New House in Thailand

Monday, July 20, 2015

We just moved to a new home in June and we absolutely love it.  Even though we have only been in the house for 2 months, it really does feel like home to us.  We wish we could have been  in this house the whole time we have lived in Thailand.  It has a lot more space than our last house and just fits our needs better. We were really lucky to have found a house that was in our price range and right for all five of us.  Here is a peek into our new house in Thailand.

 The entryway looking into the whole house

 The entry: sitting area and our tv room to the left

 The tv room

 Tv room looking into the sitting room/ entryway

Bar area that is really our art station 

 Dining room

 Ben's office



 All 3 boy's bedroom with playroom to the left


 Boy's bedroom

 Our bedroom

 School Room

 School Room

Garden area

Hope you enjoyed the tour of our house!  We just cannot stop saying how much we love this house and an added bonus, we have wonderful landlords!

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Totally Stressed: The Rental Property Problem

Saturday, July 18, 2015

When we moved to Bangkok 4 years ago, we had 2 months to get our house packed up, find renters, get passports & vaccines in order, and a million other things that needed to happen before we picked up our lives in Ohio and transported them to Bangkok.  I was stressed.  Like over the top.  It was so bad that I called my doctor complaining about shortness of breath.  I still remember the sweet nurse saying, "Sara, you are having a panic attack.  You need come here now  so we can see you.  It's alright, you have so much going on right now."  I did go to the doctor's office and I was, in fact, having a panic attack.  Thankfully, they did go away with the help of some anxiety medication or I would have never been able to get everything complete before our move.

Over the past 4 years we have been so lucky to have two sets of amazing renters.  They only called us in emergency situations and took great care of the house.  It was so nice to not have to worry about the house for the past 4 years.  In May, we found out that our tenants were moving to another state and it would be time for us to find new renters again.

I really did not think that we would be able to find another family that fit so well with our situation, but a name was passed on to us and it was perfect.  They were looking for long-term, which was great.  They had even been to the school that Ben is currently teaching at!  It seemed meant to be. And we thought it was until two weeks before they were set to move in, they broke their contract with us. Their current landlord lowered their rent and they just did not want to move.  I get it.  I hate moving too.  But 2 weeks before they were supposed to move in!  Really? Panic set in.

So for the past few weeks I have been frantically trying to get our house rented.  This is not the easiest thing to do when you live on the other side of the world. Photo albums went up online, postings to rental sites in our area, and telling everyone  know that we need to find new renters. It would be so much easier if we were in the States right now.  I hate having to ask people for help.   I wish I was the type of person that didn't get so stressed out. Thankfully, my parents have been wonderful and went and cleaned and fixed things in our house to get it ready for the next tenants.   My friend, Jenn, has been showing the house for us and deserves to get her honorary realtor's license.     And we have someone there, as I am typing, working on getting the yard all ready to go. I just keep telling myself that it will work out. It has to, right?

It has been so stressful. I have not been sleeping because I am usually responding to emails or checking requests from people at all hours.  Our summer plans have been put on hold because we are paying for two houses at the moment.  Which really stinks. But, these are just consequences of having a rental property I guess. But on the plus side, no panic attacks yet!!

Should have we hired a property manager?  Yes, probably.  Should of we had a better contract?  Yes, and we will next time. I have had so many people share the photo album of our house and quite a few people interested in it. It has been amazing how many people have been willing to help us out and get this house rented.  I am really hoping we have our new contract signed in the next two weeks.

Thank you to everyone that has helped us out and shared our house through social media or word of mouth. We could not get this house rented without you! Thank you to my parents, for all they have done on the house and thank you to Jenn, for showing the house and dealing with all my texts.   And hopefully I have some good news soon and I can enjoy the last couple weeks of summer.

Do you have any rental horror stories?  I would love to hear.  Just so I don't feel alone.

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4th of July in Thailand

Friday, July 10, 2015

American holidays can be a little sad when you are living in another country.  Especially if it is a summer holiday and most of your friends are traveling.  Over the past few years in Thailand we have have tried to celebrate the 4th of July the best we can.  One year we had a BBQ with friends, but no sparklers or fireworks to finish off the night.  Two separate years we have gone to a 4th of July celebration put on by an international school.  They had American food and music, but it just doesn't feel the same when you do not really know anyone at the celebration.  But this year was different.  We had our best 4th of July so far.

A few of our friends were still in Thailand so we had a BBQ.  Complete with pasta salad, potato salad, and  baked beans,  Just like back home.

We had two grills going to supply the burgers and hot dogs.

We had red, white, and blue glow sticks thanks to my friend's mom who was visiting.

The kids got to watch smoke bombs.

We had Sparklers!

We even attempted to set off two fireworks, but they were much larger than we anticipated and after the second one, we thought it best to put those away in fear the police may come after us.

The kids played, danced, and ate way too much sugar.  Just like any other American holiday.

For all of us that were not able to celebrate with family, we were so happy we were able to celebrate with the next best thing, our friends that have become our second family. My kids had so much fun and it was a 4th of July to remember.

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Family Friendly Vacation in Pattaya

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

After a 4 month hiatus, I am back in the blogging world and so ready to share some of the exciting things that have happened over the past 4 months.

Just last week, Ben and I set up a holiday in Pattaya.  Now, if any of you know the city of Pattaya you may be surprised that I would ever want to visit this city with 3 boys.  Believe me, I was feeling uneasy and cautious about the whole thing.

Our first experience with Pattaya was our first year in Bangkok.  We had only been in Thailand for 2 1/2 months and the city of Bangkok started flooding.  It was difficult to get food and water because shipments could not make it into the city.  Our landlord was kind enough to get us out of the city and dropped of us in Pattaya.  I had no idea what to expect, but for this self- professed "prude", this city was a major shock to the system.  I was thankful my kids were young enough at the time and were not able to read any of the signs and advertisements or really be aware what was going on around them.

Four years later, my boys can read and would probably be aware of how people are dressed and I wasn't sure this would be a great place to take the kids, but I am so glad we did!

Here is how we had a very family friendly vacation in Pattaya:

I found an amazing condo through Airbnb.  I have been having great luck with airbnb lately.  With the boys getting older, it is getting harder and harder for us to find a hotel that will fit all of us.  We booked the Atlantis Condo Resort for $30, yes $30 a night!! Check out the photos on the website because my photo just do not do it justice.  This place was so child friendly.  It had a huge pool that ran all the way through the resort.  There was a large water playground and also a water slide for the boys to play on.  At the one end of the pool, there was a huge pirate ship with water canons.  The grounds were just beautiful and it really did feel like we were at a very high end resort.

The restaurant at the hotel was wonderful.   I had some of the best green curry I have ever had.  The boys loved the club sandwiches and french fries.  Greyson complemented the chef and he ended up giving us 10% off our next visit!  Thanks Grey! We went back the next night because it was just so good.  Check out Souk if you visit this condo.  You will not be disappointed and you do not have to venture out into the city to get a delicious and reasonably priced dinner.

We spent two of our days relaxing at the condo, but one of our days we decided to head to the island of Koh Larn.  I did not have high expectations for this island because it is so close to Pattaya and the water is brown and the sand is filthy in Pattaya.  Boy, was I in for a surprise!  We headed to the Bali Hai  Pier and took a 45 minute ferry ride to the Naban Port .  The ferry is 30 baht a person and Britton was free.  Once we made it to the island we grabbed a Songthaew (basically the back of a pick up truck) and headed to Tien Beach.

This beach had white sand and crystal clear water.  It wasn't too crowed and the speed boats stayed to one side of the beach.  The day we went the Thai government was not allowing you to put up umbrellas or beach chairs so there was not any shade, but you can usually get those on the island. There are a few places to eat lunch too.  We spent about 5 hours at the beach and had a wonderful time. I think this may have been one of the cleanest beaches we have been to in Thailand and we have been to quite a few different beaches.

This was a great getaway trip and we are already planning on heading back on a long weekend.

Our grand total for 3 nights, food (we brought our own food for breakfast and lunch), ferry rides, a driver to and from Pattaya was $260!!

I cannot wait to go back.

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