Thailand [Part 1]

We’re back from Thailand! In fact, we’ve been back for a while, but I was too jet-lagged and distracted to do anything of consequence. My computer is on its way to computer heaven if I don’t get the new Mountain Lion operating system soon. It takes me like 45 minutes to load a page on Safari (it’s the only browser that will work with my old MacBook now). I feel like I’m using dial-up. (Edited to add: I have Mountain Lion now! It’s awesome.)

Anyway, Thailand was a grand adventure. Hands down, best trip I’ve ever been on. Lots of exciting things happened. So, let’s review with the first half(ish) shall we? After 16 hours of flying and a two hour layover in Seoul, we landed in Bangkok around midnight. We payed too much for a taxi and headed to our hotel. We promptly passed out.

The next morning (about 4 hours later) I was awoken by the repetitive speaking of someone on the loud speaker at a local temple. It was like a city-wide broadcast in Thai. Murderous rage ensued as I thundered around the room exclaiming, “REALLY?!” as I located my headphones and other sound muffling devices. Not much luck and we finally headed to breakfast and into the city to store our bags and wander around Bangkok before catching the train that night to Chiang Mai.

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We ended up getting approached by some Thai man who basically gave us a whole agenda for the day out of the goodness of his heart (or maybe a commission from his tuk-tuk driver). Either way, we were off on a river cruise!

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Ok, more like a gondola ride, but whatever. The water was quite smelly and I’ve heard it’s pretty contaminated, so I tried to avoid the splash zone. We drove by several beautiful temples stretching up towards the sky, we went past a floating market, and really just ook in the city. It was a beautiful, hot blue sky.

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Eventually, we were dropped in Chinatown where we wandered, ate, and wandered some more. I had strawberries with pink salt – very weird, kinda good? I ate my only non-veg meal of fish balls (think meat balls) and I was pretty grossed out before I made it halfway through. I didn’t really like fish when I was a meat eater, but we were hungry almost to the point of delirium and didn’t know our options as veggies. So, fish happened. Bleh.

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It was a few days after the Chinese New Year, so the city was buzzing. All the roads were filled with celebrations and we enjoyed just wandering and seeing all the new sights. It was another world, for sure. We finally headed back to the train station to take the overnight train to our first stop in our journey – Chiang Mai. We ordered train food which was slightly depressing and then just passed out.

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We were supposed to arrive around 8 a.m. in Chiang Mai, but it turns out there’s this thing called Thai Time, so yeah… we got in around noon. We quickly drove to our hotel, showered, and were out the door. I proposed just taking a nap and lounging, but Jesse had our schedule for the day out and was pretty adamant about us going to the temple we had planned for the day. I was so tired, I just threw on a maxi, put up my wet hair, and followed Jesse out the door.

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We were going to a temple called Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep on top of a mountain, so we had quite a bit of commuting. A tuk-tuk to the transport service, a truck to the top of the mountain, and then a load of steps to walk up. It was hot, I was tired, but it was another beautiful day and I was pretty filled with adrenaline. We were in Thailand and we weren’t going to sleep on a train! Hooray.

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We trucked up to the top of the steps, I covered my shoulders with my scarf turned shawl (can’t show shoulders at temples, it’s just not OK). Lots of cool things, a beautiful view of the city, and the realization we were finally on our vacation. Jesse suggested we start taking pictures now that we were officially on our trip and requested a photo from a German tourist walking by to snap us in front of the lookout point down into Chiang Mai.

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Little did I know as I was walking to the rail, Jesse had coordinated a special surprise with the photographer. We snapped the first photo and then Jesse said, “Let’s take a few more to make sure we get a good one!”

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The second photo, ended rather spectacularly. Jesse got down on one knee and said, “Will You Marry Me?”

After gaping in complete shock for a few minutes, I snapped out of my stupor and blubbered, “Yeahhhh!”

So, we got engaged in Thailand on top of a mountain. More to come.

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Meh Monday + TBS Thursday

My thyroid is off again. I finally went to a doctor and I’m all sorts of off the charts. This explains why I’ve been in the middle of working out I always feel the spontaneous urge to break out into tears and exclaim, “I’m worthless, this is hard, I’m a loser, everything is horrible!”

Granted, my workouts these days are tough. Jesse and I are on week 7 of Insanity. Let me tell you this… it is insane. I hate it. I hate it so much. But I’ll tell you what, I’ve never been more thankful for this hard work than Thursday night when…

Jesse surprised me with our monthly date to see Taking Back Sunday! It was the Tell All Your Friends 10 year release tour and it was amazing. I mean, it was probably the best show I have ever been to in my life thus far. Jesse and I used our new Insanity muscles to get right up in the front row for all the action. I stood on my tiptoes for about an hour and my chest muscles are sore from flexing my arms and elbows to keep people from over-taking me. Thank you, Insanity.

Plus, looking in the mirror lately is extremely satisfying. Even with the lack of weight change that comes along with hypothyroidism, I’m noticing and feeling muscles I never knew I had.

Oh, P.S. Guess who caught a drumstick? That would be me. Jesse got the set list. Pretty legit. I think we’ll frame it and put it in our office when we live in some place with more than one bedroom. I can’t wait for that day. In a studio apartment, if you make something messy, the whole place is messy. I can’t leave anything in the sink because I can feel the clutter from the living room. It’s terrible. I’m crazy.

Speaking of being crazy, telling yourself that your emotions are completely unhinged because of your thyroid while feeling emotionally unhinged is really difficult. I feel very fragile and it’s difficult to remind myself that it’s not me who is thinking and feeling this way, it’s sick me. It’s thyroid-defunct Jen.

Two Year Anniversary

The Case Files have been pushed to tomorrow because I felt like writing this post today. Deep breaths, you’ll all be OK.

We’ve been a busy bunch.

My first weekend in Seattle, we went to Tofino. This past weekend, Jesse and I celebrated two years of dating bliss. For our first anniversary, we went to San Fransisco, visited Sonoma and went wine tasting. So, we figured since we’re in an area known for wine this year, we might as well make it a tradition. Because of the chaos with graduating and moving, Jesse kindly planned the entire anniversary from start to finish. It was exciting because I love surprises and dates with Jesse. Two of my favorite things.

We went to Yakima, Washington. It’s about 2.5 hours southeast of Seattle.

It was really cool to drive through Washington and see all the lush greenery and then, boom, hit desert. I had no clue that the rest of Washington looked like that. I know it’s naive, but I just assumed everything up here was all green and rainforesty (yes, that’s a word). When I thought harder about it, of course it made sense that one side of the mountains was green and the other was dry. That’s like geography 101.

The first night we rolled in and got checked into The Orchard Inn Bed & Breakfast. If you ever go to Yakima for any reason and you need a place to stay, go here. Karen (who runs the B & B) is one of the nicest and friendliest people I’ve ever met. The rooms are cozy, the sheets are soft, the food is delicious, and it’s nestled in an orchard. You really feel like you’re in a tiny paradise when you drive in. Plus, when Karen found out it was our anniversary, she sweetly left us some of her husband’s homemade blackberry liqueur as a nightcap. It was delicious.

We headed out on the town and ended up at a bar with a pool table. No surprise since Jesse has picked up playing pool as a new hobby and it seemed like just the type of dive meant for us.

We got hungry pretty late and the only thing that was open was Mel’s Diner, a 24-hour throwback restaurant that looked like Denny’s weird cousin. Naturally, we got normal diner fare – milkshakes.

On Saturday, we woke up and hit the road towards Prosser, a town about 20 minutes east of Yakima with a whole row of vineyards called Merlot Road. Fancy. We slowly rolled through the row as the day got hotter (100 degrees in dry heat, I loved it) tasting mostly red wine. We rounded out our tasting with what ended up being our favorite tasting, Milbrandt Vineyards.

Milbrandt does seated tastings with each taster purchasing a flight of three wines for tasting (Jeez, do I write about tasting much? I’m just going to leave it. I’m feeling lazy. Enjoy my redundancy). Jesse got the Red flight and I got the Fusion flight. Turns out we probably would have been better off just getting one because we ended up being overwhelmed with choice. They were all so good, we ended up having to have them duke it out in a head-to-head battle royale. We ended up tasting and loving a new grape called Tempranillo. If you’re into trying new wines, give this grape a try. We loved every vineyard’s tempranillo.

We also went to the local vineyard + restaurant dubbed Wine O’Clock. The name sounded a bit cheesy, but I was willing to give it a shot. I’m glad I did because I ended up having some of the most delicious pizza of my life. Granted, that could have been the hunger and a little bit of the wine talking, but it was delicious nonetheless. Also, check out that sweet sign for group therapy.

We came back to Yakima and took a nap. All that pizza, wine, and heat had worn me out! The big event was in the evening. Jesse took us to a wine, beer, food, and jazz festival! It was so fun. The weather was just perfect, the sky was warm and hazy, and the company wasn’t too shabby either. 😉

I had a veggie dog that changed my life. Yes, it changed my life. From now on, I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to consider having a veggie dog without pepper jelly and cream cheese. Don’t knock it until you try it. When you try it, come and thank me. I’ll be here saying, “I told you so.”

The next morning we sat around the table at The Orchard Inn, ate a nice and filling breakfast, chatted with the lovely Karen, hit up the Yakima Farmer’s Market, and then headed back home. Patronus seemed almost as tired as we were by the time we got home. Maybe that, or he was pissed we left in the first place. Hard to tell with him sometimes.

Yesterday was the “official” anniversary date (hence no post) and it ended up being delightful with even more surprises! Jesse brought home the most beautiful bouquet of giant head-sized sunflowers (my favorite) + Beecher’s mac n’ cheese. Yeah, I know I said we’re going vegan. It’s a process. Plus, things like decadent macaroni and cheese might just have to be a treat every once in a while. It was mind-blowing.

We went out for dinner then walked home and drank a bottle of wine from the Sonoma anniversary. Thank you to Jesse for a wonderful celebration and a fantastic two years. You’re my best friend, my favorite roommate, and the best guy this girl could have asked for. You’ve helped me make my dreams come true and you’re my tireless supporter of all my crazy ideas and weird quirks. Not to mention, you’re also quite easy on the eyes. It’s pretty awesome. I love you.