Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Elephants Rule!

Not falling off was quite the challenge.

Flight of the Gibbon

Getting all geared up! I felt just a tad bit violated by this guy.

Christmas Day 2008

We spent Christmas day this year in an orphanage in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Earlier that day we went to the local market and bought some toys and candy to give to the kids. Our guesthouse had a guitar that they let us borrow and Travis learned some Christmas songs so we could sing with the kids. When we got there the minute we stepped out of the car we were swarmed with kids holding our hands and wanting to play with us. We spent the day playing games, singing songs and learning about their lives. The children there range in ages from ten months to fifteen years. They all sleep and eat in a tiny little room in the back and this shack you see here is where they play and have school. The poverty in Cambodia is heartbreaking and I wish I could do more to help these children who have next to nothing. But the one day we spent here was so eye-opening and rewarding and each child was so unique and special. It will be a Christmas I will remember for the rest of my life.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Well, we made it to Cambodia. We have spent the last three days on airplanes and buses and we finally arrived in Phnom Penh this afternoon. It has been a long three days, but I have loved every minute of it. Cambodia is absolutely incredible! We were able to see a lot of the countryside on our long bus rides and it is so beautiful.
On our way down here to Phnom Penh we stopped at a rest stop and there were people selling fruit and meat and things to eat...among those things were fried grasshoppers, crickets and turantulas. They had tons of live turantulas crawling around in a huge wicker basket and they just fry them up and eat them. Competely disgusting. But we figured hey, it's not too often you're in a place that eats things like this so why not eat monsterous spiders while we have the chance? So we did...we ate one. It actually didn't taste too bad, but the thought that I had spider legs in my mouth was a little much for me to handle.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Zai Jian Zhongguo :(

Holy moly, it's my last day in China!  It's the weirdest feeling.  This morning we got up and cleaned and packed up the rest of our stuff then went into town to get our favorite noodles one last time.  It was so weird walking down the street and riding the bus and going to the bakery just thinking that it would be my last time doing all these things that I have been doing every day for the past five months of my life (or every other day in the bakery's case - this has been quite detrimental to my weight loss plan).  It's kind of a surreal feeling knowing that I will be getting on a bus tomorrow morning and probably never see this place again.  I have so many mixed feelings about it because I have grown to love this place so much, but nothing will ever feel quite like home no matter how much I love it.  This has been an amazing experience and I'm grateful for all the things I have done and learned here.  
Now on to my next adventures!  We leave bright and early tomorrow morning for the Hong Kong airport...where Meighan and I will be the ENTIRE day before we fly to Bangkok.  But such is the life of a backpacker (yes, I am officially donning this title as of tomorrow morning).  Bring on the dirty clothes and twenty hour bus rides I say!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Well my time here in China is winding down fast.  I never thought I'd say this, but I think I'm ready to move on to bigger and better things.  What on earth could be bigger and better than China?! you might ask... why Thailand and Cambodia of course!  Meighan and I bought our tickets to Bangkok today.  While we are enjoying the short time we have left here in China, we can't help but look forward to and day dream about the awesome things we will get to do on our next travel adventures.  
Teaching has become such a joy for me and I have really grown to love the kids.  Having such few students enrolled in our school has turned out to be a great advantage for us.  I have been able to get to know each child individually and they are all so different, but so adorable.  It is definitely going to be tough to leave them.
Our next couple weeks here are going to be dotted with sporadic Christmas celebrations and going away parties, but for the most part we are going to be doing what we regularly do - just hanging out and having fun together.  I miss everyone back home and hope you are all having a fantastic Christmas season!