House hunting in Hoi An

Spoiler alert: we found a house!

It was not the easiest time to arrive in a new country and try to rent a house for three months. Max and Henry were both sick and, as a result, in a state of general grumpiness. I’ve been apprehensive about committing to three months in a place I’ve never been before. And it’s been raining buckets, every day. All of these things, and the significant language barriers, added some complexity to our search for a place to settle ourselves for the next few months.


Fortunately, we were in a lovely hotel, the Green Apple, that has a generous buffet breakfast, the nicest, most helpful staff you could imagine, and was ok with us extending our stay each day.

We looked at half a dozen houses, ranging from sort of dark and a little smelly to bright, brand new, and with a pool. Guess which one we all liked? It was, unsurprisingly, the most expensive one we looked at, too. Kyle was able to negotiate the price down a little, and “expensive” is a relative term for us, coming from the Bay Area. We’re essentially paying about a quarter of what we used to spend in San Carlos.

The rental process here is a little different from at home. There are no credit or reference checks, but you do usually have to pay three months rent at a time. And fingers crossed that the notarized contract Kyle signed doesn’t contain any hidden surprises. Or non-hidden surprises – the whole thing is in Vietnamese, of course.

In between looking at houses, we’ve done a little bit of exploring, but not too much yet. I’m looking forward to getting settled and getting to know the town a bit. Not to mention the beaches, if the sun ever comes back out.


We’re also doing a lot of eating. Henry is ecstatic to be in the land of pho, and back in control of the spice levels of his food. I’m appreciating the high caffeine content of the Vietnamese coffee. And everyone’s enjoyed the bánh mì – especially when we eat in the company of an iguana.



Goodbye, Chiang Mai

Hello again this is my blog for the rest of Chiang Mai that I haven’t written about yet. Hope you like it!!!

On the day after the Grand Canyon water park we didn’t do much during the day but at night we went to the night market with Amelia, Annabelle, Zoe, Delia, and some of the Wallaces.


Right when we got there a wire at one of the stands started sparking and lit on fire but they put it out.


It was a very long, packed street with lots of little food stands and other stands that had things like clothes, hand bags, toys, smoothies, and some little trinkets. It was really fun to walk around and have dinner with our friends.



I had some pork buns which are my favorite and I also had some meat skewers, yum😋. It was really funny at one point when we found the first pack of Sour Patch Kids that we’ve seen the whole trip at a seven eleven. Anyway the night market was really fun.

The next day we went to a place called the Sticky Falls or Bua Tong in Thai with Harley and his parents Jennifer and David. It was really cool because it was an ordinary waterfall but the water ran over limestone instead of regular stone so it wasn’t slippery except for the parts that had slimy algae growing on it. It was so cool because you could literally walk up the waterfall!



But getting to the top was hard because there was a lot of algae at the top and you had to use a rope tied to a tree to climb up. It was kind of scary at the top because if you fell and let go of the rope you would just slide down and fall on the un-slimy part. After playing on the waterfall for a while we played soccer and had a picnic nearby. We found a really cool branch of a tree that hung down like a natural swing like on a playground and it actually swung! It was really fun to swing on!


After we went to the sticky falls we drove to take a boat ride to a floating restaurant in a lake with some blow up thing like what was at the Grand Canyon. It was a really good lunch and really fun swimming. The boat ride was also really cool. The lake was really big and beautiful and the boat was really fast. I really liked the food too probably because I like almost all of the delicious Thai food.



After an hour we all went back in the boat and got in the car and drove to the Elephant Poo Poo Paper Park. At the poo poo paper park we took a tour to see how they made paper with the elephant poo. We also got to make our own paper and leave it out to dry. After that we made Christmas cards with the paper and we could decorate them with cut out reindeer and Santas. It was fun making the cards and we sent pictures of them to our cousins.


After the elephant poo poo paper park we all went to the Four Seasons hotel for the parents to get a drink. It was kind of annoying though because we couldn’t even swim in the pool because we were not guests in the hotel. After that we went home and had dinner.


Two days later we went to the Elephant Nature Park, an elephant sanctuary that rescues elephants from the tourism and entertainment industries. They buy the elephants from poachers and then help the elephants recover from injuries and settle into the community of other elephants. We took a van there and when we got there we fed the elephants with big watermelon halves. It was so cool to see how their trunks come and grab the fruit.



After we fed them we took a long tour around the area seeing all the elephants while the guide told us about them. We found out that most of them had been injured kind of badly by their former owners. Some of them were blind. And for some of them walking was very hard. A few of them had stepped on land mines and had huge bandages around their foot. It was really fun watching them take a bath in the river because they splashed around and shot water out of their trunks.




It was extra funny though when they went right to a pile of dirt and rolled around in it right after their bath😆.


After a lot of looking around we went back to the place where we left our stuff to have lunch. After lunch we went over to a little hospital area and saw pictures of the injured elephants when they got here and hadn’t gotten bandages and stuff. After that we left and took the van back to our apartment.

A day later we we took a five hour bus ride to Sukhothai and stayed at the Smiling Face guest house and went on a bike tour one day. It was the same bike tour that Annabelle and Amelia had taken before they came to Chiang Mai. It was really fun and the guides were amazing. It was a long ride but the snacks we had at one of the stops were very worth it. The history of Sukhothai was really interesting to learn about. We also learned about a tradition of chicken fighting where people train chickens to kick and shove each other until one is so injured that it runs away. The bike tour was really fun and interesting and we learned a lot about Sukhothai, I definitely recommend it.



From Sukhothai we took the train back to Bangkok and stayed there for a few days at the Paragon Inn that was a lot nicer than the other places we stayed.


It had a pool and a pool table and a really good restaurant and all the fancy stuff.


We met another family there with two kids that were both pretty young. It was fun to play with them in the pool and the little girl was a surprisingly good swimmer. I really liked the restaurant and we ate there three or four times over the two days we were there. The market nearby was also good because it had a lot of different local foods and I really like a lot of Thai food.

After two days in Bangkok we flew to Hoi An, Vietnam (were we have been for about a month now) and checked into the Green Apple hotel while we looked for a house to live in for the next three months. Long story short we found a house and moved in. It has a pool and three bathrooms and three bedrooms so we get our own rooms and have enough space for when our cousins come in a few weeks.


Our Christmas was fun and on Christmas Eve we went to a super fancy resort for dinner with some other expats who live down the street. On New Year’s Eve I stayed up until 3:00 and played on my iPad so that was great. Yesterday we met some more kids who are staying here for a while and planned to got to the beach with them sometime. The beach here is really fun. Next week we are going to the Philippines for a week with my aunt Katy. And after that our cousins are coming to Hoi An with us so YAY 😃.

Well now you’re all caught up so see ya later! Max out!

Max’s Chiang Mai

Hi everyone! Chiang Mai was one of my favorite places so I have much to say about it. This will be a long post!

On our first day in Chiang Mai we checked out the Maya mall and got used to our new apartment. The mall was great and we had some really good food and I had grass jelly drink. We also went to One Nimman which was an open mall with a street food market across from our apartment. The food was really good and I got some delicious gyozas that are like pot stickers. The next day, we also found a good pool called Green Hill in walking distance that has two huge pools. We went to the lantern festival and lit lanterns and set them of to float away into the sky. The lantern festival was so fun that we came back the next day because there were a few days of festival to celebrate and on the next day there was a big parade was so many floats and crazy fireworks it was hard not to get startled by flashing lights and loud explosions.IMG_1162

One day that we went to Maya mall to eat we met another family, the Wallaces, with 4 kids who were going to the same water park that we were thinking of going to in a few days so we decided to go with them sometime. We also met up with another family that had 1 kid who was almost 7. His name was Harley and we went to their house and played soccer with them for a while (the parents won 10/9). It was really fun playing with Harley so we invited them to the public pool. Harley’s mom Jennifer runs a travel agency called Wild Women Expeditions so she knew a lot about what to do in Chiang Mai.

On the day we went to the pool we also invited another family with two kids that my mom met through another friend. The kids were Annabelle and Amelia and the parents were Wayne and Christiana. They came to the pool too and we swam and talked for a while and then went to get a snack at the place next to the pool while Harley talked about a funny game he played. They ordered chicken nuggets and a sandwich and I ordered fries. But when the food came the waiter put all of the food in front of them so it looked like the French fries came with the nuggets. I waited for my fries and after a while I asked when the food was coming. They were like, “huh? Ooh!” and she went to the table and moved the fries in front of me and we were like “OOooHHhh… hahaha!” It was really funny😆.

When we left the pool we went to our favorite One Nimman with Annabelle and Amelia. We showed them around and got food and smoothies. Amelia’s smoothie had salt in it for some reason! What! We decided to invite them to the Grand Canyon water park too! It was starting to become a big party! The next day we went on a hike to a really beautiful wat/temple called Wat Pha Lat that was on a waterfall on a mountain. It was really cool and me and Harley used leaves as boats to float down the waterfall. While we were at the temple Annabelle and Amelia were at a bike tour that you can learn more about it on their blog at

The next day was finally Grand Canyon time woohoo! When we got there only the Wallaces and their friends were there and it looked so fun! It wasn’t a normal water park, it was outside and was in a big lake kind of place with blow up slides and pathways in the water kind of like the stuff at Pump It Up. There were huge ones though and we jumped off of them into the water. We met two girls named Zoe and Delia with their mom Julie who were also friend with the Wallaces. It was so fun meeting up with more kids my age. We swam and played until about lunch when Annabelle and Amelia showed up. Then we all went and played for a while before having lunch. We kept up the fun and did the zip line there and tried out their water bouncy bike things that were kind of confusing and then it was time to leave because it was closing time, wow we stayed there a long time. One of the staff chased use out of the water so we went pretty fast😂.IMG_1255IMG_7901

After the water park we planned to all watch a movie together but it turned out it only played in Thai until 10:30 so we all went to eat dinner together at the Maya mall – we went to Wrap Master and got tacos but the the girls’ tacos all had jalapeños in them so they took them all out and the tacos were still supper spicy. We hung out for a while and played at the arcade. It was a really fun day but we had to go home so we planned to go to the Green Hill pool with Zoe, Delia, Annabelle, and Amelia sometime soon and then left.

I think this blog has gotten long enough so I will finish Chiang Mai later so bye 👋!

Thailand, the Land of the Buddha

We arrived in Bangkok after an 18 hour trip including a three hour layover on November 11 from Namibia. We left the airport and went to our apartment in the middle of the city near the day old Icon Siam mall the fanciest, most expensive mall in Thailand 🇹🇭. The next day we went to it and ate lunch and looked around the fake floating market that had fake rivers with boats selling food along the sides. The only thing that was wrong with the mall was that it seemed like the bathrooms were very last minute because all of the sinks looked like they had been ripped out of the wall and the soap dispensers didn’t even work.

Our apartment was better and worse than the description at the same time because of two things. The first thing was that the building we were in did not allow people to rent out their apartment so that was kind of worrying. The other thing that was the best part was the pool, actually the two pools. They were both the perfect temperature because in Thailand it is really hot and humid so the pools always got warm enough, but not too warm. It was so fun to swim and jump in the pools especially because they were salt water pools so the water felt really smooth and soft.

In Bangkok we went to Wat Arun which was really cool because the colorful tiles on the sides were made with broken plates and pieces of ceramics. We saw many Buddhas and three headed elephants. A day before Wat Arun we went to Chatuchak market, it was huge! The biggest market I have seen in Thailand and it had so much stuff! I got some cheap fake legos and we all got foot massages (my first) and had smoothies. While we were there it rained so hard that all of the metal and plastic roofs sounded like thunder! Speaking of thunder there was thunder!… and lightning!… ten feet away!!! It sounded like explosions right across the road!

On Thursday of our one week in Bangkok we went to Amped trampoline park which was really fun. There was a big mat block thing that was about a meter high that I was able to do a front flip up onto it after starting with only being able to jump up and do a cartwheel on it. On Friday we walked to Soi Five, a food market with a lot to chose from. We ate dinner there and I had my first grass jelly which is a drink with condensed milk, brown sugar or caramel sweetener, and grass jelly cubes that are pretty much like jello gelatin that tastes like grass but I really like it and have gotten it a lot since.

On Monday we left Bangkok to go to Chang Mai. In Chang Mai our apartment was near a big mall called Maya that has a really good food court in the basement and on the fourth floor. There was also a movie theater, arcade, grocery store, food courts, stores with clothes, books, stuffed animals, medicine, and smoothies (I love the smoothies!).

Ok that’s all of Chang Mai for this blog but the next one is coming soon.

To be continued…