Monday, June 29, 2015

Tides of time 2015

[24.06.2015]

Dear Matt and Mar,

As the end of school year approaches, the amount of activities at school for the both of you had sky rocketed, haa haa haa haa haa haa. This past Wednesday was ‘prize giving’, each child was put into a category and was given a prize, Matt was in the ‘writer’ category.

Prize giving-00713Prize giving-00740What kind of took my breath away was actually after the prize giving, when we took Matt to try out his new uniform, lol. Suddenly, by just a change of clothes my ‘baby’ was no longer standing in front of me, but instead a little man was there staring back, lol.

It will be fun to teach you to do a Tie, I can still remember Mr. Burfield (Head Master of Skippers Hill Manors) teaching me the ‘Full Windsor’ (I’d just giggled, it sounded like a line from one of ‘Carry On’ films (now I am showing my age)).

Soon Mar will also have to change her uniform from an ill fitted t-shirt and colourful shorts to a ‘proper’ dress (with a hat)… truly the tides of time… and in an blink of an eye, ‘graduation’? Haa haa haa haa haa.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

No Playdough, lol.

[27.06.2015]

Root farm Saturday-00874Dear Matt and Mar,

Well today was just a little strange, Saturday was going swimmingly, until we got to the last class of the day. Matt went to his usual Thai class with spring in his steps, but for some unknown reason Mar refuses to join the playdough group. Well there were already signs in the cars driving up to the place.

Instead, she wanted to got to the ‘Jungle house’, well, after some serious scratching of heads we’d finally found out that the so called ‘Jungle house’ was our last place of stay in Pattaya, haa haa haa. I think she was using the ‘Jungle house’ excuse not to join the playdough playtime.

That was a slight knock to the routine, but fortunately she had also mentioned about feeding some sheep, and we know that just down the road (walking distance) there was this ‘Root Garden’ right in the concrete jungle of Thonglor. We have been here once (briefly) before, and had already been written up in the earlier post.

But this time was slightly different, we actually had some ‘proper’ time to have fun. Matt’s class was for an hour, so Mar had at least that; your mother had decided to make herself more beautiful, so it was just Mar and I trodding along Thonglor to the ‘Root Garden’.

It was quite a great place to hang, the breeze was strong and the sun was in hiding, this combination meant it was enjoyable to be out and about again (rather than being able to fry an egg on the footpath). The coffee shop was fantastic, the prices were ‘too’ reasonable and the taste easily matches all the much ‘hyped’ brands out there, and most importantly they have ice cream… haa haa haa haa haa haa.

So there I was chilling and Mar was off somewhere feeding the goats and watering the plants (with a short ‘ice cream’ break), an hour felt like five minutes, lol. Soon Matt and your mother joined, and we had a discussion that Mar may never want to go back to the playdough class. It was kind of like a Déjà vu, Matt was exactly the same, after a year and a bit he turned around one day and said ‘no thanks’, and that was that for the playdough time.

Turned out to be yet another great Saturday though, lol.

 

Root farm Saturday-00879

 

Root farm Saturday-00887

 

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Root farm Saturday-00906

Friday, June 26, 2015

New Routine :-)

[21.04.2015]

Homework-PageDear Matt and Mar,

Since your mother is so busy at work, a new routine has developed in our house. I am now no longer the last person home :-) Most nights I would be home around seven-ish, just in time for you two to be finishing up your supper.

After supper would be some TV time, then the fun time begins... haa haa haa, shower and brushing of teeth never seems to get any easier, lol. Flushing out Matt’s sinuses is the latest routine, and that has helped out so much with his blocked up nose.

After you two are nice and clean, it would be time for homework, especially for Matt, but Mar, as always wanted to be a part of everything, so she has her ‘colouring’ homework to do too. This is probably my favourite time of the evening, Matt and I try to do all of the weekly homework by Wednesday. So for Thursday and Friday instead of homework we would spend about 40 mins on the PS4 playing Lego Marvels.

I’ve never expected Lego Marvel to be so much fun, working together with Matt to solve the puzzles has turned out to be the the biggest laugh of all. Shouting instructions to Matt and vice versa reminded me a lot of all the boarding school banters in the dorm (although this one is the ‘clean’ version, haa haa haa).

Around nine each evening you two would already be in dreamland... as for me? I would jump back onto the PS4 to save the world once more... haa haa haa.

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[I don’t know how hit has happened, but apparently this post had been written way back in April, but for some unknown reason it was saved in ‘draft’ within Windows Live Writer (my utmost fav. program) and I had totally forgotten about it, until I saw it by accident just literally 3 minutes ago]

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Short break in Pattaya

[30.05 - 01.06.2015]

Dear Matt and Mar,

This past Monday was a our ‘Wisakha Bucha day’, this is a Buddhist holiday, in short it is the day when Buddha was born, achieved enlightenment and passing, for us Buddhist this is quite an important day (to say the least).

For you, it meant a long weekend (although we’d just found out upon our return that Matt and Mar both had school, haa haa haa, oh well).

Since our last break in Hua Hin was a bit of a nightmare (although it did turn out great in the end), so we thought we should get away once again, and Pattaya seems a good choice as any, and it has been a while since we’ve met up with our friend, and you both love to visit your Uncle Chat and his family (2 kids your age).

Driving East towards Pattaya was a bit of a nightmare, long weekend traffic is never enjoyable, unless you are a masochist. But finally we got there in the end, our usual place of stay (Villa Wanida).

SplashingYou both were in fantastic mood, the sun was out (but I’d wish it wasn’t, way too hot of late), and the birds were singing (it was probably cursing at the Sun for being too hot). After a quick lunch and a short break we all headed to the pool, and in no time supper time was upon us, so we all headed to Uncle Chat’s house (literally 5 mins away). You two and Gun and Chan (Uncle Chat’s kids) had a fantastic time, singing and dancing all evening... haa haa haa.

Sunday morning was a bit of a question mark on what we should do, but once again your mother came up with a suggestion, I am not exactly sure of the name of the place but it has sheep and ponies (what else does one need), haa haa haa. It was the morning well spent, you two had a great time. I wasn’t too keen on staying too long, the Sun was angrier than usual, even in the shaded areas were not enough to keep us cool.

Feeding time

Riding time

Misc

I’d decided we should stay away from the sun and heat in the afternoon, so we headed to the popular mall of lunch (nice and cool), then after some shopping we headed off to the resort for swimming time.

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Yesterday’s and today’s pool time was terrible for me, jumping into the pool was like jumping into a freshly made ‘cup of soup’, haa haa haa. For the first time it was uncomfortable to be in the pool, the water was way too hot, instead of cooling off it was just the opposite, haa haa haa, but you two didn’t care one bit, lol. The evening were more dancing at Uncle Chat’s place, lol.

Came Monday morning (checkout day), we’d decided to leave early and head towards Sriracha Tiger Zoo, of course there were more than tigers, this was your only second visit. I was hoping for more breeze, but none came, luckily there were plenty of shades for us to dash around under, lol.

Tiger zoo

Mar insisted on visiting and feeding every animal in the petting pen (from elephants to little lambs, haa haa haa). Matt on the other hand had his heart on the fish feet spa and shooting the tiger’s feed (they put bits of meat in small cube metal boxes, which were hung five or six meters above seven or eight tigers in the enclosure, each box has a small round target above it, to which we would shoot with an air gun. If you hit the target, the box opens and releases the meat to the tigers).

By the early afternoon, after all the heat and activities, Matt was begging to go home and he was getting visibly tired, Mar on the other hand was like pac-man still running and singing. As soon as we reached the car, Matt was out quicker than the Enterprise on warp drive. I don’t know what Mar was on but there was no sign of her sleeping at all, so I resorted to putting on a cartoon for her to watch... snoring like an elephant about 5 mins later, haa haa haa.

It was an excellent long weekend, although we’d found out that we inadvertently took Matt out of school for one day, it was well worth it.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Women homeless shelter

[24.05.2015]

Dear Matt and Mar,

As it was soon to be Otto’s birthday, his family was arranging lunch for the homeless women (shelter) somewhere to the north of Bangkok, you both, Sofia.R and several others were invited. However Sofia’s mother was away overseas, and as we are living in the same condo it just made sense for Sofia to come with us.

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There was a slight misunderstanding so our group arrived a little late, lunch had already been served, so you three didn’t have a chance to help out, however you were in time to help out with the dessert though, running around handing out ice creams and ice lollies.

The atmosphere was so different than a couple of weeks ago when we visited the Orphanage, as mentioned earlier, these ladies must have had a very hard life, whether mentally or physically, and it was very obvious that they all needed help and I am glad there is a place like this to take care of them.

I had avoided taking any photos of the tenants out of respect for their privacy, but did manage to take a couple of photos of the gang as we were about to leave. We were in a bit of a rush as it was getting on, and I knew I had three very hungry children in the van, haa haa haa.

I can not post any of the photos here because I have not asked the parents of all your friends if it was ok for me to post a photo of their child in this post, I think I would be miffed too if someone posted a photo of you two on the internet without our permission.

After lunch Matt promised to meet up with Sofia for a swim, and as a bonus you two managed to play a game of Uno as well... No Matt, you didn’t win, haa haa haa. I do love the plastic Uno cards though, especially made to be played by the pool.

Because we were in such a rush (to the restaurant, as I could hear your stomach rumbling) I didn’t have the time to make a small donation to the shelter, but with today’s tech it was easier to find them on line, and by chance I’d also found another shelter under the same name but for men. A few days later a small donation was made to both shelter, I am planning to do this monthly, they do really need everyone’s support.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tiring Saturday… haa haa haa

[20150523]

Dear Matt and Mar,

I must have mentioned this several times throughout so many posts in the past, Saturday is the most busiest day of the week, haa haa haa haa, so many activities for you two.

During the weekend I always carry the camera around just in case a photo op comes up, and most weekends the camera bag stays closed, but even one photo makes it all worth the effort of lugging the blooming thing around all day.

Tiring Saturday-00312-horz

Saturday, June 6, 2015

A friend’s BD… :-)

[17.05.2015]

SFD BD-00255Dear Matt and Mar,

There are three Sofias in your class, so each time we say ‘Sofia’ one must follow the ‘Sofia’ with the surname initial,it is the perfect solution, haa haa haa. Well unless you were me, somehow in my head it works better to follow each ‘Sofia’ with where they have come from... Sofia Spain, Sofia UK and Sofia Australia, the surname still leaves me in a blank state, haa haa haa.

Anyway Sofia.D (aka singing Sofia (she is a good singer), aka Sofia Australia) had her birthday a few weeks ago, and we were invited to a pool party, this was the first pool party for any of us. What a great idea, instead of hiring a clown or a magician, Sofia’s parents arranged for a pool party. The organiser comes to your pool with a huge water platform, toys, slides and so much more...

I was a little scared for Mar though, as she tends to want to join in with Matt and his much older friends, luckily the pool has a small kid pool but it didn’t mean Mar was going to stay where she had been placed... haa haa haa, she gave me at least almost 3 heart attacks.

The day was brilliant, after the pool party it all ended with 2 huge Pinata... wow, those kids can hit hard... haa haa haa.

I am avoiding posting too many photos of your friends, or where I can I’ll just blur it, or make the photos on the small side, privacy is not my call so less exposure the better :-)


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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Barnaby Bear is Back


[10.05.2015]
Dear Matt and Mar,

Barnaby Bear was back with us once again... wow, let the fun time begins, haa haa haa haa haa. Nothing to write really, just wanted to share the photos that were glued into your class book.

The book does the round with your classmates and all I can say is that... ... ... Matt, you have to improve on your handwriting... haa haa haa, no seriously you really need to improve, lol.

                      

Orphanage Visit

[10.05.2015]
Dear Matt and Mar,

We are trying to make this a ‘thing’ for the both of you, so it will be a twice a year visit to either an orphanage or other similar places. Otto (Matt’s close friend) went to shelter for homeless women, and I think this is the place where we shall be going for Mar’s birthday in November.

You two and us are lucky to have what we have, we may not be swimming in gold coins like Scrooge McDuck, but we have food whenever we are hungry, blankets when we are cold, air con when we are hot and a roof over our heads, we are healthy and life is full of opportunities.

Pakkred Babies' Home
For others life is a struggle as soon as they open their eyes to the world, so this year we took you two to ‘Pakkred Babies’ Home’ to make a small donation as it was Matt’s Birthday. It was great to see that the facilities are in great condition and the place is full of toys and activity zones (even a small swimming pool), looks like a good environment for children.

Coincidentally, this week was also the week for Matt to bring Barneby home, haa haa haa haa, not the most jolly of places to take the class teddy and then having to write a page of text on it (just write it big Matt, less room to fill) haa haa haa.

A few weeks after, as mentioned earlier, we went to the shelter for homeless women with Otto and his parents, and the atmosphere was very different, most of the tenants must have had a very, very hard life, which had affected them physically and mentally, we’ll leave that for another post.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

He wanted a PlayStation 4.

Matt is 7-00118Dear Matt and Mar,

Several months back Matt had already told us what he wanted for his birthday, and he was so adorable... he wanted either a Wii, XBox or Playstation, whichever is the cheapest... haa haa haa.

In terms of appropriate gaming (your age) I was going to get the Wii U, but believe it or not, these are quite hard to find in Thailand and even more difficult to find the games. So Wii U was struck off the list, with only PlayStation or Xbox remains.

My ever first game console was an Atari (yes your grandfather did spoil me just a little, lol), then there was a huge gap before I’d bought the PlayStation one (purely for Tomb Raider) and then another huge gap before I’d bought the Wii (which was later stolen by the burglars, bastar%s).

So when Matt said he wanted a game console I had literally leaped over the moon (but I hid it really well in front of your mother though haa haa haa), because this time no excuse was needed to be given to your mother lol. The choice remains were either an XBox One or PlayStation 4, and the seesawing of decision truly started.

PlayStation was the first in mind, the XBox took over because it was more of an all around box, this went back and forth for over 2 months, at the end it just came down to the retail outlet, both XBox and Wii U has no official retail outlets but are both distributed through dealers, which are often, look as trustworthy as a Del Boy wearing a clown uniform whilst smoking a big fat cigar, standing in a dark alley on a moonless night and trying to flog you a brand new briefcase from Czechoslovakia (especially when this country doesn’t exist anymore).

Sony on the other hand has their own official Sony stores dotted all over the place, of course the console is a little more expensive here (than buying from the dealers) but with a certain credit cards one can split the payment into 4 months installment at 0% interest, quite handy.

After a little research, XBox One console can be found easily enough but the games are not as abundant as PlayStation 4’s games. In the past these consoles can be modified to play illegal bootleg games, but for the current PS4, it will only play official legal games, and these can be quite expensive between 1,500 - 2,000 THB per game (I am completely behind buying the legal version anyway). Besides, with internet connection one can always buy and download games from the Net (assuming you have already set up your PSN account).

Several days later I’d returned to pick up the PS4 Camera, and to my surprise I’d found out I have collected enough points on my reward card so I had to pay absolutely nothing for the camera (over 2,500 THB) :-)

Matt wanted ‘The Lego Movie’ game, but those were no where to be found, and I wanted a disc version so that Matt can play it straight away rather than having to wait for the download, so had to settled for ‘Lego Marvel’ game... to me a much better game, lol.

As for myself I had really wanted to try the PSN and their payment system, and decided to buy a game call ‘Styx’, the name does not by any mean represent the quality of the game, haa haa haa. After creating a PSN account via a browser (Chrome), the rest was as easy as eating an ice-cream on a hot summer day. The PS4 connects to the home Wi-Fi effortlessly, signing in was as simple as ABC, buying and downloading a game was ‘frighteningly’ easy... push a few buttons and Sony was sucking my money right out of my pocket (willingly on my part, lol).

But for the PS4 to be more fun for you two, I had to get the PS4 camera, the ‘Playroom’ games were mesmerising, but I am easily entertained, just ask your mother... haa haa haa, can’t wait to download ‘Rabbids’ tonight... lol.

Matt is seven :-)

[05.05.2015]

Matt is 7-00065Dear Matt and Mar,

Wow, 5th of May had already been and gone... and so ‘Happiest of Birthday’ to you Matt... :-)

Mar was much more excited than Matt ever was, haa haa haa, and she must have sung ‘Happy Birthday’ to Matt more times than there are Russians in Pattaya.

So the mayhem starts, 5th of May is also a public holiday to celebrate our beloved King’s coronation anniversary, well apart for Matt as his school was still open. Not to our surprise, the roads were absolutely empty and after dropping off Matt only to find out that Matt’s morning break had moved up from 10:30 to 09:00. So I was in my formula one mode driving to the cake shop, picked up two cakes, one for school and one for home.

Matt is 7-00079After the picking up the cakes, had to rushed home to pick up Mar, your mother and auntie Tip, then head back to the school just in time for Matt’s morning break. Mar was crying because there was no room for her to sit with Matt, but we cured that fast enough with the magic chocolate cake... haa haa haa haa haa.

After Matt’s morning break, our family stayed behind to join the whole school’s celebration of our King’s coronation anniversary, so it was the morning well spent :-)

In the evening it was all about Matt’s present... PS4! (I was more excited than Matt, lol) and another round of cake for Mar... haa haa haa. Happy Birthday Matt, and don’t play too much Lego Marvel... haa haa haa.

Your mother and I, and a few other parents had already begun talking about sending our children overseas… haa haa haa haa haa. I was shipped off to England when I was ten, and that had really helped me to be assimilated (in a good way) into the culture and the life. Now with so many years behind me, I think I should have gone sooner, but my heart will surely be shattered into pieces if I don’t get to see you or Mar every morning, noon and night.

 

Matt is 7-00110

Saturday fun

[02.05.2015]

Dear Matt and Mar,

Any break from our Saturday routine are always most welcome, haa haa haa. Instead of rushing home after the final activity (Thai Class for Matt and Art Class for Mar), we’d stopped by... actually I don’t quite know what to call it... perhaps the best term would be ‘community’ garden? Just did a quick Google (is it safe to use ‘Google’ as a verb instead of the word ‘Search’?), one online newspaper is calling it an ‘Urban farm’, the actual name is in fact ‘Root Garden’.

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One donates money to access the garden, which is full of activity for young children, as well as a cafe for us boring old fogies too... haa haa haa haa haa. What impresses me the most were the staff, super nice, super helpful and super kind. To have this kind of setup right in the heart of Thonglor is something very different and a superb idea :-)

Mar quickly made new friends, and Matt & Mar were both hooked on feeding the goats and watering the plants :-) Oh how I miss England, all those greeneries, anything is better than this concrete jungle, lol.

In the evening, all I can say about supper was that the carrots were a little on the chunky side... haa haa haa.