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I've had a fairly solitary week with Tim up in Lamphun Province (south of Chiang Mai).  Aside from brief visits from Nadia (picking up something for work), Doug (dropping off some spaghetti Bolognaise purchased at the Mediterranean restaurant near Chalong pier), and Jum (checking to see if I wanted to go shopping with her) I've been on my own.  It's been rather nice but I miss my wife dearly and I'm going a bit stir crazy.

Tim has been calling me at least twice a day all week (except today — she said she would be turning off her phone once she boarded a bus back south so I assume she's on her way).  She had quite the runaround at the local amphoe (a two-hour drive each way from her parents' home):  Monday, she arrived after 9:00 in the morning and was told to return at seven the following day; on Tuesday, it took most of the morning going from one office to another to get the surname changed on her ID card.  She wasn't able to change the name on the land deed as they want to check out the land first; this was after they requested the presence of both her parents, brothers, and sisters (yes, they all got up in the wee hours of the morning in order to get to the amphoe by seven).  But I've found this is typical of any Thai bureaucracy — they make you jump through all sorts of hoops and in the end you only get half of what you wanted in the first place...

When she called this morning, Tim said she'd paid a visit to her ex-husband and was bringing me a "special gift".  Don't know what this could be (not their divorce papers as they'd had a common-law marriage; perhaps a refund of her original dowery?).

I've spent most of the week getting caught up on my reading (finishing one book and starting several others as I couldn't decide on just one) and doing a bit of work on the computer.  I also did a bit of house cleaning on Tuesday — more of a tidying-up, really, as the electricity was out most of the day (not to mention the water).  I need to walk over to 7-Eleven tomorrow as my food supplies are depleted (and the water bill is due — how ironic).

I did finally meet my next door neighbor's wife a couple of days ago.  They're from Bangalore, India.  He's head of IT for one of the local resorts and she just stays at home watching television.  Mostly, our conversation consisted of her asking me what to do when there's no water for days on end (fill buckets full when it works and obtain the jugs of drinking water from the guys on the trucks; I end up dumping some in the toilet bowl so I can flush).  She also asked me why Christians decorated trees to celebrate Christmas.  I had no idea but promised to find out (which reminds me — I need to do a Google search in a minute...).  She seems very nice but I think she's bored as she has no friends; I'll have to send my wife over there when she gets back.

At least it seems like Tim is on her way home.  She last called me around 6:30 yesterday morning complaining how cold it was in Lamphun and that she would probably be leaving there sometime that day.  There's no electricity at her parents' home and she hadn't been able to recharge her cellphone battery so she told me she'd turn it off as soon as she boarded the bus.  If she left Chiang Mai yesterday afternoon, she should be home sometime tonight if the arrival and departure in Bangkok are fairly close together.  I miss her and I can't wait until she gets back to Chalong.