First- the White Temple... It is a magnificent working temple that is a wonderful attraction in Chiang Rai. It is a 50 year project that started 13 years ago and every time I visit, something new has been completed. This year the wishing tags were all over the place. They are metal tags that you can write your family name on and a wish then hang the tag on a "tree". The staff will then distribute the tags all over a certain area. There are so many tags, there is now a "roof" of them along the walkway which runs along the outside of the temple. There is a gift shop and a museum which has a number of different pieces of the artists works, post cards, notebooks, hats, etc. It is a site to behold and words simply cannot do it justice.
|Vannessa and I making a wish|
|The White Temple|
|The "roof" of wishes|
I was thrilled to see my dear Thida and see how she has blossomed into the lovely young woman she is today. She is so different than the first time I met her. Still shy around strangers but more confident with those she knows and has met before. She is also becoming more and more lovely every time I see her. Once we arrived with the children from Promise Home, I learned that she is good friends with Palita and they spent the night in each other's company.
|The older girls in the dorm- see who snuck in?|
|Cooking the food|
|The many, many meat skewers|
|Fai, Nina and me|
|Kent, Me, Thida, Judy, Vannessa and Joan|
It was a wonderful evening and I hated saying goodbye. The one thing I can hang on to is that I now know how to get to Bethany Children's Home and I am driving so I can stop by to see the kids any time. Last week when I walked my kids to school, I saw several of the children from Bethany Home and they instantly recognized me. As we were walking home, a truckload of children drove by and Thida leaned out the window and yelled. As they continued on, I saw many hands waving in the back window. I am sure I will have many opportunities to see the children I have become so fond of.
Saturday was a sad day as it was the day that Judy, Dale, Kent, Michelle and my dear Vannessa were heading home. That morning they came to meet us at Promise Home and some went off to finish some last minutes chores while others stayed behind. After lunch, we piled into both the van and the car to take our friends to the airport. They got checked in easily and then we sat and simply enjoyed each other's company for a while. Found a coffee place so I could buy Vannessa one last Thai Iced Tea before she left and we sat an enjoyed them. Then it was time to take them to the gate. Saying goodbye was just as difficult this time as it was the first time I left some of them. I have a special bond with each one of the group and it is hard to see them go. Judy saved her goodbye to me till the last and that is when the flood gates opened. She has become like a 4th sister to me and I have shared so many things with her. After Judy, came the saddest goodbye, to my dear Vannessa. It is usually the parent who sends the child off into the world to do good and change it and not the other way around. Vannessa has a job in Denver that she loves and a new apartment. She is just beginning her adventures where I am winding down with mine. I have worked and had a full life doing the "traditional" thing so I was ready to try something new.
I thank my dear Vannessa for her love and support for me on this journey. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of her and miss her terribly but she is always with me, she is in my heart. I couldn't be doing this without her love and the support, good wishes and thoughts from all of you.
Until next time.....