The phrase "life is what happens while you're making other plans" has rung a bit true for me lately.

I apologize to any of my readers (assuming I have any) for the long delay in posting.

Things have been very busy with making the final plans for my mother's visit and then her arriving. At the same time, I was also trying to find out what the status was with my CUSO contract and if I would be able to extend it. On top of everything else, a week before my mother came I met a really nice Lao girl and have started dating her.

The plans for my mother's visit weren't too bad. Mostly just going back and forth via email on how she'd get up to Vientiane and which day. In the end, we opted for her to fly directly to Vientiane since that was the easiest option. She had a really good trip and is on her way home now (left here yesterday, should be flying to LA by now today).

We had a really good trip to Luang Prebang for 4 days and I really enjoyed getting a chance to see some other parts of Lao. I bought a few things but didn't go too crazy with the shopping.

As for the CUSO contract, after a lot of phone calls and emails I have finally found out definitively that I cannot extend my contract and will not be able to get another short-term contract. It essentially came down to funding and the way CUSO receives its funds for Lao, my placement doesn't fit into the category that they receive funding for. I was really disappointed about this. Plus, Hamid reminded me that we really don't have much time left. I now have only 2 weeks left on my contract and all next week I'm out of town at a CUSO meeting. I'm looking for other jobs here and I'm also having to start facing the reality that I might be back in Canada soon and what that might mean.

Now finally, the part that I'm sure everyone has been waiting to hear about. Yes, Andrew finally has a girlfriend! She's the same age as I am and we get along really well. Given the legalities around dating Lao nationals, I'm not going to post more details. Technically, the law says "sexual relationships" between foreigners and Lao nationals are illegal unless they are married. In reality, that means that if people in your village disapprove and want to cause trouble they can. We've been reasonably discrete and she's never been in my house so there hasn't been any trouble. Things have been going really good with her but she's a little upset about me going away next week since I just got back from Luang Prebang and might be leaving for good in the near future. I had been thinking about staying before I met her but now this is definitely one more reason to want to stay.

I'm starting to miss some parts of my life that I had in Canada (mainly friends and family but also some things I could do there) but the thought of going back to the same job market I was in before and also leaving my girlfriend behind isn't good either. I'm really starting to realise that either way there's no perfect solution. I'm looking for work here and am putting out some feelers back home and will see what happens, that's really all I can do.