Friday, April 20, 2012

Thailand PT 2 - The Cemetery

The first week in April is the time when Chinese people celebrate the dead.  For those who don't know, Thailand has a huge Chinese population.  And also for those who don't know, my family is Chinese, not Thai.  Anyway, the main reason we picked this time of year to go visit was because my mom wanted to be there to go to the cemetery.  April 1 and 2 are literally the only time people visit the cemeteries, unless of course they are burying someone or keeping the grounds. 

So anyway, at the cemetery, the gravesites are decorated and food is put out for the spirits...real food....and alcohol.  My aunt was actually up all night the night before cooking it all.  After it is all over, the food is taken home and eaten...and of course the alcohol too (It has been known in years passed that the alcohol was gone before people even left the cemetery :) ).  There are also things made out of paper that are burned up and sent to the spirits.  I mean nice things, clothes, washing machine, cars.  We also light incence and place them at the gravesites....this would be like putting flowers on someone's gravesite here. 

I don't know, maybe it's just me, but I love doing this stuff!!  I just find different cultures fascinating and I feel so blessed to be able to participate and really see first hand what other cultures do...I guess I shouldn't say "other cultures," since I am part Chinese, so I should say, what one of my cultures does.  But, if I could, I would travel the world and live amongst the people and really get into their lives.

Wow, I got a little side tracked there...anyway, here are some pictures of the day we went.  As you will see, it's a big family thing...My grandpa was there, uncles, aunts, cousins, my mom's cousins...all kinds of people. It's also a Chinese thing, not a Buddhist thing.  My mom wanted me to be clear on that...None of this has anything to do with Buddha, it is just a way to honor our loved ones who have passed.

My Grandpa and Caleb

Putting incense in for my grandma and (biological) grandpa

Carrrying stuff to burn...I think Sammie has a washer

Brothers and Sisters

This was my grandparent's gravesite, but we visited others too...great grandparents, great uncles and aunts

A picture of both of us baby free....that didn't happen often. :)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Thailand PT 1

Oh my, there is so much I can say about our trip to Thailand that I have not been able to figure out how to start this post.  I think, after like 5 drafts, that I am just going to do event by event. 

First, let's start with before my sister and nephew arrived, as they arrived 2 days after us.  We spent those days just reconnecting with everyone...well, my mom, Mikayla and I reconnected, David and the kids met everyone. :)  We spent some time going from one house to another, which was a little tiring, but well worth it to see everyone.

My uncle took us to a temple near the house on one of our first days. Obviously, everyone knows I am Christian and my beliefs are completely different from Buddhist, but I do think it is important for my kids to see things like this and I believe it is such a good learning experience.  And quite honestly, temples look really cool.  We watched as everyone put incense in and bowed to Buddha.   It was hard for me to explain to Samantha what they were doing, but I did the best I could.  And while most Thais are Buddhist, it was never expected of us to participate in anything at the temple. 

So, that same day, my uncle also took us to a zoo...a really cheap zoo, but a zoo nonetheless.  The kids had a  blast looking at the animals and feeding the deer.  They did get tired and thirsty pretty quick though, so we didn't stay too long.

My wonderful uncle also took us to a park the next day.  It was not the nicest part of town, but with that said, it was  not like what we see here in America.  People in Thailand are so friendly and they are perfectly content with their lives, whether they have money or not.  They work hard and you rarely hear complaining.  I think David said it best when he said it was a humbling experience.

There you have it.  Our first couple days in Thailand.  I left out the time we spent at home, but I will be getting to that soon.

And on a little side note, David and I expected Sammie to have a little trouble getting use to everything, but we were pretty sure Caleb would do fine.  But oh how our kids can surprise us.  Samantha adapted so well to everything and everyone.  I know part of it is because  her cousin, Mikayla, was there with us.  While they bring out the crazy in each other, they can also bring out the good.  Caleb on the other hand, had a harder time with everything.  He was so clingy and just wanted Daddy for the first few days.  He did get better as time went on, but it was so not what we thought was going to happen.  Silly kids!