I have expressed it on my face book page, but not so much on my blog…I am stressed. Our boys are in early puberty. They have issues of respect, and boundaries, being bullied at school, being bullies at home. I don’t want to go into details. They give us stress. We are dealing with it, but it is not so fun. Growing up can be a messy process. At the same time Nicole is preparing for her final year of high school. In Germany they do comprehensive exams . It’s a great deal of stress for her. She must also consider what next. She wants to go to art school. We had thought she would consider biology, but art is her dream. There are art schools near by, but none that do illustration and animation. So we are looking at the possibility of her moving away next summer. That not only makes me sad, but it also involves planning and money. In fact there is tons of planning that has to happen on Nicole’s behalf. Sarah starts school in the fall. Jessica has her final year of school next year. Then we have to figure out “what next” for Jessica. We want our boys to learn to work. Thomas will turn 13 in September. He will then be allowed to get a part time job (German child labor laws). So perhaps he can carry newspapers in the fall. The money isn’t so much of an issue for us (thank God). We just want him to learn to work. We see how fast they grow up, and how much they must learn. It is daunting! So what has Thailand got to do with any of this? Everything! Nicole will be gone before we know it. You have to dance with Cinderella before she is gone! and 3 weeks away from everyone and everything is the most intense way to train your children. It is a daily non interrupted school. And Thailand is a great place to distress. It is cheap. I never have to say, “no you can not order that shrimp”. Somehow allowing your growing boys to eat anything and everything makes them more open to all you say. A few friends have said we should go someplace, but it doesn’t need to be Thailand. We have been to plenty of other places, but no other place has really left our entire family so relaxed and happy as Thailand. Even Jessica loves it there. In Cyprus for example, Jessica hid in the kitchen almost the entire time. It was great for most of us, but not for Jessica. When Jessica is stressed out, I’m stressed out. The boys are treated like kings in Thailand. Everyone smiles at them, and tells them how lucky they are. On the one hand you don’t want your children to be spoiled, but on the other hand no one in Germany tells them they are blessed. After a few weeks in Thailand they actually begin to realize how privileged their lives are. They actually begin to show signs of gratitude (an almost unheard of trait for a German teenager). You will never be a happy person if you see the glass as half empty all the time. In Thailand they are reminded how blessed they are. It is not me, or Juergen telling them. They are told by every hard working waiter, and taxi driver, and Elephant trainer. They see how hard the people in Thailand work, and how poor they are there. They appreciate the family they are in, and receive more of what we try to teach them (at least this is what happen last year). I have not seen this effect in Italy, or America, or Holland, Israel, China, Cyprus or Germany. It is only in Thailand we can live like kings and come away feeling the responsibility that comes to those who have allot. So I guess this is my long way of saying why I want to go to Thailand. I am stressed and I want a sure way of recharging my batteries. I want a concentrated time to influence my kids. I want one last family vacation with Nicole. I want my sons to realize again that life is good, and they are very blessed. I want sunshine, cool sea breezes, perspective and frozen lemon aid. I want to have a silk prom dress custom made for Nicole. I want to see Jessica running to the swimming pool and playing with the whole family. I want to see Sarah spending her days with out care swimming (she is such a fish). School and all the homework and peer pressure begins for Sarah in the fall. I want all my troubles and worries to seem like they are a million miles away. I want rest so I can dream again. I want to gain back my strength so I can face the year ahead. I do not need a new bathroom, I need a break.