05 January 2010

Ringing in the New Year

A holiday has come and gone. As I write this I’m somewhere in the air between Seattle and Tokyo, with an expected arrival into Bangkok in some horrendously long amount of hours. This flight has become a mental game for me and I attempt to take it in small batches brainwashing myself to forget how awfully long it really is.

My daughter and husband are sitting to my right, working on a sparkly sticker activity book and typing on a laptop, respectively. To my left, my son is mesmerized by a game of fishing. He throws his airline provided movie headset out into the aisle and drags it back whispering “here, fishy, fishy”. He’s found a willing accomplice in a grandfatherly type two rows up who is encouraging good trolling form with the occasional thumbs up sign.

The last three weeks included multiple Christmas celebrations, quiet nights spent by a blazing fire, days catching up with friends over sushi, coffee and other assorted treats, wonderfully quiet moments with family, cupcake outings with my daughter, blissful evenings spent near a blazing fire with my husband and my son’s first major injury (he’s okay after quite a bit of bloodshed when he decided to super hero dive onto his sister and instead landed on the corner of a relative’s coffee table). And, of course, no summary of time spent out of Bangkok is complete unless I mention that not a single drop of sweat was shed during the holiday season. Very un Bangkok-like and an acknowledgment that this holiday provided a much needed respite from the weather of the tropics.

As I sit mid-air and the turbulence shakes the plane, I can’t help but notice that excitement is running through my blood along with the starbucks coffee shots I slurped down before departing Seattle. I am very much looking forward to our return “home” to our life in Bangkok. After every holiday, I have found a silent thrill in the unpacking of the suitcases and putting them waaaay in the back of a dark closet. There’s something therapeutic about knowing you’re not getting back on a plane for a bit. I’m also very much looking forward to a dip in our pool, firing up the industrial strength rice cooker and pounding out a fresh batch of curry tomorrow morning.

But, I’ll also acknowledge that I am already exhausted in just thinking about the jet lag that takes our family weeks to extinguish. I’ll be brewing a batch of strong coffee and padding through the house in my favorite red fuzzy socks around 2 a.m. as the kids settle into a daze in front of their Little People villages or whip up a plastic breakfast in their faux kitchen. And, again, with many hours of travel in front of me, the newly acquired experiences with friends and family lead my tired brain into a bit of sadness at once again being far away from those I love.

My hope for these early weeks of 2010 is that I’m able to hold a piece of the socially energizing days and extend the blissfully slow evenings of our holiday vacation. I plan to send my daughter back to school and welcome her home for evenings spent coloring, playdoughing and breaking in the newly acquired Christmas presents together. I look forward to mornings spent with my son at Bangkok’s open air markets and time lounging in what promises to be much more humid weather than what we left behind in Bangkok three weeks ago. And, even though his business travel schedule will be in full force, I eagerly await each and every moment I will get to spend out and about in Bangkok’s evening air, sipping Beer Sing and chatting the hours away with my husband. Oh, yes… and I’m greatly looking forward to placing my jingly jangly earrings that seem so fitting to my life in Bangkok, back on my ears. They’ll serve as a gentle reminder to savor each moment of this extraordinary life as they swing and ring in the New Year and each of its to-be-created memories.

Happy New Year everyone! And to those family and friends that are far away again, thank you for a wonderful holiday season. You are always near in my heart.

Cooking in Thailand, entry no. 73:

Plane Gorp

Written with a good dose of humor, here’s my recipe for keeping my kids happy on a long plane flight.


½ cup of favorite cereal that is never purchased at any other time (i.e. something with a cartoon character on the box)

½ cup whole grain (parent-endorsed) cereal

1 small package m&m candies

¼ cup roughly chopped nuts

¼ cup sunflower seeds

2 small boxes of dried cranberries

¼ cup dried fruit, cut into bite-sized pieces

¼ cup chocolate chips

¼ cup banana or apple chips


The night before your scheduled flight, gather your ingredients and your kids to the table. In a large bowl, add your ingredients and have the kids stir vigorously. Drop into portable individual serving bags and add to the kids’ backpacks. (My kids add a bit of “love” to their plane gorp by kissing the bags before loading them in… completely corny, but apparently absolutely essential for their five and three year old psyches.)


  1. Happy New Year! I love your blog and am glad for a new post. Thank u.

  2. My new year's resolution for you is to WRITE MORE POSTS! I love reading your blog.

  3. LOL! Only you could write a beautiful piece and then follow it up with a tongue in cheek recipe.

  4. I travel with my four year old regularly and gorp is one of the best ideas. I make it for camping, but never thought to use it for travel with her. I know its not your plan to give parenting advice or ideas, but if you ever want to write another blog you should give that a try. Your ideas for parents are creative and fresh. I became a regular reader of yours when I stumbled upon your article about your first foreigner Halloween with your kids. I loved how much you clearly love your kids and how you handle adversity with a spirit of adventure. Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. When are you going to put up a bio on yourself? I'd love to learn more about the writer behind the blog. I really enjoy your writing.

  6. Saw your twitter: 4:30 a.m. home made pizza? I want to live in your house!


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