The Paparazzi

So it’s not as bad as when we were in China, but I am so over Buddy being the star attraction everywhere we go.
You know when you’re having a busy day, and you just want to quickly get where you’re going and do what you gotta do? Or when you have a cranky 2 year old who you desperately need to get home quickly… 
Try doing that with a curly haired toddler in Asia….

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Yes I am hiding Buddy from you…

I don’t mind when people come up and ask how old he is and what’s his name. I mean, it gets boring when you’re telling the 8th person that morning 
”He’s 2″ 
”Oh, almost 3?”
”Uh, no. He literally turned 2 last week…”.

But what is annoying are the not-so-descrete-selfies which I KNOW YOU’RE TAKING….
If you do that I will put my umbrella in front of my kid. I will turn in circles while you do the same and you make yourself look crazy and yes, Korean dude on the train, I will move at the last second and make it look like you were taking pictures of my boobs to a train full of people. Actually, that was quite fun…
I have wanted to ask several people “Why do you need a selfie with my kid? What are you going to do with it?” But I am sure I would be met with blank faces and “why not?” answers.
But you know what reallllllly bugs me. People who DO ask “May I take a picture of your baby”. And then get pissed off when I say no, and do it anyway. 
The shock on the faces of every single person who has asked permission to take a picture when I say no is ridiculous. 
You asked a question to a stranger outside of a hotel. A question which has a yes or no answer. So don’t look pissed off at me and ignore me by putting your smartphone in my kids face as he tries to hid behind my legs when I pick the answer you didn’t want. 
Yes, I will yell at you to leave him alone and no, I will not feel bad about standing up for my kid.
Yes there are exceptions. 
Every time Buddy plays with a kid in our local playground Mum/Grandma/the Nanny will take a picture, and that is fine. Because their kid is in it too. They are remembering the time their kid learned the English for digger from a foreign kid in the playground. NOT taking a picture of a kid who once looked in their direction on the train…

Rant over.

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The coast is clear Mum, let’s go!

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Paperwork is my Full-Time job…

The thing about being an expat is you spend more money & time on paperwork than anything else. You spend more time in offices & embassies than anywhere else.

And you buy bits of paper with stamps on it for things which non-expats take for granted.

Yes, it took trips to 2 different embassies in different areas of Tokyo (with a 7 day old) & literally 100’s of hours in the local city hall to even get Cory on Buddy’s birth certificate.

And yes, Buddy has 3 birth certificates, notarized by 2 different embassies & it cost us over £300.

Yes, we’ve spent upwards of £1000 on visas and paperwork since he was born…

Yes, I’m writing this from an embassy office where I’ve been waiting for an hour & my feet are freezing from the air con they have blasting & I’m paying £110 for the experience.

And yes, we have at least 3 more trips to immigration ahead of us & potentially a trip to Malaysia before we get our visas.

So, when you say things like:

“It must be nice to live in (insert exotic location)”

“Wow you live in (insert location), you must be rich”

Or you complain that we’ve spent another weekend on a beach, remember that we’ve also spent 40 hours & £400 for the privilege.

Buddy & Mummy’s day at the Embassy in pictures

Coffee… it always starts with coffee.

Double & triple checking we have all the documents ready

Seriously….what would we do without google maps?? We made it though!

As is Bangkok, we had to fight our way through crowded markets to get there.

Step one completed: now to the translators.

Success!! And Buddy was a champ!

The poor thing was lugged around Bangkok most of the day so definitely deserved a seal donut!

And finally. Relaxing with Moana (Mummy’s choice).

Malls, Soft Play and a Rock Concert

Like seriously, I am glad we traveled across Canada when Buddy was smaller as we literally found ONE soft play on our entire route. Not ideal!

Can I imagine doing the same road trip with an almost 2 year old?….umm I don’t think so!

So, we turn to the the ever knowledgable ‘Moms of Bangkok’ who have been lifesavers since we have arrived here.

They directed us to ‘Central World’. One of the biggest Malls in Thailand (Asia??).

It is HUGE!

Shinjuku station is easier to Navigate that Central World.

At one point we gave up trying to find the exit and decided just to live there instead. This was frowned upon.

But, eventually we found the exit which conveniently takes you a walkway leading directly to the BTS (Skytrain).

We caught the BTS to ChitLom (E1) but it is also accessible via Siam station. Both of these are on the Sukhumvit line and well signposted once off the train so easy to find.

The Play area is on the 6th floor, we followed signs for ‘toysrus’ hoping that the play area would be near it, which of course it was.

The best thing about it? It’s free!

It’s a huge area with an enclosed area for younger kids (1-4 ish) and a climbing area with a huge tunnel leading to a slide for slightly older kids (2-6 ish).

There is also a kids arcade with small games & rides you can pay for, push along cars you can borrow for free (but you do need picture ID for this) and there is usually a big ride on train but it’s closed for refurbishment at the moment.

The area is, unsurprisingly surrounded by companies aimed at kids. The usual English, Korean & Mandarin language schools, maths tutoring, music & singing lessons. As well as a model clay school which has some incredible models in the window and a cookery school starting at age 3!

This has become a regular little haunt for us and Cory & I take it in turns to stay with Buddy while the other browses the area outside of the kids section which conveniently has some lovely book stores.

Another bonus about this mall is there is a massive Big C supermarket across the street & when walking to it you might accidentally take your toddler to his first rock concert….he loved it 👩🏽‍🎤👨🏻‍🎤

Home Sweet Home

I was planning on taking some swanky photos or even a little video tour of our new place, however everyone is getting impatient so here are some photos and I might do a video showing the outside etc at a later date.

We live in central Bangkok, about a 15 minute walk from Victory Monument BTS station (sky train) which can get you to the heart to Bangkok in less than 10 minutes.
It’s not a major expat area but it is very close to Cory’s school meaning he can walk and doesn’t have to navigate Bangkok rush hour.

The apartment itself is pretty typical for Bangkok, we were thinking on our budget we would be limited to a 1 bed apartment but we were pretty lucky and nabbed a 2 bed for 16,000 baht a month, (about 375GBP or 610CAD).

Most apartments in Thailand seem to be furnished meaning we didnt have to worry about upfront costs like beds, sofas etc. although we did have to buy a microwave and an all important kettle!

So, pictures:

Living room

Teeny Tiny but usable kitchen and balcony:

 

The bedroom complete with more storage then we can ever use & the worlds biggest bed! All 3 of us can sleep without touching each other, meaning, no toddler elbows in necks or toddler feet in your face.

The bathroom & little hall area with yet more storage!

And, the last room, or most important as Buddy might tell you. The Playroom!!

A stage guys, it has a creaking stage! Only yesterday Buddy was dancing to Shakira

on it in only his pants…or was that me?!

And, bonus view from the playroom.

And that’s our new home!

The apartment complex has other amenities but I’ll blog about them another time.

But, as you can see, plenty of room for guests! Just let us know when to get the beers & Pad Thai in 🍻

Rain, Taxi’s & Karma

It’s rainy season here which means a huge thunderstorm most evenings for a few hours. It breaks the heat & refreshes everyone so is actually really appreciated.

Anyway, yesterday I was walking with Buddy on my back and it began to rain slightly. Not a big deal and I didn’t have far to go.

Many taxis and tuk tuk’s stopped to see if I was looking for one but I shook my head and off they went. Except for one.

He leaned out of his window and said “miss, miss, do you need a taxi? It’s raining too much for the baby”

I politely said “it’s ok, I can see the place I’m going from here I’ll be be there in a moment”

The taxi driver seemed distressed “miss, miss, the baby, the rain, no payment, it’s free, no scam. Just help keep baby dry”.

I was flabbergasted! The rain had begun & he was pretty much guaranteed a fare if he drove to the Main Street but instead, he would rather drive me & Buddy for free to keep a baby dry. I was so touched by his generosity!

I did however decline as by now I was pretty much turning into my destination! But, I can really see it’s true already that Thai people really love children! I have a feeling Buddy will be very happy here!