March 25, 2009

Songkran Festival is coming to Thailand (April 13-15). This is the Thai New Year. The Thai people believe that water will wash away bad luck and in some places the people shoot water at each other with water guns and hoses and also throw buckets of water on passing folks It is also a time when many Thais return home and honor the parents and grandparents by pouring scented water over their hands. It is a time of washing Budha statues and a time of doing merit (good deeds to others). This seems like a good time to post some pictures of past festivals enjoyed with Mark's friend Jin (Yuwanit Tipkunok July 1976-June 2008) who left this earth way too soon. Pictures posted are of Jin, Mark and me, Mark having fun with the hose and Stephanie and her friend Phil in a dousing trying to hold their own with water guns. At the time, Mark was getting chemotherapy and was very sick. He was cold even in the hot Bangkok sun. He wondered if he should wear his good suit jacket or not to keep himself warm against the cold water soakings. I advised him to go ahead and wear it, to live every day to the fullest and not save anything for a special occasion. Right now is a special occasion.
Mark's sister Stephanie and her friend Rosina are going to Thailand during Songkran this year on their spring break. I think this may be the first time to Thailand for Rosina.

Mark's birthday is coming soon. (April 20th). Does anyone want to send him a card? He is doing well, living in his own apartment and doing his own cooking in Jomtien Beach, Thailand.
Mark has officially joined the Pattaya-Jomtien Rotary Club - hopefully we will get a picture of that occasion from Mark soon. He really enjoys being with the people in the club.

March 11, 2009

Mark is joining the Pattaya Jomtien Rotary Club. He's been to five consecutive meetings and received word he has club approval to join. Formal initiation will take place soon. Mark has been concerned that he'll not be able to do as much service as his Rotary peers in the club, since he still has to pace himself due to his cancer and after effects of treatment. He describes the members of this club as enthusiastic for club projects. When the president asks who will help, it seems nearly everyone raises their hands.This club does all kinds of projects to raise money such as road rallys and club members swimming the bay. The money raised is used for a number of fine projects including water projects involving taking potable water generator systems to remote areas of Thailand to provide drinking water to school children and others. Mark reports that he is excited to be joining this club and will participate in whatever projects he can to the extent he can. He enjoys helping people and worked very hard when he and his mom volunteered in the Moskito Coast of Honduras and Thailand.
Mark will be in Thailand until June and then will come to Texas to check in at the Veteran's Hospital in Houston for tests and evaluation of his cancer status. He will go back to Thailand as soon as he gets a green light from the VA docs.
I (Mark's Mom) am in Austin working at the community mental health center. High lights of the week include going to the symphony to hear the Charlie Daniels Bank backed by the Austin Symphony (tickets compliments of a co-worker whose wife plays in the orchestra) and being invited to meet Mark's sister Stephanie in Phoenix in April. Read old blogs and you'll see she lives north of London. She is coming to the states twice this spring for educational conferences.
Watch this site for pictures which Mark is sending soon.