Our time in Chiang Mai came to an end as we boarded our flight to KL on Monday morning. This city made a real impact on us all, we were all sad to leave. Pepper and Woody are going to miss their very special friend Ning who played with them every morning while we ate breakfast. I would often find Pep sitting at the tour desk chatting away and drawing and uploading pics to FB and having real girly time! Thankyou Ning for making our mornings very special and being my daughters best 28 year old friend! We wish you every happiness xx
Cooper still wants to move to Asia. Pepper misses her Nanny and Poppy. Woody adores the warm weather and water.
We loved just walking around and exploring the streets, finding new street stalls or places to eat that seemed undiscovered by tourists.
We had three weeks of not one single person asking why Cooper used a wheelchair whereas we get it most days in Melbourne if we head out somewhere new. Everyone assumed Cooper understood and he was greeted as an individual and not ignored or asked questions through me. I know people wanted to know why he was in his chair but perhaps they thought it was rude to invade and ask? And perhaps it is what it is so why does the origin matter?
As much as I miss the supports at home for Coopers independence like his powerchair, toilet rails, walker etc I do not miss having to explain that we need things to be different or accessible. In Chiang Mai there is limited access but that also makes for not having to explain yourself or pre organise everything. You just turn up as yourselves ( one of which happens to use a wheelchair) and do what you want to do with people there to help. We did not need to ask for a ramp onto an elephant, we just turned up, people came forth and we got onto the elephant and off we went. We did not have to go through all the OHS crap that Western society enforces, we were responsible for our own and our childrens actions. You might think a wheelchair loaded onto a tuk tuk is not safe in Western safety standards, but it was fun, easy, and people were always willing to help load Cooper up.
On more than a few occasions people would say how they admired that we traveled with the three children especially having one child with the extra needs that Cooper has. They said in Thailand people may tend to focus on their abled bodied kids and not give their children the same opportunities. They would comment on how Cooper was just part of the family, that he did not see himself as different, that he was getting to do everthing his brother and sister were doing. We just do this naturally as parents and we see Cooper reap the rewards as he gains so much insight and pleasure into learning about the world around him.
Thankyou Chiang Mai.