Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Back home

Well we're back home... at the minute, I'm 
downstairs writing this from the comfort of my sofa and the kids are up in bed.It's weird and good being home, everything went like clock-work. Anant, our driver pictured here, came to pick us up at 8pm and then drove us up to Bangkok and to the airport. He has been more than just our driver, and if and when we go back to Thailand we will use him again.

We were dreading the flight, but we needn't have... both the kids went to sleep just after the jet took off, and Joel nearly slept the whole
 journey. Tamah slept a good 8 hours, and then flirted with everyone she met... only to turn her head away from them when they went to put their hands out to her.

She even went to sleep on the flight to Belfast, (which was a rubbish flight and a dodgy landing). The only time she played us up was in the car on the way to Bangkok and by that time she was wrecked.

As I said the kids were great on the flights and when we got back to Belfast, my dad, & Lesa's mum and dad were there to greet us. Typically, the only place in the world that we were asked about Tamah was Belfast, and when we went to speak to ,y dad and Heather, a PSNI officer asked to speak to me about child trafficking - he asked for all our papers and wanted to speak to me after I got all of our suitcases, (well he was just doing his job really).

We then went to Lesa's parents and met up with all of her immediate famiily - Tamah was a little bit freaked with the noise of all the kids, but she setled well, even kissing Megan and letting Paul kiss her. She slept really well last night again, and all through the day she was such a pet, (I suppose you could say it was down to the expert parenting skills, not!)

We travelled back home this morning, and all was well until Dungannon... Tamah had spent too long in the car seat and she was going to complain. Poor Joel had to contend with the same song over and over again, (Superhero) for 45 minutes.

Coming back into the house was very emotional for me, Lesa was feeling sick anyway and nearly through up. As soon as Tamah came into the living room she saw a picture of herself and started to smile, (I think she knew at that moment how we have been waiting for her). She has played with all of us today, and with all her toys (including her new pram) and she has been brilliant.

It's hard to believe that she has only been with us for just over 2 weeks... it feels so right that she is part of our family, and she has settled so well with all of us. All of the Martin clan are enjoying being with each other, playing together and being family. We pray that in the coming weeks we will continue to gorw together...

Thank you again for all your support... for the emails, comments, phone calls, letters, cards, etc. You don't know what it means to us to know that our family and friends have been with us for the last 3 1/2 years. We thought today was never going to happen, but it has and now we have this little angel sleeping upstairs...

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Happy Birthday to Joel

Well this morning was an exciting day for one of our kids... Joel became 8 years old, and was very pleased to see that we had bought him a Ben 10 Alien Force Omnitix, (as modelled below); a Ben10 t-shirt from his sister, and a solitaire board game. He also got some clothes, but they are not so important as the other stuff.

The day just got better when we went to the Market Village to buy him some more Ben 10 figures, (Echo Echo & Chromastone), that add to his omnitrix... I think you need to be 8 to understand it all. All I can say is, he was one seriously happy boy.

After shopping, we went to the pool to cool down... today it was 39 oC, (seriously hot, too hot). It was cloudy in the afternoon, so we took our chance and went to the pool and for a swing...

We were getting ready to go out when then there was a knock at the door - it was one of the hotel staff with this beautiful chocolate birthday cake... see below...

It was then off to speak to Granny & Granda on skype at McDonalds, (where we are blogging from now), get the washing, and then off to the resteraunt of Joel's choice, (lucky he is a cheapy and picked the place in the night market which tonight was bunged).

There he got another birthday cake from the staff, (this is one seriously popular child). 

Joel finished off his collection of board games with his new purchase of Chinese Checkers - I don't have a clue how to play it, so will anyone teach me?

We then went off to Swensen's which is this serious cool ice cream store, and there... you guessed it, he had a Happy Birthday ice cream and got a polaroid with Happy Birthday all over it, (I wish I was 8 again!)

I hope you had a great birthday son, I love you very much and hope and pray for the best in your life.

Well on a different tack, this will probably be our last post from Thailand... we leave this time tomorrow to head up to Bangkok and then on to Heathrow. It has been an adventure, which by the way does not finish but just changes a bit when we get back to Northern Ireland. We have so many mixed emotions and it will be hard to say good bye for now to Thailand, but say good bye we must. Just pray that Tamah sleeps the whole way to Heathrow!

We love this place so much, but we can't wait to get home... there's a new edition that we want you to say hello to... her name is Tamah - our precious jewel.

Thank you for journerying with us and see you soon,

Bryan, Lesa, Joel & Tamah Martin

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Taking it easy

Hi folks,

Sorry for the lack of posts, Internet connection was down... we are now posting from a Thai/Italian coffee shop which serves home made ice cream, (it's a dirty job but I have to get a connection, don't I?)

Last night our little daughter played a blinder - she slept to 4am, and then slept right through to 8.40... hallelujah!

Lesa left me in charge of the kids this morning, as she went off for a pedicure. I thought it would be a complete disaster, but it turned out as easy as pie - I even was able to change a dirty nappy without Tamah screaming the place down.

Yesterday, after having too much sun the day before, we took it easy... playing in our room, going for walks, and then out to the night market. The night market at the back of our hotel is the best, all the Thais go there. The smells, the food and the clothes are brilliant... they even sell dogs, (let's hope they are not part of the menu!)

Joel is getting excited about his birthday, which is tomorrow... he'll be 8... it makes me feel so old. Having Tamah with us this year makes this birthday just perfect. As Joel says, she was his Christmas and birthday present all wrapped up into one. 

He has become besotted with chess, and is able to stuff his mum, (which is no real challenge). Today while he was playing his DS, Tamah was clambering all over him - it is so lovely to watch the 2 of them grow in their confidence with each other.

On a different note, we are coming to the end of our trip here in Thailand, and we all have mixed emotions about heading home. Being here for 3 weeks, you settle into the pace of life, the sun, and the fact that in hotels you are waited on hand and foot. But we have to go home, and we want to, but we are anxious about how Tamah is going to 
cope there. Part of me feels guilty about bringing her away from everything that she has ever known. On the other hand, what sort of life would she have had if she had just stayed in Pakkred. Sure she was loved, you could tell that the volunteers and the staff thought that she was a star, but what hope is there for one kid among 35 others and just 3 staff?

We know that we are doing the right thing, we pray that Tamah will see that in years to come.

The Thais are so good... just now, we were sitting have our ice cream and this guy just gave Joel a bracelet just out of the blue.

We'll really miss this place, but then again I don't think that this will be the last time we will be in Thailand.

Sawadee krup,

The Martins

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Battle of the wills

Every day there seems to be a battle of the wills with Tamah... this is all positive by the way, but at the time, it seems like a royal pain in the backside.  She has this terrible habit of throwing herself back when she doesn't get her own way, and boy can she cry.

At the start she was so docile, she would let us do everything... but now's a different matter. She hates getting changed, (I thought women loved changing for a night out), and hates getting her medicine. Don't get me wrong, she is a pet, but boy does this girl know her mind.

Today, Joel and I headed out along the beach for a spot of rock climbing, and Lesa and Tamah went to the laundry. We all met up mid morning and spent a good part of the day at the pool. 

It was great just to have the 4 of us, (I love saying that), and it was good to meet up with some folks round the hotel who often look at us and smile as if we have abducted a small Thai child.

Above, you can see the dead cockroach that my wife found in the grounds of our hotel, (we put it onto Joel's leg but he wasn't frightened at all, seriously!)

Tonight we headed out to the night market to eat at a place where we used to go 3 years ago... it was just the same, except that they have taken over another place across the road. The food was still delicious and really cheap... Pork with young ginger and egg fried rice for 80 baht, (that's about £1.60).

After Joel and I beat his mum at chess, Joel got a chess set at the market, (he was none to impressed that his dad beat him first go - and no I'm not going to easy on him because he's a kid!)

We got this Tuk tuk back, and for 100 baht we got our ride home and, at full blast, Bon Jovi's Living on a Prayer. It was enough for me to want to ask for my money back.

At the minute, Tamah is asleep, Joel is reading his books and Lesa has just made me a cup of tea... she's a good wife. 

We hope that Tamah sleeps to 4a.m. to give us a chance, she was up about 5 times last night... it can get to the point when you just can't think any more... hope her teeth are through before her flight home. Oh yes, the flight home... that'll be fun.

All the best from a sunny and windy Hua Hin,

The Martins

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Nellie the elephant packed her trunk

Welcome to another action packed day with the Martins.

Tamah did great last night, and this morning we were greeted with her clambering all over us and giving us kisses. She was in great form today, even taking her medicine without spitting it all over the place.

After breakfast, we went down to the pool and Lesa finally got the chance to sun herself. Tamah after her swim promptly fell asleep and Joel & I went for a jacuzzi... it's a tough life here, honest!

The other family that we have been hanging around with from Wales, the Woods, still have not yet received their visa and they are travelling up to Bangkok tomorrow and then home the next day, they really need our prayers that all will work out.

So while Lesa was looking after Tamah, (she won't go on an elephant after her experience 3 years ago)... Joel, Mimi & I went off to the Hua Hin hills to make like Indiana Jones on the back of Natalie, (not Nellie) for an hour of elephant riding... I had promised Joel that when we got back to Hua Hin that we would go on the elephants again. Yet, that wasn't all, check out this elephant, pretty impressive, eh?! 

This same elephant can play football, (Joel saved 3 of her penalties)... she can dance, play basketball, paint... a pretty talented elephant if you ask me.


The sun had gone behind the clouds for a while when we were riding the elephant, which was great, as otherwise we would have fried, (Joel and myself would have, Mimi would have been fine). 

Tomorrow, we hope to do a lot more swimming, and then at night to head off to the night market for some haggling.

Until then, I'll say goodnight...

Monday, 30 March 2009

Hospital in Hua Hin

I started with this title because I knew that it would catch your attention. (To the right - a picture of Tamah practising her skills at tuk tuk driving).

Yes, we had to take Tamah to the hospital today because she was so hot. We tried calpol and nurofen, and they seemed to work for a while, but then after an hour her temp. was up again. So we spoke the the receptionist and the hotel drove us out to the hospital. 

If anyone reading this has anything to do with the NHS, then read on... the hospital was spotlessly clean. The nurses were all over Tamah like a rash, (Lesa loved it when she ran away from them all and back to us). We were seen in about 20 mins, and it cost us £6, (that's right £6) for a private consultation with a paediatrician. There was free coffee, tea and water... and Tamah was very much taken with the fish tank... probably thought it was dinner. We were right to bring her, she had a virus, which the doctor told us would go away in a couple of days. So family, everything is alright! Tamah is well... we were just making sure, and we are to keep giving her the calpol and nurofen... so for once in our lives, we were doing the right thing as parents.

Seriously, I would pay £6 for the doctors if we were treated the way Tamah was today.

Joel was with the Woods at their pool, so he was happy and we were able to look after Tamah without him being bored... we went round after the hospital and we let Tamah have a little dip to cool her down a bit, (apologies for my naked torso). 

Joel also got his wish to go to Subway's for dinner... yum, yum?! After that it was back to the Market Village with the Woods. Joel got some Pokemon cards, and Tamah got her second pair of shoes and a pair of sunglasses, as modelled below. Lesa and I, well we bought the groceries...

Tonight, Tamah was a little bit easier to put to bed, which helped Joel get to bed a little bit earlier, which in turn helped us relax a little bit more. So with 2 sleepy kids and their 2 sleepy parents, we'll pull down the shades, (get it?!), on this post, and speak to you tomorrow.

All the best,

The Martins

Sunday, 29 March 2009

Hot in Hua Hin

Just looked up the weather for Northern Ireland on the BBC, Light Showers and 7 0C... well, here's it's 37 oC and desert dry. Yesterday, we got a little bit too much sun, so we took it easy this morning with a little trip to Hua Hin Market Village, (sounds like a Thai market, but in reality it's like a huge shopping mall).

We took a Tuk tuk out to the shop as it was too roasty to walk. Tamah could have done it but us whiteys would have fried. So off on the tuk tuk we went, and unlike Bangkok, in Hua Hin you don't take your life in your hands or get ripped off if you travel this way.

So, yes, I know it's a Sunday but we went shopping... we did have a service together in our hotel room, and I can already tell that Tamah is going to love the Kids' Praise Songs. 

We spent the good part of the morning and mid afternoon at the Market Village and then we went back to the room. We got a chance to skype Lesa's Mum, so both of them were happy, and Tamah and I just played around in the background.

Later on, when the sun was a little bit cooler, we went down to the beach for a while so that Lesa and Tamah could dip their feet, and the boys could do a spot of rock climbing. We then went to another pool in the hotel... had a dip, jacuzzi, messed about, came back to the room... Tamah slept, which allowed us to get ready, and then we all went out.

The food is so good here... seriously if you haven't tried Thai food, go for it, you don't know what you're missing.

Well, as I was saying, we all went out, some of us in our new clothes... posers!

We pottered round for a bit, and then went back to the room to see if young miss Martin would go to sleep.

Presently, I'm sitting way down the hall, Joel is sitting in the toilet and Lesa is with Tamah trying to settle her. I think they have both fallen asleep.

It's amazing to think that this time next week, we will be making our journey home. Part of me can't wait and the other part says, "You know Bryan, Thailand really is a beautiful country, stay a while longer"

We're now on the homeward leg, but this time when we don't have to think about visas or panels is great for us as a family. It's great fun being the 4 of us... don't get me wrong, it was great when it was only 3, but now we have our little girl and our big boy... God is good.