grat-i-tude. noun

“Thankfulness, gratefulness, or appreciation. A positive emotion or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive” (Wickipedia).

“Do you wake up in the morning and wonder how the heck you got here?” asked my new friend last night, a computer programmer from Texas (who has never heard of Texas native Don Miller. Seriously!)

“I wake up in the morning and I feel gratitude.” I responded. Two weeks into this adventure I am so grateful to experience the fulfillment of a dream. I don’t wonder how the heck I got here, because nothing about this process of dreaming has been random. Though it may have seemed like I was literally all over the map, moving from one place to the next with my jobs, each step has been purposeful in directing me here. And to think I almost said no to this opportunity because of fear. Wow. When I get home you don’t need to ask me if it was worth it. It’s already worth it!

Highlights from this past week include…

Taking the bus to what felt like the middle of nowhere for an evening of food and fellowship with Thai youth. On Tuesday after work I took the sky train to the end of the line and boarded a rickety old bus with no a/c. My friend Amy told me I’d know I was “almost there” when we turned left. After nearly an hour we hadn’t turned left and I was having serious doubts. [Sidenote: I’m learning not to fret or get frustrated in these kinds of situations. I told myself, “Natalie, if it’s the wrong bus, no big deal. Just ride it till you get back to the sky train station and go home. Then try again next week.” I talk to myself a lot.] Then all of a sudden, we turned!

We made our way down a narrow, winding road, passing some shanty houses and then – oh my, are my eyes playing tricks on me? A herd of water buffalo! We really aren’t in the city anymore! Then I caught a glimpse of the glowing orange and green sign. The 7-11. Our meeting place.

I called Amy and she picked me up and took me to the BJD House (Baan Jai Diaow – “House of One Heart”) which is a ministry of YWAM (Youth with a Mission). They had even saved a plate of food for me! After eating a delicious meal I met a ton of adorable Thai youth and was ushered on to an open-air stage, barefoot and sweaty, for a church service. The sweet sound of Thai voices lifting up Jesus: beautiful.

I’m hoping to make the hour-plus commute every Tuesday.


Receiving a lesson on southern American cuisine from some college gals from Tennessee. I met these girls last weekend and they are a hoot! One of them is named Natalie, so naturally they’re filled with goodness.

During my first “western” meal since arriving (Subway – eat fresh!) the gals were aghast to learn that I’ve never eaten Chick-Fil-A or experienced sweet tea. I also don’t know what the real definition of a biscuit is (Me: “Like a tea biscuit, right?” Kara: “It’s not a scone!”). I also don’t eat fried chicken on a regular basis. Or ever. But our conversation left with me with the desire to take a road trip down south for some Chick-Fil-A and sweet tea. Don’t worry, I took the time to fill them in on the very things that make us Canadian. Like Tim Hortons.


A lunch date with a new friend. I met Gigsy very briefly last weekend and since then had passed by her randomly in the street. Today the usher in a large congregation at church sat me down beside Gigsy. We looked at each other and said, “You again!” and then we enjoyed some lunch after the service. Gigsy is a Thai native with an impeccable English accent. She’s a pretty cool gal and I look forward to future hang outs.

The Week Ahead

The week ahead promises more excitement and continued gratitude. A new intern arrives next weekend and I have my first visitor this Tuesday! Jealous? It could be you.

Speaking of which, it’s time to make this place look beautiful…

Sawadee Ka!


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