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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.