Monthly Archives: June 2012

Blessed are the meek

I like to think that I am a fairly smart guy.  I know I’m not the smartest, but I do like to tell myself that I’m not the dullest tool in the toolbox.  Not too often have I felt like I am overwhelmed with a situation.  But trying to learn Thai is a very humbling experience.

It’s as if my whole being is in revolt.  My tongue doesn’t wish to form correctly, my mind wishes not to place the words in my long term memory…plainly put, my faculties are betraying me!

Gone is my pride.  Gone are the days where I was one of the smartest guys in the room. Gone are the times when I could fall back on my previous experience to get me through.  I am in a battle with myself and with the Thai language.  And right now, my defeat seems imminent.

Ok, so maybe I am being a bit over dramatic, but that is truthfully how I feel.  We have been in Thailand going on five days now and I know a whopping 5 words!

My constant consolation at this time is that the Bible declares a great promise for those that are humble (meek) (Matthew 5:5).

And all I have to do is learn Thai? I’ll make that trade every time.

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Posted by on June 30, 2012 in AJ's Adventures


Thinking in Thai

So one of the things that I have to get used to out here is thinking fast on my feet when it comes to money.  In the States this comes naturally, but here, I have to do the conversion in my head to what it would be in American dollars to see if I want to buy whatever it is I am looking at.

Each day it changes, but generally, 1US dollar is equal to about 30 Thai Baht. Sometimes it is at 32, but it will usually stay in between that range. Here are a few pics to give you an idea of some of the prices.

This hat that Aubrey is wearing (that she personally picked out) cost 100 Baht.  After negotiations we got it for 80 Baht.  My first reaction when I hear 80 is dollars, but I have to recalculate and figure out the real price. Which isn’t always easy to do, so I cheated and got a currency converter app on my phone. lol For those of you playing along at home that would be about 2.50 US.  By the way, I’m pretty sure we are still paying a higher price than the locals.  In fact, I don’t really see a lot of locals shopping so I am assuming they go elsewhere for better deals.

This shirt was 100 Baht.  I didn’t get it, I just took the picture for a friend of mine (Phil you know it was for you lol) You probably could have talked them down to 80 Baht.

Alayna and Raena got a couple of these hats for 80 Baht apiece. They also fold up and double as fans.

We took one of these on a ride around town for about 3 and a half hours.  The deal is that you are supposed to settle on a price before hand.  We settled on 400 Baht.  That is about $12.50. We probably could have negotiated it to about 10 but I’m still new at this so they are getting the best of me. 🙂

Lots of places do laundry out here, mainly for tourists I assume, but the prices are about the same.  They go by weight.  A kilogram is about 2.2lbs.  So if you had 10lbs of clothes (this is starting to sound like one of those word problems we used to get in school, if a train leaves Boston…lol) it would be 100 Baht, which is about 3.15.

In Thailand, not all guesthouses are created equal. There are some questions you should probably ask before getting a room.  Does it have Wifi, AirCon (air conditioning), hot water, and a private bathroom.  These things we just assume in the states, not so here. many rooms come with a fan and no hot water.  As you can see from the prices, this place is pretty reasonable. It does have Wifi. Some rooms have a private bathroom. There isn’t any air conditioning, just fans.  And it doesn’t say but it also doesn’t have any hot water.  But if you don’t really care and just wanted a bed and place to wash up, you could get a room for as little as 2.20 a night.

Raena liked this top but ended up not getting it for some reason. It was 100 Baht but that was negotiable.  I’ll let you do that one on your own and see if you have been paying attention. 🙂


Make sure you check out the pics on the picture tab.  I try to add new photos each day.


Posted by on June 28, 2012 in AJ's Adventures


Free At Last!

So we finally were freed from our airplane bondage! After a day and a half of traveling it really is good to finally be here in Thailand.  Nathan and his wife were right on time to pick us up at the airport.  We came straight to Kanachaburi, the province where we will be staying.  I forget the name of the exact city that we are in, right now everything is a blur.  One word sounds like the next word and just when you think you’ve got it figured out, surprise, you don’t.  lol

Nathan and his family, (from now on I think I’ll refer to them as NAF, Nathan and family, a lot more effecient use of my typing skills) have been very helpful with everything.  From finding us a guesthouse, to taking us to the store.  It would definately be a much bigger challenge without them.  Also, on a side note, many people were wondering if we were crazy for coming out here with NAF since we barely knew/know them.  I thought about titling this post “Hey they aren’t murders after all!”, but I changed my mind at the last moment.  lol

As you can guess, everything is different here. It’s going to be a lot of adjustments for us, but we are glad to here and looking forward to settling in.



Posted by on June 26, 2012 in AJ's Adventures



So it is 2:37 am Tuesday morning here in Singapore! That would be 2:37 pm Monday afternoon.  We are almost there. Thank God!  My kiddos were going a little bit batty being on the plane for so long.  Singapore Airlines gets high marks for making sure you are as comfortable as possible.  They are always coming around with a hot towel or glass of water or meal or snack or something.  However they get horrible marks for totally changing the flight itenerary.  In no way shape or form did you mention anything about flying to South Korea!!!! Really!?!?  You think that would be something they inform you of.  Wow.  Then they made us get off the plane with all of our carry-ons AND 2 SLEEPING KIDS and go through security all over again! You’ve got to be kidding me.  Besides that, all is well. We are waiting for our flight to Bangkok that should leave in about 3 or 4 hours.  Well, gotta go, my kids found a playground here in the airport! Go figure.


Posted by on June 25, 2012 in AJ's Adventures


Still Recovering from the Weekend

Never a dull moment out here in the bay. Lots of restaurants to try.  Lots of people to see. Think we might have overdone it a bit. Staying up way to late, eating out way too much.  Traveling way too far.  All of which aren’t the best of combinations.

This past weekend was particularly busy.  We drove out to see my friend Kendra in Vallejo.  We also hung out with another friend of mine, Tony, and his family.  Add to that news that more of my wife’s family and friends were going to come in from Atlanta and LA and you have the makings of a very long, but fun weekend.

It’s nice to see my wife laugh and smile with her family.  It’s also good to see my own kids interact with family they have never met.  Aubrey gets so excited to meet anyone that you tell her is a family member.  She loves all of the attention and hugs that they give her.  But mostly she is just happy to play with her cousins Nyla and Jordan.


You can check out the uploaded pictures on our site.  Look under “hanging out with family” and “hanging out with friends” to see some of the fun times.

Time is quickly wrapping up here. In less than a week we will be on our way to Thailand.  Our phone will be turned off next Sunday so if you need to text or call better do it quickly.  Otherwise, check out the “contact” tab to see how to contact us.


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Posted by on June 18, 2012 in AJ's Adventures


Family From All Over

Needless to say this pre-trip before the real trip has been quite the experience.  For 8 years Raena has been away from her family and friends.  Now everyone wants to catch up with her.  So we have been driving around and visiting with as many people as possible.  This weekend I will actually get a chance to see two of my close friends that live out here.  But then it will be back to Raena’s family. lol  I’m not complaining at all.  She seldom complained of having to be away from her family for all of those years, so now’s the time for her to catch up with them as much as possible.

All of this family, even if by marriage only, does make me wonder what heaven will be like.  Unfortunately, the Bible informs us that not everyone will be there. Yet the family and friends that are there will have such a story to tell each other of how they made it through.  The good times will never cease. Family and friends will always be around.  Though we are leaving for an undetermined amount of time and may never have the opportunity to spend time with this same group of family again, it is our hope and prayer that one day, in a place words cannot describe, we will spend the ceaseless ages of eternity with family and friends we love very much.

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Posted by on June 15, 2012 in AJ's Adventures


Hanging out with Family and some other stuff

Since the zoo on Wednesday, we’ve been busy catching up with my wife’s family.  On Thursday, we drove up to a city called Pittsburgh.  It’s about 40 minutes away from Oakland.  It is a very scenic and beautiful drive.  We’ve tried to capture the beauty of it all but we aren’t quite doing it justice.  It’s my belief that most people that live here don’t really realize how beautiful it is here.  Truthfully, I don’t think I really realized it when I lived here for 5 years.  If you haven’t checked out our photos be sure to take a minute to browse through them.

Friday we just kind of took some time to relax and catch up on some sleep.  It was pretty cool to take a midday nap with the girls.  But before all of that I got up to go on a secret mission to get my wife a smoothie or juice drink.  I drove to Berkeley where they have all of those types of places.  Guess the “hippies” were up late doing all of their activist stuff, because all of the juice places were closed! Lol

Saturday we were at the church we met at as kids with her Aunt Rose.  After church we went to her house in Hayward and just hung out talking and taking the kids to the park.  We were back over this morning (Sunday) because she cooks a big breakfast every week.

So as you can see we’ve just been hanging out with family and doing some other stuff.  My wife and I joked that we are acting like a bunch of tourists even though she grew up here and I spend a few years here as well.   But it has been so cool discovering new stuff.

If you decide to take a vacation out here I’d definitely go to Arizmendi Bakery, it has really good pizza.  If you can find Dick’s Donuts off of High Street it would be worth the trip.  Huge donuts.  The Oakland Zoo is also a nice trip, especially if you have kids.

Got some cool stuff planned for this week.  Stay tuned for more updates.

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Posted by on June 10, 2012 in AJ's Adventures