Refreshed and Recharged: Thailand

Sometimes you just don’t know how much you really need a (mandatory) vacation until you get home and feel like someone pushed your reset button. This is how Craig and I feel after having been in Thailand for 3 weeks. Everyone in East Asia observes their spring festival and new year much like we do in the states for Christmas, but here they take 5 weeks off from school. Nice. For us, this would have meant a lot of sitting around in our chilly and dark, vacant town with no one to hang out with, which is why we take this time to travel. Why Thailand? It’s cheap, beautiful, and the sun shines there.

Never has there been a more rewarding and meaningful break for us because we literally did the following: rested in paradise, experienced struggle and the reminder of our need for the Lord, had an amazing time with a bunch of friends doing praise and worship, and we were then unexpectedly blessed with a tough but rich conversation with a friend about marriage. Whoa.

First, I must say, it was really nice to already have been in this hemisphere to go to Thailand on a budget. We highly recommend traveling there because it is ridiculously inexpensive. (Obviously the long flight from America is where all the cost would have been.) It was awesome. I bought 3 fun little Thai bracelets all for the equivalent of about $5 USD and I’m now kicking myself for not loading up on them to give as gifts. Shoot! Anyway…

Koh Lanta, Thailand


^ Bros Fraser and Terch taking in creation


^ Straight from ocean to table. Amazing.


Thai people are officially the sweetest we've ever met.

Bumrungrad Int'l Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand
Emergency Collar Bone Surgery for Craig

Three days into our 2-week stay at the beach (above) Craig was pulling into a gas station on Koh Lanta Island on his rented motorbike. It slid out from under him when he hit his brakes and a patch of sand at the same time. He landed on his left side breaking his collar bone completely in half and had bad road rash and bruises on his shoulder, ribs and hips. It was obvious he needed surgery. His pain was somewhat manageable so we took a day to book flights and transportation to Bangkok, Thailand, to one of the top 10 hospitals in the world: Bumrungrad. 

It wasn't easy for Craig. Honestly, the day we arrived in Bangkok was a logistical nightmare because they would not perform the surgery the next morning without a guaranty from our insurance company, which was in a backwards time zone. This frustration, along with surgery prep, caring for his wounds, hotel logistics, and anxiety were tough. We were frustrated and angry because it seemed like prayers weren't being answered. 

When we went to sleep that first night, Craig's mom worked with some other friends for hours on getting things worked out with insurance. The Lord provided when we doubted. Craig's surgery went great. Insurance came through in a pinch. Friends gave time, effort and prayer generously. We can't thank you enough. Craig had a quick 1.5-day recovery from surgery before he insisted on getting us back to the beach to continue vacation. We are so grateful. Praise God. Praise to answered prayers, to God guiding the surgeon's hands, and for the sweet Thai people who speak English so well and will do anything for a total stranger. We felt so loved during this trial.


Week 3 in Chiang Mai, Thailand...

^ Fish pedicure. Probably just a one-time thing for me.

^ Had pad thai upstairs here.

Belly rub! Whaaat?!

^ Flirting

 Surprise elephant kisses!


^ Chiang Mai at night. We loved this city! So many night markets and colorful people. Sad that the red light district is really big here.

The next shots are of a wat (temple) in Chiang Mai.


^ This wat, or temple, is under construction by a famous Thai artist. This was the scene out front. A little demonic.

Remote Village - Long-Necked People

^ She curiously grabbed the bunny ears cell phone cover/sound amplifier out of my bag and I played some music for her to show her what they did. The song I played was What Great Mystery, a song by our home church, Cahaba Park Pres. She kept grinning nodding to me to sing the whole song to her. Wish I could have told her who the song was about (Jesus). 
It was surreal.

^ Tuk Tuk cruisin

^ Night Bazaar

 One day during the week we were in Chiang Mai, we took a bus to visit the "Golden Triangle," which meant driving a few hours to the north border of Thailand where it meets the countries Laos and Myanmar/Burma. We got to briefly see the other countries via river boat on the river that divides the three countries. It was crazy to see across the river from each other 2 countries showing off ridiculously gaudy, gold temples. They clearly tried to outdo one another in gold. We didn't get a good photo, but nearby, there was a humble, worn, waterside apartment that someone bought and put a huge cross on top it for people traveling the river to see. Hand-painted were the simple words "GOD LOVES YOU." It was a well-placed reminder that he's bigger than anything in this world. Great way to end the trip.


photo diary {Thanksgiving to New Year 2014}

Just some photos from Thanksgiving through New Years. These last few months have flown by. Craig and I are both doing great and are missing home and the sun a lot right now! 

It won't be long before we leave for the holiday here called Spring Festival. It is treated much like Christmas for the culture and there will be no class for about 6 weeks and all the students will go home. During this time, we'll be vising THAILAND and possibly MALAYSIA to chase some much-needed sunshine! This adventure the Lord has us on is like a dream. It's tough but rewarding! 

We'll post some photos about this next adventure soon.

Have grown up loving snow and cold but this 40 degrees is the coldest we've ever been.
Turkey Bowl - the sun came out for a minute!

Best one second of our lives - Iron Bowl 2013
Can't get enough of this melon called youzi
Hiking with friends

At the opera house to see the Russian Ballet's Nutcracker!

First pizza place in the city that's not in someone's apartment! Stella approves!
He couldn't hold still for a pic. So excited.

Learning some traditional handwriting in class
The guys were enthralled with these wolf-fur paintbrushes
His life is lived in this little studio on campus. He's dedicated to preserving and mastering this extremely old written language. So awesome.
Craig takes a shot at teaching
Craig's Christmas present for me! Psalm 91!
Matching Gregory and Hall fams. Love being here with these friends!
We loved spending Christmas with Gunter!
Craig's secret Santa gift. A beret. Croissant, anyone?
Stella giggles Christmas morning!
We have loved getting the sweet packages from friends at home. Some of our favorite things are Ruthie and Mary Campbell's drawings.
Guys on NYE 2013/14
Girls on New Years 2013/14!



We were like kids. We had so much fun! So cool!

This person couldn't wait til they got their McDonalds. Had to have octopus while waiting. I can totally relate.