Friday, February 28, 2014

Bucket List

Now I know I am getting old.  Writing about my bucket list!  Ha!  I am quite often thinking and remembering things and events about each of the places we have lived.  Where I was pregnant.  Where the kids were born and all that went on around that.

I know I will probably either start to lose my memories as they fade away, or I will embellish them, making my life seem even more fantastic and amazing than it already has been so far.  And I am nowhere near to being done!
When we first went overseas, we were assigned to Chiang Mai, Thailand.   69 Tung Hotel Road was our address.  Near the train station.  We were only there for about 6 weeks when Nick got borrowed by the embassy in Bangkok.  After about 6 weeks in Bangkok, with each of us taking turns being one or the other place,l we got transferred to Bangkok as a permanent assignment.

I would love to see that house in Chiang Mai again.  The place we lived in Bangkok has been torn down and used in some capacity by the US embassy.

The next place we lived overseas was Poznan, Poland.  We lived at Ulitza Groditzka. in a big house that had been divided into three flats and a full basement.  We had a big, fenced yard with at least 12 apple trees, pear trees, grape vines- not many grapes, and walnut trees.    There was a gasoline pump in the back yard where the US diplomats from the consulate would get their gas.   We got our gas there.  Embassy folk on their way west to Berlin, through Poznan got their gas there.  You wrote your name and the amount of gas you took and the commissary billed you for it.  I bet I still have some receipts from then.  I would like to walk by that house, and the US Consulate- which isn't a consulate any more.  I would love to go into our house.    That's where Courtney learned to walk, and where Morgan was conceived.

We went back to Thailand after Poland.   Back to Chiang Mai, as a permanent post this time.   Our house was not the same house we lived in the first time we were in Chiang Mai.   This house was on the end of a dirt an gravel road that was bordered by jungle.  A distant neighbor had a howler monkey that we could hear.  The neighbor across the road had a chicken farm.  Bwaakkk buk buk buk.     I think our address was 9 Suthep Road.  Morgan learned to walk there.  Courtney had her fourth and fifth birthday parties and we had cake and games.  Of course, Morgan had birthdays too, but they were more family centered affairs because he was younger than Courtney.

Between Chiang Mai and Tromso, we bought and lived in our current house, here in Reston.

Tromso, Norway is next.  7 Ivar Aasund Vei was our street address.  I have found in on Google maps.  It's still there.   We had the most fantastic views, looking out the big windows at the ships and boats and wind surfers all on the fjord.  The basement opened up into the actual stone of the mountainside we lived on.   Darcy was born there and learned to walk there.  Courtney home schooled in our dining room, and also attended Norwegian public school.  We had snow.  Oh boy did we have snow.  From late September into May, we had snow.  I love snow!

Back home to Reston where Austin was born around 9 months after we got back.   I was so domestic.  I love being domestic.  I had lots of friends, mainly through La Leche League.   We were busy all the time it seems.  Getting kids to do their homework.   After school concerts and science fairs and baseball and Camp Fire.    And LLL occupied a lot of my time and energy.  And of course there was the usual stuff- doing laundry and washing diapers.  I think I only sat down to nurse -which was fairly frequent.

Taipei, Taiwan was next.  We lived in a former US military house in a neighborhood full of look alike, brick ranchers.  We got the biggest house because we had the most kids, 4 at that point.  That house had a good floor plan.  Decent sized bedrooms and a living/ family room arrangement.  Big kitchen and dining room.   I honestly don't remember our address.  I am sure I have letters from friends with that address.   Made a play group and joined a cooking group and we kept pretty busy.   The three oldest kids were in school, so I had Austin all to myself.  That was nice, and easy.   Nick and I took the kids and drove to the southern part of the island to meet another LLL person I had corresponded with.   Went to a great, hands on children's museum.   Only problem (for us) was that all of the narrations at the exhibits were in Chinese.

Next came Guangzhou, China.  We arrived there with me pregnant, Austin still nursing and the three other kids in school.  We lived in the same building that the US Consulate and offices were in.  All a part of the White Swan hotel somehow.  We had crummy furniture, but with a pack of energetic kids, it worked.  There was a pool we could see from our 5th floor apartment window that was called the "Snoopy Pool" because it looked like Snoopy's head.     The kids and my pregnant self went on road trip to some hot springs resort.  We went with about 25 others from the consulate.  Adults and kids alike.   Nick didn't go, he probably had to work.  It was a fun trip, and, we got to stop in a pretty little rice growing village and see the people and their life style.

About two months before Chance was due to be born, my water broke and Chance was born about 36 hours later.  Nick was on a business trip, and I was home alone with the four other kids.  The three oldest left to catch their school bus.  Then pandemonium, broke out.   My kids were all farmed out to the families of other consulate kids.  So they were with people they knew, and Nick was nowhere in sight. The consulate nurse and I managed to get on a train to Hong Kong where we were met by an ambulance and immigration officers.  Chance was born at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital.    It all worked out in the end, mostly.  Chance was a sick baby and I ended up returning to the States with him and Austin.  Nick and the older kids followed a few months later.

Back to Reston and then on to Australia.   My next installation.   I must go to bed

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