Since arriving in Bangkok we have done a ton of exploring with our kids. We’ve checked out numerous parks and playgrounds, visited a variety of indoor play spaces, an incredible Children’s Museum and a water park. It’s been AWESOME! Bangkok has so much to offer families and we are so grateful for that.
We are thankful for a number of reasons.
Our kids have just left the “holy hill” (Summit Pacific College) where they had incredible amounts of freedom to run and play. Where everyone knew who they were and they roamed safely. The only thing they really had to watch out for was the occasional black bear wandering by our door (quite literally). We’ve discovered a park full of Monitor Lizards (not Komodo Dragons as originally declared by the kids) near our temporary home here and that has been quite the hit!
Our kids have just left their extended family and our chosen family. Sleepovers and time spent with these loved ones was so normal. That has been replaced by constant time with Mom and Dad. While this is wonderful, it’s also a tad challenging when we are in a temporary apartment living out of suitcases. So indoor play places are a good alternative, especially when the skies are dumping street-flooding amounts of water. It did make for an evening of unplanned puddle jumping as were out for a walk!
Our kids have just left their friends. Seeing their little buddies happened multiple times a week. Thankfully there are some new little friends here already. Mornings spent together at the water park, trying new foods, or just all piled on the bed watching a show together, have been a welcome blessing.
The reality is, if our kids don’t grow to love Bangkok, to love Thailand – the people, the food, the weather, the opportunities that are here – if they don’t love these things, we won’t last long. While our desire to engage with cross-cultural work is firm, our call to love each other and our children is our priority. If we can’t do “family” well, we can’t serve Thailand well. We are being strategic in how we introduce our kids to their new home – showing them the wonderful and fun things that are here for them. We are highlighting the connecting points to their home culture and not forcing the differences on them. They’re smart kids. They see the differences and we engage those as a family and, as parents, we honour their process.
Just yesterday Daxon, out of the blue said, “there are lots of things that are different here, hey? Like they use a fork and spoon to eat”. He went on to note the little things that are big things in his world. The powers of observation of a four-year-old are astute. His simple insights remind us that often “different” is a loaded word. As our kids talk about differences, they are not criticizing. In fact, they seem to be celebrating. Motorcycle taxis, j-walking, and “bending the seat belt rule” in slow-moving traffic are big hits with our little humans.
For three weeks we have been living in limbo. Bags semi-unpacked, a minimal kitchen and surrounded by boxes. So as we prepare to move tomorrow (September 1), I (Amber) am excited to set up “home” again. To unpack into drawers and closets, to pull out all of the kids toys, to fill the fridge, to put up pictures, and to make a space our home. We started to dismantle our life in Abbotsford back in March. 5 months of chaos is about to come to a close, and while I think we’ve all done pretty well through the upheaval, I can’t wait to put roots down again. To do it for me. To do it for our kids.