Holidaze

Happy (belated) Hohohoholidays! We’ve been pretty busy partying it up in Bangkok: The Portly Princess particularly enjoys rockin’ out at 4am (and 12am and 2:30am and 6am). It’s a good thing she’s cute…

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Are you criticizing my sleeping habits again?!

This was our first Christmas in Bangkok (we spent Christmas last year picking fights in India). It was sad to be so far from our families, but fortunately, we have a bunch of great friends in Bangkok. We thought it would be fun to give our new child-centric social life a test drive, so our dinner guests included another newborn, a one-year-old, and an extremely pregnant lady.

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Some prolific procreation goin’ on here, folks

We weren’t ambitious enough to tackle a turkey dinner. Instead, we had a potluck with “food” as the theme. While it was sad to miss the usual butchered clucker, the assortment of substitutes were pretty great.

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Part of the spread

I didn’t realize it during my pregnancy, but December is the best month to give birth – already having a wonky post-baby body PLUS the insane calorie requirements of nursing means feasting with no guilt! At least that’s what I told myself…

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My first plate. Is it bad that I went for thirds… (not including dessert)

The combination of two newborns and a one-year-old meant that someone was always soothing a floppy bobblehead or prying The Anglican Book of Common Prayer out of little clutching fingers, but a good time was had by all.

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Whoops! I think Rina and I mixed our babies up…

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Soon-to-be-father Zach practices his infant feeding technique

New Years Eve was simultaneously less and more eventful than Christmas. Less eventful, because we were lame and stayed home on New Years Eve, but more eventful because a visitor arrived unexpectedly…

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She does a lot of unexpected things

My sister Sarah’s flight was supposed to arrive on New Years Eve just before midnight. Turns out that itineraries are not always accurate. As I was rocking Zoe at 5am on the morning of New Years Eve, I heard a knock on the door. Even in my sleep-deprived stupor, the timing seemed a little weird, and when I looked out of our peephole, I was surprised to see our apartment’s maintenance man. He’s a very helpful guy, so I figured he was there for a non-nefarious purpose, and opened the door. In his extremely limited English, he informed me that my sister had been sleeping in the lobby of our apartment building since 2 am. Oops. Turns out her itinerary was off by almost 24 hours. Fortunately, Sarah is nothing if not competent in strange situations, and she managed to find her way from the airport to our apartment building. She phoned us and knocked on our door several times, but her sister and brother-in-law are apparently a couple of narcoleptics, and didn’t hear either. She awoke to an anxious sister hovering over her prone form. Fortunately, the visit has improved since then…

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“Soothing” her niece with the recorder

Todd went back to school today after 2 weeks of holidays – Zoe is already missing her favourite napping buddy.

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Now that the weird holiday schedule is over, it’s time to enact one of my New Years resolutions: getting my Portly Princess to stop sounding like a geriatric goat when she sleeps and keeping us all awake. The number of blog posts you see in the near future may depend on my success…

A Koh Chang New Year

There’s nothing Todd’s school likes better than celebrating the new year, and last week we had a week-long holiday to commemorate the third new year of the year (this is not a typo). First, we experienced the standard Western new year (“Comes after Christmas but before Valentine’s Day!”). Then, in February, we got to taste the joys of the Chinese new year and its accompanying week-long holiday. Finally, Thailand got it together, and rang in the new year in April. What can I say – if it translates into a holiday, I’m game to celebrate as many new years as the school wants.

With a week off work and a mother in tow, we thought it apropos to explore a bit more of this beautiful country. We asked friends for suggestions, and after discarding various ideas – “too expensive,” “too crowded,” “too stoned” – we settled on Koh Chang, an island located in the Gulf of Thailand. We packed up Momalot, and began the 8 hour trip to get to the island.

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After getting off the ferry, it took us a while to find a song-taew (a shared truck taxi) to take us to our guesthouse, as the island was packed with people celebrating the new year. They especially enjoyed celebrating into our vehicle with buckets of ice water. Much to my mother’s delight, we spent the song-taew ride either racing around blind corners at breakneck speed, or slowing down and getting doused. A great start to the holiday.

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Moist.

Turns out that arriving soaked was a foreshadowing of the days to come. For the first three days, it poured rain like a mothah on Koh Chang. The last time I’ve seen rain like that, I was up to my knees in the monsoon in the streets of Kolkata, trying to avoid kicking dead rats. So that’s how the island stays so green… Good thing it doesn’t take much to amuse Momalot. She spent her time teaching Todd how to play the recorder.

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Which I stole from him in order to demonstrate proper playing posture.

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And then Momalot stole it to soothe herself to sleep

Our guesthouse was lovely and quiet, but sorta in the middle of nowhere. This wasn’t a problem, except at mealtimes. We had two options for restaurants if we wanted to eat nearby, and one of them was filled with blazing neon lights, a blaring Thai soap opera, and staff that seemed completely disinterested in serving us. So we ate at the other option, which was quieter, and had some fun dogs hanging around. The staff managed to get our order wrong almost every time we ate there, but on the plus side, my mother learned a valuable lesson: do not attempt to customize your order when your waiter speaks limited/zero English.

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“I’d like our smoothies to be a proper rainbow, please.”

Fortunately, the rain let up on our last full day, and we took advantage of it. We hiked to a picturesque waterfall in one of the parks, and went for a swim. Unfortunately, many large European men wearing speedos had the same idea, but if you squinted hard enough, the scene was idyllic. It was nice to finally swim in water that was colder than bath water.

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This must have been the moment I spied the obese, semi-naked Russian man…

We also visited one of the island’s beautiful beaches, and ate a massive grilled meal by the water. Thai beaches tend to have tons of these restaurants – take a peek at the catch of the day, and choose what you want to eat. Just like at every buffet I have ever been to, I overdid it, and we ended up with a mountain of food. Honestly, though, this is a mountain I’m happy to climb any time.

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Somehow it all disappeared…

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The next day, it was time to head back to Banginkok, so we packed up the recorders and the mother, and hunkered down for another 8 hours of transit. It’s been rough getting back into the daily grind, but I feel at peace knowing that it will probably by the Kyrgyzstani new year soon, with an accompanying holiday.