Number of days that we had to stay in the capital city of Laos, a neighboring country to Thailand, because we needed extra pages put in Solo’s passport, which didn’t have any more room for visas: 1
Number of days since someone has asked me if I am pregnant: -1
Number of times I’ve asked Chinua to break out his iPad because I don’t understand the conversion between kip and baht: 5
Amount of kip I pulled out of the ATM two days ago (to pay for the visas): 4,000,000
Number of times one of the kids has made a “We’re millionaires!” joke: 6
Degrees Celcius in Vientiane: 40, real feel 49, with a humidity of 84%
Number of times one of us has said, “It’s hot!”: Lost count
Our Easter was weird this year. It wasn’t what I would want an Easter to be, but sometimes other things intrude into the normal rhythms of the year and this year it was the need for new Thai visas. So we planned and worked our way right through the weekend and Sunday found us driving to the halfway point between Chiang Mai, and Vientiane, Laos. We’ve done this drive before, two years ago, but since we have a whole extra person in our family and everyone else has longer, wider, stronger limbs, we needed to rent a larger vehicle.
The drive was nice and we did it in two days. We don’t drive much anymore—we don’t have a car and in Pai we drive the chariot and scooter, or we ride our bicycles. If we need to go to Chiang Mai we take the bus and then take song taews and tuk tuks around the city, so a good old fashioned driving road trip feels special.
The Laos language is so close to Northern Thai that we’re getting points for speaking it when we don’t actually speak it. I’m sure it would be hard to understand if we only heard Central Thai, which is what we’ve learned in our Thai classes, but we’ve had a lot of practice speaking and trying to decipher Northern Thai in Pai, so we’re getting pretty good and we can understand a lot of the Laos language.
But at the end of the day, it’s just a visa run and we are in and out without a lot of time or money to explore. Maybe next time, I think, as I look longingly at pictures of places deeper in Laos. It’s gorgeous here, even at this non-gorgeous time of year.
It’s a new season, I keep reminding myself. This is resurrection, that something can come from what seems to be nothing, but is really lying dormant, ready to spring forth, new and more beautiful than ever before (as things are each time they reappear- the yellow flowering trees more beautiful than the year before).
I was made to live in community, not apart from it. This community will gather and work together, more beautiful than before.
Today we pick up our visas and go home to Pai, driving down highways flanked by trees in full bloom. The air is dusty and often smokey, everyone waiting for the rainy season. Our car full of kids moves quickly and slowly all at once, like our dreams and our lives.