About a year ago, we wrote a post on why “Online Overdose is Harmful for OUR Family.” A few months later we wrote this one “Disconnect to Reconnect 2012.” We still spend quite a number of hours on-line.
However, we’ve made a lot of effort to minimize distractions while maximizing our attention to family and service. We’ve come a long way.
- We’ve been teaching Conversational English in our home 6 hours a week in the evenings..
- We also teach at a Non-profit organization and in our home during the day for 8 hours a week
- We now utilize Edmodo to continue our conversational English outside of the class with our daughter, M, helping us record the vocabulary words and the stories (you can listen here) which we use for pronunciation and usage guide. (Uh, yea, it requires more online time, but it is worth every minute of it as long as our students are learning and M gets to be a part of it somehow!)
- I still manage a number of Facebook pages (6 to be exact, although I have removed myself or have deleted a couple of others) and 4 twitter accounts. I have cut back and maximized my time where I’m needed and wanted most.
- I’ve cut back on volunteering online at Sparked.com (at least for the past several months)
- I’ve increased my face-to-face time with specific organizations where my skills are needed and requested.
- I still teach Burmese language online via two different websites using skype.
- I speak and read Burmese on a daily basis. I have been speaking to M in Burmese and trying to teach her Burmese on a more regular basis as well.
- J continues to teach for a college in the US and provide personal coaching online using skype also.
- J spent a significant amount of time this summer reading books on distant learning and revamped his class this quarter that which started late September.
- We’ve significantly reduced the amount of time we spend on the Travel aspect of blogging, tweeting, re-tweeting, facebooking, etc. Not that we don’t love it, we do love traveling. There are enough people on-line doing the Travel thing, and they are much better at it than we. And frankly, it was just too much keeping up with everyone and every thing out there. Not enough hours in the day. Just too much.
- We refocused on what we came to do in Chiang Mai: Raise our daughter in Asia, record memories on this blog when possible, and on smugmug, and be of Service to those in need.
- My brother visited us in October of 2011. Though we were in the middle of the filming of House Hunters International and just moved-in to our home, we did our best to make the best out of his time here. I hope he returns.
- We spent a significant amount of time (November 2011 to April 2012) with my parents here in Chiang Mai. We took road trips to Sukhothai, Chiang Rai, Mae Sai; flew to Luang Prabang, Laos for 10 days during Christmas and New Year; and spent a month from Jan – Feb in Burma where we attended my cousin’s wedding for a family reunion and traveled to Bagan, Innlay, Bago with my cousins and ate delicious Burmese food throughout our time there.
- My Mom spent her first Burmese New Year with us in April here in Chiang Mai. This would be her first back in Asia since we left Burma in 1980.
- It was great to have my Mom shared a room with M for a length of time here in Chiang Mai. I think they bonded. 🙂
- We realized that the home we rented (the one that appeared on House Hunters International) was way too big for us even though we had good intentions of having space for family members when they visit and teaching students out of our home for volunteer English tutoring center.
- We have recently moved to much smaller spaces and we are working on down-sizing, again, back to where we started (hopefully fewer suitcases).
- I went through an emotionally difficult slump in Chiang Mai from February to June of 2012, before we left to return to the US. I am thankful to have had my Mother here during the majority of those months.
- It was indeed a good return to the US for the Summer. I needed to leave Chiang Mai.
- Friends we’ve not seen in a long time reunited with us and supported our efforts of raising funds during our time back in the US. We appreciate this more than they’ll ever know.
- Thus raising awareness and funds for a few organizations and reconnecting was made easy because of our friends who remained our friends after another year of us being gone.
- We spent a lot of time with J’s family in Arlington. We cleaned out their garage, their kitchen and did a yard sale as well as helped de-cluttered. We hope to do more in the future trips when we return.
- With the help of my friends in Houston, we collected approx 50 kilos of donation items brought back to Chiang Mai. I call it “Trash to Treasure.”
- We have distributed most of the 50 kilos of donations to a Kachin village, Shan Women Action Network, to church members, and a couple of other organizations with which we work.
- I organized and conducted my first NGO tour (an idea I’ve had for a long time) recently with the help of my partner-in-crime.. He drove us all over town to different organizations. It was a positive turn-out and I hope there will be more individuals interested in my NGO tours.
- Currently, I am working with an organization to help organize and promote an upcoming cultural event that involves performances, a fashion show, lots of food and handmade products. Really proud to be a part of this project.
- We’ve accompanied most, if not all, of M’s field trips from school and just about every event there is for us to be present at like their assembly, the talent at twilight, parent teacher groups, birthday parties, and school bar-b-q’s.
- We try to be as involved in her academics and her social life as much as possible.
- It’s been tough when some of her friends leave or move back home (to Scotland, Korea), but teaches her to be creative with keeping her friendships alive via skype and emails. Though many of her friends have a facebook account, she does not have one.
- New classmates have been added to M’s class this year, and she’s being such a great host to one of the girls who happens to be very shy and does not say much in class.
- We’ve encouraged M to be friendly, kind, empathetic, and giving as it is sometimes difficult to fit-in in a new group.
- M writes journals on most days and loves to write creative stories. We have encouraged her to write children’s e’books s that she could narrate herself. We’ll have to see where this takes us.
- We are very proud of M and her love for theater and performing arts Starting with Fantastic Mr. Fox tin 2010, to dancing at the Songkran celebrations, having a role in being Egyptians during assembly, being on stage with her good friend Emily and sang a song bravely and together have all been preparing her and building her courage and confidence to the news she received today.
- M is performing the role of “Alice” in “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” the school play in February 2013.
- She was awarded the first student of the month for September in Year 5, Grade 4. She is serving on Student Council for 2012-2013 school year and has advanced to Intermediate Thai class.
We are doing our best, staying focused on what matters to us as a family.
I’m very proud of us!
Message to M:
When in doubt, remember these words.