seriously. To be plucked out and planted here. Too cool. 

"You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you." John 15:16

 I am so happy to hear from people back home- technology rocks! Thank you for keeping in touch-     I love hearing how all you guys are, thriving, growing, changing, doing fun stuff, doing tough times, planning adventures, making babies, joining lives, it's cool. Life abundant. 

I hope you are all well. My love to you big time.

Remind me never to eat these. I am disgusted- the land of beautiful food, how dare you create this. 

Friday, 21 September 2012

Just because I asked a question in Thai does not mean I understand your answer..

Tor and me! Dancing a the rooftop at sunset is kind of the BEST THING EVER.. 

I am not sure which is worse: Thai Pop or Thai people butchering good music. I am sure that the worst Beatles covers hail from Chiang Rai. Sigh. Thank goodness for pretty much everything else in Thailand. 

How are you all? I am well, even if my ears aren't happy with the 'musical' preferences of the coffee house i'm sitting in. It's been a coolish day- a low 26 degrees this morning, I am contemplating getting some of my jackets and jeans sent over- I know I will actually die when I head back to a Melbourne winter. I am a bit pathetic yes. 

 It has been a big few weeks: I have 14 more girls wishing to join the cafe, on top of the 9 I already have. This is awesome, a tad overwhelming, but awesome nonetheless. I may need to cut a few back as the accommodation that we are going to have above the cafe will not hold that many girls (plus 6-8 girls who will be a part of a new DR hairdressing salon- next DR project)…. making those kind of decisions won't be fun, but hey- i guess these are all aspects of the job that I am learning about. 
I am still digging my original girls- they are pretty fun. I'm an exceptionally rad Thai cook now: they are teaching me their mad Kao Pad skills (yes it does sounds like Cow Pat) and I can now make some decent Thai dishes with lots of chill that would make any village mumma proud. They have been doing trial runs of different mini menus and smashing it.. the only thing they need now is an open cafe to properly implement their skills- I am hoping real service doesn't flip them out too much.. 
They are learning heaps of different western style dishes and presentation of food.. I made one girl cut up about 12 onions yesterday- our kitchen isn't large and lacks good ventilation- all 9 of the girls, plus me were onion-weeping within minutes. Dang, those suckers are even stronger here I think. Caramelised onion was worth it though.. Can someone send me some of those mandolin onion slicers though? Cheers.

I have a new roomie- Tina Marie Cairo, an unreal American lassie has just moved over; she was here early in the year as hairdressing maestro and is back for a year or so after going back to the USA for a short time.. Boom. The lady is cool. Much fun and goodness will overflow I have no doubt. Her entirely sleeve-tattooed arms and back are convincing me that I may need to be inked.. and soon…
 I am tending towards a dolphin eating chinese symbols and a rose entangling a rainbow or something.. thoughts?? (Ps. if you have all of those tattoos.. I mean no disrespect…..cough cough)

I got to catch up with a delightful Thai-American friend in Chiang Mai a week or two back. The lovely Jumakae Yodrai; a very cool reggae singer i met through TIny Toones Cambodia last year.. Nice to catch up and get my rastafarian swag on… Man, I am so white sometimes, it's ridiculous. I have an old workmate from Passionfoods coming up soon too! Kylie does conservation work at an elephant camp in Chiang Mai- it will be so cool to catch her over here! 

So recently? Life has included taking 10 rescue girls bowling: I thought i'd get a decent ego boost, taking 10 teenage hill-tribe chicks bowling who have never been before. The first one piffed it straight into the gutter, second did the same, the next two got strikes and continued to smash my big head into little teeny weeny blushing pieces.. Dang it. 

I also got to dance at the worship service a few weeks back- loved it.. I danced with Lek, a local boy who dances in Chiang Rai.. I'll get some footage uploaded.. maybe.. 
Church is now held in a former night club.. A redeemed place for sure: i had to peer around an old stripper pole to see the preacher. That's the grace of God for you. Lots of great foods, bike rides, rivers and mountains ticked off and yet still many on the to do list. Oh yes. Happy. 

And yes, there is still a rat residing in my house, well I think so, up until a few days ago.. Johnny Sop (Thai worker and hubby of Heidi) was prepped with slingshot to kill it- apparently his aim is fair accurate! But some well positioned rat poison has (PLEASE) gotten rid of the rat. I have lost sleep over this cursed rodent.. after hearing stories of rats nibbling off eyelashes in your sleep, i have worn a bandana over my eyes for the past week in bed. Rats suck. Just putting it out there..

Anyway, do pray for me, I feel overwhelmed, peaceful, excited and very blessed all at the same time. Life is a cool adventure. 

" Lord, You alone are my portion and my cup; You make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a d delightful inheritance"  Psalm 16: 5-6.

Much love. B xx

Ps. Suggested songs for our flash dance mob routine welcome. The louder and more obnoxious options, the better..
Pps. the word for pumpkin in Thai is funny.. not appropriate, but funny. Don't look it up. 

I call this "yum as" dunno what the real name is.. :) 

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Blog 3. Chiang Rai and Big Bessie

Bit of an Excellent Rooftop Eve.

Good people! 
So Thailand and Bess continue to become better friends. Yes. We are quite close now. Thailand is impressed with Bess' skills of motorbiking three people at once whilst holding a backpack (shut your ears dear parents, Emma Chow and Corey Sleap) and also impressed with Bess saying very important things in Thai such as, "You're crazy and fat" , "No MSG or crabs" and  "I like boys" .. these sentences will take you places..
I'm now 'besties' with the papaya salad vendor lady now. Her name is Boonpen.. Maybe!? I am likely incorrect. She makes it just the way I like it without me telling her now- and gives me a few drinks while I am waiting. 

The past few weeks have included many things like caving, massages, a baby elephant, cafe training and new friends. Also  in the mix have been gorgeous green-jungley (yes, it's a word) walks, UNO, dancing in the sunset with the DR girls and tubing down a fast flowing river at night with a little gang of good people, including one young Thai girl who doesn't speak English and cannot swim. Fun always, safety sometimes. That's Thailand. 
Volleyball is becoming a regular arvo activity here too which is fun, but let's just say that I am REALLY REALLY GOOD at.. lots of other things. Sorry Steve "Killer" Kilpatrick, the sport king, I'm a letdown as your child. 

For those who think I am just having a ball and living the dream- there are bad things about being here too! Like.. mosquitos. Man oh man- not too deadly, except for the expletives that they make you want to yell sometimes. They evoke deep anger in me. 
 Missing people back home is kind of bad too- in a bittersweet way, a mini Skype session recently made me so thankful and happy for the crew I am part of back home. Bittersweet, yet the best. 

Okay, so I do actually work a bit too.. 
The Cafe still is not overly open. It's fairly shut. But this is okay! There are worse things, like death and boring books. The girls are getting more and more competent in cooking and I am actually feeling more and more able to run this thing (This feeling comes and goes daily!). I do love how big tasks that require much trust and confidence can ONLY be successfully accomplished through a Higher help. This whole experience is and will be great testament to that Truth.

I'm in the process of hiring some external staff- some Thai girls that speak fairly decent English, which would be a wonderful help. Whilst these girls may initially have supervising-type roles in the cafe/restaurant, I would LOVE for my DR girls to gain the confidence and skills needed to have leadership roles in this business in the coming months. This is so much more than merely business endeavour for DR. The potentially longterm impact for these girls and their future is exciting.
Entree at DR Cafe "Joys Vegetarian Nutballs"
High five to my Mumma for the recipe! x

One of my girlies became a Christian last weekend. Yeah! Way cool, she has been at DR for about 18months- I remember meeting her briefly last year and it's cool to obviously see a softness and peace in her that she didn't seem to have before. I hope that doesn't sound cliche, but it's just so easy to see it. 
The rooftop of the cafe is getting a bit of use, it's awesome! - a good chill out place for some of the our crew when it's not 'PhonTok-ing' (raining).. Everyone grabs their own 30baht take-away meal, bring music, a deck of cards, candles and a sweet sweet night occurs! I say we add a new element each time we go up there: hammocks, mini blow-up pools, hula hoops and all that good stuff. 

Erin, my lovely sister, came to visit. It was a excellent, yet too short a trip. Poor Ezzie has had a whirlwind few months and yet another environment and community to meet and then ANOTHER goodbye would not be an easy thing. But in her elegant way she handled it well and even managed to enjoy herself I hope! We had a few good meals, chats, laughs, elephant and bike rides. We are very different, her and I, but how rad- life is much more interesting with variety AND we come from the same rad, righteous heritage. That is nice to share. Thanks God. And just putting it out there- I am SO glad I got the Thai-end of the Missional stick and she got the Soviet end.. Hehehe. Humidity is good. Erin disagrees.  

I've learned a great many things today. And yesterday and pretty much every hour I am here, I learn something new. About myself, about others, about things to change, about how to run stuff, about how to be less selfish. I can see God doing some cool things in my life and character - I can see how small and feeble I am and how huge God is - somehow that is lots of empowering than having merely my own humanity to rely on. 

Job 38:4-5 " Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me if you understand, who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!" I love it. I'm His. 

So I'll blog sooner next time and post some photos too so you can see roughly how the progress is. Keep Destiny Rescue in your prayers. These young women have experienced trauma and evil that should break your heart. I feel so humbled to be here and befriend them. 

My address is:  PO BOX 251 Muang Chiang Rai, Thailand 57000.
Please feel free to send me mail, chocolate, love, my camera (what idiot forgets a proper camera when moving O/S for a year!?), current peppermint magazine issues, joke books and my Vivienne Westwood boots. Sigh. ASOS doesn't ship to Thailand. 

Getting into the road side cheap food. Pork Noodles and Pad See Ew. 

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Sticky Rice Rocks My World.

Choose your fried grasshoppers size, gastronomically acceptable here.
I'll admit the small ones are tasty, the large are a bit too chewy for my liking. 

My friends! 

Hello again! It has almost been one month since I left Australia already. Whoa. That's a bit ridiculous! I do feel like I have been here a while I guess and am feeling as though I am at home to a degree. I'm sure I still look fairly out of place on occasion.. on many occasion actually. 

So many things happen in a week, or even a day. This day however, I will attempt to be a tad still. Quite unwell with some sort of fever thing. Flu and cold symptoms aren't overly enjoyable at the best of times, let alone adding some Thai heat. But it's all fine- I'm living off pink dragon fruit, if it's as hardcore as its name sounds, i should be better soon :) 

The cafe is approximately 1 year away from completion… Not really, maybe 4 weeks?! Sometimes it looks like it may be a while off- it doesn't really bother me though. It means the girls have more to time to train, gain confidence and learn that you don't need to upsell with "Would you like a drink with that?" when the customer has already ordered a mango smoothie. There is a small disconnect between English understanding and English rote memory maybe?! It's pretty cute.

 The girls are hard working and want to learn, western cooking is so different from Thai.. I like that we will have a duel menu; they are practicing all their Thai dishes this week which will be excellent. No sickness I have cannot be cured by some good chilli I am sure! 
I am really proud of them because I took them to the market this morning and they priced and bought all their ingredients for 3 beautiful thai dishes wish were TOTALLY delicious.. It was fun going to the market and just hanging out with them. I taught them Ghosting.. Haha. For all you Hamish & Andy fans out there- They rock at it.. ;)

The worst thing about Thai cooking (just to shatter a few preservative-free hearts out there) is that MSG is in many many  of the dishes here. So to tell them not to put MSG into the dishes we will serve at the cafe sounds like not putting an egg into an omelette to them. Sigh. This WILL CHANGE if I have anything to do with it. Which I do. 
Settled that issue. 
(Actually, I think they bought a sneaky bag behind my back)… I haven't done much research on the prevalence of ADHD in Thai kiddies, though it is tempting.. 

Two more girls have joined the cooking crew- word spreads fast that it is AWESOME to make eatable things. I am teaching the girls to present their food nicely on their plates- I usually take some photos of their dishes  and show them how they look. They are now all whipping out their phones and doing the same. I've created a few hipsters up here. They will all be listening to Boy & Bear and  wearing mustard/maroon tight jean combos with fake black rimmed glasses in no time (that's still in right?! I leave Melbourne for one month, who knows what has changed…?!) 

One of the girls mothers has been bitten by a snake back in her home village, she has gone back to look after her- I am hoping that medication has gotten to her quite quickly. Ill find out tomorrow how she is. 

And so the Cafe may still need some more time, but a grand opening will be on the cards I assure you!! Dare I say that a flash dance mob at a night market may happen.  Just swishing it around in the brain. Oh yes, it will be awesome. Farungs represent. 
I have been able to start dancing which is cool, I'm definitely not quite as fit as I should be! Started a weekly dance class for Destiny Rescued and Prevention girls, plus any house mothers and workers who are keen for a bit of a jig. Ha, jigging. Hopefully not too much jigging, jerking maybe, not jigging (Sorry nana, if the idea of jerking sounds totally odd. I guess it is really). I've also started to do a few workshops with a local dance school for their young teachers. Contemporary and HipHop. This will likely be fortnightly, so I can recover for 2 weeks in between hits.. or rather so I do not over commit to too many things, for those of you who know me, I am very likely to do so!

There's a male dancer here named Lek whom Ash has befriended through him teaching her dance classes. He is a very sweet boy, with too much makeup. A bit confused one might say- but he is lots of fun and I think that there's some eternal purpose in his meeting a few of the DR community. 
We went out dancing with him and a chinese girl, Ling, a week back now. Before we went out he was excited to cook dinner for us. Ahem. About 4 courses with the last dish being a fried white bread sandwich with an egg, spam meat and plastic cheese. I am not sure how well Ash and I disguised our perplexed faces, but after graciously accepting these heart-attack filled concoctions, we palmed them off to Ling- who for a small female can DEVOUR food like a boss. 

I was able to speak at the local worship service last Friday, which was pretty cool. 'Namasagan' run by DR happens fortnightly in Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai. Worship in two languages always sounds sweet as. 
The local Thai church is pretty cool. There's a whole lot of joy, not that western churches are not joyful, but it's very public here and it's refreshing to see. 

So my Thai still sucks and I think there is a rat in the house, but life is sweet and God is constantly showing me how sufficient He is. How very inadequate I am, and yet how omnipotent and true to His Word He is. 

"Be Still and know the I am God" Psalm 46:10.  That is my encouragement for you. 
Peace out good folk. xx

Another tasty delight of Thailand. I was under the impression the a uterus should
never be eaten.
139baht is approximately $4.50

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

A bit of a Sawadee-ka to you ..

My friends! 

It's time that I start this blogging thing, yes? Bets on for how many posts I actually muster. I'll aim for fortnightly.. or at least bi-annually. 
It may work out to be somewhere between the two. Here goes.  

So it's currently 11.30pm and 25 degrees here in Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand; I think I am acclimatising already- I was looking for my jacket to put on this evening in this chilly weather. I'm super Thai and it's only been a week or so. 
 It's definitely not where I thought I would be 6 weeks ago… I was applying for jobs at the Wyndham Council and planning a camping trip for when I got back from winter youth camp . 
Ha. Well, i do have a backpack, have felt quite disorientated twice and I haven't slept much so that's pretty much inline with any hiking trip.

For those of you that I haven't yet informed, I'm in Thailand for a while! Sorry about that, it was kind of last minute ;) - I am helping an organisation called Destiny Rescue that aims to restore girls that have been in child slavery.  My job is to manage a cafe for the girls to work in (and also to start a bit of a dance studio thing). 
This is one of the more public endeavours that DR have attempted and i'm just putting it out there, it will be UNREAL. Just not quite in Bess-Impatient-Should-Already-Exist-Energiser timing. Hehehe. Oh.  
I had a mild panic a day or two back- when I saw the stage at which this cafe is at.. (Not quite a tear, but a big, deep breathe and long route back home on bike required!) 
A bit of think-space time offered me the remembrance that it's obvious that this is something I am supposed to be doing. Too many signs and way too good a-timing; I'd have to be slightly dumber than I am not to realise. 
Be it the amazing gift of plane tickets, or seeing the word 'GO' everywhere I looked OR when somebody says "Is this the wisest thing you should be doing at this point in your life?" (to which my rebellious streak says 'confirmation'), I feel as though this is an amazing opportunity that will increase my faith, trust and experiences beyond what I can currently know. 

I'm living the very cool Cam & Ash Hodges- the most hospitable couple to grace this planet, like ever.. This living arrangement is indefinite, but enjoyable while it will last. 
Sal & Josh Brown couldn't quite bear to say bye-bye to Bessie so soon and so have followed me over here…. or are visiting their other buddies. BUT seriously, to see me.  Meals and towels (Awkward. It is the same colour..) are shared and it seems that there is always a guest coming and staying a few nights. 
I've also been able to catch up with a friend in Chiang Mai whom I met on my previous travels and also a Tiny Toones Cambodia connection up here in CR. It's pretty beautiful, this people-packed existence.   

There's an excellent community of people over here working for DR- old, young, cool, not cool, singles, families, funny people, not as funny people, but all people that are passionate about this work and faithful to a Heavenly Father. It's pretty excellent. One dude, whom I met on Tuesday knew of my coming a few weeks earlier, was pretty angry when he saw me "Oh, I thought you would be really fat, cos your name is Bessie and it's a fat persons name" A backhanded compliment I guess, but I like the kid who said it. Alex, I'll happily blame my parents- for both the name or the dietary intake. 

Today was a day that I needed- I basically will have to create my own job and make it happen. This is the only way this thing is going to work! 
I will have about 12 Rescued girls who will be my staff and are currently getting 'cafe' specific English lessons. 4 girls are our main cooks- the other girls are to be wait staff  & baristas. Due to language barriers and the big differences in cultural expectations surrounding food service, the training will be slow and simple. 
After sourcing products and making MANY language blunders all day, I got to cook with these girls and to be honest, it flipping rocked. They are totally fun and funny, I can't give names for protection reasons, but I pretty much love them all a bundle already. They are between the ages of 16-18. They bag me cos I'm white, I bag them cos they like Justin Bieber. Lucky for me- I have delegated MYSELF in charge of music. But seriously, i feel like this will be a very blessed thing, working day in, day out with these girls. 
I am planning to get This language lessons, I'd hate to only have basic niceties exchanged between us all, I hope I can learn quickly to build these relationships well. 

In many different ways, I'm realising the power of knowing the truth about an Almighty, life-giving God in a deeper way as the security of being at home is no longer available to me.  Not that it's set in to any huge degree just yet- why would it? I get to hug cute babies, run around in singlets, dance, ride a motorbike (no, i didn't maybe kind of stack already) and live as creatively and energetically as I want to.. 

Thus far, I wanted to say how much love I'm carrying in my heart (I'm not doing an emotional thing here, don't worry, keep reading).. from everyone who I know back home and around the world. So many words, prayers, smiles, verses, high fives and encouragements. I have varying sources of wisdom by my side: Yen magazine, google map (Thai street names SUCK) the Great Gatesby and the Bible.. I have a box full of incredible powerful letters that only a truly phenomenal community could give to me and I have a deep knowledge in my heart that I have been set apart and only by His grace am I able to do many many things. 

Anyway, I'm tired from ALL THE ACTIVITIES of the day.
I presently have no light in my room and whilst I have impeccable eyesight (carrots REPRESENT), I really need to buy a lightbulb tomorrow, because I wish to see without strain. Hard life I know. Tomorrow also brings with it a cooking class, cafe equipment sourcing and a waterfall. On that satisfying note, good night.  

Ps. We found a cobra about 50m down the road rearing it's head at drivers by a few days back. Only mildly anxious. Much love. x