Celebrating on Koh Samui

Downtown Bangkok from the monorail station.

We made it out of Bangkok via train on Tuesday morning and spent the next eight hours choo-chooing down to a small city called Surat Thani. The kids slept nearly half the time, which was good for them (and me). Audrey was kind enough to let me borrow her lap for a bit and I, too, caught a bit of a cat nap. We’d been out far too late the night before at the night market (but did find Stuart some more school clothes) and then re-packing. I had to buy yet *another* suitcase there.

Did I mention that before? I’d sent Stuart along with Thang to ship some things home via the slow boat and had stuffed it all into a duffel bag. I reiterated to them both, Stuart and Thang, that I needed the bag back for packing other things to bring along, but in the chaos of the post office and numerous papers to fill out, the need to bring it back was forgotten. So the duffle bag was mailed home. Unfortunately that means we were short a suitcase. And of course this was the day before we were leaving Thanh Hoa, so I had little choice but to run to the open market across the street. I spent 150,000VND (about $8) on a small duffle.

Clearly the kids are thrilled to ride yet another train in Asia. Despite what it looks like, Audrey isn’t actually crying. I promise.

The next day as we hobbled up the street to find our hotel, the handles broke off the new duffle. This was a problem and, of course, the solution would be to spend even more money. The night before leaving Bangkok we found another bag, the red backpack/rolling bag in the picture above, and it did make it through the next leg of the journey).

You may be familiar with Phuket (lower left corner). Koh Samui is the island at the top right, Surat Thani is on the mainland.

Anyway, now after all those hours in the train, staying overnight in Surat Thani (in a crappy hotel, but getting to eat decent chicken at KFC), then a ferry ride and 1/2-hour car ride, we finally made it to Koh Samui. This is finally vacation.

I’d intended this to be our time to celebrate. Couples have anniversaries every year, but our trio hasn’t marked an anniversary in several. This year is special. We are celebrating our 10th anniversary as a trio and I’m thrilled to be in a place so beautiful and so calm to remember it. We’ve struggled through so much heartache, frustration and poverty over the years. Those things haven’t really gone away either, they’ve just eased a bit. But in the fall of 1999, when we moved out of our family-of-four house and out on our own, I would never have though we would ever be in Thailand. Or that I would love teaching English in a small university in Vietnam. I never though I’d want to write a book or that my kids would be so eager to try out the world. I’m so grateful for all the people that came along the way to encourage me to do more, see more, trust more. During our anniversary trip to Koh Samui, I’m thankful for so much. For my great kids, my family who help me in so many ways, for my students who’ve shown me such love, for Keith who went to Vietnam first, for Brian giving me two smart, funny and eager children. Truly, who’d have ever thought this is where I’d be ten years later.
———— Happy 10th to us…

At our hotel (Samui Reef View Resort). Not bad for $35/night.

The reef that we have a view of…

Details from a temple being built down the street from our hotel in Koh Samui.

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