Some of my favorites …
I’m finding that living in a culture very different from my own, separate from my family and support system, can be pretty stressful (no surprise there). When I first arrived, I asked other women who had lived here awhile for advice how to cope well as we transitioned to Chiang Mai becoming our home. An answer that frequently came up was – find things you enjoy and do them. This list is not all-inclusive but includes, as of late, some of my favorites things to do/read/listen to/consume …
- Djibouti Jones (blog): Rachel Pieh Jones is one of my favorite writers. I discovered her blog before moving to Thailand and appreciate her thoughts on life as an expatriate, something she has experienced for the past 11 years in various countries. I am rarely left without questions or new ideas to wrestle with after reading each of her posts, something I deeply appreciate.
- Zen Habits (blog): Leo Babauta writes here about, “simplicity, health & fitness, motivation and inspiration, frugality, family life, happiness, goals, getting great things done, and living in the moment.” (source) In just about every post, you get the “why should you care?” behind the topic, personal examples from his own life, and some practical thoughts on proceeding forward with making change. His writing is easy to read and even the design of his blog is calming in its minimalist feel. Good stuff.
- Exercise: Although sad to say, I haven’t exercised consistently in the past, ahem, almost three years since my little Abigail was born. I decided to make it a priority after moving here and have been at it, about 4 times/week, for the past 1-1.5 months. I exercise in the morning before my kids are
upallowed out of their room (they are super early birds!) and mostly do interval training involving my bodyweight. I’m loving it and am glad it’s back in the routine of my life!
- Iced lattes: I know, I know, I’ve mentioned these numerous times in my posts since arriving in Thailand. But hey, this is a post about my favorites and these delicious, much-cheaper-than-in-America drinks, continue to be a favorite of mine here. Do I really think iced lattes and exercise go together very well, you ask? Absolutely!
- Beth Moore’s bible study, Believing God: Oh, man. Where do I even begin about this study? In my opinion, Moore is an incredibly God-gifted Bible teacher. This study is rocking … my … world. Since moving to Thailand, God has been addressing some very specific areas of my life,so much of which comes back to the kind of faith I have or don’t have. I am being challenged to walk in a different kind of faith these days, one of more continual dependence on and faith in Jesus rather than just every now and then when things feel especially hard. God is using this study as part of the challenge and it’s so good. Not comfortable, mind you, but good.
- Parenting Beyond Borders: Surprising lessons parents around the world can teach us (book): I was probably primed to read this book because of our recent move resulting in my being consistently challenged that just because American culture dictates to live life one way doesn’t mean its the best way; that actually, the American way is fairly contrary to how people in other cultures do things. This is not a surprising thing, but until you are faced with that reality by living amidst people who do some things very differently than you do (internationally or not), it isn’t an idea that most probably engage all that much. In this book, Dr. Christine Gross-Loh, researches parenting practices in multiple countries and then compares them to the ways most American parents do the same things. This book was fascinating and challenged some of the culture-driven practices I have bought into in terms of parenting. While I disagree with the author on different points, I think the book is a great read that encourages thought … and potential change.
- The Christy Nockels station on Pandora Radio: Nockels is one of my favorite worship leaders and I am especially loving this song of hers right now. Her songs beautifully speak truth about Jesus and life and I tend to enjoy most songs that come up when tuning into this “station” while on Pandora.
- Voxer, Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, email: These are the ways in which I keep in contact with family and friends back home. A few of them are probably things you recognize and the others are smartphone apps that allow me to text with and leave voice messages on other smartphones.
- my kids and husband: While we are making friends here in Chiang Mai, it has also been a time where we’ve had a lot of great family time. Before we left Colorado, a few wives of retired military men back in Colorado Springs shared that, although the first year of a new assignment was always tough in certain ways, they both really enjoyed that year. They explained that it was because they knew they would have opportunities for more time to spend just as a family before activities were added to the schedule, new friends were made, etc. I loved their perspective and it has challenged me to embrace this somewhat slower and simpler (in some ways) time as a sweet one.
What about you? What are some of the things you especially enjoy these days?