About Us

We are a married couple who will be retiring in 2014 and moving to Thailand to experience life in another culture and experience adventures we could have only dreamed of a few years ago.

You are welcome to join us on our adventures through this blog. We hope you enjoy the trip as much as we do.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

116 Days Left....What To Pack?

Today we only have 116 days till we move to our new home in Chiang Mai, Thailand. This process began about 5 years ago when we first entertained the idea of moving out of the US. In the time since, we have sold our country home, moved into a small 2 bedroom apartment in the city with 75% less stuff than we had. We took a trip to Japan for 3 weeks, took a cruise to Alaska and most recently took a necessary scouting trip to Chiang Mai to see if it was all we imagined it to be and to decide if we indeed wanted to move there. We are please to say, yes, this is where we want to start our new life.

Having done our research, we are only staying in Chiang Mai from August to the beginning of February when smoke from the rice fields make breathing hazardous and at that time we will move south near the water. Who knows, maybe we will stay there for awhile.

I am finding it hard to grasp the freedom to go and do whatever we want whenever we want. This is our dream come true and it is like stepping through the looking glass. Not only is it a different country, language, and culture, we will need to acclimate to some seriously hot and humid weather. I know we will do just fine if we can be patient with ourselves and just let things happen and go with the flow.

What do I really need to bring with me?

Last week I opened every closet and drawer in the apartment and cleaned out. We took two car loads to charity and then we actually packed our carry on and medium suitcases each to see what will fit that we absolutely need and what will fit that we might like to bring. I have always been good at letting go of stuff, but this is challenging me. It is becoming very real.

I feel sad letting go of things friends and family have given me. I worry I will offend them, but the space we are allotting is precious and I don't want to haul around things I won't use. I need to put myself first, which is something I usually don't do. So.....What is most important to me and what do I want to keep in my life? I love the quilt I made from fabric my husband helped me pick out when we went to Hawaii on vacation a few years ago. But I love the lap quilt my daughter-in-law made me for Mother's Day even more......so I am taking that one. Yes, I am taking a quilt to Thailand!

When we were in Chiang Mai and Hua Hin we saw more than enough choices of clothes at all the malls so I am only taking a small amount of things that fit right now. We will be walking and eating fresh fruits and having healthy choices so it will help me to lose a few pounds and I will buy new clothes! It is true what I have read from other bloggers and spoken to friends living there that you can find just about everything you need or can have it made.

When people at work question me about our move I tell them, “I don't want stuff, I want memories and adventures!” I need to remember that and know just because I no longer have things and stuff, I do have the memories that were created by them. So our apartment is pretty empty now and we are waiting for the end of July to give away the rest. We appreciate our friends that have decided to take our stuff and to make their own memories.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Health Care – No Contest!

As US citizens we have on numerous occasions had the opportunity to get to know the health care system intimately. We count ourselves very fortunate to have medical insurance provided through our employers, however, there are over 45 million without insurance. People can not afford even the most simple of medicines let alone major surgeries to save their life, or the prescription drugs needed to sustain life. Even one pill costs hundreds of dollars per day!

Well......that was depressing! Let's move on shall we? Coming next is a true story of one woman's experience with the Thai health care system and like me, you will be.................

Shocked, Amazed, Speechless, Astounded, Surprised, Impressed, Flabbergasted, Blown Away, Utterly Astonished, and last but not least................Completely Gobsmacked!

She had a fever and stomach pain and thought it probably was a food borne bacteria. Which is not unusual even in countries with “Food Safety Regulations” This pain lasted several days and so she went to see a Doctor. While she was there she decided to have a complete physical.

Doctors work out of hospitals and she was given a sheet of paper with choices of tests listed under age groups. She choose the 40 year and up category which included:

EKG, Urinalysis, Ultrasound, Chest X-Ray, Female Exam, Complete Blood Work, 1 Hour talk with the Doctor, and a personal Nurse to follow her through each test and explain what was happening.
English was spoken and her day lasted from 8 am till 3 pm. She received a booklet with ALL of the test results along with the Doctor's notes to take home with her. She was given antibiotics for her illness and was feeling in tip top condition in a couple days.

What she paid for the above was 3, 600 Baht = US $112.00 This was not a typo! One Hundred and Twelve Dollars!

For those of you that have not lived in the US this is what happens if you are sick.
First you call your Doctor's office to make an appointment. It will usually be a week or more out and if you can get in the same day it is a miracle. After several hours of waiting past your appointment time the Doctor sees you for 15 minutes and sends you on your way. If you need a test, his nurse will call to make an appointment for the test which usually is another week or so. Then you have to wait for the lab results which take another week or two. The nurse calls to tell you the results. You are not allowed to have your records in your possession and if you do need them you have to sign many papers before they give them to you.

Then you get the bill ! Not one price, that would be too easy. The Doctor, the person that reads the lab report and the lab work are all billed separately.

I did a bit of calculating from research on the web and found the following data from 2011 to 2013 for the cost of what she received if this were done in the US. These prices are for someone with no insurance and are on the low end.

EKG - $4,000 Urinalysis - $200 Ultrasound - $500 Chest X-Ray - $600
Female Exam - $600 Blood Work - $200 1 Hour Consult with the Doctor - $600
7 Hours with a Nurse Coach - $1,400 This does not include Lab costs and medication.

Thailand $112
US $8,100          NO CONTEST!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Brief Moments of Spontaneity

We have all heard the saying, “Stop and smell the roses” Here are some other quotes I find inspiring.

“If life doesn't offer a game worth playing, then invent a new one”

“Color outside the lines, let yourself daydream and play with your imagination”

“A true friend is someone you can act like a complete idiot in front of and not be the slightest bit embarrassed”

I have had a lot of practice with this and it is now that I am on the leading edge of my 60th year I finally don't care how people react when they see me “Acting Goofy”. I am not acting, I am truly being myself and boy is it ever fun!

Humanity loves baby animals and baby humans and it is not only because they are cute. Remember....”Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”

Axoloti Salamander

Baby Aye Aye

It is the energy of the natural playfulness deeply set in being exactly who they are. The essence and core of who they really are and being able to experiencing it is what every person craves. From our birth we are told, “Don't cry” “Keep a stiff upper lip” and we are looked upon as nuts and crazy if we let out a loud belly laugh. Why do these emotions make people uncomfortable when it is what we need to survive and be healthy?

In my every day zest for life I often stop for just a moment to smile at something, laugh at myself, take a quick picture and just play. We were at store the other day and I saw shiny plastic windmill things I played with as a child. Excitement took over and I let my inner child come to play for just a moment......I waved it around and turned in circles as I smiled and giggled to myself.

Here are some of my moments of spontaneity!

Kitty at Tha Phae Gate Chiang Mai Thailand

Sun Wukong in Uchiko, Japan

Sun Wukong at the movies in Matsuyama, Japan

Reclining Buddha in Uchiko, Japan  The little girl was wondering what I was doing.

Shopkeeper in Kyoto, Japan

Sun and Friends in Akihabara, Japan

Godzilla in Ginza, Tokyo Japan

I love this woman's smile after her friend took her picture next to the Hachiko Statue at Shibuya Station Tokyo.
  In 1923 Hachiko followed his owner to the train station every morning and waited for him to come back from work every evening.  When the Professor died, Hachiko continued to wait at the train for his master..........7 days a week for 9 years!   You can find the story here: http://www.fullstory.co/kgoqv

Tokyo fashion at Shibuya Station

I took advantage of other people posing for their friends.  I thought it was cute that they all huddled around to see how the picture turned out.

New Years Celebration in Kyoto, Japan with many women in Kimono.  The pride on his face as he watched people take pictures of his lady was evident and she was very gracious and having fun.   Every bit of her ensemble was made from the highest quality and most likely well above several hundred thousand dollars.  

Beautiful colors of paper cranes for good luck

A very lucky snap of the camera.  One of my favorites!

Feeding the Deer in Nara, Japan

This deer in Nara, Japan was trying to get the attention of the man selling deer biscuits!
Anime Statue in Tokyo's Akihabara District

Kitty Love in Uchiko, Japan

Sun Wukong in Nara, Japan

Vince at the Torii Gates of Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto, Japan  The first gates were placed in 711 and since there are well over 10,000. 

Sun Wukong meeting a relative at Monkey Mountain Khao Takiab, Hua Hin Thailand

Serious Chef at street cart in Chiang Mai Thailand

A very happy woman at the beach in Khao Takiab Hua Hin Thailand

I promise if you will let your inner child out to play you will be on the road to exploring the art of selfishly devouring the beauty of life!     

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Our Last Winter in Oregon

We have lived in Oregon for 13 years and have seen the winters become consistently worse each year.  I hear old timers talk about "The Winter of 1974" and they remember how much snow or ice there was.   However, in the last few years the Eugene area has closed the University of Oregon and there have been multiple car pile up's on the highways.   Unlike those of you that live in known winter snow areas, Oregon does not have the road equipment, people do not have proper cold weather gear, and vehicles don't have block heaters.   The best the road crews can do for the ice skating rinks is to put down de-icer or sand and hope for the best. So when we get days of snow and freezing rain it tends to shut down the entire area.

October 2009  Two feet of ice sliding off the roof

October 2009  Our 4 acres

Snow Monkeys November 2010

March 2011

December 2013

Lin, Des, Sun Wukong and Malcolm Jr. Dec 2013

University of Oregon Dec 2013

Malcolm Jr. to the rescue!

Ice Sword Fight Dec 2013

Malcolm Jr.and Sun Wukong December 2013

February 2014

Ice Storm February 2014

I can hear the ice crackling.  I will not be walking under any branches!

Yep, this is one of the reasons we are looking forward to our new home in Thailand!