It finally happened. I finally got to go visit Jen, who has been in Thailand over 2 years now!
This has been a dream trip in the making ever since she first mentioned she was off to training, but making the jump from dreaming to reality is sometimes more difficult. Somehow I managed to swing two weeks off work, and in exchange fell in love with a place halfway across the world.
We spent the first few days at the beach… and certainly it was the most beautiful place I have ever been! I kept saying I felt like we found the world’s hidden treasure. Fabulous.Also? Everywhere we went was practically empty. This added to my “hidden treasure” theory.I mean, are you kidding me??
When we weren’t island hopping to the clearest blue water ever, we spent the rest of our time on our “home beach” or riding an elephant.Yep! We did it!! For some reason, riding an elephant has been on my bucket list for years. Jen laughed at how giddy I was the whole time!Best. Day. Ever.
After our dream trip, we came back to Bangkok, where Jen lives. Bangkok is a city of 12 million people, and probably the largest city I’ve ever visited.People everywhere, and pink taxis! It took us a full day back in BKK to escape to fresher air and mountain views. We stayed at a house Jen’s church uses for retreats, up near a national park with wild elephants and wild tigers in it. (We didn’t see any, but they were there!)I loved this part of the trip, because we got to spend several days with some of Jen’s closest friends in Thailand. The quality time together made it even more fun. Jen’s mom’s visit even overlapped my own, which was awesome!
Everyone was able to make a 3-day trip happen, because it was during Songkran, Thailand’s biggest holiday of the year, and everyone gets 4 days off work. April is the hottest month of the year in Thailand, so to celebrate Thai New Year, the country has a nation-wide water fight for four full days. It was the funniest thing I have ever seen! As we drove around, kids would be waiting on the sides of the road with buckets full of water ready to douse each car (or pedestrian) in their path. Later we had our own celebration. You know, so we could get a full cultural experience and everything.We were COMPLETELY soaked. I’m fairly convinced we ought to incorporate this holiday in the USA too. Next April 13-15, let’s be ready friends!
The last couple days we spent in Bangkok, seeing a few sights around the city. Thailand is a Buddhist nation, so we visited the temple at the Grand Palace. Everything was sparkly and enticing. Also heartbreaking.
Seeing an active buddhist temple was hard to watch. I see idolatry all the time in the States, but it was much harsher here, watching hundreds of people bow to a little golden statue.
In other news, I also took more pictures of flowers on this trip than possibly ever. Flowers literally grow on every tree in Thailand, plus Jen took me to an amazing flower market at night around the corner from Chinatown. Flowers, like most things in Thailand, were ridiculously cheap, so I loaded up on them at every opportunity. How can a girl pass on orchids??We also visited Jen’s favorite park, in the heart of the city, and I found the most giant lily pads in the world! Surely. Exploring the park via rented hot pink Hello Kitty bikes (not pictured, but also not kidding), I kept exclaiming around every corner at the beauty of everything.While not on bikes, we beat the heat while walking with umbrellas. Raising the question… why don’t we do this in Texas??Sadly, the trip had to end eventually. I was in denial about leaving most of the time, but before we left we made sure to dress up in some Thai traditional wear.. and laughed the whole time about it.I hated to leave, but was so thankful for my new friends who took me to the airport, and helped me say goodbye to Jen. Saying goodbye to her was really hard, but I will admit it was easier this time around knowing more fully what her life is like. Now I’ll actually understand the stories, and that made the whole trip worth it!Until next time, Thailand. Miss you and Jen already.