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Monday, July 1, 2013

2 years later...I put together a map that shows as many of the locations that I could find/remember. I miss Thailand :(

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The End

 Well we are spending our last day in Bangkok before we fly home. Alisha was telling m this morning that this summer has been a much bigger adventure then she thought it would be. After spending the weekend in Cambodia having a tuk tuk guided tour of the Angkor area I am inclined to agree.

Our tiny airplane to Cambodia

Alisha and I at our hotel.

 Before I sum up the trip I think I should tell you about Cambodia. We  got on an airplane on Saturday morning at 6. We were at our hotel by tenish and we were in a tuk-tuk on the way to Angkor Wat by mid-afternoon. We had a gander, and I mean gander, at Angkor Wat (the largest religious building in the world which was first Hindu but is currently Bhuddist, or maybe tourist) before hiking a mountain to watch sunset from another ruin.

There were elephants and tourists on the mountain and we didn't actually get to see the sunset but it was still cool. This whole weekend we kind of felt like we were in the jungle book; thats what the area looked like, King Louis's abode. Anyway after sort of watching sunset we went back to the hotel and treked to the night market  where we were each supposed to buy one souvineer only. Just to say we had something from Cambodia. I think we all failed but I only bought two, that's close. We also got foot massages from Dr. Fish.

The next day we got up at the crack of nine had a nice breakfast and proceeded to visit every temple that pops up when you google image Angkor Wat. We were out most of the day and we saw some amazing places. We also ate some really delicious Cambodian food. Amoke is delicious. We saw Angkor Wat for real with a tour guide and everything. He was funny; told us about 400 year old palm trees and the history of the place and had us take awkward family photos on the lawn. We were also harassed by kids selling stuff everywhere we went. Fortunately our hotel had a rule that said don't give beggars money or they wont stay in school so we didn't. . .give them money.

Me in front of Angkor Wat

Alisha by a pretty cool tree.

Awkward family photo.

Tulio and Miguel (Tulio failed).

Arches and moss I think this was Angkor Thom.

The tree place, google it.

The children selling stuff relentlessly.

Every picture I was in was awkward this weekend.

Angkor Wat

On our last day we woke up at four in the morning so we could be to Angkor Wat by five in the morning. On the way down the path between the two parts of the temple (using Sarah's phone as a flashlight) a nice man name Jastin took us to the lake and offered us front row seats and cocoa for a dollar. We took the deal since we had an hour before the sun actually came up. It was gorgeous I don't  know what else to say about it. Not something to forget.

The rest of the day we went and saw more temples and had even better Cambodian food and our driver took us to the Pink Palace and a waterfall. The waterfall had a 1400 km hike involved and me and Alisha were both wearing flip flops, me cause I was getting blisters from my Chocos and Alisha cause they were the only shoes she packed. The way up was fine but it started raining jungle rain on the way down. This made the sand (yes it was jungle sand not dirt) very slippery the whole way down. Oh ps the waterfall was on ruins. So anyway Alisha fell on her butt and got all muddy and I didn't want to have the same problem so I took off my shoes and hiked down the jungle mountain barefoot. Felt like the beach. We also saw a spider as big as my hand. In other news we planked all over those ruins so take that Ben or I guess maybe it will help the planking prestige of the group. I don't really know. Also, by this time we had lost it so the pictures got progressively more ridiculous throughout the day. Also we tried to match and would've if Alisha had remembered. Pretty sure everyone stared at us all day, as usual.

The waterfall.

Angkor Wat at Sunrise.

Waterfall again.

Tuk Tuk matchers.

Alisha doing...something.

I heart water buffalo.

The gnome on our sheets.

After touring all day we went to the airport and flew home. Got home at about ten thirty. We leave in about 7 hours and will be home very soon. Sorry I didn't spell/grammar check this. I need to go to bed so forgive the errors. Especially you Alisha (you can fix it if they bug you that much). I guess this is goodbye Thailand.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The beginning of the goodbyes

Today we said goodbye to our branch in Phitoanaluk. It was hard saying goodbye to people you know you probably wont ever see again. But don't worry to much because we are all friends on facebook now. I kind of felt like church was for us on Sunday. We bore our testimonies while Elder Iverson translated. We also sang a musical number. Then when church was over we passed out cookies and cards that we had made. Then..yes there is more...we took pictures. I doubt I will ever feel that much like a celebrity again. There were at least 5 cameras on us consistently for about ten minutes. People from the branch took turns being in pictures until the groups were just huge. Check out facebook if you wanna see the bazillions of pictures. Elder Iverson was pretty disgusted with the whole thing which made it even funnier.
This week we are just saying goodbye to people and things and activities. I'm going to miss bike riding with Laura and I'm going to miss Tesco and all of the people that recognize us as we go through town. I'm going to miss the simplicity of life and the fulfillment it brings but I think that I have learned a lot. I realize now how privileged I am to be an American and to have the gospel and to have a stable family. I have realized that service is a daily thing and doesn't require something as dramatic as moving to Thailand for the summer to teach. I thought I was doing a favor to mankind by coming here but since being here the people who get served the most are not the kids but us. Everyone goes out of their way to serve and take care of us. I almost feel that I understand how to serve better now. Believe me we are not a convenient group of girls to have around but no one ever makes us feel that way. I have grown to love this place and the people in it and I will be sad to say goodbye.
We have three days left in Phichit, three days in Cambodia, one day in Bangkok, then back to real life. Don't get me wrong I'm excited to move on but this adventure will be a difficult page to turn.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I'm Pretty Sure Fei-Fei Lives in a Pool Hall

Time is running out! This summer has flown by so quickly, I can hardly believe that we have less then two weeks left with the kids. The past couple of weeks Laura and I have taken up bikeriding. It's amazing, we can pick any direction and within ten or fifteen minutes of riding we're out of the city. We have ridden through so many different landscapes that are all beautiful in their own way. My favorite ones though, are the ones that feel like a jungle. Sometimes we will be on a little road completely surrounded and covered with huge trees and/or grasses and feel like a tiger could jump out at us. Alas, no more tigers. We do however see lizards and snakes. We also saw a komodo dragon once, it was the size of a crocodile, freaked us out a little bit just hanging out on the lawn of some gated place we decided to bike into. I thought we might be on a wildlife preserve after that. Oh, and one time we were biking through these trees on some rural road out in the country and I told Laura that I hadn't seen any reptiles that day. She looked at me and told me there was a giant spider on my boob and there was. I screamed and hit it off and almost fell off my bike. Very exciting.

Me by the Garden Home

Me by a giant gold Buddhist head

Same place with the Buddhist head, found this temple on our bikes.

Ancient Phichit Ruins

Phichit Crocodile, they have meetings in there.

Alisha by a River (in case you couldn't tell)

Last week we started going to the kids houses to do parent teacher conferences. We each were supposed to go "conference" with three kids + families but it hasn't exactly worked out that way. On Monday I went to Name's house with Sarah and Tang and we had a really yummy dinner while Tange talked to her parents in Thai and she hid in another room. Alisha was supposed to visit Nest and Fei-Fei on Thursday and Friday but both families wanted all of the teachers to go so I went to those too. Nest lives in a house that is in the middle of a whole bunch of rice paddies very far away. His family was very nice and made us lots of good food and I just kept eating it. Apparently I really like flowers. When we went to see Fei-Fei we were led into a pool hall. That is where we ate dinner. For all I know he lives in that pool hall. From what Tang has told us he comes from a very powerful family that is one of the oldest in Phichit. They fed us shark fin soup and many other delicious treats. I think I might miss having Thai food every day; I really like rice now.

Ink and Mew being Pirates!

Nam-Nan Counting Tokens

Mew :)

Name Singing Little Green Frog

Phuvit being the wolf pretending to be the grandma in Little Red Riding Hood

Pordee being the woodcutter

Alisha and Prea


Saturday we went to Burma with Tarn and Jeab, which is actually no longer Burma but Myanmar. We had to go because or visas were going to expire today (small oversight) so if we hadn't left the country and got an extra 15 days we would have had to pay 500 baht for every day that we stayed over our original 90. Luckily we didn't have to pay for the trip since it was not our fault. We left the house at eleven on Friday night drove eight hours and got to the gates at six in the morning. We crossed over, they thought I was Laura and had to whiteout my temporary visa and write in my actual name. We spent the morning shopping. Everything there was brand name (I dunno if it was real or not) and very cheap. We, unfortunately were sick of shopping and didn't get that much. Alisha did, however, buy a bright purple ukulele and I bought a whole bunch of blue bracelets and a souvenir for my daddy.
We then drove home from about two to ten stopping to see a shiny white palace/temple thing that had hell at the bottom and heaven at the top. Inside was a mural of hell (at the entrance) and all the people going to heaven on dragon leaves. Hell was graced by the likes of Spiderman, Captain Jack Sparrow, Ben Ten, Avatars, Darth Vader, a Transformer, Superman, Batman, some Hard Core Lovers, and of course Michael Jackson. It was kind of a weird temple. It was gorgeous till you got close enough to see what exactly was going on. We also stopped at a lake. It was gorgeous but we have no idea where it was or what it was called.

Alisha slept on the floor of the van all the way to Burma

In between Burma and Thailand which is actually called Myanmar.

Hell outside of the temple

On the way up to Heaven

Alisha just got out of Hell. I'm on my way to Heaven.

The Lake of Shining Waters

Today we went to church bright and early. I am going to miss our ward a lot. They take such good care of us. I got several hugs today from people just saying hi and from people we had to say goodbye too. Next week will be really difficult cause it will be our last Sunday in Thailand. The one after that will be spent in Cambodia. I'm almost homesick for here already.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Harry Freakin Potter

So I have a confession. I am now as reluctant to blog as Alisha is. I'm sorry I don't know how it happened but it did. So I will try and catch you up quickly because I imagine no one cares what we are doing more then we do and if I get bored typing this then the reader will probably get bored reading it. Stands to reason anyway.
So last weekend we went to Bangkok primarily to see Harry Potter in English, and let me tell you it was so worth it. We dressed up and everyone laughed at us and we cried through the movie. Well I cried, Alisha sort of frowned maybe...I dunno. Anyway it was amazing so we saw it again in Thai when we got home. But that is getting a little bit ahead of the story. After our long train ride, which was actually just my long train ride because Alisha went 12 hours before in the middle of the day in a car and got pizza hut for dinner. I had dry chicken... I'm sorry this isn't coherent but the fact of the matter is that we were separated for over 24 hours in which I taught, ate nasty chicken, and rode a train all night. Alisha drove in a car and went shopping and had American Food and went to bed before two. Not that I am complaining I had fun I'm just stating the differences. Anywho, we saw Harry Potter at the mall the day I got there, cried, then went shopping. Shopping was interesting because it was all outdoors and we were lost in the pet section for a long time. But I did find some ties and some elephants...but there are elephants everywhere so that wasn't as thrilling as it once was. Oh but PS we went to like 5 malls that day and by the time we made it back to the house we were exhausted. Also Tang let us stay at her house so we didn't have to pay for a hotel.
Next day..Phew..we went to Pattaya which was a dirty tourist beach in more ways then one. Alisha, Sarah, and I sat in a Starbucks eating chocolate pastries and counted old white men who were with beautiful, young, Thai girls. Jenna and Laura laid out on the trash covered beach. It was just a day trip and nothing terribly exciting happened. We decided though that it is a place for stupid tourists because everything is way overpriced. Wouldn't have known that three months ago....
Sunday we went to the only English speaking branch in Thailand and understood church. Giant blessing. I am never going to under-appreciate church again. Then we went home. On a train. And ate good Thai food. Yum.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Go Bananas!

Today Whitney and I went to the park to exercise. I am sore, so I only walked a few laps, while Whitney ran several. Because I only planned to walk, I was wearing a nice shirt and my khaki capris. After we finished, we casually strolled on back to the house. Like usual, I was purposefully oblivious to my surroundings (I don't like to notice when people are staring at me. It makes me feel super awkward). We then come to a man who had just crossed the street and was getting into his car. We both were enraptured with our conversation and meant to just keep walking past, until the man stood in our path and held out a bunch of bananas (16 of them to be precise). We sort of just stared at him, but he very insistently handed the bananas to me. I just looked at them and then at him, and then he got into his car to drive away. We then proceeded home, me now carrying lots of bananas. I counted three different groups of people (mostly guys) that said "hello" to us and waved. We got home and walked into the doctor's clinic. I'm sure we confused the lot of them, because here I was wearing normal clothes and carrying lots of bananas, while Whit was drenched in sweat wearing her stained baggy shirt. They probably thought: well, at least Whitney is healthy. What's wrong with Alisha that she has to go out and buy herself 16 bananas? Once explained, our Thai family thought that the story was hilarious.

Man, what's it going to be like to go home and not be such a celebrity anymore? We get people staring at us, waving at us, vainly trying to speak with us in Thai, smiling at us, AND our very presence inspires the giving of a delicious fruit. How could it get any better than that?

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Fourth of July is just the fourth of July in Thailand

I bet you think it's funny that most of our posts are either about vacations or Holidays, I do. the reason for this is that the rest of our time here is pretty laid back and I never finish any of the hum-drum posts I start. I may get back to them. One is about teaching the kids drama and another is about how Thai people sctter when you pull out a phone in a lightening storm. I would think it is just as dangerous in my pocket as it is in my hand but maybe I'm missing something. Anyway this post is about the July 4th.
There were no fireworks (except the ones we watched on youtube), no picnic blankets, and no fear that a teenage boy was going to hit someones car with a bottle rocket but we had a barbeque. This was fantastic on account of I have grown rather attached to meat that isn't boiled or fried. George, the gardner, pulled this never used grill out of the Garden House shed and Jenna cooked us chicken, not quite a cheeseburger but still very good. We also had pork and fish (grilled). The rest of the meal consisted of bagels, cream cheese, homemade chocolate chip cookies, sticky rice, coconut cake, coke, steamed carrots, and hashbrowns. I just want you to picture the randomness of this meal. But it was so delicious. Food is kind of a novelty here especially American food thts why we need to talk about it so much.
(Our normal everyday food consists of rice, bamboo, thai omletts, veg (veg is any vegetable chopped up and fried with meat), chinese sausage, and soup. )
Oh and speaking of novelties the other day we were having our awesome weekend night eating soft serve ice cream at KFC and three white guys walked in. It was so awkward the 8 of us just stared at each other. I'm basically a local because I now stare at white people too.
If I'm truley honest on this blog we have been mostly lame for the last two/three weeks. We ride bikes (if the tires work), we have nice long naps, we go running if it isn't to hot, we hang out at Tesco on weekends, we have dance parties on the roof, we do Thai areobics, eat soft serve ice cream, shop for hammocks, and we watch movies. Luckily this weekend we have a little action planned because we are going to Bangkok so that we can see Harry Potter in English. We are also going to a beach and some famous market. So eventually there will be an exciting post up yay!