Monday, July 14, 2014

The Thailand Saga Continues Again

[Sheesh, I'm starting to think this Thailand saga needs a theme song and catch phrase. Like a soap opera or something. Anyway - on with the story...]

Finally, finally, finally, we reached our hotel. After saying goodbye to my family and promising my mom that we'd call her whenever we woke up, Jason and I headed up to our room to pass out. At this point, we had been awake for basically 48 hours.
This is where we stayed.

But once we got to our room, we discovered that our room was actually a little apartment! I wasn't expecting that and am not sure if Jason was or not (he had booked the hotel, but hadn't told me much about it).

When you entered, you came into the full sized (albeit) small kitchen. Continuing into the apartment brought you to your "living room." Off of the living room was the bedroom. Next to the bedroom was a room o'closets. Seriously, it was a room with 2 built in armoires. Next to that room was the bathroom. We suddenly had a burst of energy as we checked out every nook and cranny of our "apartment."

One thing we thought was neat - the electricity didn't work unless your room key was plugged into this slot on the wall. Although, this kinda sucked because when we would go out exploring the city during the day, we couldn't leave the air conditioner running to keep the room cool. And trust me, the winter in Thailand is disgustingly hot. And humid. You don't even wanna know what summers are like there. Here are a few pictures of our humble, temporary abode:
Here's the kitchen

Our living room. The door leading to the bedroom is on the right. 

The bedroom

The room of closets!

One view from our balcony

Another view... I can't remember if this is
from our window or from another area of the hotel.
Anyway - we finally satisfied ourselves with checking out our new home and the weariness hit us again. I don't even remember if we bothered with PJs or if we just stripped down to our underroos and collapsed in the bed. Either way, it was around 4:00am (I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open at this point and wasn't making coherent sentences). We slept for hours. One of us would sort of wake up, but then we'd get pulled right back down into Sleepy Land. We finally woke up around 2:00pm I woke up in a panic thinking I was wasting precious sightseeing time. I called mom to let her know we were up and she gave us directions to my aunt's house, which is where mom stays every time she goes to Thailand.

Let me back up and give you a little family tree... My mom has 4 siblings. In order of age its: my aunt (A1), my mom, another aunt (A2), an uncle, then another aunt (A3). Mom says I take after the youngest aunt... especially in my short temper (that's another story). I would tell you everyone's names, buuuut I couldn't even begin to spell them. Mom stays with A1. My grandmother usually lives with my uncle (I think), but when mom is visiting, grandma stays with A1 since my mom is there. A3 lives close to my uncle and is the primary caregiver to my grandma. She also comes to stay with A1 when mom's in town... So, A1's house gets pretty dang crowded for a few months every other year or so.

After Jason and I got showered, we ready to continue our adventure. So we headed to...

[to be continued]

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Thailand Saga Continues

After making it through customs and all that fun mess, we started to make our way out of the airport to find transportation to our hotel only to find a small handful of my family waiting for us: my mom, my brother, one of my aunts, and 3 of my cousins.

My mom and brother had flown to Thailand on November 1st. Jason and I had wanted to go with them so that all of us could be there together, but we were using the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday as a buffer against our vacation time from work. My mom only makes it home every few years, so when she goes she stays for about 3 months. My brother, on the other hand, was actually flying out at 5:00am that Monday morning. So, they decided to just come on to the airport to wait for Jason and me to get in and then we would all hang out in the airport until Rob (my bro) could board his flight. 

At this point, Jason and I had been up for way too long. We were giddy with the excitement of being in Thailand and seeing my family, but we were also a little delirious with lack of sleep. We ended up hanging out in the airport from a little before midnight to 3:00am (at the time Rob was able to go through the security checkpoint to head to his gate. While there, we took a few pictures of the decorations around the Bangkok airport:

After saying goodbye to my brother, we piled into the van with the remaining family members and began the journey back into the heart of the city and our hotel. On the way to the hotel, Jason and I were hungry, so we stopped at a 7/11 (which you can find on every other street corner in Thailand... this is NOT an exaggeration) and picked up a few provisions to tide us over. Here's one of the things we bought.

Yes, those are salmon flavored Lays chips. They were good, but not as good as the seaweed flavored ones we had later in our trip. But, I digress....

Finally, finally, finally, we reached our hotel. After saying goodbye to my family and promising my mom that we'd call her whenever we woke up, Jason and I headed up to our room to pass out. At this point, we had been awake for basically 48 hours. But once we got to our room, we discovered that our room was....

[to be continued]

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Step into my time traveling machine...

So I'm trying to get back to my blogging ways. I truly miss documenting some random moment of my life - whether it's big or small. Just some piece I found amusing/interesting/confusing/whatever.

If you've read my previous posts, you saw that the one last I wrote before my huge sabbatical was about Jason and me buying plane tickets to head to Thailand. I really meant to keep notes throughout our trip so that I could regale you all with stories of the adventures Jason and I had. But, I think I just got too caught up in enjoying myself. Honestly, I'm even bad with taking pictures of things. Thank God for Jason. We wouldn't have nearly as many pictures as we do if he hadn't been there. He's so much better about documenting our capers, at least with photographs.

For some some reason, our Thailand trip seems to be at the forefront of both of minds. We've been bringing it up a lot lately to some of our friends. This got me thinking about my blog and how I should relive that vacation now and in a bigger way.

So we bought our tickets in June 2013. We had to wait until November for our actual trip. From the moment we bought our plane tickets we went into overdrive with making lists - of things we needed to buy for the trip and things we needed to do before we left. Some days we felt that our leave date would never get here. Other days, we were shocked that time was flying by.

Finally, the magical day arrived. We left on a Saturday morning at the ass crack of dawn (did you know there's a 4:00am as well as a 4:00pm???). Our awesome friends, Josh and Jessica Coleman, took us to the airport. We were planning to drive ourselves because we didn't want to be an burden on anyone since we had such an early leave time. But, Jess wouldn't hear of it. They also picked us up when we came home. Thankfully our return flight wasn't too horrible of a time.

Anyhoo - we got to the very quiet airport. It may have been early, but you can bet Jason and I were WIDE AWAKE with the excitement of where we were going. This wasn't just one of our normal vacations. We were going to a new continent. I was going to see family members I hadn't seen in 18 years. Hell, I was going to meet family I had NEVER met. Even cooler - Jason was going to meet the maternal side of my family for the first time ever!

Our flight took us from Greensboro, NC to Washington, DC. From there, we headed west to Seattle. Then to Japan... then finally Bangkok, Thailand. Amount of time it took us to get from North Carolina to Thailand? 30-ish hours. Amount of time I slept on the planes? Umm, just a couple of hours and not all together. Usually, I get in a moving vehicle of any kind and I'm out. Don't even need sleeping pills. But, nope, not this time. I don't know why either. Our longest flight (Seattle to Japan) was about 10 hours. Jason had decided we should spend the extra money to upgrade our cheap ass seats to get not as cheap ass seats. I'm glad he did. We had a little extra leg room and our own personal TV screens built into the seats in front of us. Even better - the row we were in only had 2 seats, while most of the rows on the outer edges of the plane had three. This was nice because we didn't have to worry about some random seat mate. I popped in my headphones and proceeded to watch 4 movies back-to-back.

We landed in Thailand around midnight on Sunday night/Monday morning. Remember, we were up at 4am our time, Saturday morning. At this time, the time difference between here and there as 12 hours on the dot, with Thailand being ahead (so if it was, say, 4pm Sunday afternoon here, it would be 4am Monday morning in Thailand).

After making it through customs and all that fun mess, we started to make our way out of the airport to find transportation to our hotel only to find...

[ be continued]

Friday, July 11, 2014

Better than yesterday

On July 11, 2013, I attempted and conquered a race called The Bear Run. This is a 5 mile race in which you climb 1541 feet of elevation. Upon crossing the finish line, I burst into tears and proclaimed out loud that I was never doing this race again... If you've read my previous posts (yes, I am aware that it's been over a year since my last), then you know that I've said that before about other races and that I usually don't listen to myself. This post is about one of those times.

I really was not planning to do this race again. Seriously. Scout's honor. This run was so hellish, especially the last mile and a half. At one point during that portion of the track I turned to the girl behind me (a complete stranger) and announced that "I don't think I can do this." Her response was to shrug her shoulders and make a "what do you want me to do about it" sound. Thanks. Thanks a bunch for the encouragement.

Registration for The Bear opened in February. I messaged a friend of mine (Shellen) who had done this race last year to let her know. When Shellen heard that I wasn't planning to do this again she said, "But, we did this together last year. It wouldn't be the same without you." The next thing I knew, I was registered and freaking out. But - eh - I had MONTHS to whip my lazy butt into gear. "I'll be fine," I told myself.

The days started to fly by, as they tend to do. Suddenly it was the day before the race (Wednesday, July 9, 2014). Now, don't get me wrong - this entire time was not spent sitting on my couch eating bonbons (don't I wish???). I'm active in Crossfit and I do a bunch of other races even though I am a horrible runner. I completed my 3rd half marathon in April (remember from an earlier post how I said I'd NEVER do a second after I completed my first? If not, you can catch up here (side note - I'm actually registered for half marathons # 4 and 5! The fourth will be in October of this year and the fifth is in April of next year).

 All day at work, my nerves would suddenly start tingling as I would think about what was happening the next day, but having to actually do some work helped to (somewhat) keep my mind off of it. Then 5:00pm came - quitting time. Immediately, my nerves went into overdrive. The butterflies in my stomach grew exponentially and started their dance of destruction. This was the day before the race. I knew this meant I'd be a wreck the day of.

And I wasn't wrong. I woke up and just knew I was going to throw up or burst into tears... Or both. The killer was knowing that I had to wait until 7pm for the race to start and a close to 2 hour drive to get to the town where this race is held. The good news about the commute - a group from my crossfit box was also doing this race and we had rented a van so we could carpool together. That helped a lot. They are such an awesome group. Another thing that helped - throughout the day, numerous people sent out encouragement to me and my teammates on Facebook. My heart overflowed with the love that was being sent our way.

Once we got to the race site and got checked in, I was literally shaking with fear. You have to hit the 3 mile mark by a certain point or you get picked up by the sag wagon. Of course I didn't want to be picked up. Not only would that mean I wouldn't get the awesome race medal, but that would mean I'd be a failure. If I made it past that marker, the race gets even harder than it was prior to that point and I wasn't looking forward to that at all. I just wanted this race to start and then for me to get it over with. And I didn't want to let anyone down along the way (myself, my fellow group members, the "fans" who had encouraged us).

Finally, the starter gun was shot and we were off. Immediately, the majority of my nerves quieted down. Suddenly, I just knew I was going to be awesome (well, as awesome as I can be). I was going to kill The Bear. I could do this... And I was right. I made it to and past that 3 mile marker like a champ. I crushed each mile like there was going to be ice cream waiting at the finish line (damn, why oh why wasn't there ice cream???). I finished this race for the 2nd time in my life.

And, ya know what? I was smiling as I came across the finish line this year (SO much better than the tears last year). Also? I DIDN'T proclaim that I wasn't going to do this race next year.