Surprise Beauty

8:51 AM

Our life in Chiang Mai here has been exciting but also challenging - in some ways because the culture and location is totally different, but in many ways just because we’ve chosen a different lifestyle here than we had back in Minneapolis. A huge difference is that we decided to not own a car here and just use our motorcycles, bicycles, Chiang Mai’s scattered forms of public transportation, and walking around. With the impending arrival of Camille, everyone suggested that we get a car. We committed to not transporting her on our motorcycles because of the dangers of it here, so that left public cars and walking. Maybe bicycles eventually.

For the 4th of July, a couple from our birth class who is expecting their first child in a month hosted a party at their house about a half hour outside of Chiang Mai. The majority of our new life with baby has shrunk to a very small radius from our home in the city and we rely on the graciousness of friends and the occasional taxi car to get us any farther. But I was determined to give Camille her first American holiday experience and for us to get out of the house and socialize a bit!

Getting out to the Chiang Mai suburbs took a lot of effort. Even without a baby needing attention, it would have been a stressful coordination - the taxi calling service speaks English but the drivers don’t. Verbal directions in Thailand are based on landmarks, maps are rarely used, and our street doesn’t even have a name! So we’ve found it a constant challenge to give people directions to our place - particularly in a language we’re still beginners in.

After the initial chaos of coordinating and tracking down our cab, Camille slept on me in the baby carrier the whole way there and we as pulled up to the party, Jasmine, who was our Doula during birth, came running out and scooped her up. We spent the next few hours indulging in all kinds of food and treats I haven’t had in the last year and socializing with Americans who have all found themselves in Thailand for one purpose or another.

The couple hosting the party is also from MN and they are here with an organization that runs a community center on the edge of Chiang Mai. It turns out that their mission partners were unable to return to Chiang Mai for over a year and their car has been sitting untouched for many months. Near the end of the party, our hosts, Heather and Jared explained that they had checked with their partners before we arrived and all agreed that we should have their car for the next year while they are gone. I think I was actually speechless. Tory and I had been so determined to not buy a car and to adapt to the complications transporting a baby in Chiang Mai without one, that even the desire for a car was long gone. It was bewildering to just have one placed in our laps.

It has already been a wonderful gift. On the way home we thanked God for knowing our desires or needs before we do. We wanted to make it work without a car. He decided we should have one.
And it already had a carseat in it. I teared up on the way home at the surprise beauty of it all and we started talking about all the places we could go, people we could visit, and most of all that we can all travel together.

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