Well, the past six weeks or so since we’ve been home have been filled with family and friends and school and work and regular life. All good things. It has also been filled with sad tears from kids missing Thailand, feeling so grateful for opportunities to experience cool new things together as a family, some serious photo book making, and some MAJOR research and dreaming of possible future trips. Literally, they will pull out the globe, find the tropic of cancer and tropic of capricorn and spin. This is followed by Google research and subsequent book check outs from the library to further explore options!
I mean, they are on a search for more water like this. I can’t blame them, really!
Cooking Club happens here in a few weeks and, no surprise, we will be making Thai food. I best get my cooking hat on and get to planning and practicing. I do not proclaim to be a great Thai cook. But there is no time like the present to start practicing!
I will say this. Travel brings more perspective than anything I’ve ever done before. I was the girl who hadn’t even been to Eastern Washington when I left to college. My travels growing up were minimal. So once I started traveling as an adult, it’s like the world became my oyster. I value learning about other parts of the world. I value trying new foods and communicating in other languages and always being humbled. I love the reminder that there is a whole lot going on out there outside my little dot on the map! And I want that for my kids! And I am seeing how it is shaping their perspective of people and the world.
So this blog post is all about the little nuggets of wisdom or a-ha’s I’ve overheard or come upon through discussions since we’ve been home.
1. Nate learned that not everyone with white skin speaks English. I’m not joking. I don’t think this little thought ever even crossed my mind until he said something off the cuff about it. We met lots of travelers from France, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Republic of Georgia, Spain, etc, etc. Some spoke a little English, but some did not! Huh, what a great thing to learn. Awareness!
2. A few nights ago on the way home from somewhere, I quietly drove and listened to Audrey school Nate in the subject of karma. Oh boy, did he get an earful for whatever he did to her! She clearly was paying attention during our temple tours and learnings about Buddhism. Karma has come up many times since our return, and I’m pretty sure it’s here to stay!
3. My kids are hilariously open to flying for as many hours as they need to to get anywhere. In fact while researching possible future trips locations, they quickly google flight times. 4, 6, 8 hour flights…please…so easy!
4. My daughter and two of her besties are currently saving for their Thailand trip after graduation. They are a little torn, because they realize they should also be saving for a car and college, but they are just moving along in stride and saving! I’m not joking on this. It’s how these girls think. And I love them and love hearing them chat about their plans. If anyone will follow through – it’s these three!
5. Experiences. I would much rather experience something together as a family than buy anything. And I am pretty sure that feeling is unanimous in my house!
6. I think the kids may be able to coordinate the details of our next trip….by themselves.
7. I thought Nate forgot, but the other day he wai’d a lady (possibly Thai) when we passed by her. A wai is the bow that all Thais do when they greet, give thanks or say goodbye. It made me double take and I didn’t say a word to him. So awesome.
8. Thanks to the Thai Hut in Gig Harbor – my kids and husband will always have a place to say, “sawatdi” and “kop kun” (hello and thank you).
9. Elephants. Gendreaus are in love with Elephants. In fact the Easter Bunny even brought an elephant treasure in their Easter baskets. Nate was floored that she (the Easter Bunny is a she in case you didn’t know) knew of his new-found love of all things elephant.
10. Before we left – there were a few hot topics/fears that had surfaced with regard to traveling so far away to a place none of us had been before. Things like “will I get malaria?”, “what if we get sick from the food?”, “what happens if I accidentally drink the water?”, “what if there are terrorists?”. I’m not kidding….5th graders lay it out on the line. So for my kids….traveling to Thailand, having the time of our life, problem solving when we needed to, not getting Malaria, meeting the coolest people, not getting sick, loving the food, and not running into terrorists was a confidence booster for sure!
I think for me, my take-aways were many. But first and foremost, a reminder to show gratitude and remembering to keep it simple. It’s easy to get caught up in the go-go-go and the sometimes crazy ‘thing focused’ part of our culture. So I have found myself saying on several occasions (more than my usual), “really?…..not there…not interested….don’t need it….go play outside….we are good just where we are” a lot.
I love our country. We are a melting pot of so many different cultural influences. We are lucky on so many levels and in so many ways. It’s the little things – like turning on the water and drinking from the tap. It’s access to medical care. It’s being acknowledged by our government as contributors of our country. It’s about having good jobs and access to education. I don’t want to ever forget to acknowledge those things as blessings, and I don’t ever want to forget the people around this world that don’t have access to the same things. They deserve it as much as we do!
So for now, I end. I like letting thoughts simmer after a trip.
I have finished my big-gigantic photo book and it’s “in production”. The photos are many and the memories will last forever.
To Audrey, Nathan and Todd. You three are my favorites in the world. You rule!