Read with eyes of humor … Better to laugh with me than at me!
Now here in Bangkok. Have list to do, maps to guide me, bought a phone, ready set go!
• First order of business, head to US Embassy to get paperwork needed to open a thai bank account.
That should be easy enough. I have the maps that my senior missionary gave me. I have his step by step instructions.
check and double check I have all forms. First uh oh, one paper needs to be printed. Not to fret, one hour before departure to journey, I run frantically to the apartment/hotel office and ask in my best English (they speak thai here, ha) to have the paper printed. She may not have totally understood my wonderfully spoken language, but, she totally got the overly dramatic body language. No shame here as I must have looked like a gorilla pointing and gesturing to the printer and computer. Poor girl went round eyed and opened the office door. I think I scared the bee.gee.bee.s out of her because she pointed and said “you do.”
Paper printed …Check
Taxi to train ordered… Check
new papers filled out and filed … Check
• At US EMBASSY
ONE WORD sums it up … Oh my!
The grumpy gentleman behind me helped translate the entry boys Asian accent. He was kind enough to translate loudly so we would all be sure to understand. I think he really didn’t mean to swing his cane straight in my direction as he whipped by me to get to the next room. Never the less I am good to duck, wave and smile.
American government offices are pretty much the same world wide. Lots of check in points. For the most part, here, smiling faces.
I got to window number ?? To have forms checked. The young lady also most denied me the retirement form. She smiled and said, ” no, you are too young for this form.” I said, “thank you, but I am __ years old (you didn’t really think I would give the actual number here did you? Ha). I am one year over the needed age.” She turned red and gave me the form. We both had a good chuckle, even bullet proof glass can.t stop funny connections! I just put my finger to my lips and said, shhhhh, hehe
Went through rest of procedures there just fine. I survived!!
Have needed papers in hand… Check
• Head to nearest Bankok Bank
sounds simple right?! Getting there was pretty uneventful, thank goodness!
Arrive and figure out how to stop standing in a non-geometric line and get a ticket with a number. God bless the lady I approached with my drama gorilla suit on. Seems to be a lot of round eyed Asians in this city today! I only pointed to her ticket and shrugged my shoulders. I think she saw a ghost or something cause she pointed at the machine and wouldn’t look at me again. I am sure she saw me lay on the floor In Front of her and wildly wave my arms to say thank you! (No, I didn.t really do that! Just thought it would have been funny as I imagined it. I scared her enough.)
So I get to the counter to watch the girl look at The papers, walk way, come back, muttering along the way, walk away again and finally gets the more experienced girl come to talk to me. I did not understand the Thai mutter. But I did get the body language of what the world are we going to do with that? (Me and the papers) After much discussion with the experienced girl, who was excellent in English and banking procedures, she starts making calls. They explain they can not accept my paper to open the account, it is the wrong one. When I asked what to do and explained that this was the paper the embassy had just given me, she got a different look on her face. Then after I said I paid $50.00 dollars for that paper, she went to work. Okay so the forming tears in my eyes must have helped. More calls were made. Success was to come! Sort of. They said it was a managers call, but that person was not here today. I needed to go to another branch. With that I walked outside and texted Chris Curry, senior missionary.
Since I knew nothing of how to get around, he gave good advice. Ask them to tell you how to go to the nearest bangkok bank. My treading feet of new found hope, rushed me back into the bank! To the delight of the girls, they got to help the Fralang, alien girl once again. Feeling quite smart, I pulled out the maps and asked them to give me directions by drawing on the maps. With new found hope and favor, I walked out to the fountain to rest a second and get all the rest of the papers in order. This treasure hunt journey was giving me a powerful hunger! from there upstairs to food I must go!
Forms in order .. Check
Lunch eaten and enjoyed .. Check
New lease on the day .. Check
Now heading to second Bankok Bank
The journey this bank was pretty easy. Once I realized I turned onto the wrong street, met new friends and got turned back to destination, it was relatively uneventful. That is after I found the bank that did not have the sign out front. Talk about a God moment, I can not read a lick of Thai. But I was prompted to go into that building front. Manage to ask for new accounts. Settled into the waiting area and started looking for all needed papers and my passport.
Passport was gone!
Trying not to panic, I walked out of the bank and texted Chris .. You know one of those simple messages …… HELP! I lost my passport. Chris is quite a calm natured person. He simply wrote back, it’s probably bank at the bank. Praying….
From that point on, I lost all ability to text on my phone. Yep, I was totally alone and frankly, scared. So, I back track and trace all of my steps. I knew I couldn’t have left it at the bank, because I knew I looked through the papers and got out the passport at the same time after being in the bank. I searched everywhere. Praying the whole way. Prayer and fear did alternate my thoughts and emotions the entire time. I finally gave it to the Holy Spirit to guide to it.
I was just about to leave the building when I had a nudge to go ahead ask the girls, my new found friends, if the passport was there. A man waiting to be seen heard me and asked me about it. His wife from the other side if the small lobby came up and asked about “passport”. She said she saw me 2-3 hours ago. Pointed to where I had been sitting. Watched me get up and a man come pick up my passport book. My heart sank until the next words came … He took it to information desk I think! They took me to the desk, translated for me to the clerk. She pulled it out and gave it back to me. I couldn’t help but to start speaking and repeating one of the only Thai words I knew, kop kun Ka (thank you). Somehow I realized I was bowing and repeating that with the proper “wai” (hands together held at face level). I think they were happier than me! It wasn.t until later that day I realized that a two hour span had elapsed between the times that we were both there multiple times.
I walked out wiped my eyes and called Chris, text not working still. Poor guy, I was so excited about that God appointment, I don’t recall giving him a chance to speak anything. I do remember him saying, “that’s God for ya.” And something about driving …
Passport back in hand … Check
Now heading to second Bankok Bank agian
I didn’t think I needed to use the map to get back to the second bank again. That is, until I saw the sign for Soi 12 (street) and I was supposed to be at Soi 8. Upon arrival to the bank I was greeted with a locked down facility. Looked at sign for hours. The workers inside obviously did not know they were still supposed to be open until 22:00 and it was only 16:00 now! In lieu of knocking on the window and begging to come in, I decided enough was enough for this day. I went home.
New lease on the day .. Check
Tomorrow I will make the trek again and get the much needed bank account!
Sunday I will take all the papers with me to church.
There is an informal meeting to happen to get some missionaries together.
I can check with Chris to be sure I am on the right track.
Sunday we will also have a visitor from my home church, Marisa Sellman.
She will be sharing about The Marketplace in the states and making more connections.
Monday, armed with papers and passport, I leave on the overnight bus trip to the country of Laos. Never been there. Totally dependent on The Lord here.
Tuesday morning go to the Thai embassy on the Laos side of the border. Submit paperwork to apply for year long visa. Then spend the night in Laos.
Wednesday afternoon, return to embassy to pick up visa.
Wednesday evening take overnight bus back to Bangkok, Thailand.
Chris will meet me at the bus station.
Wednesday or Thursday or Friday?? Will pick up all of my bags and luggage and then get back on a bus to head North. Another 10-12 hour drive ahead of me. Destination Chang Rai here I come!!
Pray for all documents to be accepted and correct.
Pray for nothing to be lost or misplaced.
Pray for traveling into unknown country, Laos.
Pray that I can do this next week and a half with grace, dignity and humility.
Pray that I can quickly and easily find a place to stay in at Chang Rai.
Pray that I can find the right school to sign up for thai lessons.
Pray for divine appointments along the way.
Send your prayer requests As well .. I love to pray for you and to lift you up!
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Happy New Year! Praying His arms keep you, guide you, through this season.