25 May

Our First Garage Sale | An Ode To Our House

Garage Sale 2 Comments by afamilyinmotion
A Family In Motion | Garage Sale | Moving To Thailand

I am sort of a pack rat, and my husband is a minimalist, so there have been more than a few battles over what we keep and what gets discarded in our house. I err on the side of sentimentality, and my husband, an engineer at heart, cannot understand why I would want to keep photo albums and cards from people I don’t even like (I just found a handmade card from a girl in my 5th grade class who wrote in silver sharpie, “You are so cool/you and Alex should totally go out/he is so cute”. We had a falling out in 6th grade, and haven’t spoken in 20+ years, yet up until a few days ago I still had her erudite letter). It’s no surprise, then, that having a garage sale would be tough for me. I was surprised to find, however, that my husband was more than a little reluctant to part with his beloved record collection. I’m glad he eventually relented because those vinyls were a huge hit with the handful of old punk rockers that stopped by. In fact, the garage sale was a ridiculous success overall. We got rid of so much stuff, I couldn’t believe how spacious our property felt afterwards. We had one guy walk away with a bike, a commercial espresso machine, a table and a lamp. And he came back two days later for more stuff! Not all of our customers were so generous with their funds, though. I had a guy haggle with me over a $50 cookbook that I was selling for a dollar. The cover was ripped so he wanted a better price…better than $1?

11 May

Moving To Thailand | Learning the Customs (Saving Face)

Saving Face | A Family In Motion

The concept of saving face is one that we as Westerners may be familiar with on an abstract level, but it is an incredibly difficult phenomenon to fully understand as an outsider, and difficult to explain succinctly when we as a culture have little experience with such a thing. In the most basic definition, saving face means avoiding public embarrassment at all costs, while maintaining your status within a specific social network. But it is also much more complicated and nuanced than that. Of course, some practical examples of saving face are necessary to demonstrate how it works. To an outsider, these examples may seem absurd, perplexing or even infuriating, but in a good-natured attempt to assimilate, my husband and I will not judge, only observe objectively and try to learn (with a few chuckles here and there that can’t be helped).

06 May

Moving to Thailand: Learning the Language

Learning to read and write Thai

We are moving to a foreign country where there are foreign customs, foreign foods and, of course, a foreign language. Practically speaking, to integrate into the culture and to engage in business and establish friendships, our family needs to learn the language of Thailand. I have always prided myself on the ability to pick up languages. I speak Spanish somewhat fluently (it’s amazing how much practice I got in the restaurant) and used to speak Portuguese almost fluently (it’s amazing how little practice I get).

29 Apr

Saying Goodbye To Our Friends

IMG_1853

I’ve been delaying writing this post for weeks because it’s a topic that is difficult for me to even contemplate, let alone write an entire post about. I’ve never been the outgoing type, and though my husband is slightly more outgoing than I, neither of us can boast a huge posse of friends. We’re not the type of people with 500 friends on facebook, or our social calendars filled to the brim with glamorous cocktail parties or nightly drinks with buddies. What we do have is a small core of people who have become very close to us, and who make our lives that much more meaningful. And if it weren’t for them, the idea of packing up and moving across the globe would be so much easier.

26 Apr

Cooking Classic Thai Food | Phad Thai Noodles

Phad Thai, Recipes No Comments by afamilyinmotion

After selling the restaurant, it wasn’t more than two weeks that I started worrying, what am I going to do next?  While relaxing on the beach in Hawaii, I had a eureka moment: I am going to teach yoga.  I have been practicing for almost ten years, but had never considered teaching before.  I know, it’s a far cry from the very non-Zen, utilitarian lifestyle of owning and operating a restaurant, but I think that’s precisely why I am drawn to yoga–I want a change of pace.  For almost eight years, my husband and I were sprinting through life at 90 miles an hour; suddenly, we’ve screeched to a halt and are creeping along like snails for the first time in years, and I rather like the slower pace.  I am in the process of applying for a yoga teacher training program in Koh Samui, Thailand, of which I am very excited–it looks amazing.

21 Apr

Moving to Thailand for the Sunshine

Moving our Family to Thailand

Before moving to Portland, I’d never lived in a place where conversation about the weather was such a pervasive subject. People here (myself included) are obsessed with sunshine–or lack thereof. You may have noticed a common theme in my postings already at this early stage (we’re moving to Thailand)? I used to tell myself that because I grew up in Southern California and Austin, TX, I was therefore preprogrammed to require more sun than the native Pacific North-westerner. I am slowly realizing that this is not the case. All human beings require an adequate dosage of sunshine, whether or not they obtain the prescribed amount.

09 Apr

Adventures With The Thai Embassy In Canada

Thai Embassy

We visited the Thai embassy in Vancouver BC this past weekend. I love going to Vancouver–it’s an international city full of life and diversity. I enjoy the restaurants, Granville Island, Chinatown, and especially jogging around Stanley Park. I have been visiting Vancouver and Victoria every year since I was 18. The misses and I had our first official “hook-up” in Victoria, so it’s a special place for us. On that same trip we ended up in a gay hotel (Hotel Royale–how could we not have known?!) with communal showers and male strippers chasing our English friend around the hotel bar. But that’s a story for another post….

24 Mar

Moving To Thailand Requires Getting Rid Of Things

Sold the car in 20 minutes on Craigslist

So, I think I mentioned that we owned and operated a restaurant in Portland, OR for just over five years. It was a tough industry to be in for many reasons, and restaurants have notoriously slim profit margins. Anything and everything we could write off as a restaurant expense we did: meals out at fabulous establishments; trips to Thailand and Southeast Asia, Brazil, Canada; our car. We really liked our car, a Nissan Murano–nothing flashy, but roomy, comfortable, and luxurious for our standards. Neither my husband nor myself is a huge car person, and as long as it’s reliable and safe and can accommodate my husband’s very long legs, it’s good for us.

24 Mar

Why Thailand?

A man taking a break on the Klong in Thailand

So why did we choose Thailand over other wonderful places we’ve been before (Southern France; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Rio de Janeiro; Spain) or somewhere interesting we’ve never been? The reason is simple: I’m half Thai and was born in Bangkok. Once a citizen there, I will legally be able to own land and start a business in Thailand. While I definitely love France and Saudi Arabia (have lived in both countries), I can’t own land or operate a business without being a full citizen in either place. (My friend Robin is a dual citizen with EU status…lucky her. Speaking of, check out her awesome foodie blog – A Chow Life.)

23 Mar

Introduction To A Family In Motion

Moving to Thailand 2 Comments by afamilyinmotion
Paint of family by Tanisha Caravello right before moving to Thailand

On warm sunny days when Portland opens her arms wide and shares all her treasures with us, and when everyone has a smile on their vitamin D-deprived faces–even the hipsters who never smile–then the idea of leaving this charmingly quaint city that after six years has finally become home is achingly painful. However, on days like today, when the cold rain catches us by surprise, and we drive around listening to depressing news about the cultural and economic sinking of our country, our move can’t come quickly enough. You see, my husband and I have decided to take advantage of our unique position to go off the beaten path and have an adventure that will surely be worthy of at least a few good stories.

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