A good friend recently moved back to her hometown to help open a coffee shop. Therefore, when the opportunity arose to visit her over a weekend, it was an easy "yes." So one Saturday morning, I got in a van with some Thai family friends, and we made the windy, curvy, long journey to Fang. Upon arriving, I spent approximately 5 hours sitting, reading and eating food at Zit A Long, Fang's best new coffee shop. Not a bad beginning.

When Muay got off work, we went to Doi Pha Hom Pok National Park for a swim. Jai walked me around to show me all the good views, which were impressive, despite the haze.

Leaving the park, we headed to a market in town, bought some shrimp, greens and noodles and sat on the front porch and made suki, laughing and having half our sentences get lost in translation. Not-so-early the next morning we headed to Muay's family's village, maybe an hour from the town. 

We'd brought some snacks along and spent a little time visiting with her parents and resting on their front porch. After a while the kids in town came up to see us and Muay said, "Ok, Alli. You're going to tell a Bible story, chai mai?" So, there wasn't another option. She handed me a sheet of paper and a pen, and I sketched out some crude animals and stick figures before Aom helped me tell the story of Jesus' birth. They listened intently and knew all the answers when I asked questions at the end, even the really hard ones. This is one moment that'll be hard to forget.

After the story, one of the neighbors climbed the coconut tree in front of the house and in no time we were drinking fresh coconut water and eating the meat from the inside. Taking "fresh coconut" to a whole new level.

While we packed up to leave the village, I couldn't help but smile, knowing that I'd been able to experience something so out of the ordinary for my normal western life in Asia. Being a part of this trip made me feel more at home in Thailand than anything else had. Watching my friends be themselves and include me in it was pretty awesome. Telling the most important stories to those who've never heard, getting to love on kids I've never met and seeing the faces of those I'd asked so many to pray for: too good.