Saturday, June 26, 2010

Thailand trip catch-up!!

Alright, I have been a little behind because we have been a little crazy here! We got done with the service part of the trip and are now on a relaxing diverging part of it. Our service trip was in Phagna which is a little more north of where are now in Mai Khao beach.

Not going to lie...we are in a five star hotel for not a five star price and I am enjoying it a little too much! It is paradise and I am sure glad I am getting to relax before a mission, which I hear is everything but that.

The sexy six stayed behind and we are having the time of our lives! Here is a recap on what we have been doing clear back to our final day with Youthlinc:

1. Took an amazing boat tour/canoeing trip to these beautiful caves and scenery. I would try to write about how great it really was but there really aren't enough words to describe the beauty that took my breath away.

2. Got to our Mariott Vacation Club resort in Mai Khao where they had leis, juice, cold towels, and a bell boy waiting for us. We all freaked out when we realized we paid $140 flat for seven nights of that....our room has 2 bedrooms, a kitchen, and the best bed I have ever slept in. It was QUITE the change from our last hotel.

3. The next day after MUCH needed rest, we spent all day at the pool and beach too cherry red to describe. Starved ourselves with 10 baht raman packets because the bad news about staying in a 5 star resort is 5 star prices for food....

4. We were so excited when our Youthlinc driver Reed would be our driver for the day and our favorite superman tour guide Japan showed up to take us around for the day! This started the best day of our Vayla says.

5. Visited Chalong Temple that was beautiful and at the top it had a bone of Buddha...literally. This is a really big deal.

6. Next stop the BIG BIG Buddha on top of the hill. It was SO amazing! Pictures below of course.

7. Got to go to TESCO!!! Wahoo!! This is like a Walmart and we all went crazy here! There were so many things we were dying to food, and many other necessities. Best part: SOOO cheap. Also we got lunch for less than 2 dollars and it was a ton of food! Whew...I can't handle coming back to American prices.

8. Went back to Patong beach and enjoyed some bardering! I love getting good deals on awesome Thai treasures.

9. Went to the spa that was awesome with AWESOME prices. I got a one hour oil massage for 12 dollars. Best massage I ever had P.S....I think we may go back...facials for 6 bucks? Yes ma'am!

10. Drove back along the coast and enjoyed great scenery...minus car sickness.

11. Had a great night swim!! So beautiful.

12. Today we mostly hung out at the pool and the beach! Took beautiful pictures, watched a Thai sunset ceremony, went to dinner for dirt cheap, now enjoying a game of scum, and finally the US world cup game...I don't think life could get better!

I seriously am so grateful for such an awesome experience....I have never worked so hard and also played and relaxed so hard. Great combo!! More later, I will keep better caught up! Miss you all and wish you were here with me :)

Quality pictures of the day(s):

Canoeing with Youthlinc! So gorgeous.

Me with Josh in our awesome canoe!

Tricks off our boat! 

Me and Vay fell asleep on the front of the boat!
I have never ever been that burned...ever.

At our resort....AWESOME!

At the pub watching the Italy game! So fun. 
Tom showed us magic tricks.

Big Buddha!
So awesome.

Getting a fish pedicure!
Weirdest thing ever...I don't think i liked it too much. 
They eat your dead skin.

The Thai sunset ceremony!
SO amazing.

The sexy six at the beach at sunset.

Cute girls! 

Sunset! Gorgeous.

Yay for Thailand 2010!

My roomie :) Love you Vay.

More later!! Kahp-pun-kah! 
Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Thailand trip: Day 11, 12, and 13.

I am so sorry I am so behind on blogging, but these last few days have just  been a whirlwind! We finished up the service part of our trip and it nearly broke my heart in 10,000 pieces. I have always been pretty rough with goodbyes, but when you share the kind of love that we all shared with each other - and knowing it will be pretty unlikely we will ever see each other again - killed me.

I knew it was coming from day one, and I absolutely dreaded it. Since I have done these trips before, I know how hard it is...but it was still harder than I thought.

We cried hard....the kids included.

We have done a lot at that school:
1. Pathway made with cement mixed by hand.
2. Sewage and drain systems finished.
3. We put in a medical room filled with supplies.
4. Had a health fair where we taught hand washing, toothbrushing, first aid, and hygiene.
5. We had a fun fair filled with games and prizes for the kids.
6. Taught English every day.
7. Fixed up their bathrooms.
8. Put in a play ground.
9. Painted a mural.
10. Put fans in the school.

We have blisters, sore backs. and lots of long days to prove it! We worked hard, and we came here to help....but like always I feel I got back so much more than I gave...and well, that's the way service works!

These Thai people are so giving and so loving! I have felt so safe here and so taken care of in so many ways. They are so generous and I feel like they would have given me the only shirt they have straight of their back if I needed it. Everywhere we went we were greeted warmly and I feel so happy that I have met so many new faces that  will forever be engraved on my heart and in my mind. I know, because even 5 and 6 years after serving in Kenya and Guadalajara I think of those people everyday without fail and I know this will be no different.

I will post more on our adventures later with pictures! We just got to our next hotel and I am out of steam and sunburned worse than I ever have before. More later!


Ok, just one picture... my favorite that sums up exactly the love we shared:
Those are the girls I got closest with and cute Josh got this picture when I didn't know it.
Love it.
Love them.
Never want to leave! 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Thailand Trip: Day 9 and 10

Well, I am sitting here sick as ever unfortunately! It looks like I, and 3 others on the trip got either a really bad case of food poisoning, or they are leaning towards E-Coli. Next to Swine Flu I don't think I have ever been as sick as I am now. Last night I think I threw up between 20 and 25 times and was thinking, "why does my body hate me so much?!" It is one thing to be sick, but it is another knowing you are missing that time being with the kids! I hate that I can't be there...but I feel like tomorrow I may start feeling better...what a bummer!

Well, to recap yesterday before I got sick this is what we did:

1. Got to start doing medical assessments in our awesome new medical room! It was so awesome because now the kids know where to go when they are sick. When we were checking their reflexes it was so funny because they were laughing so hard! I don't think any of them have ever seen that. It was also great to see because these kids are pretty healthy, and that is what we like to see. We had a couple of things that the nurses were able to fix, like a dog bite, insect bites, and some gums that were killing a little girl. So great that we were able to help and it was probably one of the highlights of the trip.

2. Got to do some more arts and crafts with the kids.

3. Finished up the mural with our hand-prints on it.

4. Worked on finishing up their new bathrooms! They look so good.

5. Got some of the play ground equipment up.

6. Got to see their temple and also the monk over the school prayed for us. This does not happen very often and it was beautiful.

7. Had to say good-bye for the day and I got really emotional. I hate that we are winding down our time at the school and I just have so much love for those kids! I am getting teary right now. This experience is one like no other and I can't tell you the joy that comes from serving. When you are doing things for others is the time when my heart feels so full that I didn't know I had that much love in my heart. I am so happy here, and I just don't ever want to say goodbye.

Then I got sick....blerk. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to make it for the health fair! I will be devastated if I am not feeling better.

I also just wanted to say how AWESOME our team is. We have so many great people on this trip that I feel we have formed lifetime bonds. It is also going to be sad to have to say goodbye to them as well. We have such great team leaders and I have loved so much having Sarah and Matt over us! What great leaders and I have come to get to know them so well and I love them so much! Thanks everyone for being such a hardworking and loving group of individuals! Also thanks so much to the nurses for taking care of me....couldn't have made it without them. I love Youthlinc!

Pictures of the day:

The kids came to school in their scouting outfits and it was so darling!
I love this picture of Joshy with this little boy!

Me with Asia! 
She also looks so cute in her outfit.
I love her so much. 

Doing medical assessments.
I was listening to their heart and lungs!
I was happy to hear so many that were healthy,
because from other missions I have been on I haven't
seen them this healthy.
Especially in Kenya.

Me with the Monk!
I know it looks like we don't like each other, but they can't be very close to women.
And they DEFINITELY can't touch you.

I love this picture.
He loves to give kisses!
Love him.

More later!
Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thailand Trip: Day 8

Today was a great day...exhausting, but great day. I can't believe we have been here for a week! In some ways I feel like I have been here forever,  but in others, the time is passing too quickly.

Well, once again, short and sweet.

1. Got to sleep in til 7:00 this morning, but was still tired! We are all reaching the exhaustion point I think! We have worked so hard.

2. Played with the kids a lot and taught school mostly. I had a really rowdy class this morning and it is so hard to control them without speaking their language! We sang, danced, did math, English, and played random games.

3. Colored pictures for a card exchange with kids around the world! We are sending theirs to Ghana. We have a great lady on our team named Shawn, and her daughter started this great program where the kids draw pictures of the places they live and they do an exchange! I thought it was so cute. They are great artists here! They sent me with some and I was quite honored.

4. Came home and got a chance to take a short nap. I have never fallen asleep faster in my life! I don't even remember my head even touching the pillow. I was out after a long-awaited shower.

5. One of the guy's who set up the site here is a Rotarian named Stefan who is from Germany. He is HILARIOUS and looks like and acts like someone straight out of a movie. He owns a pub and pizza place in town, and man did we ever down the pizza! I was laughing so hard at how much so many are dying for some American food. I am WAY happy with the  food here, but I can see how it is getting old and sea food for people is just not cutting it. I on the other hand feels like I have eaten more carbs in every meal than I ever have. Wish I could avoid it, but I would starve like the other people here. Anyway, we had a blast! Complete with a dance party to boot. It was great to let loose after we have worked so hard.

Okay! More later. I'm tired. I will post pictures tomorrow!! Loves
Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Thailand Trip: Day 6 and 7


I didn't post yesterday on account of the internet was not working, so I apologize. I am going to do my best to catch up on what happened! There is always so much in one day that it is hard to remember 2!

Yesterday (Once again it is simplified, because now it is going on midnight, and also it takes forever to upload anything).

1. Worked on a ton of projects at the school: building our pathway, finishing up the sewage system, and teaching school.

2. Started working on our awesome mural! It is going to be so beautiful!

3. Went to the market for a little while and got some great cooking wear.

4. Played cards and tried to cool off.

Honestly....I can't remember much else!! Forgive me, but all I remember is vague....that feels so long ago and my mind is fuzzy this late!


1. Finished up the mural that is beyond gorgeous!

2. Mixed TONS (literally...or almost literally) of cement by hand to finish our pathway to the classrooms. This is a big deal because during monsoon season it is so wet and muddy. This will make SO much difference. We also got to put ours and the kids handprints in! It was so great.

3. Found out today that the playground where we put all of the gravel will soon have actual play-ground equipment in it! The best part: the kids have no idea it is coming! I can't wait to see their faces.

4. During the morning there was too many people helping with construction, so I took 30 kids in and taught school for 4 1/2 hours. It was awesome, tiring, and I about lost my voice yelling and singing things they can't understand! But we sure had fun. We did everything from math, to ring around the rosie, to hokey pokey, to down by the banks, to english lessons, to tag, to...everything! I was exhausted and that was almost more tiring than construction work! Loved every second of it.

5. Realized that we are only at the school til monday and had a little emotional moment. I don't know how I will ever leave these sweet faces. I will miss hearing, "Selsie, selsie!!" every two seconds, constant  hugs, and overly warm greetings. I just love them so much, it will be devastating to leave.

6. Went to the market! Our tour guide Japan, who is not from Japan took me back on his scooter! It was epic, and I am officially Thai, because that is all they ride! I have never seen so many. And boy did we get a million honks and waves! Look at the stupid American hahaha.

Now I am here ready to fall into bed because I am exhausted in so many great ways. I just can't tell you how wonderful it is here. I wish I could scoop every last one of everyone here to just feel the things I feel in my heart, see the things I am seeing, and experience the joy that comes from serving those around you. The good news: you can still do it at home!! Find a place to serve in your community and my wish will come true...almost. You just may not see all the things I am seeing :)

Pictures of the day (some, copyright our dear Shae on our trip! She takes the most BEAUTIFUL pictures.)

Possibly my favorite picture of all time.
Ming, one of my girls at the school grabbed my hand today.
Shae captured it in the best picture ever.

Our awesome finished pathway!
That's a lot of work right there. 

My scooter ride in Thailand!
I am way too legit. 

My English lesson!

Cuties at the school.

Our beautiful mural!

Alright I am falling asleep while these load.
More tomorrow!
Monday, June 14, 2010

Thailand Trip: Day 5

Once again, it is late and I am so tired! And we just had visitors in our room until late, so I am posting short and sweet about what we did today.

1. Woke up bright and early to get to the school at 7. Ate our quality breakfast full of rice, noodles, fried eggs, and seafood. Plenty of carbs to go around!

2. Had opening ceremonies with the kids and got to give them our gifts of a school bag and friendship bracelets. We also sang to them and it was darling (video posts when I get home. It is WAY too slow here).

3. Hot, humid, sweaty, exhausting work! It was so funny, most of the kids are in high school that are here and so a lot of them are getting a good dose of reality and hard work. As they are digging away, one says, "I wish my father could see me now! He doesn't even think I know how to wash a single dish!". I thought it was cute, and everyone is working so hard here and the school is looking AMAZING.

4. Worked on the first aid room we are putting in the school. It is going to be great! Soon it will be filled with supplies, they are plumbing in a sink, supplies, and a bed.

5. Went to visit a Thai hospital. After seeing a few third world hospitals, theirs was awesome. So hot though. We got into the E.R. and I thought to myself, "Wow, I would want them to let me die if I came in here in massive amounts of pain in this heat. I would also hate to be in this heat working on a patient all day. I would also like to die for that as well." Mainly what they need now in that hospital is a CT scanner and an MRI. Pictures to come later.

6. Sang and played with the kids after some of our group taught English lessons. These sweet little girls also presented me with a gift. I LOST it, bawlling like a little baby. They were so sweet and tender and I know how much of a sacrifice that was for them. It was one of my favorite little girls and she wrote in English, "love you". So sweet.

7. Went to an INSANE Buddhist temple. Let me just set this up for you: we get there and there is a long
dragon tunnel that you walk through. It is probably the length of 50 yards, maybe longer, that is  creepy! This takes you to a cave full of Buddhist statues and spirit houses for honoring their ancestors. After you come out of that, there is a garden with statues depicting Hell. The scariest, creepiest place I have ever been. I mean these statues are GRAPHIC. And well, I just hope I never end up there. Intestines being pulled out, a tree stabbing through a lady...I mean, gross stuff. After we get out, I walk into a garden to see a Monk, with a slingshot shooting at a monkey. Aren't the supposed to be peaceful? Anyway, these monkeys were climbing all over us, we were feeding them bananas. It was awesome! That then leads to the Monks inviting us to climb up 6 flights of the tallest stairs you have ever seen to this beautiful temple that overlooks everything. I am guessing that was Heaven, and I will keep aiming towards that. It was pretty cool that they invited us, apparently that doesn't happen very often.
8. Went to a Thai market. Not like one for touristy stuff, but like a legitimate market. Oh, and don't worry a guy pulled a gun on us. Good thing it was FAKE. I never ran so fast and have been that scared in my life. I was for sure he was going to open fire on us. Whew.
9. Had a FABULOUS dinner, and the much awaited shower. You can't  know how bad we sweat and are gross.

Ohhhh, more later. I love it here! It is going to kill me to leave.

Quality pictures of the day:

My girls with their brand new school bags!

The 'I Love You' sign I taught them. 

One of the holes.
That is HARD work.
And hard ground.
Pretty much you are also only using a hoe to dig.
Good work team.
(Notice the sweat)

The cute gift they gave me!
I sure love them.

I was trying to say good-bye in the picture.
It gets harder and harder every time we leave!

Feeding the monkey that FREAKED me out.
So funny, I love this picture.

On top of the Temple.
So amazing!

Us with the Monks!
Pretty awesome. 

Yep, I think I will call that a day!
More later.
Sunday, June 13, 2010

Thailand Trip: Day 4

Today has been great! I am exhausted however so this is kind of going to be a short post with just down to the nitty gritty of what we did:

1. Got up at 6 AM to get ready for construction day at the school.
2. Dug (and are still working on) 6 ft holes with tools that are really hard to work with and very old.
3. Sweated our brains out, to the point where I drank 5 bottles of water in 4 hours and never peed once.
4. Helped work on pathways, sewage systems, and a park for the kids.
5. The kids took me down to the Buddhist temple for today, I respected Buddah. Hmmmm...
6. Played with the kids and learned some Thai! It is so hard not being able to communicate.
7. Went to a monkey park! So funny, and crazy, and even a little scary at times.
8. Saw my first Monsoon rain! We all ran outside and played in it. It was pouring! Beautiful, and warm.
9. Had a beautiful sacrament meeting with some in our group.
10. Went through our hundreds of supplies that we brought! Awesome!
11. Got my first Thai massage. 2 hours=12 Dollars. It was, definitely different. They contort you, and get all those pressure points you're praying they won't get. Not the most relaxing, but I feel good now!

Because photos take so long to update here, I will just post as many as I can before this body withers away. Today was some hard-core manual labor. I have worked some hard days in my life, but between the heat, humidity, and difficulty of the tasks at hand, I am pretty pooped. In a great way....these people are SO incredibly appreciative of everything we are helping with and are some of the most giving I have ever seen. You just can't know how wonderful it is to be here and to love them on such a different level. Our hearts are so connected and I just love them so dearly.

More later!!

Photo choices of the day!

1. Awwww, we love each other!

2. Cutie! Love this picture times a million.
I taught her Shaka Brah! Hang loose :)
Wish you could hear her funny. 

3. Our Monsoon dive! Fun, fun. 

4. After a hard day's work on construction.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Thailand Trip: Day 1-4

Well, all I can say is this trip is turning out to be more than I ever could have expected! I am having THE time of my life and trying to soak it up as much as I can.

Today we went to the school we will be working in and met with the beautiful children we will be working with. So great! I was pretty emotional today, as I always am on these trips. It is such an opportunity to travel the world and to be able to help! I am lucky to be here and to witness the things that I am.

Well, just as a recap, here are a few pictures. The internet is extremely slow here and so I don't know if I will get to post as many as I thought, but here is one of us getting ready to fly out:

Here is us girls after we landed in Tai Pae. This is our tour guide "James Bond" who seriously was THE funniest man in the world! We love him so much and his talking on the microphone on our tour bus for 12 hours joke. He knows ALOT about Taiwan....too much.

This is what it looked like in Tai Pae! We were literally in a cloud, pouring rain. We were soaked!! And it felt good.

This was another part of the tour to the ocean! It was beautiful, 
and everyone wanted pictures with the  Americans...hahah.

This is after we landed in Phuket after 2 LONG days of travel.
Miracle number one: every single one of our bags made it.
Crazy I know...that never happens with that many people.

Today was our first day at the school, like I said. 
We enjoyed some entertainment from the kids below, 
and mostly just got to play and have a good time.
It is eight billion, thousand, million degrees hot with 100 percent humidity.
You can't even imagine the heat here.
You sweat more than I can explain!
In most of these pictures you can just see all the sweat and wetness.
Anyway, I ADORE these kids. 
I feel like our spirits must have known each other before this life.
I always feel like that when I get to serve these children,
you can't express how much love you feel for them.

Also, on every humanitarian trip I have ever been on, there is always one special
bestest friend that you always meet.
Asia (Az-ee-a) has to be her I think! I adore her.
You always find them right off the bat!

And here is our group at this beautiful school!

And 2 cute other little girls. 
See the sweat!? Bah, so hot.
But so great!

Alright, time for a nap!
I'm loving it! 
More later :)

Friday, June 11, 2010

We made it...kind of.

I am sitting here in the Tai Pae airport waiting to board our FINAL flight to Phuket Thailand after a ridiculously long day... actually days. After 2 flights, one which was a 14 hour pretty miserable and hysterical flight, we made it to our cute tour guide James (as he called himself, Bond). He took us on a TWELVE hour tour all around Taiwan. It was great, and I have not laughed as hard as we all did today in a very long time. We saw a lot of great things and met a lot of great people. Now, we are exhausted and have one more 4 and a half hour flight to our final destination. We trekked high and low for a Burger King here in the airport, but to no avail. We ate some crazy food today and all we wanted was something American, and succumbed to buying a ten dollar burger that tasted like meat loaf. 

Hahaha, how I love traveling more than anything. More later!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I will be on a flight here:

I am SOOOO excited. 
All of us on the team have worked SO hard to get us to this point.
The work is not over, but it is going to be great!

Too bad this is what I look like right now:

I am sicker than a dog.
26 hour flight is not going to be fun feeling like judd.

Keep checking back! 
I will be blogging about all of my crazy experiences there for the next month!
See ya later :)