Backpacking Asia Vlog is Up!

Wow, it only took me a million years to get this uploaded, but it’s finally up!

Let’s flashback to that time when I did something I’d never do– backpacking alone. The memories……

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Siem Reap, Cambodia (PT III): Lesson #6- One smile can last a mile

Volunteering at Grace House Community Centre has been one special experience. I am not even being humble when I say that the children and the teachers taught me more than what I taught them. I don’t mean only in terms of the language (I can count to 39 now, thanks to my persistent students), but also in terms of life lessons and appreciation. Some may not have much, but they were all very, very generous in their kindness and smiles.

Teacher La (the local Cambodian I partnered with for a month) made a big effort to make me feel comfortable, and whenever we had time, he would tell me stories about his life and about Cambodia. I would not have had the same experience if everyone had not been so welcoming. I will miss the way the students would call me to get my attention– “Teacha! Teacha! TEACHA! CHA! CHA! CHA!”. And the giant grin I would get from a tiny boy (with adorable ears that stuck out) whenever he called me over pretending to be done his assignment. He would hold up his workbook only to show me an almost empty page, and then run off giggling, satisfied with his own mischief. The children became my daily rays of sunshine and looking back at my photos with them really pulls at my heartstrings.

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Walking along the backstreets of Grace House one day, I came across a place that made me stop and do a double-take. I was suddenly standing in the exact spot of one of the screenshots I had taken from Google streetview, a while before I started this trip. I was very taken aback, and dazed. The screenshot image had finally became my reality. Continue reading

Siem Reap, Cambodia (PT II): Lesson #5- Your potential friends live all around the world

After the hustle and bustle of Thailand, when I arrived in Siem Reap, I thought “I’m going to have so much free time to just chill and relax now! Sweet!”. How wrong was I.

In between teaching, lesson planning, hanging out with fellow travellers, pigging out, and heat exhaustion, I’ve had so little time to just sit down and write a blogpost on my tablet like this. I thought hot was hiking through the jungles in Chiang Mai in 39 degree weather. Wrongggg. You haven’t experienced hot until you join a P.E. class with the kids in the same heat with more humidity. When the munchkins look at me, they must see a human version of monkey bars because that’s what I become.

They're well-behaved now... but just you wait

They’re well-behaved now… but just you wait

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Siem Reap, Cambodia (PT I): Lesson #4- Life is given to us, so we must dedicate our lives to give to others

Here in Cambodia, it is not uncommon to see a family of 4 on a motorbike, or 5 adults crammed into the back of a sedan. You got 2 pigs and only a motorbike? No problem. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Here in Cambodia, when you wipe your lips on a tissue, it comes off red, not from lipstick, but from the red dirt road that gets kicked up into the air with every passing car.

Here in Cambodia, I pay $1 for my lunch and $0.75 for a beer.

Here in Cambodia, 80% of the people living in the village I volunteer at, don’t have enough to spend more than what I spend on lunch each day.

Here in Cambodia, my blessings in life became a source of inner guilt, whenever I saw the things or opportunities I had, that many people here do not.

Needless to say, I experienced culture shock for the very first time.

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