Thursday, June 25, 2009


Several people have recently asked what they can pray for as we prepare to leave for Thailand, so we thought it would be helpful to post some specific things to include in your prayers.

1. We are so thankful that all of our paperwork, plane tickets, and living arrangements are in order! Please join us in thanking God for this grace in our lives.

2. Please pray for our flights on Monday, July 13. We have several legs to our journey, with one long one (Chicago to Tokyo).

3. We are arriving in Bangkok a little earlier than required for a couple reasons, both of which need prayer. First, for adjustment to the climate and life in a foreign country. Secondly, Karly is transitioning from K-8 Spanish to high school (with AP!) and Mike is switching from 5th grade classroom teaching to K-5 physical education. Please pray for us as we prepare ourselves for these changes.

4. Please pray for us as we look for a church home in Bangkok. We have felt a deep sense of God's peace in joining the faculty at ICS and believe we will find wonderful Christian fellowship with them. However, finding a church home is extremely important as well. Please pray for the Holy Spirit's guidance as we do that.

5. In addition to a church home, please pray for our spiritual growth and daily reliance on the gospel. With all the changes we will experience, we want to make sure we are looking to the cross daily, finding strength in our weakness.

6. Please begin praying even now for our students this coming school year. Many of them do not know Christ and we will have a wonderful opportunity to share the gospel with them as teachers at ICS. Please pray for our interactions, relationships with them, and opportunities to help them nurture and grow.

Monday, June 22, 2009


It is amazing to me how generous people are. My dad, for one, is probably saving us $150/month by allowing us to store our belongings at his house, instead of us having to rent at a storage facility. Our co-workers from TLO gave us a very generous goodbye/send off gift. Parents and students from TLO have given us generous gifts and many gift cards to our favorite caffeine joint, Caribou Coffee. It is unbelievable to me how giving people are; we are so blessed.

I was once again blown away with the generosity of others today. My dad informed me this morning that the church that I grew up at has decided to support us and give us an extremely generous monetary gift. These are people that may or may not know me, as it has been years since I have attended this church on a regular basis, but even so, they don't know Mike at all. It floors me that they have felt called to give to us. I am grateful and blown away by NL, who spear heads the outreach ministry at the church and decided to involve the church with our teaching ministry in Thailand. I was brought to tears this morning; there are not even words to describe how thankful I am. Thank you for how you are all such blessing to us. God is so good.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

10 years ago...

I was thinking back to how different I feel about going overseas this time vs. when I went to Spain as a foreign exchange student 10 years ago. I feel much more calm about the situation this time around for several different reasons.

1. I am not 16, I'm 26.

2. There are more known things this time. I know I have a job, what city I am going to live in, that I will be surrounded by other Christian teachers, and that I have an apartment to go to the evening that I arrive in Bangkok. When I left MN to go to Spain, I had no idea who my host family was and what part of Spain I'd be living in.

3. I am not going alone; I have my best friend going with me to experience these awesome adventures with in Thailand.

4. I know a little bit more of what to expect/anticipate when going overseas... mainly culture shock.

5. This time around I don't know the language, but I know that I'll be able to get around. As a foreign language teacher, I've learned to mime things really well since I don't want to speak in significant portions of English to my students. Plus, I have the desire to learn the language so I think I'll slowly make progress.

6. Technology has advanced significantly in the last 10 years, thus making it ridiculously easy to stay in touch. While that does not negate the fact that proximity wise, we are half way around the world and can't just give someone a hug or have dinner, it's not like we will have fallen off the face the earth and no one will ever hear from us.

7. Not that I wasn't excited for new adventures 10 years ago, but I think this time around I am even more so. I am ready to explore, learn, travel and try new things. I'm ready to not be so "Type A" and just let go.

Cheers to new adventures...

Friday, June 19, 2009

The end is in sight!

There is progress! We have been taking box after box out to store at my dad's house. We have been taking box after box to Savers to donate. We have taken box after box to the Aust's house to give/lend. So that leaves very little left in the apartment. The end is in sight!

Cleaning reinforcements come tomorrow-- our mom's are coming to help us do some last cleaning. Mike's brother, JA is going to help him move the dresser and recliner tomorrow afternoon too. So that just leaves a few miscellaneous boxes, our bed, freezer food, and our suitcase that has our things for our stay at the Aust's this next week while I have class out in Northfield. After my week long class, we'll move out to my dad's house and start contemplating which things to pack to bring to Thailand.

I can't believe how fast time is going... we're down to 25 days.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Dear Apartment,

I am tired of organizing and packing up the things that you contain, hauling all of these things out to the car and making numerous trips out to where I'm storing these things, and then cleaning you. You make me never want to move again...EVER. I'm growing to severely dislike you right now because you overwhelm me with your messiness. Please learn to clean up after yourself.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009


So this has nothing to do with anything, other than the fact that I just felt like blogging about these three things:

1. We went to Culvers tonight and I went to use the bathroom. I am a shoe looker-- I look for shoes under a stall to check whether it's empty or not. I checked in stall one and it was occupied... with boys shoes. I went to the next stall, which was empty, but then hesitated because I actually had to stop and wonder if I was in the women's bathroom or not. I was... and the 7 year old looking boy that I saw in the entry afterwards most definitely was not. I will admit that I had to giggle to myself.

2. I read on yahoo this evening that a girl won $50,000 for being the fastest texter. Seriously? That's the world's most ridiculous competition that I have heard of in my life. Way too much money for a dumb "talent" in my opinion.

3. I'm taking this AP Spanish training class at Carleton college at the end of June and I had to watch this Spanish movie by Pedro Almodovar called, "Hable con ella" (Speak to her) and I must say it was one of the strangest movies that I have ever seen.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Gimme a break!

After a week of packing up and cleaning Mike's classroom, sorting through and organizing Spanish files and books, doing 4th quarter grades, filling out cumulative files, having an end of the year meeting, checking out with the principal, making multiple trips driving boxes out to my dad's house, donating furniture to Bridging, donating other items to Savers, painting the bathroom, moving a couch, saying goodbye to Dino and Geico, and starting to pack up the apartment... we needed a break!

This weekend we went to Frontenac state park in Red Wing, MN. It was so great to escape the stress of packing and cleaning, and to get away from the mounds of boxes that have exploded and multiplied in our apartment. We went camping with the rest of the Aust family minus JA and EA. We also had the wonderful company of many Aust family friends, with whom they spent many previous summers camping.

It was great, refreshing and relaxing... to the point where I almost feel ready to conquer sorting through those "miscellaneous" boxes that we have thrown together. You know, the ones that you never want to go through even though you know you should because you'll appreciate it in the end. So needless to say, it's back to the grind tomorrow to tackle more projects. In the meantime, I'm glad I had the opportunity to regain my sanity, for the time being, with a restful weekend. :)

Friday, June 12, 2009


Our babies are gone. ML and his mom came to pick them up this evening. While I am 110% confident that they are going to have a great home, I will admit that I am sad. We had Geico for 5 years and Dino for 4 years and they just sort of become part of the family in the same way that I'm sure that a cat or a dog does. We learned their quirks and the differences in their personalities, we learned which foods were their favorites and what their personal preferences were.... and we learned to love them. They will be missed!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


A family from school had won "Game night with the Austs" last year and had not redeemed their night, so they wanted to get it in before we left. We scheduled it for June 6 and headed on over there in the evening, anticipating playing games. It turned out to be a surprise goodbye party though, which was ridiculously fun. It started out with dinner with the faculty and staff of the school, later to be opened up as an open house with the middle schoolers. It was great; we had a ton of fun and are thankful for the generosity and kindness of everyone. We will miss you all greatly.

Monday, June 8, 2009


We printed pictures of us that people could put on their refrigerator, with the hope that they would remember to pray for us when we are in Thailand. Mike's brother, PA, graciously took a bazillion pics of us at the Japanese Gardens and then worked his magic on photo shop. We were thrilled at how the picture turned out. Take a look for yourself! Thanks for you hard work, PA!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Yesterday we received our visas in the mail. We could hardly believe how quickly they came. We sent them out last Saturday and got them back on Friday. Way to be efficient, Thai Consulate of Chicago! We were thankful for how fast our passports were returned to us, as that it is kind of a scary thing to have in the mail. So we are now officially done with the paperwork; yahoo!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Love bug

Today is our 4th wedding anniversary! It is hard to believe that 4 years have already come and gone! This afternoon while we enjoyed the most savory lunch ever, we discussed the highs and lows of being married. We both agreed that the hardest part of being married is being selfless. It is difficult to give up the things that you want to do or even do the things you don't want to do... a spouse changes everything. But it is all worth it to have that best friend, confidant, and someone to love.

A few things that I particularly appreciate and love about Mike include (in no particular order):
1. How patient and gentle he is with others and me.
2. How he is passionate about teaching and loves being around kids.
3. How he can be serious, but spontaneously goofy too.
4. How sincerely and deeply he loves me, and how he expresses this love to me each day.

Thanks for four wonderful years, Mikey! I am looking forward to many more.

So for our anniversary lunch we decided to go to an authentic Brazilian restaurant that one of my Brazilian ESL students told me about. One word: AMAZING! They had the nicest and most colorful salad bar that I have ever seen in my life, the different types of meat we tried fell apart in your mouth, the service was ridiculously awesome, and then at the end they asked us if we were there for a special occasion and upon finding out it was our anniversary, they gave us free dessert.

We tried some tropical ginger ale too, it was really good.

They come out with all these different types of meat on swords, and then cut off as much for you as you want.

For a meat and potatoes kind of guy, this was the place to go!

Garlic mashed potatoes, fried plantanes, and fried polenta.

Strawberry Cheesecake

Thursday, June 4, 2009

You grab a line...

...and I'll grab a pole and we'll all go on down to the old fishin' hole.

I am ecstatic about the thought of going fishing in Thailand. Whenever my dad comes to visit, we are for sure going to take a fishing trip! This evening I was looking at some crazy pictures of some of the freshwater and saltwater fish that people have caught in the Phuket area. Click here and here to view some crazy awesome pictures!!!

My goodness... do you think we may need some help reelin' some of those fatties in so we don't fall out of the boat? Though, when I was looking at photos, I saw many pictures of people in the water holding the fish or ray...

...uhm, no thanks. I'll stay in the boat where I am a little more confident that my legs won't be mistaken for food and bit off by some enormous fish with a ginormous appetite. Thank you very much.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Yo-ho-ho, a pirate's life for me.

This is what we looked like on the last day of school:

Every year at TLO, the last day of school is a K-8 field day. This year, the theme was "Pirates." We did our best to abide by the theme and put a smile smirk on the kids faces. I'm sure they were slightly jealous of our ridiculously awesome costumes. ;) Bahahaha.

It was a fun day. Not very emotional/sentimental; I only got teary-eyed twice because I saw other people crying. So we left on a good note, remembering all the great memories. And great memories they were. Thank you TLO students!

Mike's 5th grade class.
Can you find Karly in the mix? She blends in awfully well!


I wish I was feeling more sentimental than I do. Tonight was the 8th grade graduation and tomorrow is the last day of school, but it just hasn't really hit me that this is our last day with these kids. I feel as though I should feel more sad about it than I do... but I don't. I am a creature of habit so I simply feel like saying, "See you next year!" It's not that I want to be in tears tomorrow, but I guess I just expected myself to feel differently than complete neutral after working with these kids for two years. I guess we'll see what tomorrow brings.

Monday, June 1, 2009


We sold both of our cars!

What can you get?

Q. What can you get for $2?
A. Color copies of background checks from Kinkos.... thought it would be $4; thanks for impressing us by reducing your prices, Kinkos!

Q. What can you get for $17.50?
A. Envelope and postage to get our passports sent back to us via Express mail Why it costs so much for just two passports to be sent back to us... I will never know. I don't really care either, just as long as the passports get visas and get sent back to us safely. send documents, passports, applications and money orders to the Thai Consulate in Chicago via Express Mail.

Q. What an you get for 23. 60?
A. Envelope and postage to send documents, passports, applications and money order to the Thai Consulate in Chicago via Express Mail.

Q. What can you get for $132.20?
A. Two $65 money orders + fee to send to the Thai Consulate to bribe attain our visas.

Q. What an you get for $650?
A. A one-way missionary rate ticket to Thailand via Minneapolis-Chicago-Tokyo-Bangkok on Monday, July 13. Bangkok or bust.