In just one and a half months we will have lived in this country for two years. In that time, we have lived in three houses and one hotel (for the first two weeks). This was not what we planned, but sometimes life throws you a curve ball!
Our first house was great, and too expensive. However, we had been staying in a hotel and house hunting and had trouble finding something that would fit our large family in a reasonable budget. As anyone can guess, staying in a hotel adds up quickly. We lived in that house for two months while we looked for something we could afford.
When another missionary family moved in October of 2015, we moved into their house in a super interesting neighborhood; a neighborhood with quite a history. At one time it was full of beautiful, western-style homes, complete with a clubhouse and pool. This was approximately thirty years ago. In Thailand, it is customary to build small spirit houses on every property. The purpose of these houses is to give a place to the spirits so they won’t roam around. Buddhist Thais offer food and drinks each day to the spirits. A tragic accident happened while the neighborhood was still under construction; a small child drowned in the neighborhood pool. The neighborhood spirit house had not been built yet, and the widespread belief was that the spirits were angry and had caused the accident. Families moved out immediately, and it’s difficult to get Buddhist Thais to enter the neighborhood for repairs or maintenance even now because of the stigma. So the homes are beautiful, but old and in bad shape.
One day recently, I looked up to see a dark-colored stain spreading all over the ceiling of our kitchen. Some areas were almost black. We contacted the landlord immediately. A week went by, and during that time water started breaking through in one area.
When we first started to notice the bulge from the water.
A few days later.
At this point I was starting to get worried about the black mold I was seeing through the hole. Bubba was having pain in his joints again. (You can read more about the cause of that HERE .) We were all feeling slightly sick, after months of perfect health. Was there a connection?
While waiting for the landlord to get back to us, we started talking about the idea of moving to a different home. We had been so happy in our home, despite the difficult plumbing situation and other problems. It was close to town, affordable, and fit our ever-growing family. But the cost of repairs had been adding up and there were constant plumbing problems. (As a side note, when I once asked the local expat group where to find a plumber the immediate response was laughter.)
The eventual result of the water damage.
We set out to look for a home within our price range, not expecting we’d find anything. We found a sweet rental agent who was amazing to work with, and as a parent she understood our concerns about the mold throughout the house. Within a week, she had found a home that worked.
A view on the drive to the new home. Breathtaking.
It’s a smaller home; three bedrooms. A bit tricky with six kids, but we’ve found a way to make it work. When we walked through the home we could see immediately that two of the three bedrooms would be ideal for the master. As it turned out, we ended up choosing the smallest bedroom for us. The other two just made more sense for the kids. 🙂 The four girls are all sharing one room but the configuration works well.
It has been such a relief to be somewhere where we don’t about the kids’ health. We’re not concerned about water mixing with rat excrement and pouring into our kitchen. Oh, and …. WE HAVE A KITCHEN NOW! What a world of difference that has made for our family. I never realized how much I missed having counter tops.
Our last neighborhood was mostly expats due to the stigma surrounding the neighborhood. We are now in a Thai village, and most of the villagers speak only Thai. It’s great! They are patient with our attempts to communicate and always smile and wave when we drive by. We look forward to making friends with the precious Thai people around us. Since our language skills are still somewhat shaky, we may be putting that kitchen to good use making food to share with neighbors. (International sign of friendship: homemade treats!) No matter what, we are thankful for this home and look forward to seeing how God continues to work.