Friday, May 16, 2014

Where is Frog and Moon?

My goodness time flies... Especially when you are chasing around a 20 month old and an 8 month old.

Aside from mom time, I've been working on completing my Montessori Elementary studies, while doing alot of online research and application of the Reggio Emilia method. I've also transferred my job to another Kindergarten here in Vientiane. While I was sad to leave an official Montessori school, it was time. So I have started another chapter at another school who is already implanting many Montessori approaches. (And more to come ;) ) I've also moved in a new home out in the countryside a bit, that lets my 2 kiddos get plenty of outdoor time... no nature deficit disorder here.

You can generally find me on FB: kellyinlaos

I'm toying with the idea of doing a FB page for Frog and Moon as that just seems darn easier than trying to keep up a blog. (Which obviously I fail at.)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Welcome Lily! Our 2nd Lao birth story

Our little girl arrived Sunday, Sept. 1st at 6am, less than 2 hours after I got to the hospital.
Her name is Lily Namfon, which means Lily Rain or if you put grammatically correct in Lao, Rain Lily, which is a small beautiful pink flower. Also, she was born during rainy,  monsoon season.

I knew the Sturday before she would be coming very soon, but I was hoping she would wait a few more days. Friday I had gone to see my doctor for fetal monitoring and my doctor then informed me she had to go to Thailand for 3 days and introduced to me my (gulp) male, non-English speaking doctor. Now, granted I gave birth in this hospital before but my doctor was lovely, and I was so happy she would be assisting me with this birth as she already knew everything I wanted..but now a new doctor! And since passa hospital ( Lao hospital language) is not my strong point I was even mor scared. Scared too since they said my little girl was big and that they may have to do c section but wouldn't know until I was in labor. Ahhhh!

So 4 am Sunday I knew she wasn't waiting until my doctor was back. It was time. Now. Called my sister in law who lives next door and she had her truck ready in 5 minutes ( I really  didn't want to have to go to the hospital on motorbike..phew). By 4:15 the new doctor checked me and said I was already at 7cm so he said I'd be delivering soon. Now, in a Lao hospital women walk around right up until delivery, so that's what I did. Besides, gravity helps things progress, don't tell me to lie down! So I walked the halls of Setthathirath hospital for the next hour or so, in my birthing Lao skirt that's required stopping to hold on something a contractions grew and I practiced my visualizations of clouds or ocean waves saying to myself out loud " I can do this" ... Then when the doctor called me to check again it was time. He ordered me up on the table and I admit, I fought about holding on to the stupid metal hand grips and he said push and I again fought, saying its not time. He said its time for your baby to come out, push!!!!! And once again I said its not time, and all the while my poor husband is there holding my hand and he says to me, "Lily's head .. I can see, push!" So ok, I'll listen to my husband but not the doctor, laugh.... So I pushed. 3 or was it 4 times and pop! There she was!

It was all over and I was back in my room at the international clinic side by 6:20. Once again a natural birth, no meds for the birth but now it was time for meds for me. Because she came so fast I had a lot of bleeding. A lot. Even my doctor was little worried. I was scared to death about them saying I would need a blood transfusion, so I did everything they asked to prevent that.. 3 bags of pitocin, shots to stop bleeding, suppositories to stop the bleeding, laying only on my back for a day (not fun) but on day 2 it stopped. My Lao doctor also during this time ordered me NOT to observe the local custom of laying by the fire or drinking anything hot ..he said it had the potential to make the bleeding worse. I did feel bad for my husband since these customs are the norm for his village, ESP. Because the doctor said, "don't do as Lao people did 100 years ago.."

So I was in the hospital longer than expected but I didn't mind, it gave me quiet time with La and our little girl before coming home to a busy house with our 1 year old son River and all the visitors. And family. Yeah, the hospital was actually relaxing..5555

So, here I am. Hopefully, finished with childbirth..2 is enough..everyone says we have good luck, one boy, one girl. I agree.. I couldn't be happier...Now its time to bring on the momma game.

Welcome to the world my little girl!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Calling Lao Multi-Cultural Parents! Ma der!

(not my kids, I was cart racing with the neighborhood kids..)

NOTE: FB link if you want to skip all my babbling: 

La and I have been together for some years now. Multi-culture relationships are their own challenge at times. We've never had any real major issues as both of us are open minded to learning from the other. As for La, I give him heaps of credit because he's from the way way outside outside countryside of Lao, in other words nothing like the capital city of Vientiane. Just as he's taught me how to 'Dang Fai" (light the Lao charcoal grill) and the finer points of Lao style living, I've taught him how to use a gas cook stove. And a computer. An a hot shower. And a washing machine. That's really just the beginning.... Anyway, I digress... I can say the only major problems we've ever had stem for language misunderstandings. (Note to multi-language partners, if you DON'T understand, DON'T say you do. Seriously. )

However, as we now are expecting our 2nd child, language and culture becomes all the more important to both of us. If you read the "about me" you know I worked with a Lao community back in the USofA. I know too many cases of kids caring less about their Lao elders. I understand the cultural challenge, just because you ARE biologically an ethnicity doesn't mean YOU are the same. You are HUMAN, you are YOU. If that makes any sense. (No coffee pregger mama speaking.) It doesn't mean you have to follow your culture's traditions, like their food or speak the language. BUT, starting out with kids 2 under 2 I really hope to instill in my kids a love of both their Dad's culture (Lao / Tai Daeng) and Mine (American Mutt - German, Irish and who knows what else ). 

Our situation is reverse of Lao parents in the US. I'm pretty sure River and Lily are going to learn Lao. Probably  100% sure before they learn English. They'll also be fluent in Lao culture. But, now it's even more important I give them a love of Americana (ouch, did I just say that?) But seriously, I want them to know lemonade summers, Rock n Roll, playing in the grass, English, simple phrases like "see ya later alligator", my mom's lasagna... oi.. too many things to list. So, I am trying in Vientiane to make sure both of them will have a few English speaking friends, go to some "falang" (foreigner) events and not just live Lao life 100% of the time. 
Searching the internet for tips on raising what I'd like to call culturally fluent kids, you can find a lot. But not so much specific to Lao multi-cultural kids. Some Thai, but as we know, not "same same". Since I work a Lao pre-school I often come across many materials for kids in Lao language. As those of you outside of Lao know, resources are severely lacking in Lao language let alone Lao for kids. As is a place for us parents to gripe, moan or brag about our kids achievements in only a way a parent who understands this culture can. (Never mind maybe gripe about why the dear Mother-in-law refuses to let your son use pampers or is horrified he eats anything other than rice,fish and "pak vitamin" (a local green). 

Phew. That was long. Anyways, if you are interested, join me on FB to talk more about raising Lao/ _____ kids to love every aspect of their combined heritage.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

One more time...

"One more time"... it's Daft Punk song from a few years ago I often have running in my head these days. I haven't blogged in ages. it's not that I haven't thought about it, or composed thoughts in my head, I've just been pretty dang busy...and tired. :)  River is now 10, almost 11 months... and....

He's got a little sister coming in late August / early September! She'll be named after a flower "Lily" (for her English name) as we have them both in NY and here in Laos.. Her dad's done a painting of it already, but it sold so now I have to wait on him to do another one, just for her. In the meantime, I'm still working at the Montessori school and chasing a-just-about-walking-10-month old around our house with an 8 month preggers belly. See why no blogging? 555

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Boston from afar.

I know it's just on more voice, but I can't help but feel the need to say something about what happened in Boston.

It's Pii Mai holiday here in Lao. Lao New Year. Making it 2556.

Yet, there first day of the new year now is marred. April 16th wasn't a good day.

You know the news. I won't repeat all that here. But I couldn't help but not feel much for new year this year when back home so many are hurting. Being a mom now it hurts even more to hear of little ones dying. Boston. Afganistan. Iraq. Lao. Anywhere.

I grew up in NY. I also spent 13 years living in Providence, RI which for those not aquinted with the northeast as much, it's a 30 min T (subway) ride to Boston. Needless to say I played there quite a bit. The museums, the restaurants, Quincy Square, Chinatown...

So. There isn't anything I can say or do, but send love to those affected, and hope someday the world is better.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Reflections - Why I Stay.

Happy 2013! Goodness, life has been busy. River just turned 6 months and time is flying. La's father has come to stay a little with us and it's been almost 3 months. Lao style, you never know exactly when family is coming or going.
view from bedroom of house-in-progress.
The past few months to be honest I've been in a very "un" Lao mood. So much is changing here, people leaving, life... that I've been experiencing a little burn out on Laos. (I'm rarely around foreigners, although I am trying to change that. ) At times I need to remind myself (and my dear hubby) I am not Lao. Actually he's wonderful about it, he's open minded about cultures... well of course he is or else I wouldn't be with him. So instead of listing all the negatives about living in a developing country, I've chosen to remind myself why I stay.

Life, even as hectic as mine is, is slower than in the US.
I like the closeness to nature... from daily life to shopping in the markets.
I can mix crazy patterns with my clothes and noone cares. :D
I owned 3 houses in the US but the one we are building here feels more like a "home" than any of the others ever did.
There is no snow.
You can buy DVDs for 10,000 kip. (About a 1.20) (Sometimes it's the small things..)
All the fresh fruit.
and for the most part, I enjoy the culture...
Besides...where else would reading/speaking Lao be useful? Minnesota? See above reason to stay about no snow.
I feel useful here. I like teaching English. I like the burgeoning Art scene. (Hope to work more with it in the future.) We have dreams and ideas, and there is possibility..potential here.

So, yes, I miss family. I miss my mom's cooking. I miss friends. I miss one stop shopping, my car and the diversity a "real" city offers...but.. in the end, I stay. Although at some point I want to spend some time in the US again...the reason is for River to know his family/friends there..and that's probably the only reason. Because, right now I'm home.

..and now since La's working on our house again today, I'm off running again, as River is sure to wake soon.

If your in Lao reading this, why do YOU stay? Share :)

Monday, December 31, 2012

The Paper Trail

If you’re an American and plan on giving birth in Laos my advice is take lots of photos and save all your receipts.

What they don’t (yet) tell you on the US Embassy website. Although the kind folks at the embassy 
said they will be updating the website with this info. In the meantime..

As of December 2012


If you gave birth in Laos, this is the list of paperwork you need to submit to the US Embassy to report a birth abroad pass on American citizenship. 

Application for Consular Report of Birth Abroad

An affidavit of physical presence from the US Citizen Parent. (They give you this at embassy)

Evidence of the US Citizenship of the American parent. One of the following:
US Passport
US Birth Certificate
Certificate of Naturalization
Consular Report of Birth Abroad
Or a certified true copy from a notary public of one of the above.

Original identity card or passport of Lao citizen

Original birth certificate. – In Laos you need both from hospital AND from District Office.

Supporting evidence of child’s birth – hospital prenatal records, receipts, sonograms, photos of mother while pregnant.

Evidence of termination of any prior marriage (divorce decree or death certificate)

Marriage certificate AND supporting evidence of relationship – wedding photos etc.

Transmission Requirements – Evidence of residency in US prior to child’s birth. (I brought my high school and college transcripts.

If mother or father is US citizen, evidence that mother or father was with Lao parent during conception. Rental receipts, matching Lao / US immigration stamps, airline tickets, etc.

Appearance of child at embassy, so consular can verify existence.

Fee for paperwork in Cash.

Best wishes! :-)