Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ryan Christian Thorleifson

Here's the newest love of my life...I'd like to introduce to you....Ryan Christian Thorleifson!!!

He was born on August 8, 2009, weighing in at 6 lbs 8.10oz, which my brother promply replied that the .10 was VERY important! He is doing GREAT and is a quiet little dude. I think he might be overwhelmed by his older brother and sister. :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Great Times with Super Great Friends

Waiting at the airport with beers and triple shot iced lattes in hand.

There's their sign!


The taxi ride to the Dutch Crib.

Pascale and I made a chocolate brownie cake. Pascale decorated it with Bocce Balls! :)

At the Dutch Crib!

Natalie and Pascale at the pool.

Silly times poolside!

This weekend was a long-awaited weekend for me. My super duper over the top wonderful friends, Bobbie and Andrew came back to Bangkok for a weekend. Christo and Lieke and I met them at the airport at 1:30 in the morning, that is how excited we where. Okay, well, the IDEA was exciting, but on Friday night, I actually had to call Lieke to see if maybe I could get away with staying in my nice air conditioned house and sleeping instead of making the trek to the airport. She said no way and said to get my booty over to the airport, so I did. And I'm glad I did. I miss our fun times so much! We all spent the night at Christo and Lieke's pad and it was like one big giant reunion. We had a pool party on Saturday and then went out to dinner and dancing. It was just like old times. I actually can't believe I'm admitting this, but on Sunday, we played 8 hours of Guitar Hero because we kind of got obsessed with beating the levels. My friends fly from China and we spend our time inside playing the Wii. Well, it's more just the hanging out that we miss, right?!?! Right.

Then we went to the Korn to our good old stomping ground Hot Chillis. Yes I know I spelled it wrong, but that's the name of our place. We used to hang out there at least twice a week for the past two years, so it's kind of our second home, our Cheers bar if you will.

Yesterday we said goodbye to our friends, stuffed from hot and spicy Thai food and even hotter weather. It's exciting that international teaching bonds us together so much. I will miss them as they continue their adventure in China, but I know that when we get together again, we will pick up right where we left off. It's like they never even left Hot Chillis.

My top 10 exciting things that happened this weekend:
1. Bobbie and Andrew were actually here and no longer figments of my imagination.
2. We stayed at the Dutch Crib.
3. We had a pool party.
4. I had a reason to make my artichoke heart dip from the Hogley Family cookbook. :)
5. We danced the night away at Titanium's.
6. We got to eat lots of Thai food.
7. We laughed really hard at SNL youtube videos.
8. We beat the Wii at Guitar Hero.
9. The rains came finally!
10. I got to hang out with the old gang again!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

More Pictures from Vietnam

My favorite: Pho (pronounced "fuh"), Vietnamese noodle soup. It actually reminded me of home thanks to my Hawthorne gang! "member our lunches, ladies???

Crazy Hanoi traffic. It was so fascinating to watch.

FRIENDS!!!! New and Old! Annette, me and Hannah....

This is snake wine. It's supposed to be for medicinal purposes...but I think it might also be for "shock-the-tourists" factor as well.

What a "junk boat" looks like on Ha Long Bay.

I took this picture for Wyatt. I hope he likes it.

We rented motorbikes and toured around the island. So fun!

We took a super duper steep hike up the mountain in the rain. I only had flip flops so I didn't make it very far! It was super muddy and slippery.

Dusk on the Bay. So beautiful!

Annette and I on the top deck.

And then there was Ha Long Bay....

So usually there is always some sort of misadventure on any trip I take. Usually these sorts of misadventures involves me either forgetting something, losing something, or having something stolen.... Well, nothing like that happened this time. This time....well....let's just say the two night boat trip looked WAY better in the pictures in the tour book. We were very excited to take our two day cruise around the UNESCO site with limestone cliffs in the South China Sea. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? Well, I do have to admit, it was beautiful. But little did we know, that we were in for a boot-camp type experience.

Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit, boot camp is a little extreme. And the scenery was absolutely phenomenal. But my advice to anyone who wants to take this trip, is really do your research first, and do a tour that is from a reputable source, not from your hotel.

We had a great time together. We played a lot of cards, read some books and generally enjoyed each other's company.

There were beautiful sunsets each night.

These little ladies in the boats would row up to our boat and sell us things off the side. We were allowed to bring food on the boat but not drinks. We still managed to smuggle a couple of cokes on board, though.

One of my highlights of my trip: My friend Annette from SPU and the boys and girls club visited me while I was in Vietnam. She was on a two week mission trip and extended her stay so we could hang out. I had such a great time with her! She is such a fun lady!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


So I went on a 10 day excursion to Vietnam with some friends this past week. I really wanted to see Vietnam before I left, and Easter break was here, so I thought I would check out Hanoi with my friend Hannah. Then I found out that a bunch of other friends were planning on going where we were headed and it ended up being a party!

The first part of the trip was amazing. We went to Hanoi and then took a night train to Sapa, a little quiet northern town very close to the Chinese border.

This is the view from my hotel room, fireplace included. It was sooo amazing to have cooler weather and such views!

The food here was also amazing, we ate really well here and the wine was delicious as well.

We went shopping and were followed by many little Black Hmong Ladies saying "you buy from me? you say you buy from me? why you not buy from me?"

We took a hike out and around Cat Cat Village. It was such a reminder of how beautiful God's creation is and how much I long to be back in the mountains!

We saw some unusual sights...

Here are some more pictures I took along the way...

We mostly stayed near our hotel when we weren't trekking and played cards, relaxed, and enjoyed the scenery.

We stayed in Sapa for 5 days and then moved on to Ha Long Bay, where I met up with a friend from Seattle, Annette, who worked with me at the BB&GC...

My next post will be of our adventures in HaLong Bay.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Catching Up!

Dear All,

Hello! I have been feeling a bit out of touch recently, so I thought I would send out a quick email to everyone giving a little update about life here in Thailand and how things are wrapping up for me here, preparing for my transition back home in July.

First of all, Happy Easter to everyone! I will have my Easter/Song Kran break starting this Thursday. I am heading to Vietnam, in the northern part of the country, near Hanoi and then we are taking a night train to the mountains in Sapa and then we will take an over night boat trip in Halong Bay. I am very excited, this is my last country to check off my list! least for now. :)

I am really enjoying my students this year, the kids are so quick to learn and easy to adapt to change. Their parents, on the other hand, are a bit of a different story, but I'm winning them over with my "Katie charm". Just kidding. But for the most part, they are okay. We are learning about storytelling and drama, two of my favorite things, I really love this unit of study.

I have a bit of a funny story to share about a couple of my students. I asked them where they were going for their break and two boys both said they were going to Switzerland. I asked the first boy which airline he was flying and he said "Thai Airlines." I asked the second boy the same question and he said "business". I chuckled to myself after that one....I'm 31 and STILL haven't flown business class.

These last couple of months I know will just fly by, and I'm really looking forward to having my last visitor come. Sara is coming to visit me the last week in June and I will get to take her around and show her everything I love about Thailand. I think it will be a very nice way for me to wrap up my time here.

Everyone has been asking me what my next steps are, and at this point I really don't know. I do know I am flying home on July 3, and will be over with Erik and Laura, well, mostly just Laura, as Erik is studying for his bar exam in July. So I am going to spend a lot of time with the kiddos, which I am VERY excited about! My "base camp" will be with my parents (THANKS MAMA AND DADDY!) But I don't actually know how much time I will actually BE there! Funny how things never change, huh?

I'm looking into doing a couple of different things next year, the first one being an opportunity to work at the Club again, where I worked in college. They are expanding their programs and will need another full time staff member, which sounds exciting to me! I'm also applying to anything that looks interesting on Craigslist, and that has been highly entertaining. Some of the job postings look great, and then when you read the fine print it's for something completely different.

Oh, and I just got back from Malaysia, near Burneo, where I did something extremely scary! I stood up in front of 45 of my teaching colleagues and talked to them for an hour about what I know about student led conferences. I got a lot of positive feedback, but needless to say I was terrified. Maybe some of you don't know this about me because I'm usually so outgoing and friendly, but public speaking is NOT my forte! I get the WORKS when I try to even THINK about doing that: shaking knees, sweating palms, fingers that don't do what I tell them to do...but it really actually went okay. Good thing my good friend Erin was there to co-present with me! But overall, it was a wonderful trip and the conference was great as well. I got to spend a lot of time with Pascale, which was great because usually I have to share her and I got her all to myself! :)

Love to you all,

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Parsnips and Homesickness

Today I drove my new ghetto car (future post, i PROMISE) to TOPS, the grocery store. While I was perusing the aisles, my mind wandered. I started thinking about my mom's birthday, which is October 1st, then I thought about I started thinking of October, which led me to think of Halloween, and then November, which got me thinking of Wyatt's birthday, and Thanksgiving, which is my favorite holiday of the year. It is not celebrated here, of course, because the Mayflower didn't land here, it landed at Plymouth Rock. As far as I know, there isn't one of those around here. :) Then, as I continued to think of our wonderful Thanksgiving, I thought about the special parsnips that Grammy would make just for me. She would grow them faithfully in the ground and then after the first frost, she would dig them up and we would have them fried up with butter, salt and pepper. I even grew some when I had my little community garden in Seattle. It's funny how little memories like that trigger such a response. But there I was, in the middle of the freezer section, when I looked down and saw a frozen bag of parsnips. And I did the only thing reasonable in this situation: I burst into tears. Right there in the middle of the frozen section. Then I looked around, and saw how ridiculous this might seem from an outsider's point of view and I started to laugh. So there I was, laughing AND crying in the middle of the frozen veggie section of the small grocery store. I'm sure anyone walking past thought I had just gotten out of the loony bin, but I didn't care. I bought those parsnips and they are now happily in my freezer whenever I need them again.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Coulda been worse.....

So tonight I kinda had a little bit of a scare...

I was working on some things on the computer....okay not really. I was on Facebook. Because I am addicted to Facebook. Anyway, I kept smelling something burning. Not like a toast-in-the-toaster type of burning but like a plastic-wire-in-an-outlet type of burning. I looked all around and then after a couple of loud crackle and pops I realized that my outlet was shooting out sparks through my power cord strip that my computer was plugged into. I turned off the wall power and unplugged the cord, surprisingly nonchalant about it all...guess I've been in Thailand a little too long....

Everything is fine, but the cord is a little, well...toasted. I'm just thankful I was home. It could have been a LOT worse!