Getting to school everyday can be a real adventure. To start with I hope on our dirt bike and drive to the local wat (Buddhist Temple), from there I hop on a boat and take it all the way to the school. The boat ride is crazy let me tell you! The boat is about 60 feet long, 15 feet wide, and very clearly states that it holds 80 people. Somehow this little fact -- which is clearly stated in red, bold letters is somehow missed by the boat driver and the ticket guys and by the time it's stopped at all the docks on the way to school there's probably 250 people crammed into it.
I wish I could talk to people on the way to school so I could practice my Thai, but due to the huge diesel engine in the center of the boat roaring all I can do is put on my noise cancelling headphone and pray that I don't die from the noxious black smoke that pours into the boat anytime it slows down to pick passengers up at a dock.
When we moved to Bangkok I thought we were just going to be stuck in the middle of the city, and sometimes it is tempting to feel that way, but God in his mercy has so abundantly blessed us. We didn't really know any of the following when we moved into our house, but we live a 3 minute walk away from a big park on the edge of a small lake that has fish to feed, so it's really nice to be able to get the kids outside every afternoon to play and get some sunshine. If that wasn't enough, there's a free climbing wall 15 minutes from the house! God didn't have to put a climbing wall nearby -- and free at that -- but he did, and it's been a ton of fun to be able to climb a couple times a week.
We also live only about 10 minutes away from one of the most friendly, outreach-minded churches either Maria or I have ever attended. It's an international church so everything is in English which is really nice not only so the kids understand what is going on, but so Maria and I can actually hear a sermon and gain some encouragement getting to talk to other people on a weekly basis.
Even though Bangkok is a city of 12 million people, just a couple hour drive out of the city will take you into a countryside that has mountains, cliffs to climb, monkeys to feed, oceans, beaches, and rice patties. It's been wonderful to be able to get out into nature and see the wonderful creation God has made for us. And every time we get out of the city it reminds me again of just how amazing God is to have created nature. I've always been a lover of the outdoors, but if nothing else, this time we've been spending in Bangkok has just increased my love of the quiet of the outdoors and the smell of fresh, unpolluted air.