I Gave Birth to Thai-Foodie

June 26, 2012 § 2 Comments

It’s horrible. I haven’t updated this dear blog in ages. Mainly because I’ve been giving birth.

Not yet to the little BOY that likes to dance in my stomach when he hears the bass in the car or when I’m hungry, but to a new website: Thai-Foodie.

It will one day be over-flowing with recipes, Thai cooking tips and fun stories about Thai food and culture. But for now it’s my new baby that is quite small, but it’s definitely growing.

“That’s random. Why did you start a Thai cooking site?” I’m sure you’re thinking.

Since January I’ve worked at an online marketing company where I’ve had a sneak peek at what life behind the scenes of websites looks like. I’ve realized that all those foodie sites I drool over are not impossible to create. My friends at work all have own different domains, and have websites they work on for fun, and they inspired me to get my own.

As you know, or will soon find out at Thai-Foodie, my love for Thai food is what drew me to Thailand, where I met my Thai hubby, and now I’ve learned how to cook this magical food. On Thai-Foodie, I share my infatuation with others who are always asking me, “How do you make Thai food??”

So I’ve discovered I can actually run a legit Thai cooking site!—with the help of talented people.

Dom takes all the lovely mouth-watering food pics for it; my friend Joseph who has his own start-up social media business, Social-Chimp, has been my Web Master helping me with creating my site; my friend who is skilled at web design, Kelly, thought up my awesome logo; and my friends at work always keep me accountable by asking me what new post I’m working on, and how things are going.

I will still post on here from time to time on non-related cooking thoughts, but most of my web devotion will be to my new Thai-Foodie baby.

So if you want to learn more about cooking Thai food, Thai culture and little stories about the dishes I fell in love with, then feel free to check out Thai-Foodie.

Thanks for supporting us and our new baby, as we wait for our next one to finish cooking on October 3.

Love–No Strings Attached

March 15, 2012 § 13 Comments

My mom recommended that I write a prayer request at church for our many upcoming needs: our huge pregnancy bill, finding an apartment, and getting stuff for it and Baby.

I wasn’t sure if I had time to fill out the card before the offering plate came my way, but decided to try to write fast.

Next to me was one of our dear new friends/sister we met just a few weeks ago at our church, Grace Covenant. We connected immediately after this:

“My husband is Japanese, and we have been in America a few years.”

“Really? My husband is Thai, and we have been here a few years too. Where did you get married?”

“In Japan.”

“We got married in Thailand!”

And the connections just kept going: how we both had taught abroad, traveled to other countries, have the same heart for the world. And of course Dom and her husband bonded right away over being recent immigrants from Asia.

I knew five minutes after meeting her that we would all be friends for a long time, and that it was a straight-up from God kind of friendship.

So back to the story. I was filling out my card quickly, and my friend had been watching me write. Before I could finish, she took the card from my hands, and crumpled it up while whispering in my ear,”How much do you need?”

I was still a bit of shocked at my prayer request disappearing, but quickly whispered the pregnancy cost amount in her ear with a sigh.

“I’m going to give it to you,” she said.

“What?! No way! Really? What?” I said, while tears started to well up in my eyes. I hadn’t even finished writing my prayer, and He answered.

“I’ve been praying about this for a few weeks now, and I feel like God wants me to. Don’t thank me, thank Him. It is God, not me,” she said simply.

I just started to cry.

I had prepared myself to struggle, and fight every month to pay for our pregnancy bill until the 37th week when it was all due. I was setting myself up for the stress of the months ahead and figured God would be there to help me through.

“I don’t want you to worry about this anymore,” she/God said to me. She had saved money in a special account for years for the sole purpose of one day giving it to someone who God showed her was in need.

My tears poured because I felt so unworthy. My Father chose to give us, His kids that He loves with no strings attached, a less stressful pregnancy than need be. We don’t deserve it, but that is why it is even more beautiful = Grace.

I now love how we didn’t have insurance, and instead of that making our pregnancy a horrible, scary thing, God turned it into a way that I could watch Him pour His not of this world love all over us.

Grace makes beauty out of ugly things.

I can’t wait to tell Baby how God provided for him/her before she/he was even born.

It Will Change

February 18, 2012 § 8 Comments

Oh how things have changed since Dom’s first step in America.

“Just wait and see! Your life can change so much in just a month (a week, a day, etc.).”

When Dom and I were searching for full-time, permanent work for two and a half years we heard a variation of the above off and on.

I would smile kindly, say “Yeah, true!” but really think, “Maybe your life, but our life has been stuck in the same gear of searching and not finding answers for months and nothing ever changes day after day.”

Ha! But finally, those kind, well-intentioned people’s words have come true.

On January 9th, I dropped Dom off at his first day of work, feeling like a mom taking her kid to school for the first time. Then I nervously drove to my job hoping I wouldn’t get lost on the confusing Austin roads to start my first day of content writing.


Then two weeks later, we learned that by October 1-ish we will become Mee and Paa. Jobs, and a baby?! In one month? After waiting so long for change, it came gushing out at us like a geyser that finally makes it’s spectacular appearance.

Now the next step. Our own apartment. We had one, a long time ago in our early days of married bliss in Bangkok. It was just a studio, one, medium-sized room—no kitchen, and we ate our street food on the floor Thai-style—but it did have a tiny balcony where I could peer into the gym in the other building and watch Dom work out. It was perfect for us, and only $250 a month.

The view of the gym from our wee balcony

I thought that was sooo cheap for an apartment in a good location in a country’s capital. But Dom thought it was normal. So now when he looks at what I think are typical apartment prices in Austin, his jaw drops to the floor, and everything is “Pang mak!!!” (Sooooo expensive!!!).

Even though we make more than we did in Thailand, and even though he has been in America for 2.5 years, his mind is still converts dollars to baht when it comes to apartment rent. Especially since we have never had our own place in America, it’s something I forgot he will have to get used to–many exciting blog posts on apartment searching in America to come.

It just hit me though, that things did change. And everything that happened while we waited came together and was good. Even after whining, complaining, being impatient, ungrateful for so many things I had while waiting for change, things still worked out.

“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” Romans 8:26-28 The Message.

Midwives are Redneck

February 12, 2012 § 6 Comments

We were all eating dinner at home, and Rebekah and I were chatting about the birthing center I will go to. “So what are the midwives like?” she asked.

Right after the word “midwives” left her lips, Dom started cracking up like she was a hilarious stand-up comedian.

“What’s so funny??” Both Rebekah and I asked him.

“Midwife? That is so red-neck! In Thailand, midwives help women who live hours away from hospitals in remote Thai villages give birth. No one in Bangkok would use one,” Dom said.

“What! I’m so not redneck for having a midwife!”

We explained to him how midwives are normal in America, even in big cities like Austin. Some prefer having midwives because they help make the experience more personalized, and they are pros at helping women give birth.

“Yeah, now I think it’s cool. It’s just funny you use that old-fashioned word,” he said.

He will have a lot of explaining to do with his dear Thai mom to make sure she doesn’t think we live in the middle of nowhere Texas and could only get a midwife to help me give birth.

Or maybe he shouldn’t explain the difference in America—even more reason for her to come and see the birth of her redneck grandbaby.


Tiny Thai Texan Tot

February 4, 2012 § 14 Comments

Maybe I should have had some coffee before I did the pregnancy test—it might have helped my thinking skills. I was in such a confused state at the results that I didn’t even try to concoct an elaborate, dramatic way of telling Dom he might be a dad. I just ran into our room and waved the little test in front of his face.

“What does that mean?” he said.

“I don’t know.”

Pregnancy test one and two

The pregnant line was faded, but it was there. Did that mean yes I was pregnant? Or since it wasn’t clear did that mean no? We would need reinforcements. One of the many benefits to having roomies is having someone else around to give advice.

I caught Rebekah right as she came out of the bathroom. “Rebekah! What does this mean?”

With one quick glance she said, “Sherri!! You are PREGNANT!!”

Then the crying, hugging, and girl screams ensued for a few minutes, while Ryan excitedly congratulated Papa Dom.

Then after all the cheers and tears, a few hours later, reality of course set in.

We can’t qualify for Medicaid, and we don’t have insurance. We don’t have our own place. We don’t have any furnishings for that place once we get it. And we don’t have insurance.

I felt like I had won the lottery, but then was told I would have to pay $10,000 before I could get my winnings.

It was a hard week of sleepless nights for me, tears of joy and stress, and talking to dear friends who gave us wisdom.

After a lot of figuring out, we decided we are going to have our baby at Austin Area Birthing Center, which is a state of the art, natural birthing center, full of homey rooms, fancy birthing tubs, and caring, knowledgeable midwives—and it’s 60 percent less than having our babe at the stale, cold hospital.

“Yet, how will we pay off our huge bill each month while trying to find our own place and fill it up, and it’s all due at 37 weeks?” This thought loves racing through my mind at 3 a.m.

No, I don’t want to think about that. Instead, focus on the next step, my ultrasound on Valentine’s Day where I get to see our new little love.

And we aren’t alone. We’ve got our Father, who is so sweet to give us a tiny, Thai, Texan growing inside me. Good thing He always takes care of all His kids just because He loves us, and He is going to provide in the nick of time—like always.

Celebrate Good Times

January 15, 2012 § 4 Comments

The day after Dom got his job it was our three year wedding anniversary—such perfect timing.

Dom had already planned a day full of anniversary surprise destinations exploring our new city of Austin.

To take this, we stood in  the middle of South Congress Ave, my favorite street full of funky stores and hip restaurants. I love how the Capitol building sits humbly in the middle of all the tall skyscrapers.

The Capitol building, where we toured, learned some Texan history and in front had a picnic lunch on a bench under a shady tree in the 75-degree weather .

The UT-Austin bell tower. Dom wanted to go up to the top, but there were menacing signs by its elevators that said Authorized Personnel Only, so we chickened out. But I did teach Dom what chicken out means, so that was profitable.

And the quad reminded me of dear UNC-Chapel Hil, which of course has a far prettier campus than any Texas university’s.

When we pulled up to this building, I thought, “Why are we going to a rag shop?! Are you sure you are at the right place Dom?”

But he certainly was.

Dom knows how ever since Wyoming and seeing artistic, beautiful cowgirl boots everywhere I have yearned for a pair of my own.

He researched thrift stores with cowgirl boots on Yelp and found that Roadhouse Rags had rave reviews.

I felt like the whole store was the definition of Austin: vintage, artsy clothes that someone in an indie band would wear, eclectic atmosphere, and a super-friendly owner.

She was sitting on a cozy couch reading the newspaper, and didn’t see us right away. When she saw me drooling over the stand of boots, she welcomed us.

She learned that we were new to the area and had just gotten jobs. She has lived here since the 80s. She shared with us  some Austin trivia, told us about other cool thrift stores, showed us the venue in the back where they have live shows, taught me how to find boots that fit properly—my foot should come up when I walk, but not feel like it’s falling out of the boot—gave us her card and said she could be our surrogate mom, so if we ever needed any help at all, give her call.

We love Austinites.

I didn’t buy boots though because none of them fit just right, but I will definitely be going back to check again and again.

After some more boot-browsing, we went to the Domain, a mall that reminded us of Europe in how the shops lined the walkways. But it had its Austin accents with a monument of instruments—it is the live music capital of the whole world—and fun, random artsy benches.

For some sunset pics, we trekked the five minute hike up the highest point in Austin, Mount Bonnell, at 780 feet! It made us miss the Grand Tetons at 13,770 feet. But it was still a romantic, sigh of contentment view of the city and the river.

Until, we took this picture.

Savor it, because it’s the last picture of Dom’s camera.

Dom had set his tripod up behind us, we were staring at the inspiring sunset, when all of the sudden we heard, “BANG!”. Dom jumped and glanced back to see the tripod holding his precious camera blown over by the wind and smashed onto the hard ground.

The camera that he had attached to his hand the past two years, our companion on all our journeys, was dead. We were very sad.

We left quickly before the sunset got any prettier, and Dom took me to the last surprise: Love Balls, an awesome Japanese food trailer. Food trailers are an Austin thing. They are all over the city and a fun place to get cheaper food, and hang outside.

Our meal was the perfect comfort food for after his camera’s funeral.

We couldn’t stop saying, “Yummm, soooo good, wow!” while we indulged in takoyaki, a ball shaped dumpling filled with goodness and topped with flavorful sauce and bonito flakes. I got the veg, and he got the octopus, along with sides of garlic yaki-onigiri. We sat outside under the romantic glittering  lights hung in the trees with Bob Dylan playing in the background.

These pics from yelp will have to do since our dear camera was already in its grave.

Other than the camera tragedy, it was  the perfect Austin day, and a splendid way to celebrate our three years of adventure together and new jobs.

We are blessed, so so so blessed.

EMPLOYED!!

January 7, 2012 § 9 Comments

I stepped into our bedroom after taking a shower. Dom was talking on the phone, and I heard a woman’s voice on the other end, “And make sure to bring your bank account number, so we can set up direct deposit for your paycheck.”

Paycheck?! To have a paycheck you have to have a job…He got a JOB!!!!!!! I was jumping up and down in my towel, silently screaming, so the woman wouldn’t hear and freak out, and wonder why she was hiring a guy who lived with strange screaming people.

He hung up the phone with a startled look. “I got the job,” he said.

I let out my screams and danced because I couldn’t hold in my excitement anymore. After two and a half years of applying, not hearing back, interviewing, not getting the job, being depressed, searching again, and waiting, the search for a job in his field was over.

There were hugs with our roomie, and high-fives, and all day we kept saying to each other, “You got the job!” “I got the job!” “You got the job!”

The job: he will be working at Data Foundry in Austin as a data center technical representative. It is an entry-level, full-time with benefits and advancement opportunities.

It’s also a night shift. Four days on, three days off, four days off, three days on. It’s going to be an adjustment, but if we can handle 2.5 years of job searching, we can handle anything.

So on Monday we both start our jobs. Oh yeah! My job! I’m starting a part-time internship at Fahrenheit Marketing doing content development. I get to write, he gets to do IT work. We are both happy.

Of course, life is not perfect now that Dom has a job, but it’s a new chapter of our journey.

Our years of waiting for work for Dom were not wasted. They were full of living life to the fullest—as seen below. During those years we saw that God is good. All the time—because it’s his nature. Not just when we get what we were hoping for,

but all the time.