Thursday, August 11, 2011
We are settling into a routine of lazy days. With school starting Monday, I know this will all change but it is nice to enjoy the slower pace for now and we are glad to have some downtime before the craziness begins.
I wake up about 4.30 each morning so I can walk the dogs for about 45 minutes before my run. I feel very safe being out so early in Nichada and there are guardhouses at the entrance to each neighborhood so help is never too far away if I need it. Running has been a challenge here. After three years of running in Miami, I did not expect to take so long to adjust to the heat and humidity and I am just now able to run my 7 miles at my usual pace. In Miami, I was running 5 days a week for about 30 miles each week. I can't see myself continuing to run 5 days a week in this heat and humidity as it just takes too much out of me. So, I am trying to decide if a) I should reduce my weekly mileage/running days and pick up another cardio activity for 1 or 2 days or b) run the 30 miles but over 4 days. I leaning toward option "b" and might try to do a longer run of 8 or 9 miles this weekend to see how it goes. It will begin to cool off (a very little bit) as Fall and Winter near so that might help too. Kevin does not like running in this weather any more than I do but he is much tougher and does not whine (or over analyze) as much. Ha!
Kevin leaves for work about 5.45 am. Although many people drive downtown, Nichada provides transportation (via several shuttle vans) to and from the Embassy each morning and afternoon. Kevin usually drives in with someone but has taken the shuttle a few times. If he leaves Nichada before 5.50 am, he can be in his office at 6.10 am. If he leaves Nichada at 6.10 am, he will be in his office at 7.30 am. It is all a matter of timing. In the evenings, he has found that, regardless of the time of his departure from downtown and whether he goes via shuttle, private car or taxi, it takes an hour to get home. The first week he worked very long hours but this week has not been so bad. In fact, we have seen him for dinner 2 out of 3 evenings! Once our car arrives, he will drive most days because the last shuttle to Nichada from downtown leaves at 5.30 pm and, most nights, that is just too early for him.
It is very easy and inexpensive to take taxis either downtown or to areas not accessible by the golf cart. For a trip to or from downtown it takes about 25 minutes during non-rush times and costs about 200 baht or $6.00. Most of the times, my tip is almost 1/2 of the taxi fare. The tipping here is interesting. Tips are not expected at all and the Thais are so very appreciate for whatever "extra" they are given. I try to tip at least 100 baht ($3.00) and am always thanked profusely. One nearby restaurant brings out a HUGE gong, stands next to your table and bangs it whenever an especially generous tip is left. The first time this happened to us, I almost died of embarrassment! Next time, we will leave the tip and run.
The kids both had required summer reading for school so they have been catching up with that. Caitlynne has determined that the school has an amazing library and she has found a lot of new books to read. She is such an enthusiastic reader that she will have to pace herself so she does not read everything by Christmas! The library also has three international papers delivered daily so I will be able to keep up with what is going on in the world (or at least what is not covered by http://www.washingtonpost.com/). Christopher has been staying up pretty late so he usually sleeps in until about 9.30 or 10 am. Caitlynne, like her mother, is the early riser. We spend the mornings puttering around the house and running a few errands before lunch. After lunch, we meet up with friends at the pool or somewhere else so the kids can all play together for the afternoon. None of the other moms I have met will be working so it will be nice to have women around during the day to do fun things with. The US and Thailand do not have an agreement for local employment so spouses and dependents of the US Government employees cannot work on the economy except under special circumstances. The only option is to work at the Embassy and those positions are very limited.
I have been making a few dinners but the pots and pans supplied in the Welcome Kit are very limited and not of the best quality so it is not an easy thing to do. I am also still finding my way around the grocery stores and sometimes cannot find all of the ingredients I need for some recipes. Many nights we just order delivery from one of the many restaurants in the area as it is incredibly inexpensive and the food is very good. All of the restaurants will deliver, including the fast food places like McDonald's, Subway, and Pizza Hut (yes, those places are all here!).
Our evenings have been very quiet. Kevin has had a few evening work dinners or functions and we have gone out with some other families for dinner but that is it. I keep reminding myself to enjoy these quiet evenings because once homework, studying, sports and practices begin, they will be few and far between.