Monthly Archives: July 2012

Sorry, Been Busy

My apologies to my 6 devoted readers for not posting in the past several days. ¬†ūüôā

Things have picked up quite a bit around here. ¬†I have been spending more time out at the property helping out with various different projects. It’s interesting finding out the things that I am decent at and things that I am absolutely horrible at. ¬†I’ve discovered though, that my level of success with a project is often linked with how much confidence I have in doing the work before I start. ¬†Like my previous life working with teenagers, I find that my best results come when I show no fear. ¬†My past attitude when working with construction projects has always been one of fear. ¬†Fear that I would mess up so bad that I would end up costing myself more money than I would had I just hired someone to do it for me. ¬†Be here, my outlook has changed on that a little because things are so cheap. ¬†If I do mess it up royally, it won’t cost me my entire paycheck to start over and try again.

There are 3 main projects we have been working on. ¬†We spent a couple of days staining the window frames on the school building, trying to get them done before the company came to put in the windows. ¬†Turns out, staining is something that I am not too bad at. ¬†I was kind of surprised by this because my past experiences with painting things have been less than stellar. ¬†In fact, on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give myself a 2 in that category. ¬†To my surprise, not only am I decent at staining wood, it is actually fairly enjoyable. ¬†As Nathan’s son Anthony put it, I get instant gratification from my labors. ¬†And being the true blooded American that I am, you know I like instant gratification. ¬†ūüôā ¬†I guess I should also mention that another reason I’m pretty okay at staining is because I seem to be relatively unaffected by the smell of paint thinner and staining chemicals. ¬†Wait, sorry, what were we talking about?

(I’ll pause for a moment and let you take a second to digest that last joke, lol)

We have also been working on building wood stairs to one of the buildings. ¬†Unlike the staining, I’m not too good at this whole process. ¬†Sanding, or planing, the wood with the electrical thingy is a lot harder than it looks. ¬†Nathan is really good at it. ¬†That could be because he grew up in the country with a dad that was a craftsmen and was handling power tools by the time he was 4. ¬†Unlike myself, who really just started using ¬†power tools very minimally the past couple of years, and who’s wife is genuinely shocked every time I use one and don’t severely hurt myself. ¬† ¬†I would have loved to practice this a bit more but wood out here cost a lot of money. ¬†You would think that since Thailand is full of trees that it would be cheap. ¬†That would probably be the case were it not for the fact that there is a law here that says you can’t cut down the trees. ¬†Go figure. ¬†Of course, people still do to a small extent, but most of the wood used here comes from Burma, and thus the price of it is a little more expensive. ¬†After planing the wood, we (mostly Nathan, I’m horrible at math) had to figure out the correct angles to cut the wood in order to make the steps. ¬†That whole process was a lot harder than I envisioned it to be. ¬†I guess I missed the day in Geometry class that they were going over how to figure out the correct angles for building steps. ¬†I didn’t feel like a total failure though because the boards needed to be stained, and yours truly was up to the task. ¬†I’ll post a picture when we are done. ¬†Sorry, I’ve been forgetting to take my camera with me. ¬†Maybe the staining is getting to me after all. ¬†ūüôā

The last project I’m working on is something I actually have some experience with. ¬†Computers! ¬†We have a month long medical training coming up in September. ¬†We will be using a workbook for part of the training, and it is my job to make the PowerPoint for all 114 pages of it. ¬†Now that I can do.

Living here hasn’t been without its trials and difficult situations, but that’s no different than life back in the states, or anywhere for that matter. ¬†No worries though, a few more staining sessions and I won’t remember any of it anyways. ¬†ūüôā


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


There’s A What Living Under My House?!

I woke up in a panic when I heard this thing for the first time. ¬†I promise I thought I was on that island from Jurassic Park for a split second. ¬†No audio or video will be able to do it justice, but here is a short clip of a Tockay Gecko. ¬†I think the one under my house has got to be the King Kong of Tockays because it’s really really loud.


Oh, and they will bite you.


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


Asking for Money/Help

Spoiler Alert!!! ¬†I’m going to be asking you for money, kind of. ¬†ūüôā

Coming to Thailand required that a lot of moving parts come together. ¬†One of the stipulations that I had placed on God in order for me to come here (i will definately have to do a post one day on the ridiculuosity, (yes, i just made that up) of us placing requirements on God) was that He would have to work it out where I wouldn’t have to worry about money from month to month. ¬†At least not immediately. ¬†And from the looks of it, He has done just that.

So AJ, why then are you about to ask us for money.  Patience, patience.  All will be revealed.

Rack it up to a pride thing ¬†or something, but I don’t like asking people for money usually, unless I know that I can pay them back. ¬†Maybe it’s just a man thing. ¬†Or maybe I’m just being stubborn. ¬†Whatever the case may be, God graciously worked things out so that I wouldn’t have to go out and beg for food each morning. ¬†At least not immediately. lol

While I am against asking for money for my family’s personal needs, I am not against asking for your help with our efforts with the project that we are involved with over here. ¬†One of the reasons, I like this project so much is because the plan/goal is to eventually be self supporting. ¬†Obviously right now though we aren’t quite there.

So while I am not asking right now for money for my family, I am asking you to prayerfully consider helping with some of the expenses of the ministry.

There are two pressing needs at the moment.  Electricity and transportation.

Electricity: ¬†Although it was known that we would eventually need electricity at the property, the cost of that endeavor was not known. Estimates of what it might possibly be were given, but no one wanted to give firm figures. ¬†Well, firm figures were finally given and unfortunately they weren’t anywhere near the estimated figures that were given. ¬†In fact, they were about 3 times as much as the quoted price. ¬†What are you gonna do? ¬†Life happens.

Transportation: ¬†Currently the project has been able to purchase two vehicles. ¬†One of them, Bob, is the work truck. ¬†Check out my last blog post if you haven’t had a chance to meet Bob yet. ¬†Bob is a great work truck. ¬†You don’t have to worry about denting or scratching it or messing up the paint job because, well you saw the pictures. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Needless to say, Bob isn’t the truck you really want to drive to town unless it is a dire emergency.

The other vehicle is the one that is used for everything. ¬†Ambulance service. hauling materials from the store, transporting all of us to town, work in other cities, and to church, pretty much the do everything truck. ¬† ¬†The problem is that there is only one. ¬†This causes a bit of a problem at times when my wife and I need to go somewhere but we can’t because the truck is two hours away. ¬†There are way more scenerious that I could give you but I think you get the idea.

The plan is for the next vehicle that is purchased for the project be some type of mini/cargo van in order to transport students to and from the grounds as well as serve as an additional reliable vehicle when the other isn’t available.

My wife and I would love to provide both of those things for the project seeing that both items would impact us greatly in a positive way.  But seeing as though neither her nor I have a viable income at the moment, I am asking for your support.

Some of you might be thinking that you don’t have a lot to give. ¬†Rest assured, your dollar goes a long way over here.

If you are interested in supporting the project, you can click the link below or go to the donate tab at the top of the page.

Thanks in advance. ¬†ūüôā


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


Meet Bob! :)

Everybody loves Bob! I’m sure you will too. ¬†ūüôā


Posted by on July 21, 2012 in AJ's Adventures


Ain’t No Party Like a Thai Block Party!

Cause a Thai Block Party Don’t Stop!!!

Some of you will get that. ¬†ūüôā

Ok, so this is one of the many times that I wish our Internet connection was much faster. ¬†For the second week in a row, we are being subjected to the Thai version of a block party. ¬†I have mentioned in my previous blog posts that becoming a monk here is very serious. ¬†I don’t know all of the ins and outs of it all, but I do know that part of it involves all of the soon to be monk’s friends coming to a huge party thrown by the family of the monk. ¬†The music from these parties is so loud. ¬†I actually have some video footage of it that I can’t wait to upload as soon as I get to a faster location. ¬†I had some pictures but I don’t know what I did with them. ¬†I will try and get some more this weekend.

But folks, when I tell you that this party doesn’t stop, it literally seems like it doesn’t stop. ¬†Last week, we got home from church around 3. ¬†The party was all ready started. ¬†It lasted, no lie, until Monday morning about noon!!!!

Really Thailand?!?!?!  Really?!

I can hear, every song, every beat, every drunken karaoke ballet.  I can hear everything.

It’s only 5:46pm on Saturday.

This Thai party ain’t stopping, it’s only just begun. ¬†smh ūüė¶


Posted by on July 21, 2012 in AJ's Adventures


Cultural Differences and Random Thoughts

I find differences in culture to be fascinating. ¬†Here are two more that I’d thought I’d share.


In America, if you don’t tip you are considered cheap. ¬†The waiter or waitress might want to fight you if you don’t tip. ¬†I find that tipping, though sometimes an inconvenience, is a way for you to voice your approval or dsapproval with the quality of service. ¬†If a waiter or waitress is bad, I feel as if I can let them know how bad they were by the size of my tip.

Tipping over here is not acceptable. ¬†The price they charge is the price you pay. ¬†No more, no less. ¬†No tipping allowed. ¬†Not sure if it is an insult to them or if its just something that’s not done, but tipping is¬†definitely¬†not smiled upon.

In tourist areas it is more common but still not expected.  Which is why one of the staff at the guesthouse had a look of utter horror and confusion when Raena gave him a tip for bringing our food to our room. lol

Maybe the lack of tipping explains why customer service over here is so bad. ¬†Really. ¬†Why do I have to hunt you down to get the check for my meal? Don’t you want to get paid? ¬†In the states they have the bill ready. ¬†Here, they wait till you are done then mentally add up how much it is you owe. ¬†As if they are just making it up at the spur of the moment.

Something else I have to get used to around here is the lack of taxes. ¬†They have them in some places but for the most part, most shops don’t charge you a tax on the items. ¬†If anything, more than likely you can negotiate with them and the price is going to come down, not go up because of the sales tax. ¬†It could be that tax is built into the price of the item, but it sure is nice not trying to figure out how much something really is when it says 8.34 on the tag.


I’ve told you in previous posts about my feelings on the whole shower thing over here, but I did find out some new information regarding bathing. ¬†Most Thai’s don’t take showers or baths in the conventional sense. ¬†According to my new buddy Top they have a tub or bucket of water that they splash on themselves. ¬†I would refer to that as a bird bath. ¬†He says they find it a little strange not only the way we take showers/baths but also the fact that we like to do so with warm/hot water. ¬†This really seemed to baffle him. ¬†Why not get refreshed from a long hot day with nice cool water is what he is thinking. ¬†And truthfully, it does sound like the logical thing to do. ¬†But as you know, there is nothing quite like a hot shower. ¬†I had a lot of trouble explaining that to him though.

Lost in Translation

I find it absolutely hilarious that despite the total night and day differences between our language, the F word (yes I’m talking about the bad four letter word) means the same in both Thai and English. No, I was not asking him to teach me all of the bad words in Thai. ¬†Pumpkin is really big over here and there was a truck passing by with a ton of them loaded in the back and I asked Top what the Thai word for pumpkin was. ¬†I asked him to say it slower, and sure enough, it was the F word at the beginning. ¬†I began to explain that in America that was a bad word and he says, “I know, here too.”

Too funny.

Random Thoughts

I am still getting used to night times here.  The animals come alive at night.  You hear all sorts of things around here.  I feel like I am on that island from Jurassic Park.  No seriously, some of these noises sound just like dinosaurs from that movie.  No joke.

Before I moved here I told Nathan that one of my stipulations for coming was that I wanted several machetes. ¬†Well, I am happy to say that I am the proud owner of my first machete. ūüôā ¬†Nathan gave me one of his extras. ¬†I plan on having a few of them. ¬†This particular one is a little shorter than I envisioned but it’ll do, it’ll do. ¬†lol

Perhaps I should sleep with my machete next to me to help protect me from the dinosaurs.


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


Funnier in Person

There have been some funny things that have occurred since we have been here. ¬†These stories might be the kind that you would have had to have been here for but I’ll share them anyway and hope you get the picture.

1. ¬†When we were staying at the guesthouse in Kanchanaburi, an European gentleman came to the front desk and tells the staff that his room doesn’t have any sheets. ¬†She replies, “Yes, have blanket.” ¬†He says, yes I have a blanket but I have no sheets. ¬†She replies, “Yes, have blanket.” ¬†Frustrated, he looks at me but all I can do is give him the “sorry pal, i’m new here too” look. ¬†He tries to explain the situation another way to her. ¬†He says, “my daughters have sheets in there room, but I don’t.” ¬†She finally gets it and says, “your room doesn’t come with sheets.” ¬†He and I are both dumbounded. ¬†She goes on to explain that the room he is in is cheaper than the one his daughters are in. ¬†In this particular room, sheets are not included. ¬†At this point I start to laugh uncontrollably. ¬† The man walks away confused and shaking his head. ¬†lol ¬†The lady, (her name is Noi, we became friends actually) ask me why I am laughing. ¬†So I tell her that in America, all rooms come with sheets, no matter the price. ¬† ¬† Her rebuttal for this was to tell me, “yes, but this room gets free breakfast.” ¬†Now I totally loose it and begin to laugh even harder! ¬†Now she is really confused. ¬†I tell her, so you mean to tell me that I could have paid half of what I am paying now and gotten free breakfast each morning? and all I had to do was buy my own sheets?!

lol, priceless


2. ¬†Nathan, Anthony, and myself were talking with the owner of the property that I am staying in and on. ¬†He is a very important man in the area. ¬†He has truly been a blessing to the project down here. I met him for the first time the other day and after some pleasant conversation (in Thai) he ask them something that they both burst out laughing really hard. ¬†Anthony in fact is turning red from¬†embarrassment. ¬†I can tell that the question had something to do with my hair, but I can’t tell exactly what. ¬†After a few minutes, because they were laughing so hard, they tell me what he said. ¬†He was wondering why I cut all my hair off because it doesn’t look very handsome. ¬†LOL ¬†In America that would be very rude. ¬†But in Thai it is quite normal to say. ¬†Walking up to a person and saying “You look very fat” isn’t the taboo thing as it is in the states. ¬†So what he was trying to say (I think) is that I should grow my hair out. ¬†hahahahahaha, too funny


3. ¬†Last one. ¬†So learning the language here is difficult, but I try each day to pick up a word or two. ¬†The thai language has like 40 or 50 alphabets and like 30 vowels. ¬†I know right! Anyways one of the sounds is the ng sound. ¬†Like in song. ¬†But they use it at the beginning of words. So like the word for work is ngaan. ¬†Sounds easy enough right. ¬†Wrong. ¬†When you think you are saying it correct you aren’t. ¬†The other day I was trying to say a word with ng at the beginning and I look at Top (the owners son) for approval and say chai mai (right/correct?) He looks at me and with a straight face says. No.

Guess you would have had to have been there. ¬†ūüôā

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Posted by on July 14, 2012 in AJ's Adventures