November 17, 2015

November Updates

I haven't written for a while. I've been getting to know Egg (our kitten), reading Orwell's "Burmese Days," and learning how to be myself in this new Northern Thai context. I also haven't had Internet access at home for nearly a week.

Egg is growing so fast. She has probably doubled in size (weight at least) since we picked her up nearly a month ago. She's been getting her kitten vaccinations every other weekend and seems to be in very good health. According to the internet, she will be losing her kitten teeth soon, and that means she'll be gnawing on everything and have bad breath. Not a huge change from the usual, but I'm glad there is a purpose for the gnawing. She is probably one of the most spoiled kittens I've ever known. Two parents to pay attention to everything she does, a big cat tower to climb, and lots of toys to scatter around the apartment. She even gets to play on the iPad. She likes the cat app ok, but her favorite is the photo rolls, where she can use her digging instincts to scroll at lightning speed through all of her best selfies. It's darn cute. She has also learned about sleeping preferences. She's not allowed to sleep on the bed because it causes us too many allergic reactions, so she has learned to put herself to bed in the bed on her cat tower when we go to sleep. It's awesome. She doesn't even wake us up in the night. All the cat parents out there--are you jealous?

While Egg is no match for a child, I do appreciate the grounding effect of a being under my care. I want to be at home to be with her, and she gives me a very strong sense of purpose. It's nice, especially for someone like me who tends to be a workaholic (or binge-TV watcher) unless I have another outlet for my energy. Another amazing Egg fact is that she goes on walks! She's got a leash and harness, and we take her to nice walking spots and let her explore. We are still working on pace, and sometimes it feel more like dragging, but she's getting better every day.

Alan and I are learning which adventures we do together and which we do separately. The big-ass scary caves--separate. I get about three steps in and panic, mainly due to the stories that some friends told us about scooting through a pitch-black narrow tunnel into a tiny cave room only to come face-to-face is a spider the size of a grown man's hand. That combination of tiny spaces and big arachnoids is my idea of a nightmare, not a Saturday afternoon. I'll be in the parking lot with my book, thanks.

I do like the drives we go on, and I can handle most of what's involved with getting to waterfalls. Sometimes the hikes freak me out because I'm always worried about snakes and bugs (they are plentiful, though mercifully, mostly they hide from humans). I guess I could also worry about leopards, but I don't...yet.

Caves and the outdoors, in general, may be Alan's spot, but grocery shopping? That's my arena. It may not seem like an adventure, but shopping in a language you don't speak is always interesting, and usually exhausting.

I also managed to arrange the fixing of our motorbike's flat tire. It involved an in-person conversation (in Thai) at the shop about the bike and how it was at our house. I also had to talk on the phone briefly. That wasn't very successful, but somehow it was still ok. They found me and the bike, loaded the bike into their truck and took me and the bike back to the shop where, for just about 5 bucks, we got a new tire and a full hour's labor. Prices for services here are very different. 

We successfully got our license plates for the truck too. Whatever perceptions you have of your local DMV, just thank your lucky stars that things are in a language you know well and are mostly digital. Even with our Thai colleague, the process was super complicated. It involved about 17 different employees, and 3 hours of signing, copying, inspecting, stamping, and resigning various documents and official record books. We get to do a similar process for our motorbike soon.

The shower water heater and clothes washer are making life a lot more pleasant. Doing laundry no longer takes 5 hours, and I don't have to cringe when I think about taking a cold shower at night. Modern creature comforts help this modern creature a lot!

My classes are nearing the end. We've got about four weeks left in the semester, and I'm looking forward to getting the first one under my belt. Once you know the system, things get so much easier.

So I guess that's the overview from here. Mostly Egg, a little adventure, and I also work.