The whole country is flooding from the heavy rains of the past week (a result of Typhoon Noru which had a completely different name in the heavily ravaged Philippines), but we are safe so far. Usually, our neighborhood floods when there’s heavy rains, but the drainage systems just in our immediate area have worked well this time around. There’s supposed to be more opening of floodgates upriver (mainly at the Ubolrat Dam in Khon Kaen) in the coming week, so it may get worse. For now, there are a lot of volunteers filling sandbags in preparation of more rain and rising rivers. My students coworkers haven’t lost their sense of humor, either.
On our trip to the states last month, I had my first ever birthday on an airplane. It might have been my longest birthday ever because of the time difference (UTC +7 to UTC -7), although I didn’t even really think about it until a couple of flight attendants came up and started asking about my birthday – one in English, and one in Japanese. I was really surprised at first, but it ended up being very dope. Apparently, Nam had asked ANA to do something after Mina and I had checked in and went through the first security checkpoint at Suvarnabhumi. Mina knew about it since Nam had messaged her and she thought it was hilarious.
The dessert plate they brought me “from Business Class”:
The ANA Dreamliner B787 we flew on from BKK to Haneda was pretty badass; the crew can dim all the windows at the touch of a button. You can also set them individually with the button shown below. There’s a row of LEDs (to the left of the button) that aren’t really lit in the photo that show the dimness level.
I didn’t post here for the entire trip and actually didn’t do a lot of things I normally do… Some of them I just may never do again. We have new priorities and our lives are in a state of flux – preparing for a big move back home, etc. – and we are living each day with the immediate goal of joining our family together again. Standing in our way is a long list of big things like selling our house, getting Nam’s green card, finding new jobs, and transitioning to new cultures and lifestyles again… Adventure awaits!
What if the book series functioned like a publicly traded company where individuals could “buy stock” in it, and as the franchise grows, those “stocks” become more valuable? If this were the case, someone who purchased just three percent of Harry Potter back when there was only one book would be a billionaire now.
Just imagine how that would affect the reading experience. Suddenly a trip to Barnes & Noble becomes an investment opportunity. Early readers could spot “the next big thing” and make a $100 contribution that becomes $10,000 or even $100,000 if the book’s popularity grows. If readers could own a percentage of the franchise, they might then be incentivized to help that book succeed. They could start a TikTok account to promote the book via BookTok, or use their talents as filmmakers to adapt it to the screen. All of this stands to increase the value of their original investment.
We threw a farewell party for Mina last night and invited her classmates and their families. She’s been going to school with some of them since they were two or three years old, so it was sad… Yet, she is ready to go off on her adventure. We take off in just over 10 days… The next week will be finishing work and school for us, and getting stuff ready to go.
When we got back home last night from the party, it was nearly midnight and starting to rain, and somebody rang our doorbell. It was a Grab (food delivery) rider who stopped to say he had seen a huge snake slithering into our neighbor’s yard (our neighbor doesn’t have a doorbell or a door accessible from the front street). The driver said maybe it was a boa, as thick around as his arm! I messaged our neighbor about it and went looking for it this morning, but didn’t see anything… I was kind of bummed because I’ve always wanted to see a wild boa here.
Max went to study for a few months in Washington state in spring of 2019. Nam took him there and came back. It was hard to watch him go and be away from him because we were such a close family – we ate almost every meal together since the kids were born (and they were almost all great meals). Well, three months turned into four and then six, and then pretty soon he wanted to be there for a whole year. We agreed to the extensions every time since he seemed to be having such a great time. And then the pandemic came.
We watched in horror as one of the first infection zones was discovered at an elderly care facility in Seattle, just a couple hours from where Max was, at my sister’s house. I knew I had a short period to go and pick him up and get him out of there before borders started closing. But. He was graduating elementary school the week I chose to get him, so I decided to let him attend that and not deprive him of saying goodbye to friends he had made over the past year. And so, the borders closed everywhere, and the window to get Max back was closed, for years.
Meanwhile, we endured living life without our boy here. It was lonely and we got used to that, and getting used to it also sucked. But guess what? Max got used to living in the states, and we had to deal with that. It turns out he got into a very progressive Project Based Learning middle school, was earning high school credits, and was even on track to receive a scholarship for college! Mina became interested in Max’s school. And so, we started making plans to apply for Nam’s green card and try living in the states for a while. Our plan was to get the green card sometime next year (there are no time guarantees and the various government agencies are all backlogged) and move over there in some fashion – a huge move, but it still gave us some time to prepare for everything.
So of course, everything got moved up. We found out that Mina had a chance to get into Max’s school that wouldn’t last very long, so we jumped at it.
Mina is unsure about going.
Mina wants to go.
Mina is going.
I will take Mina there and come back. Mina and Max will be together in the states until Nam gets her green card, and then we will follow after settling accounts here in Thailand.
The last three years have been hard without one child here.
The next year will be even harder without both here.