Tag Archives: adventures

Taxi Driver: * laughs nervously *

I had a truly fabulous day exploring some incredible malls with a fellow American here in Thailand and I’d love to tell you about it.

But the evening really belongs to my taxi driver and his nervous laugh. 

If I were ranking People I Don’t Want Laughing Nervously While Working, I think taxi drivers fall right under heart surgeons and airline pilots. I place so much trust in this random stranger to not get into a car accident and kill me. And in Thailand, where traffic rules are really more of guidelines, I place double the trust.

My taxi driver tonight would speed up abruptly, or slam on the breaks, and make a sort of “whooooeeeshhhh” noise right after. At which point I would laugh nervously. And then he would laugh nervously. And then we would narrowly avoid hitting someone on a motorcycle.

About ten minutes into the drive, my taxi driver abruptly pulled over and said: “GPS no good.”

Except I did not understand him at first and looked out the window in bafflement. I informed him this was not my destination, nor anywhere near it. He repeated “GPS no good” about six times before I finally understood and pulled up the destination on my own phone and handed it over. 

“I speak a little English,” he then informed me, beaming. “GPS no good.”

“Are you having a good day?” I asked conversationally. 

He ignored me. Several other attempts at communication – all ignored – left me convinced his “little English” only involved GPSs.  

He did have much to say about GPSs. He informed me his GPS came from Thailand. I had Apple? 

I pointed out that my phone is a Samsung. (Probably. It was the cheapest smartphone I could find.)

He nodded knowingly. Japan. Good phones, good GPSs. (We narrowly avoided hitting another biker.) 

Another problem presented itself. My phone showed the distance in miles and feet, not meters! Eh, he shrugged it off. Close enough. 

Then my phone dimmed. This freaked him out. It went dark! But he did not know the words to say it went dark, so he kept contrasting the dim screen of my phone to the bright light coming from his. 

By the time we reached my destination, I counted 6 motorcyclist who barely made it past us with their lives. 

* insert nervous laughter *

Lampang: Day 2

Day 2 began with another temple visit:

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Image may contain: one or more people (I swear this cat thought everyone came to worship it. It just sat there and did not move)

After the temple, we went and saw…elephants!

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We got to feed and pet them.

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That particular elephant kept trying to eat my hair. 

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Then more amazing food!

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Afterwards we participated in local cultural activities. We cooked…

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(I managed to confuse coconut milk with batter.)

Cooked some more…

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(After several in competent attempts at folding the banana leaves into triangles, my Thai buddy and the kind woman helping us took my triangle and did it for me.)

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We made “flags”

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(I like to think I behaved semi-competently with this one except I must admit my Thai buddy did the initial folding and cutting for me.)

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Some people made flower bouquets (I avoided because they used real flowers.) 

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And then we “weaved” baskets using bamboo, which I apparently did not get a good picture of. At any rate, the 90+ year old lady assisting us quickly realized how incompetent I am with manual tasks, wove me a fish, and sent me on my way. 

It then HAILED.

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But thankfully cleared up in time for the night market that evening. I made a few purchases and discovered I am terrible at bargaining. (The people pleasing side of me comes out.) 

An Extrovert’s Night Off

With finals less than a week away and the deadline on my massive paper momentarily extended, I decided to take tonight off. Read. Relax. Clean. Catch up on messages…

But I’m an extrovert so while catching up on messages I ended up inviting someone over to watch a movie which turned into an invitation for an impromptu sleep over which turned into plans for a last minute Wal Mart run…

The Whistling Bus

The eerie, whistling noise coming from the bus as it pulled up to the stop was my first clue that this would not be a normal bus ride. The fact that no one else seemed perturbed by it was my second. 

For a solid half second, I thought about waiting for the next one. Then I remembered I was already running behind. I climbed on board. 

A passenger was angrily talking to the bus driver: “Why you texting and driving, man?” 

The bus driver, equally loud, denied the charges. The passenger pulled out his cellphone and threatened to call his boss. The bus driver objected. The angry tones turned to yelling. They spilled outside and looked close to coming to blows. Another passenger stepped in to stop them. 

The bus driver climbed back in. He drove to the next stop, climbed out, and called someone. 5 minutes passed. Then he got back in, drove to the next stop, got out, and took another call. Another few minutes passed. Throughout, the eerie, whistling noise continued. 

Finally, right before we reached the school, he pulled over and shouted, “Everybody out! I’m not going any farther.” 

And so a baffled bus-load spilled out onto the street and, if any of them were running as late as I was, off to urgently find another ride. Thankfully, that was my stop and I barely made it to class on time. 

The moral of the story: if the bus is whistling, don’t get on it.

Redheads Reunited

9 years ago, I attended a Do Hard Things conference in Chicago. During one of the breaks I was browsing the store when a voice from across the table said,

“Are you Bucky Bookworm?” (Or something like that.) 

In surprise I looked up to find a stranger, but not really a stranger. Though I had never met her in person, Melody and I were friends on the Generation Joshua forums. She had recognized my name and came to introduce herself. Along with Melody came her sister, Esther. 

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Esther was also a friend from the forums. The two were high on my “bucket list” of people I wanted to meet in person. 

We met again at camp that summer.

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We remained friends on the forums and on Facebook but as we grew older we started to lose touch. Esther visited Bryan College while I was a student there so we caught up briefly. However, our friendship slipped into the calm obscurity of two people who are bad at keeping in contact long-distance. 

Until I noticed on Facebook that she was in Colorado Springs! 

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We caught up and grabbed dinner this week. (And if you are wondering, yes, that is the shirt from yesterday’s post!) The meal and conversation reminded me how delightful old friends are. We haven’t kept up in years and our interests and hobbies long since diverged. Yet once we started chatting, a dozen mutual acquaintances came up and countless little memories or forum posts needed analyzing. Every adventure and IRL meeting with other Gen Jers deserved a quick mention. 

It was fun. I think one of the best parts of getting older is that your friends get older too. You become a different person as the years pass, but an old friend reminds you (for better or worse!) of who you were and how you’ve changed. Esther is no longer the shy younger sister peeking behind Melody at a Do Hard Things conference. She’s a confident, fun, kind young woman who is taking on a new job in a new city. I’m excited to see what God has in store for her! And I’m always grateful for Generation Joshua and the relationships that developed and remain even as time and space continue to separate us. 

What am I getting myself into?

There are two words that have never been used to describe me: athletic or outdoorsy. This is so patently obvious to those who know me that I can’t think of a way to stress how ridiculous my traipsing off to Idaho must seem. It is crazy. I’m the girl who has never worn sports shorts in her life, now I own enough to get me through a week easily. I’ve stocked up on sports bras and flannel and even considered buying chacos. I’m going to spend a summer without books or K Dramas or Facebook messenger. It is insanity! 

And yet…I’m excited. This is so not me that it is going to be a crazy, new adventure. I’m going to face my fears, be separated from my comforts, and hopefully grow in my walk with God. I’m going to learn new skills. For three months, I get to step away from everything and try something different. 

At the risk of sounding cliche, I’m also excited to find a new side of myself. I’ve been defined by my job for so long that I looking forward to discovering who else I can be. Who is Amy when you stick her 45 minutes from civilization and throw a cabin full of kids at her? My hope is that she will be someone who learns to live more fully in the present. 

Am I slightly terrified beginning this new adventure? Definitely. But I am also super excited. It isn’t quite backpacking across the Himalayas, but camp in Idaho for the summer is going to be a really fun, challenging experience.