We've made some new friends, and they are absolutely great! There is at least one student in each couple, we're all poor, and most of us are from the West Coast. We are building relationships that feel like family away from home and we love it. We decided to invite a couple over for the Superbowl. Then it turned into two couples. Then a couple that originally said no, changed their minds and decided to come. Then last minute we invited a neighbor boy that was recently baptized. Then it just turned into a big party in a little apartment! It was a blast!
We recently returned from the greatest adventure of our lives. Thailand was incredible and we are already anxious to go back. We backpacked to all corners of the country by train, bus, and airplane. I ate things I never thought I'd eat. We did things we never thought we'd do. What an eye opening, incredible experience it was.
Seeing the members tear up when "Elder Walker" walked in the room was a feeling I'll never forget. Watching the current Elders look up to him and value his opinion. Being served by these people who have close to nothing. It has changed us forever and was an experience we'll never forget.
I have also never felt so hideous yet so beautiful. I'd be covered in salty sweat, my hair like a lions mane, and Thai kids and teens would flock to us and photograph us like we were celebrities that just stepped out of a shiny black limousine. Not only would they take pictures of us, but they would wait in line to take pictures with us. We couldn't help but giggle and pretend like we were really all that great.
I hope you're ready for the biggest picture overload of your life.
But before we start, let's have a moment of silence for all of the many pictures that were lost. Pictures with members, pictures of after church parties, videos of the sweet members waving hello and having fun, a bbq with all of Derek's favorite members and friends from Thailand, pictures of an elephant walking over me, video of the elephant pretending to step on me with Thai school groups screaming and laughing because I was from New York. I may have said a naughty word and shed a few tears when I discovered they were gone. Heartbroken is the only word to describe how I feel.
........................................................... Ok, you can turn your music back on now and get back to reading. Thank you for joining me.
Ready. Set. Go.
LONG NECK VILLAGE. They're Christian! I never knew!
ELEPHANT TRAINING. We made great new friends!
JAMES BOND ISLAND. Or as the Thai say, "James Bone Island"
Phew! You made it! I hope you aren't too overwhelmed. And to think this is only a glimpse of our pictures. Thanks for being excited with us. It was an experience of a lifetime and I wouldn't have chosen to have it with anyone other than my best friend. We can't wait to go back!