Thailand: A Birthday I’ll Never Forget

Tim and me at a McDonald’s in Bangkok

So yesterday was my birthday! I love birthdays, even if I’m getting older.
I’ve had a great birthday week. We took the kiddos to Red Robin one night, I got a new laptop, woohoo! And my daughter cheered, because I cleaned hers off and gave it back. 
My son “took” me to Office Depot to buy me a new office chair and my daughter gave me a Dunkin Donuts and an iTunes gift card!
Tomorrow, Tim’s taking me out to one of my favorite places in Downtown Memphis for dinner. So I’m excited!

I’ve had many memorable birthdays, but  I’d have to say my best birthday was in 2008, when my husband and I went on a missions trip to Chiang Rai. 

We flew into Bangkok, a place that has smells I cannot describe, even as a writer. The heat was like a wet blanket, roasted over a fire then draped over you and we were there in their winter season! If you have bouts of frizzy hair, forgeddaboutit. 

A Buddhist temple, one of many we saw
and visited. 

We spent a day seeing the sights of Bangkok. Amazing, frightening, sobering. Overwhelming. 
We spent most of our time at a Children’s home, helping with some building projects and spending time with the children there. You can’t adopt the children,but we wished we could have.

After a day in Bangkok, we flew six hours into hill country, to Chiang Rai. A vast difference from the loud, crowded streets of Bangkok. 

It was full of rice fields, flowers I’d never imagined, roaming anorexic cattle and the Chiang Rai children’s home. A place where children are kept safe when their parents have to go to prison, or an alternative for children who might otherwise be sold into sexual slavery.

One of the hill tribes. There are so many
and one night they dressed in their costumes, that
represent their tribe and sang to us. It was

We fell in love with these children the moment we stepped off the rickety bus. I especially loved the babies and preschool age children. They couldn’t speak a lick of English (some of the older ones could) but a smile goes a long way in any language.

I’ve never seen children as grateful as these. They slept on beds that had ply wood for mattresses, their toys were strings, and their home, compared to what we see over here, made ghettos look good, but they’re safe. And loved. And fed. And taught about Jesus Christ.

Me holding Chom Po!

Our church has been partnering with them and have built some new accommodations. Tim and I fell in love with a little girl who was fairly new at the time; her name was Chom Po. If we could have packed her up and brought her home, we would have. She liked Tim better. Figures. At church he’s called the Baby Whisperer. 

We spent heated days working, painting concrete fences, dining halls, laying groundwork for a tiling project and loving on the children, showing the they are not only loved by Jesus and the children’s home, but clear across the world. 

Tim actually gets a smile out of her.
Baby Whisperer. I don’t know
what this powder is, but they all get it
smeared all over for bed time. She’s
in her P.J’s. 
Tim and I about to go for a ride. No seat belts.
Just a rickety old board with a paper thin cushion
and a rope. See how I’m grabbing at Tim’s
leg? I’m smiling, but I’m scared!

One day, we took a trip into Burma (Myanmar) and did some shopping. It was sad how many young children under the age of 8 tried to sell us pornography and Viagra.  Broke my  heart. Later that afternoon we rode elephants in a small Burmese village. I’m scared of animals, so to get to the platform I had Tim feed them bananas and then I ran. They kept wanting to “trunk” us. Eew, huh?

I mean these are wild elephants! I was glad Tim and I made a will out before our trip. No really. We did.

The elephant we rode. I guess it worked up
a thirst after lugging us around 30 minutes. 

Later, when we got back to the orphanage, Tim bought me a hand made quilt by the girls for my birthday. It’s on my bed! A reminder to pray for them every morning and every night.

My birthday gift on a bed in Thailand
Tim and me with the Governor, yeah
I’m saying that all British. We’re wearing
matching shirts because our pastor made us. It
was not by choice. lol

On my actual birthday, we were invited (which NEVER happens) to meet with the Governor of Chiang Rai and then to her personal home for dinner. It was A-mazing. Tons of food that terrified me, a home that blew me away and a woman who didn’t know Jesus, but her son is studying in America and lives with a pastor! Yes, that’s right. The governor is a woman. 

After lunch, we flew back to  Bangkok and we walked a billion miles through funky smells and crowded streets to eat at The Hard Rock Cafe. Real burgers! I hope.
The servers sang me happy birthday in Thai, gave me a rockin Hard rock shirt, took my picture and framed it and gave me a Bangkok, Hard Rock glass. It was awesome.  Later that night, I got a stomach bug and spent the whole night feeling like I might die. The next day I stayed in bed while they did more touring.  But it was still the most amazing wonderful experience I’ve ever had so far and the best birthday, yet! 

My rockin Tshirt, my picture on my
bed, with the quilt. My glass…I don’t
know where it was! I have it somewhere.

Tim leaves in a couple of weeks to go back to Thailand. I won’t be going this time, but I’ll be praying for him. This chance for him to go back is worth me not getting to go to the ACFW conference. 

This is my new laptop and my
new office chair! It’s brown, but
looks black! I love it!

What’s your best birthday memory?