Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Aaron Ezekiel Fraser

Around eleven months ago I found myself again trying to convince my husband that we were capable enough to have a baby... reminding him that everyone is scared, and that someday, when the time is right, and I had finished studying Chinese, and we had more money, and we had time, and we couldn't think of anymore reasons not to have a baby we could think about getting pregnant (so, never?). Of course the conversation ended with us deciding that we'd talk about it more when the time came... I have this thing with thinking about things way too far in advance... Little did I know...

About a week later, I had a dream that I had a baby. There was more to the dream, but that's all that's really important right now. I couldn't get the dream out of my head, but I decided to keep it to myself. That morning after church, a man came up to me and told me that a WEEK EARLIER he'd had a dream about me having a baby... and proceeded share with me the EXACT DREAM I'd had THAT NIGHT! Of course I was shocked, and as the man prayed for me, healing began to take place in my heart, and my eyes began to be opened to things in my life that we ready to be "birthed."

The next morning as I was trying to pull Drew away from his love-affair with our bed (he's responsible when he needs to be, I promise), I realized he had something on his mind that he wasn't saying. "I think we should have a baby." He finally blurted out. I was floored. He had had dreams the entire night about us getting pregnant, and really felt like the dream I had was more than figurative. We prayed about it for a few days, and suddenly all of the things holding us back seemed really minor and unimportant.

We found out I was pregnant the week after my birthday. We literally had gotten pregnant just days after Drew had his dream.

No sooner had I found out I was pregnant, and radiating in the joy of knowing we were about to become parents, than fear came crashing in. China is a fearful place when it comes to children. People are terrified their entire pregnancies... some don't even leave their houses. None of them share the happy news until it is undeniable. And as far as people like us (doing what we do), in the last year I had known of more than five pregnancies that had ended in broken hearts. "What makes you think your baby is going to live?" the enemy taunted. Wow, what a joy-kill.

I was gripped with fear... I know it was the enemy. I would wake up every day with a heavy weight over my head and cry as I showered and got dressed. I didn't even want to get out of bed. What an ugly spirit. Finally, with tears falling down my face, I left the house and went for a walk. I cried out to my Father and asked Him for peace.

"Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty." The familiar words of Psalm 91 suddenly rushed in my head like a sweet whisper, that was somehow louder than every other screaming voice that was terrorizing me. I sat in silence and let the words rush over my heart like healing waters. I walked home, and tears were still streaming down my face, but they weren't bad ones anymore.

I grabbed my Bible and opened it up. "You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you." I was overwhelmed at the intensity of such an incredible promise.

Days passed, and of course the fear-spirit came back again and again with his razor-blade attacks, and I was still susceptible to them... funny how lies are so much easier to believe than the truth sometimes. When the fear hit me, I would pray, and guess what would happen? The first time fear struck me again, I opened one of my Christian books on childbirth... guess what words were staring me in the face? "Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High..." A few weeks later, fear came at me again. We went to church, and what did the preacher start out with? "Whoever dwells..." We went to get an ultrasound at 10 weeks pregnant. I almost cried at the beautiful life we saw. Then we found out the day our baby was conceived. I was reading a One-Year Bible at the time. Guess which day he was conceived? The day Psalm 91 was written in my Bible. My mom and mother-in-law threw me a baby shower when we were back in Canada. Women were asked to share wisdom and scriptures with me. Guess which scripture came up again? Yep, Psalm 91. He cares for us so much.

We decided to have the baby here in Thailand (we are finally leaving here on Sunday) because we don't have medical insurance in Canada (long story). We met three incredible nurses here from the States and Ireland who have made it their ministry to help expats have babies here. Through them we were able to find a great place to stay, have birthing classes, and pick a great doctor and hospital. My mom came all the way from Canada to visit us for two weeks when the baby was supposed to be born.

We all expected the baby to come early... apparently he didn't get the memo. I went into labor twice for twelve hours each time, and at just about three minutes apart, and getting our shoes on to leave for the hospital, the contractions completely subsided. I went to the doctor eight days after my due date, and three days before my mom was supposed to go home, and received a negative report (I wasn't in labor, or if I was, I was in the VERY early stages). I tried to hold back tears as we left the doctor's office. It had been a discouraging week, knowing my mom had spent thousands of dollars and time away from her kids to see the baby, and still NO BABY!

We all went home and began to pray. Well, I mostly cried, but Drew and Mom prayed. As we prayed, Drew opened the Bible and began to read the words of Psalm 91 again... our baby's promise verse. For some reason in that moment, those Scriptures comforted me.

Moments later (and I do mean MOMENTS), my water broke. I realized shortly after that there was meconium in the water, signaling that the baby was under stress. We rushed to the hospital. I was put on a fetal monitor all night, and we were left alone to watch our baby’s heart rate rise and fall. As the long hours dragged on, and fear was ever-present, there was a great Presence in the room... the Presence of "the Most High." Eleven hours later, the baby was still not far enough down the birth canal, but the doctor asked me to push. The baby’s heart rate dropped drastically and I was rushed out for an emergency C-section. We found out later that the baby was face up, and the umbilical cord had been wrapped around his face.

I had to be put to sleep during the C-section. When I woke up, I put my hand down to my stomach to feel whether there was a baby still in it or not. The moment they handed me our little boy, I was in love. I couldn't get over how much he looked like Drew. We named him Aaron Ezekiel. Aaron means "Mountain of Strength," and Ezekiel means "The Lord Strengthens."

I still can't believe God's protection over him during those long hours. The promise of Psalm 91 had been given to me over and over for that night (and for all the days of his future). I am amazed and overwhelmed when I retell the story of God's faithfulness and hand on our son... and this is only the beginning.

We all look forward in eager expectation to see what happens next.

Aaron, the best is yet to come...

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Obviously it's been a few months since anything has been updated here... life has a way of creating a lot of more important things to do. But now, I have no agenda for the next month except to sit in the warm sun, update my blog, check Facebook, and wait for my baby to be born. Oh yeah, I got pregnant since last time I updated this (but I think anyone who actually reads this knows that already).

Shopping in Bangkok
A week ago today, Drew and I were packing three suitcases... one for each of us... doing last minute preparation for the baby's room (which right now is just a section of our room), and saying goodbyes to all of our friends in China, who we'd just said "hello" to four weeks earlier. Last Monday, we got up at 5am, hopped on a plane, and headed for Bangkok for our last vacation just the two of us. We arrived, picked up our luggage, and promptly got ripped off by the first taxi driver to realize it was our first time in Thailand. I did the math later, and I think he charged us around seven times the amount we should have paid... which worked out to be about $30 USD (which I should probably not be whining about).

We spent the next couple of days going shopping, trying to guess which of the women were actually women (there are a lot of transvestites in Thailand...), eating amazing Western food, exploring, and trying to figure out how not to be rude (haha!). Everyone bows here to greet each-other and thank each-other, and say goodbye... and I'm hoping that's it, or else I'm missing my cues. At breakfast one morning at the hotel one of the waiters offered to take my plate of food back to my table while I poured my cereal. Still not feeling too confident, I thanked him the best way I knew how, and poured my cereal onto the floor (luckily not ALL of it). How do people bow while they're holding food??!

Wednesday, we decided to be touristy and checked out the floating market, took pictures with some tigers, and rode an elephant. Yep, at eight months pregnant I rode an elephant. Can't say it was the most comfortable ride ever, but definitely worth the pictures. At the Tiger Temple, I noticed that our tour guide was very friendly with the baby tigers, even putting his hand in their MOUTHS, but wouldn't go near the older tigers. I was definitely a bit terrified, and also wondered if the tigers might have been drugged, due to how sleepy they were (but I hear they sleep a lot, so hopefully we were just there around naptime???). One of the tigers had his foot in the air and they placed my hand on his foot to take the picture. I moved my hand toward his paw, and must have bothered him because he definitely snarled at me. I decided to move on to a sleepier tiger, and not die. I asked the tour guide later if he'd ever seen anyone get hurt there, and he said, "Yes, but that is top secret." Glad I asked him AFTER we got our pictures taken.

Floating Market

Thursday was our last day in Bangkok and in order to save money on a hotel and plane tickets to Chiangmai (where we're having the baby), we took the overnight train. My last experience on an overnight train was in China, involved VERY stinky feet (not mine); no air conditioning; dirty, hair covered sheets and pillows; and 4 guys sleeping underneath our bunks, one of them being an extremely LOUD snorer who Drew threw water on all night to try to get him to stop (it didn't work). When I saw the ghetto train pull up, I was worried it would either fall apart or I would before we got there. Luckily this train had NO smelly feet or loud snorers, we had CLEAN sheets AND air conditioning, and curtains to shut out the world while we slept! Heaven on a train. Ok so maybe my standards for heaven on a train were pretty low. Went to the bathroom a couple times at night and didn't realize until morning that their waste system was a hole in the floor, exiting to the train tracks. Bio-degradable I guess?
Soft Beds With Air Con in the Train!

Anyway, we got to Chiangmai on Friday, and we're staying in a long-stay hotel here (that has a POOL, woohoo!) for the next two months (hopefully less) waiting for Baby Fraser to come into the world. Christmas is 7 days away, and we have our stockings hung up from the kitchen counter. I think this is the least I've ever thought about Christmas. Kind of seems insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Well, for those of you who ARE doing festive Christmasy things, eat some turkey for me. I'll be busy getting sunburnt and eating ice-cream. Merry Christmas!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Famous for the Color of My Skin

A few weeks ago I received a call from my friend Alex. He's a (white) musician here and has played in a vast variety of venues here. "Hey, I need to put together a four-person foreign band. Do you want to be in it?" "Okay," I responded, "When is the gig?" "Tomorrow, at a car show. I told them I didn't think I could get four foreigners together before then with no practice, but they said they don't care if we know how to play music, they just want four foreigners. You in?" The gig paid $100 a person, and all we had to do is show up, and play whatever we could figure out how to play without practicing. So basically, I was getting paid $100 to be white at a car show. Sweet!

A giant tour bus arrived at my door the next day to pick me up... I felt like a superstar... or something. We arrived at a 5-star hotel and were given the most elaborate lunch I've ever seen, and then the fun began.

We went to the area where the cars were set up, and began to set up our instruments. We went over to the soundboard, set up behind the cars and asked where they wanted us to set up. "We need you in front of the cars." "Do you have cords long enough to get us out there?" "Cords? We don't have cords." Oh. Okay, I guess we're playing an acoustic set? Good thing the main stipulation was the color of our skin. After much trouble I was able to find a chord that was maybe 2 1/2 feet long to fit my keyboard, and we found one for Alex that reached all the way past the cars. I'm not sure if you're picturing this... I was BEHIND the cars. He and my friend Olivia, who sang, were IN FRONT. Haha! Hey, a hundred bucks is a hundred bucks...

Next, the announcer brought us forward with a translator and asked us a few simple questions about whether we were accustomed to China and Chinese food. My Chinese is nowhere NEAR fluent but I understood enough to respond "Yes" after each question... somehow this gave the announcer the idea that I was fluent enough to INTRODUCE the rest of the band and the next song! "Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh................" 5 hours later... "This... is... a... worship song... Yes." The announcer promptly looked at our interpreter. "What?" Yeah, he didn't ask me any more questions after that.

The rest of the day was fairly uneventful. We all went home to our normal lives and were forgotten. But I'm thinkin I'm gonna remember this experience for at least a couple more weeks. It pays to be a whitey.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Sometimes I long for what I don’t have right now. I long for the long walks with mom to anywhere talking about anything and everything. I long for the moments when I feel like a kid, and my dad wraps his arms around me and tells me everything’s going to be alright. I long for the times I’ve lost track of time with my siblings, doing what we all love best… playing music. I long for the moments I look into my youngest sister’s eyes, and she snuggles into that spot in my arms where she fits perfectly, and I try to explain to her little three-year-old brain how much I really love her.

Today I met with a girl whose mother just passed away, and listened as she revealed her brokenness, and clung to any bit of hope I could give her. Last week, Drew stayed up until 3am with a thirteen-year-old boy whose father left him when he was two, and his stepfather often abuses him.

My family will always be my family. They’ll always be waiting for me, and will always support me. The least I can do is be what they are to me, to someone else, who doesn’t have that… Even if that means I have to leave my family, to show that kind of love.

Sometimes we have to let some things go, in order to gain something better.

Father told me that if I left mother, brothers or sisters for his sake, I’d get a hundred times as much as I left, in return. Sometimes I wonder if they are found in the faces of people like this.

If they are, this longing is a small price to pay.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Worlds Collide

We headed back to America three months ago, and as soon as my feet hit American soil, or by that I mean Airport floor, I felt the bizarre feeling most people must feel after they’ve grown accustomed to a new place, and return to an old one. I felt like I had somehow jumped from one universe to another. Everything was familiar and unfamiliar all in the same moment. I was almost immediately repulsed by commercialism and vanity, and then realized, that it was just “America” and I used to fit in here pretty well!

Days went on. We went to the dollar store, and I was overwhelmed at the availability of every candy I had dreamed of all year, and filled my grocery basket like a child with Nerds, Sweet Tarts, and mints. Restaurants we’d longed for were a five-minute drive away… and we had a CAR to drive to them! We went to Wal-mart, and I was floored at the unending possibilities of everything I could buy! All in ONE STORE! Then grocery shopping happened, and I felt like I was 18 again and didn’t know a thing about what to buy… there were just too many options! And how did you buy the fruit and vegetables? Did you have to weigh them? Put them in a bag? Put a tag on them?

Then the moment came when I saw my family. Everything was right in the world again. My 3-year-old sister even remembered who I was! Our last month in Canada was filled with Christmas festivities, and I treasured every moment as long as I could. The culture shock had worn off, and I felt home again.

HOME?! Universes collided. I had only weeks left before I went back to China. I didn’t want to go. I was terrified of missing everything I had still not quite grown accustomed to being so accessible.  And my family. The thought of leaving them left a knot in my stomach. Did I spend enough time with each person? Did I make the most of the time I had? Could I make it another year apart from them? I wanted to stay home, not go home.

We headed to the airport, three days after Christmas. My stomach felt like a brick had somehow been thrust down my throat and was quite comfortable making itself at home in the bottom of my stomach. Would I be ok? Would the culture shock overwhelm me? Would it feel like “home”?

We arrived at 3:30am last Thursday. The next few days, I walked around, a bit like I was in a dream. Universes had shifted again. Instead of cars filling the streets, scooters, 3-wheeled wagons, bicycles, some cars, city buses, and 50-year-old looking trucks filled the streets. Vegetable sellers sat on most corners, and the old Chinese people filled the air with music, and dancing. Then I caught a whiff of the shao-kao (street meat) cooking… my stomach started screaming. I was CRAVING Chinese food! Any kind would be fine!

We stepped into a restaurant. “Do you like goat?” the owner said. “We’re Canadian.” I replied, somehow convinced he'd asked me where I was from. “Oh, can Canadian’s not eat goat?” Ok. Little rusty on my Chinese. We ended up leaving that restaurant, because we didn’t want goat… not because we were Canadian. HAHA! How embarrassing! We ended up at a little noodle restaurant, and I awkwardly tried to pull my Chinese out of the abyss it had disappeared to in my brain. They were so kind and patient. The noodles were so good.

Today, I hopped on my scooter, joined the chaotic road-race and ran errands. They understood me, and I understood them. I breathed in all the smells around me, and looked at all of the sights that were unusually usual. I smiled as big as I possibly could smile.  I loved being here. I’m Worlds apart from my old home, but there’s a strange familiarity about this place… like it was just waiting for me to get back here… back home. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

My 22nd Birthday

A couple of weeks ago I turned twenty-two. I love swimming, and it has been so warm here we decided, hey, let's head to the lake! We talked to a few friends who had been previously, and after hearing it only took about an hour and a half by bus we thought, "Sounds like a great adventure. Let's do this!"

So we woke up bright and early on May 11th, and after riding a bus to the terminal, waited patiently for the free bus to downtown to show up (which comes every hour, on the HALF hour.). We weren't exactly sure what we were looking for, but right about the time 8:30 hit, we noticed a bit of a ruckus happening on the other side of the road... HUNDREDS of people appearing out of thin air running full speed for an unmarked bus that was in the midst of pulling up. I couldn't help but to burst out laughing, and then quickly realized, this was probably our bus! With that, Drew and I were off on a mad dash across the street,weaving in and out of cars, bushes, and other scramblers to the unmarked bus we were assuming was ours! We asked someone on the way into the bus if it was the right one, and she of course laughed and told us yes.

After an hour to the other side of town, we were at the long distance bus station. We soon realized that the picture of the bus our friends had given us was the picture for the SECOND long distance bus we needed to take, which led to an hour and a half long adventure trying to figure out which bus was the bus we were supposed to take! Eventually we found it and took it, hopped on the next bus, which promptly drove one stop, and let everyone off. By this point, what had originally supposed to have been an hour and a half journey, was nearing four and a half hours. We asked the driver, "Are you going to the beach?" "Yeah, of course!" So we waited... finally I said, "WHEN are you going to the beach?" "Oh, in about half an hour." She responded. So, we got off that bus, and decided to try out a covered three-wheeler. We were now in a pretty remote village. Fifteen minutes later, we were pointed to a long path that headed toward the water.

We walked down the path and were surrounded by a myriad others headed toward the beach. To our left and right was kiosk after kiosk selling everything from clothing, to dried fish, to nail clippers, to sheets and curtains, to fruit, to turtles! It was awesome! Along the journey we noticed camels and peacocks hanging out at the different booths. When we got to the beach, it was covered all the way to the shore with dancers, artists, game booths, and more camels and peacocks! The water was full of long canoes, boats that looked like they were built on stilts, and other unique looking water vehicles you could pay to try out. We decided that place was as good as any to eat our picnic lunch. Between mounds of garbage, we laid down our towels and ate our tuna sandwiches as the villagers gaped and snapped pictures of the funny white foreigners, trying to get a tan. Why would we ruin our perfectly white skin?

We ended up leaving that place shortly after and finding a beautiful remote beach with next to nobody at it, surrounded by picturesque mountains and a clear sky.

After this was dinner time. We found what I think was the only restaurant in the village and took a seat. The waiters and waitresses nervously argued amongst themselves over who would have to talk to the foreigners and take our orders. Finally after realizing that none of them were going to come over, Drew walked over and asked if we could take a look in the kitchen at what they served. After pointed to a few items, we waited for our meal to be served. Next to us was a giant enclosed area filled with water and fish, and next to that was a few baskets piled on top of each-other with live chickens. A couple minutes later, we watched as the cook came out, caught a fish that had to be at least a foot and a half long, dropped it on the ground and proceeded to beat it with a stick! Next to him was a guy sitting on a rock plucking the chicken we'd ordered for dinner. I don't know that I've ever eaten such a fresh meal!

We headed for the bus home after that and arrived to our destination about two hours later. I had a feeling that this was gonna be one of those birthdays that just sticks out to me as a memorable one. As we traveled through the mountains and I watched the sun set in the valley, turning the events of the day over in my mind, I smiled. As completely foreign to me as everything that happened that day was, I knew it was exactly where I wanted to be. This strange, unfamiliar place, this is home... and I love it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Every Day Life

The Jetson Mobile

Grocery Shopping

Shao Kao

Dancers at the Park

Feeding the hungry fish at the park

The dog we pass every afternoon on our way home from school