January 29, 2008

A Honeymoon in Thailand and Home, Sweet Home

Hello Friends and Family,

Well, in case any of you were wondering if we got stuck somewhere in the Pacific, we wanted to let you all know that we have arrived home safely in America! It has been a wonderful reunion with family already, a busy time, difficult to find blogging opportunities and and we can't wait to hug even more of our friends that we are so eager to see. Coming home was a reminder of how blessed we are to have the support and love of our family and friends.

Our week in Thailand was fantastic. We laughed all week about being on another honeymoon, since really all a honeymoon is is the joy of celebrating marriage and each other together and it was just that. Each day was the perfect mix of doing nothing and experiencing everything that Thailand has to offer. We were able to ride elephants, feed monkeys with bananas on an island in the bay, ride a fishing boat on the Gulf of Thailand and through a fishing village, experience an authentic Thai dinner and cultural dance, and we worked in a lot of just sitting on the beach, looking for shells and enjoying the beauty of Thailand. The people there were wonderful and friendly and it was a great time for Kealy and I before returning home. A time of reflection for God's faithfulness to us in China and a time of preparation and prayer for discerning His next adventure for us.

Here's our view from 'our table' at the resort restaurant

The view of the resort from our balcony
We returned home to the states after a long day of traveling. From Bangkok to Japan and finally to Portland. Thankfully all of our baggage arrived with us and made it through customs. We even got upgraded to the exit row for one of the legs of our flight. We have had a great time with our families, sharing photos and videos, gifts and stories of our time in China and the incredible things God showed us and the people we have had the privilege of building relationships with. We plan on continuing to see as many people as we can these first few weeks and if any of you are in the Sandy area on Saturday we are having an open house at 18500 Langensand Road from 2-4 PM.

The snow has been a wonderful surprise and quite the contrast from our time in Thailand. Ryan will be starting work down at the state capital on Thursday and we will be moving down tot he Salem area on Sunday after hopefully watching Kevin Boss and the New York Giants win the Super Bowl!

We hope to see each of you and continue to tell you stories of our time in China, as well as continuing to keep you involved in what is going on in our lives. Thank you so much, for your prayers and thoughts while we were in the Far East. We felt your prayers and your encouragement helped sustained us during our time there. We learned so much about God's faithfulness and the amazing things He is doing around the world. We love you and we'll see you soon.

In Christ,
Ryan and Kealy Thorson

P.S. having problems posting pictures, will get more up ASAP!

January 16, 2008

Goodbye Nanning---Our Last Blog From China!

Hello Friends and Family,

Well, this is it. Our last blog from Nanning, China. We really can't believe how fast it has come upon us for us to head to Thailand and then back to the states. These last few weeks have been quite the blur, testing students, buying last minute souvenirs, visiting all of our favorite spots and, most importantly, and most difficult, saying goodbye to all of our students and dear friends here in Nanning. We have tried to make the most of each day, hanging out with friends, going to our favorite restaurants, etc. but time seems to be running out. Tomorrow is our last final at the college and then the afternoon and evening will be spent with some of our dearest friends here that we have made in such a short time. Friday morning we head to the airport for a noon flight from Nanning to Shenzhen, a ten hour layover in Shenzhen, then a 11:30 PM flight from Shenzhen to Bangkok, Thailand. We are going to stay in a hotel near the Bangkok airport on Friday night because Saturday morning a car is picking us up and driving us the remaining leg of our trip, a 3 hour drive south to Hua Hin and the Dolphin Bay Resort. If you want to see where we'll be staying in Thailand for six days, you can check out; www.dolphinbayresort.com.

We're pretty confused emotionally. We are wrapping up here and leaving a place that we can definitely call another home. It is very hard to leave friends that we have known for such a short time, yet feel so close to. At the same time, we are very excited for a brief rest in Thailand before getting to come home and have a wonderful reunion with all of you, our family and friends. We are busily packing up and cleaning up our apartment as we speak, trying to fit all of our stuff, as well as souvenir and gifts, into our suitcases. Please pray earnestly that we will not be charged too much for overweight baggage, we are a little nervous about that!

We arrive back in Portland, Oregon on the morning of January 25th. After a week in Sandy with the family, we are going to be heading back to Salem for at least a month. Ryan is going to work as the sergeant-at-arms again at the state capital for their month long legislative session and Kealy is hoping to jump right into substitute teaching. After that the road is a bit unclear. Please pray that God would give us guidance on where He wants us to serve Him next.

So this is it, signing off from China. A day we thought would never come has come faster than we wanted to. God has been so faithful to us through our adventure here and we will be honored to share more about our time here and more pictures with you when we return back to America. Please know that our adventures together and this blog does not leave with our exodus from China. We have had such a good response from people enjoying the blog that we will continue to keep you updated on the adventures God is blessing us with. We will also find a way to get a blog posted while we are in Thailand and let you know how our 'second honeymoon' is going! Thank you for listening, praying and being so active in our experience here in China. Knowing you have been praying and thinking of us has been so very important to us during those tougher times. We can't wait to see each of you and give you a great hug. Talk to you soon.

With all of our love and strength,
Ryan and Kealy Thorson

January 6, 2008

Happy New Year--A Busy Year so Far

Hello Friends and Family,

We apologize for the expansive passage of time between previous informational expulsions. We have been very busy hanging out with friends and trying to squeeze in every last minute of China that we can. We have also been busy relaxing! We haven't taught any classes for the last two weeks, which has been a little weird, but a good chance to reflect, rest, spend time with friends and prepare for the next adventure. We are slowly packing, trying to figure out how we are going to bring all of your gifts home and starting to get very excited for our five days in Thaiand as well. We celebrated New Year's eve with some of our friends and went to the 'Brazilian Barbecue', a buffett type restaurant where they brought different kinds of meat to your table, pork, steak, crab wrapped in bacon, so it was quite the treat and fun to spend time with friends ringing in the New Year. Most schools and businesses were closed for the two day holiday, but the real celebration in China takes place in February during the Chinese New Year which we will unfortunately miss. This past Wednesday we were able to do someting we have wanted to do since we arrived in Nanning...go to the zoo! The zoo in Nanning was a lot of fun and interesting to see the types of animals they have here. We even saw a dolphin show and an elephant and monkey show. The highlight of the show was the bears and monkeys that came racing out on their ten speed bikes zooming around the arena in circles! Seeing the elephants made us excited to ride them when we are in Thailand.

Beautiful purple flowers blooming in January!

anothe view of the park

After a few more days of relaxing and hanging with friends, enjoying doing nothing, we also visited the Green Mountain Park here in Nanning. It was a huge park full of open fields, forests, temples and other things. We didn't have time to see everything, but we enjoyed throwing the football and frisbee around with friends and then taking a minibus ride, that felt like a rollercoaster ride, around the park. We plan to go back and maybe even eat at the restaurant in the park. That's pretty much been our week. We don't really know where all the time went, but we have been spending a lot of time doing nothing, we watched the whole first season of 'Heroes' in three days and even bought a wii (nintendo game system) and have been playing that together. We are counting down the days until we get to see each of you and are excited to tell you more about the friends and adventures we have had here in China. Talk to you soon.

Ryan and Kealy