Snapshots from my first month back in BKK

Uh… whoops. Another delayed post – sorry. And even though half my posts recently have begun with an excuse, I still feel compelled to offer yet another. So let’s just say that there’s a creature in my gut who’s been sucking all my brain power/memory/sense of time lately. Some days I’m amazed that I even manage to dress myself. Good thing no-one’s life is depending on me right now. Oh wait…

Coming back to Bangkok after a month in Canada has been just a real slice o’ life. On one hand, Bannock and I were both pretty pleased to be reunited with her father (she signalled her joy by slamming all her limbs into my ribs). It has also been great to move into our new apartment, see my Bangkok friends again, and trigger severe acid reflux by eating massive quantities of pineapple. On the other hand, I’ve had to undergo some not-so-fun medical tests, watched my ankles fluctuate between “bony” and “tree trunk-esque” on a regular basis, and felt a little bereft after leaving my families, friends, and Percy the Miniature Horse behind.

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On the other hand, I got to meet this doll when I subbed for the two-year-olds. It appears to be a creepy cloth version of Todd as a baby. Bannock, please don’t look like this.

On that merry note, here are a few snapshots from my first month back in Bangkok: apologies if they are a little heavy (ha!) on the pregnancy end of the spectrum. Somehow, the knowledge that I will have to basically shove a watermelon through a straw in 2 months has completely hijacked my brain.

1. Thai Culture Class

If you have been reading my blog for awhile, and either have a good memory or are my mother, you may recall that I had to spend a significant chunk of time in Thai Culture Class around this time last year. It is a mandatory course for all teachers at international schools in Thailand, and I took it along with all the new teachers at the school. I have vague memories of making a lot of random crafts out of a lot of random materials, dancing around in Thai loincloths, and sitting through loooong discussions of Thailand’s kingly succession. It had some good moments, but I think we were all pleased when we “graduated.” Imagine my delight when I discovered that I had to take the course again this year. Apparently, because I entered Thailand last year without a teaching visa, the course didn’t count, and I would have to retake it if I wanted to continue subbing. After much weeping and gnashing of teeth, I succumbed to my fate, and found myself spending three days with a bunch of Swiss and British teachers at one of Bangkok’s swankier international schools. Surprisingly, Thai history hadn’t changed much in the course of a year. The food at the Culture Class, however, had. No offence to T-bone’s school, but whatever they served us last year paled in comparison to the spread at Patana school. Whenever the classes got dull, I would distract myself by dreaming of the lunch buffet. That, and watching my ankles swell before my eyes.

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Last year. When I still had ankles and a waist.

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And this year. I think I need to invest in some new facial expressions.

2.  Last *sniff* bike ride

After it took us a solid year to actually buy bikes in Bangkok, I was a little depressed when I realized that it was probably time to sell mine – I’m getting bulky’n’awkward, and we need to make space for more baby schtuff in our apartment. And as much as I like to picture the three of us going on family bike rides after Bannock is born, I have come to terms with the fact that that just ain’t gonna happen. So Todd and I took our bikes out for one last adventure in the “Green Lung” of Bangkok, a community/park that is almost an island in the Chao Phraya river.

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Bannock was well protected

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You should always wear head protection on a ferry.

“Leisurely” would be one way to describe our speed. When we finally got home, Todd started putting together an advertisement to sell the bike.

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Which one of you idiots wants to buy my bike? Huh!?!

Before he even posted the ad, one of our teacher friends offered to buy the bike. All I can say is, Wes, you had better actually take it off our hands, because Todd made me spend an entire evening posing on that durned thing.

3. Fun tests/parental guilt

There’s nothing the medical community seems to enjoy more than springing random tests on pregnant women. I have peed in so many cups over the last few months that I’ve lost count. And my technique still hasn’t improved (if anyone has any hot tips, please share). A particularly enjoyable test that I got to indulge in was the blood glucose test. Basically, you swig a cup full of pure sugar, and then have your blood taken an hour later – this helps determine if you’re at risk for gestational diabetes. I did it one better – I drank a litre of orange juice for lunch, and then I swigged the sugar mixture. Looking back, this may not have been the wisest choice, as, lo and behold, my test results came back showing elevated sugar levels, and my doctor told me I had to do the extended version of the test. Most humans would merely be annoyed at the inconvenience, but I am feeling a little “special” these days: I spent the evening weeping, convinced that my over-consumption of Magnum bars during my first trimester was going to lead to my poor child being a 13lb colossus. Welcome to the world of parental guilt. After fasting overnight, I hauled myself back to the hospital to chug the Kool-aid again. I don’t know how this is possible, but it contained twice the sugar that the previous test did. I then experienced the rare privilege of having my blood drawn FOUR times over the next three hours, as I continued to fast/tried not to pass out. I hate needles, but once I remembered that I was going to have to actually give birth to a human in a few months, I stopped feeling sorry for my current self, and started feeling sorry for my future self.

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Note how my forearm is arranged so artistically next to the word “Laboratory”

4. Stuff students say

This post is already way too long, but I have to share a few of my favourite lines from students that I have subbed for regarding my burgeoning figure:

“Is that fat or a baby?”  13-year-old boy

“Is Mr. Todd the father?” 16-year-old boy

“You and Ms. Therese are both pregnant, but you are waaay bigger” 17-year-old girl (said with a look of utter confusion. Apparently, Ms. Therese is the prototype for pregnancy, and anyone else is a deviation from the standard. I had to explain the concept of “different due dates” to her).

And finally, the look of utter glee and shock on the faces of two twelve-year-old boys when I informed them that, yes, I am indeed pregnant. They looked as though I had just told them the best, dirtiest joke. I still can’t figure it out.

I’m starting to wonder if these students have ever taken a health class, or interacted with a pregnant woman before. Just doin’ my bit for humanity.

And let’s finish off with one last picture, because it is too good not to use. Our friend Jessica turned 18.* I think the world would be a better place if we all just publicly embraced our birthdays.

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Leaving no doubt as to who the birthday girl is.

*Give or take a decade

Boneheads in Paradise

This past weekend, one of Todd’s oldest and dearest friends came to visit us. Todd and Andy have a long and glorious history of doing boneheaded stuff* together, and Todd was very excited to be reunited with his partner in crime.

Sa-waa-dee-kaaaaap!

We picked Andy up at the airport on Friday, and had a tame start to the weekend. We took him to Koh Lanta, one of our favourite restaurants. To be honest, the food at Koh Lanta is kinda sucky, but the decor is so amazingly bizarre that we keep going back for more. It is a good place to go if you want to experience the joys of psychedelic substances without actually consuming anything illegal.**

Case in point: a man-made lake complete with pegasus, fake huts, and awkward sculptures

Don’t even bother trying to hide, Andy. The Blog will find you.

By the next day, though, Todd couldn’t restrain himself any longer: it was time to celebrate almost 3 decades of friendship by doin’ somethin’ stupid. He hauled Andy to his favourite spot in Bangkok: Taco Lake. Taco Lake is a man-made lake set up for wakeboarding, and it has a t-bar system in the middle – you line up with your board, and clip in when it’s your turn. Taco Lake is the paradise that haunts Todd’s dreams. Unfortunately, I don’t have any photos of their experience to share with you, because they spent the entire time face-planting into the wake, then lining up to face-plant again.*** Andy also managed to twist his ankle, and by the time they finally got home, he was a gimping mess. So we decided it was a good idea to spend the evening dragging him all over the city and feeding him bacteria-laden street food.

But not before we made him clean our apartment, as we do with all our guests.

First up: we trekked across the city to the river, where we went on a one-hour river cruise in a long-tail boat. This is my favourite type of site seeing – you get to see cool stuff, but you get to avoid the heat/crowds/any type of useful information.

Random but very cool buildings.

Wat Arun – temple of the dawn

A mothah of a suspension bridge

Every time Andy tried to prop up his throbbing ankle on his seat, our rough’n’ready captain screamed at him in Thai. Welcome to Bangkok, Andy.

After the boat ride, we squeezed our large farang selves into the non-existent gaps on the train, and headed to Sukhumvit Soi 11. Time for a bowl of mystery noodles in the pleasant 100% humidity of downtown Bangkok.

Todd knows what’s coming…

The enthusiasm cannot be contained.

These adventures weren’t quite enough to give Andy a complete picture of life in Bangkok, so we pumped him full of ibuprofen and took him to Above Eleven, one of Bangkok’s numerous roof top bars. The photos don’t do it justice, but the views are almost as dizzying as the price of drinks.

And a creepily overexposed photo. It’s so rare that I get a normal photo of myself that I had to post it anyway.

We finished the night off by getting stranded on the highway when our taxi ran out of gas. Not a problem: we hopped the median and scampered/gimped across four high speed lanes of traffic. And then binged on Magnum bars to ease the trauma. Just another night in Bangkok.

Today, Andy flies home. Todd is mourning the loss of his partner in boneheadedness, while Andy is probably finding his long-haul flight surprisingly restful.

*Exhibit A: exploring Calgary’s underground sewer system and nearly passing out from noxious gases.

**Although their chocolate cake is so revolting that it should be illegal.

***In the words of Todd’s mother: “Tell those boys that they aren’t as young as they used to be!”