This and that.

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1. Chinua is back and when he came, the kids wriggled all over with joy. So did I. I think we still wake up thinking, Is he? Yes, he's here! He came bearing gifts, both things he bought and things that dear friends sent to us. My favorites are the cast iron pan that he hauled in his backpack, and the juicer that was a very thoughtful birthday gift from our friends. And then there is the mountain of thrift shop kids clothes... so wonderful, so needed.

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2. Last week a new/old friend, Abby, arrived. She's going to stay here for a few months, helping with different things, and especially with the kids on a brief detour from the time she's been spending in Europe. We first met Abby in Santa Cruz when we were living there in 2010, but we're getting to know her much better now. We're all smitten with her. She's been reading The Hobbit to kids. I mean, the girl is a champion reader. Three chapters of The Hobbit? In one sitting?

Also, as a side note, I think Leafy may be gaining an obsession to rival his Star Wars obsession. He now wanders around after me citing facts about elves. "Isn't it funny," he says, "that there's an elf called Legolas? And he's in Lego Lord of the Rings? Get it? LEGOlas?"


3. We gave the puppy away yesterday. I came up with a plan to take him down to the Wednesday Market, a local market with tons of people. Almost immediately, as Miriam was carrying the box, a couple who ran a market stall said they would like to have him. They seemed really nice, and they were very happy to get him. "Thank you!" they said in Thai, and I said, "No, thank you!!!" because I was worried about what I would do if I couldn't find someone to adopt the sweet little guy. I wish we could have kept him, he was so sweet and very smart. Alas, allergies. 

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4. The drives have been beautiful lately. I hop on the scooter and drive away, and I'm immediately surrounded by beauty, it's all around me, flung like jungle vines. All the green is coming back now that the rains have begun. There are the hills, and the trees, and the sky is alternately blue or glowering with low hung clouds (beautiful in their own way.) It is a path through my myriad moods, sometimes ecstatic, sometimes grumpy, sometimes ringing with what feels like the saddest sadness. In times when I wonder what exactly I've done, allowing these countries around the world to have pieces of me, when I wonder in panic how I could ever have left any of them, India, Nepal, America, Canada, I am brought back by a flowering tree. The pieces return to me. I remember that I am in the hand of God, that all the world is mine to watch and love. God calls me back, "Be here and not away," he says, and I re-enter my life with love.

And I truly love it here. With each word that I remember and understand, with every familiar face, I am a little more etched into this place. I can turn in the market and see half a dozen people I know, and I am not afraid. The drives have been beautiful lately. 

Isaac 1.jpg

5. These days, when I pick Isaac up, I think "Oh, I love you. I LOVE LOVE LOVE you." He has become more chunky, less fragile, the cuddliest bear. He almost clings back, there is his soft head on my shoulder, he presses his cheek along my neck. He is the cutest thing ever and he drools and drools and drools. He smiles and makes odd dolphin noises and we are just in love. There are of course all the times when I'm carrying him for hours (he's huge-- another Solo!) or he won't go to sleep and I feel like my back is breaking, and I sometimes think, in a month or so it will be better. But then I think, I can't bear for this month to pass. Both are true, as it is true that I love him now and I will love him then, and I will always love him.

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