Joel and I are finally together again! Yeah! It has been good to reunite with my man. Our plan was for me to pick him up from the airport and drive off to a town three hours away for a little get-away. But since we are the Goughs, mayhem and mishap tend to be a norm of our lives.
When Joel bought his plane ticket, he told me that he would arrive at Don Muang airport, which is closer to my home. So a day before his arrival, mom and I went on a test drive to see if I could remember the way and how to anticipate the traffic in different intersections. After the drive, I felt pumped and ready to pick up my husband! When we were in New Zealand, we were teasing each other about doing a slow-motion run like in the movie…just for the drama effect, when we see each other at the airport. Monday came. I left my house four hours early because I did not want to get stuck in the busy-hours traffic. I packed my bag, took a shower, said goodbye to mom and drove off to Don Muang airport where I could greet Joel with a big bear hug. An hour and a half later, I arrived with plenty of time on my hands before the flight landed. So I grabbed a cup of iced-cappuccino and my Bonhoeffer book…and relaxed.
Fifteen minutes before Joel’s flight arrival, I walked over to the arrival board to check the schedule. I scanned it once, twice and three times…but I saw nothing that looks remotely similar to his flight number! Having gone through so many ups and downs in the past few months, my mind assumed the worst. I must have come to the wrong airport! I ran to the information booth, where a kind staff checked the flight number for me. She looked at me and said, “I’m sorry but we can’t find your flight number on our system here and we can’t cross check with the other airport. The best bet is to go to Suvarnabhumi.” My jaw dropped and my heart sank. It is another hour drive to the other airport, granted that the traffic is not too dense, but I had no time to get panicky. So I shook all my nerve and fear off; and drove as fast as I could to reach Joel. The problem was – I had not driven in Bangkok for so long that I was not sure of the direction. I relied on my GPS at first but it took me on a route with traffic lights. Frustrated and desperate, I called my mom for the direction. Things were getting crazier as my phones (both of them) were EXTREMELY low on battery; and I was trying to reach Joel who had not contacted me yet.
So I prayed and tried to recall the things mom said on the phone. I also kept my mind sharp and focused on the road instead of things that could go wrong. Then slowly I was making progress to the other airport. Joel finally was able to reach me just before my phone died. I had enough information where he would be. As I slowly slid into the arrival terminal, my heart began to beat faster; and there I saw, standing by the side of the road, my Australian husband who I had been longing for the past two and a half weeks. I was jumping out of my skin; and literally did jump out of my car when I saw Joel. It was a moment of joy and of being rushed because we could not linger there long.
After the airport adventure, we drove to Hua Hin, where we could relax by the beach and catch up. It was delightful to see Joel taking in every sight and sound. He has not had any troubles with jet lag or culture shock, YET. In fact, we have been eating mostly Thai food for every meal. He has been learning heaps of conversational language. AND (he would be so proud of me to put this) he has been driving all over the place, including Bangkok. I am very proud of my husband, who is doing all he can to get himself adjusted to this foreign and unfamiliar place. Sometimes I get frustrated at him because he doesn’t always listen to me when I think I know best (it’s my own culture after all). But I have to remind myself to cut himself some slack, especially when this is JUST the first week of his time in Thailand.
So please keep praying for us. We are trying to get used to each other in this new environment while learning to interact with others as a couple. With all the excitement and happiness, I have been quite overwhelmed and emotionally exhausted at times because of my own reverse culture shock that I’m currently experiencing and of the need to translate for my husband and my family (which I love to do…it’s just hard sometimes). When I’m stressed out, I get really emotional and snappy at the ones I love. I am always left feeling remorseful. We are also looking for work and praying where God would send us to. There have been opportunities presented to us but we are just not yet sure. Pray for our spiritual walk…and for this time to draw nearer to God. We know he has got a great plan for us here in Thailand, for however long…he only knows. Instead of worrying, pray that we would follow where he leads.
Thank you for keeping up-to-date with our journey. Please do not leave us yet. This is just the beginning of another experience of a lifetime for us. Below are a little bit of our time at the beach.