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.