(I)’d (N)ever (D)o (I)t (A)gain (jk…..maybe….)

Why hello there, here I am, still alive and quite shockingly I might add. I don’t even know where to start this thing because this country has done a number on me. The last 7 weeks have been a whirlwhind of emotions, children, naan, and many other things.  It has been a doozy of a country, SO ENJOY (because I did not quite enjoy everything that happened on this list)

Here are the “highlights”

  1. Arrived in Delhi after like 17 flights.
  2. Was taking a poop with the door wide open when a very startled Indian woman and I made eye contact, she then proceeded to squeal and run away.
  3. Startled Indian woman then apologized to me at dinner in front of everyone for seeing me poop.
  4. Left Delhi and went to Jaipur.
  5. Learned Hindi from Indian John Stamos, not kidding the resemblance was uncanny. Also our translator was Indian Buster Bluthe from Arrested Development.
  6. Visited a fort on Christmas Eve and got an insane number of selfies taken of us without any of our consent. I honestly don’t know the exact number of Indian’s cellphones that my picture is currently on but it is somewhere in the hundreds.

  7. Christmas Eve festivities also included an alarming amount of snuggling and watching Christmas movies and then going to a midnight mass which ended up being all in Hindi. Also everyone in the church went to the front to take selfies with the priest mid sermon and took selfies with us of course. 

  8. Christmas morning we woke up, gathered in a room and gave each other presents for Secret Santa. Since the only thing I requested from my secret santa was “candy and toys, toys, toys” it was only reasonable that I got a LEGO set, Play Doh, and a huge plastic gummy bear filled with immense amounts of gummy bears. As my secret santa said she felt like she was shopping for an 8 year old boy. Needless to say my Christmas was awesome. So overall, first Christmas away from home was sad but also a lot of fun.

  9. Moved in with our host families the day after Christmas. Turns out instead of living with just 1 other person I would be living with 3 as both of our host families lived together (this would later be discovered as a lie as our host mom worked the system so that she could get more money lol)
  10. Host sisters, Kathy and Aditi, spoke amazing English and were extremely polite and gave us little snacks.
  11. Extremely polite host sisters then told us that our “host brothers” were extremely shy and that they would like us better if we gave them chocolate.
  12. Proceeded to give the boys my Christmas chocolate in a desperate attempt to make them not look like they wanted to crap their pants when they saw us.
  13. After eating the chocolate the boys still looked terribly alarmed and did not speak to us.
  14. They then asked us if we were good drawers to which I replied modestly that I was an ok drawer assuming that we would be doing some fun nonchalant coloring together.
  15. Ended up doing our 7 year old “host brother’s” entire Phases of the Moon project. While slaving over the project our host brother would be carried in by the host sisters and asked if he approved of our work every few minutes.
  16. Had first day of school during which we thought we would just be  observing but instead we ended up teaching. 

  17. Quickly discovered that Kate and I are not at all qualified to teach English.
  18. Also quickly discovered that our teacher was 21 years old and was also very much not qualified to teach English. One day when Kate and I didn’t want to teach anymore we asked our teacher Shiv Paul if he would like to teach, he then proceeded to write the exact lesson we had taught yesterday(that he had taken notes on) and proclaim that this was how he taught! So that’s basically how teaching went for us.
  19. Also on the first day of work we were sitting outside during the lunch break when a bunch of curious kids began to approach us and stare at us. Unsure of what to do I decided to rawr at them. This then provoked a shrieking noise from all the kids and before I knew it basically all of the school was coming to play the “white people are scary” game
  20. I then stupidly added tickling to the mix and this was my biggest mistake bc after a while of me tickling them the kids realized that they could tickle me back and I ended up with bruises and scratches all over my body. Not kidding I was bleeding out of about 6 separate spots on my body.
  21. Also on a side note, some kid pulled my friend Mareen’s nose piercing out of her nose during school one day.
  22. Then came the rats, oh the rats, oh the rats. This was probably the most harrowing experience I had in all of this country and will require more than a few bullet points to explain.
  23. As we all slept snug in our bed together dreaming sweet dreams of beef, my roommate Maddie awoke in the middle of the night to a strange sound. As the sound continued to be made from somewhere in the room Maddie decided to look around and made eye contact with a creature sitting directly above my innocent head. Maddie then realized that she was staring face to face with a rat and proceeded to sit in the fetal position and not sleep for the rest of the night as she watched the rat crawl all over the bed and my body.
  24. Meanwhile sleeping me woke up multiple times in the night thinking that a bug was on my face but OH NO it was just a rat tail swinging above my head and occasionally hitting me in the face.
  25. Woke up in the morning to a blood shot Maddie her voice shaking explaining that a rat had crawled over my entire body the night before and even worse it has crawled over BLANKIE.
  26. Unsure of what the polite way to handle the situation was, we decided that we would just not sleep for the next 7 weeks.
  27. The next day after we had come home from work, I sat relaxing and doing a puzzle (puzzle to be mentioned later on in this post) in the living room with our host family when my roommate Rachel started calmly yelling from the room. I asked Rachel what was going on to which she replied “I caught the rat” in the most chillingly calm voice I have ever heard. Thinking I had heard her wrong I asked again and she repeated again, too calmly, that she had caught the rat. I ran into the room to find Rachel who had just tried to shut our window holding the window shut with the silhouette of an extremely large and struggling rat in the window (see fb for the proof this was NO mouse I assure you).
  28. Rachel, had caught the rat unknowingly when she shut our window and found it harder than usual to shut only to realize that there was a rat trapped between the screen and the window.
  29. We then decided that now would be an excellent time to tell our host family about the rat situation.
  30. They then went into rat termination mode and shut the door to our room so that we couldn’t see what was going on. We ran up to the balcony to watch what was happening and I watched as they opened the window trying to have the rat drop into a trashcan below and instead of doing this the rat jumped (I sometimes exaggerate but I will not do that here) out of the window and began to scurry all over our beds. I then watched them chase it around the room. I saw it jump directly from the floor to our bed in one jump which means that it had most definitely done that for the 5 nights we had been sleeping blissfully in our bed before the rat discovery.
  31. They miraculously caught the rat and asked us if we had a torch. Assuming they meant flashlight we handed them a flashlight to which they replied that no they meant the fire kind of torch. They then took the rat outside and we never learned what became of it.
  32. Continuing on from the rats because it was oh so traumatizing.
  33. Our host sister Kathy had never stayed up for New Year’s before and was super excited to stay up for the first year in her life. She made us play games outside late into the night and then when we got tired around 11 we retired to our room.
  34. Kathy came into our room and asked us what really happens at 12 midnight to which we explained that nothing happens really you just kinda say woo happy new year and go to bed.
  35. We were then sitting and talking when all of a sudden Kate and Maddie stopped responding to me and started shaking and shrieking. I thought it was something I had said but then I realized where there eyes were looking, at the large vent that goes into our room.
  36. They started muttering rat rat rat while trembling and then explained in panicked tones that a rat had come out of the vent and sat on the ledge and stared at us and then scurried back inside. I didn’t believe them until 12 minutes later when another little friend stuck his nasty little nose out and tried to crawl out through the side of the vent.
  37. Our host sister heard us squealing and came in and asked what was wrong. We explained the development in our situation to which she replied with an all too happy smile, “The rats just want to wish you a happy new year!” to which we told her that she just wasn’t funny in the driest tone possible.
  38. The rest of the family woke up at 12 to say happy new year. Kathy then told them that the rats were trying to spend new years with us! They told us that they would handle it in the morning and decided that the rats were coming down the wire that runs from the vent to the ground like a freaking fire man coming down his fire pole.
  39. The next day they put up a plastic tarp over the vent which semi solved the rat problem, however, we could sometimes hear and frequently see the rats fling their nasty little bodies up against the plastic in attempts to break out.
  40. Celebrated 100 days of being on this trip/not killing each other by coming up with more than 200 memories
  41. Saw Teen Wolf for the first time, it is more absurd than you could ever believe and I am now embarrassingly hooked.
  42. Read some dope books, Modern Romance by Aziz Anzari (10/10 but will make you extremely stressed out about finding “the one”), and opposite end of the spectrum There Are No Children Here (also 10/10).
  43. Took a Bollywood dance class, an Indian cooking class, a sari workshop, and a henna workshop during which I hennaed Kinchy Baby onto the palm of my hand lol.

  44. Went to a Bollywood movie called Airlift, basically Indian version of Argo except for the fact that there were 169,980 more people who escaped from Kuwait.

  45. Saw another Bollywood movie on the plane which was the most complicated rom com in the world narrated by the family’s dog. V good would recommend to a friend.

  46. Did the world’s most heinous puzzle. It was wooden and the pieces were not your typical puzzle piece shape but instead cut out into absurd shapes.  Think our host sisters worked on this puzzle 24/7 because they were on school vacation and we would leave them in the morning doing the puzzle and come back 9 hours later to them still doing the puzzle. We could constantly hear Aditi muttering “oh my god, oh my god, oh my god” cursing the puzzle and us.
  47. Saw forts, on forts, on forts, and palaces, on palaces, on palaces

  48. Discovered the game of Risk which I am so glad I just discovered in adulthood bc IT SUCKS! Contrary to popular belief there is no strategy to this game and all you do is roll dice and get unreasonably and unbelievably pissed at all involved to the point where your roomies and you don’t talk for a day.

  49. Discovered that I am not a sleep walker or a sleep talker but a sleep armpit tickler, as my roommate Maddie woke up to me tickling her armpit one night.

  50. Watched hella movies including: Zack and Miri Make a Porno, John Tucker Must Die, 10 Things I Hate About You, (these movies are my favs), The Terminal, Tucker and Dale vs Evil, Django Unchained, Inglorious Basterds, (Quintin Terentino is v gory not sure how I feel about his movies), Wolf of Wall Street, Boogie Nights (way too strange do not recommend or I do recommend bc it is so strange) and I for the first time watched the Star Wars movies (Episode 2 is officially my fav bc Anniken is the creepiest mofo ever), oh and also Captain America Winter Soldier.

  51. During Captain America Winter Soldier my roommates convinced me I was a full blown racist bc when Samuel Jackson died in Captain America Winter Soldier I was beyond convinced that he couldn’t have died bc he was in Avengers 2, to which they told me that I was racist bc that was another black man. We had Avengers 2 on the computer and to prove them wrong I scrolled through the entire movie and saw everyone and everything but a living Samuel Jackson. This then confirmed to me my racist status. HOWEVER, at the end of Captain America Samuel Jackson freaking comes back to life and is in fact in Avengers 2 (to this day I still don’t know how I scrolled through the entire movie and didn’t see him) which my roommates knew the entire time they just wanted to give me an existential crisis about it.

  52. Attended a 3 hour dance recital feat our kids in our class, one boy in my class, Vishal, did a Justin Bieber esque dance complete with pointing to the crowd and making hearts with his hands. The kids would also wave at us in the middle of their dance and get super excited that we were there it was extremely cute.

  53. Rewatched part of Game of Thrones for the umpteenth time.

  54. Learned why teachers love giving tests so damn much, its bc test days are the best days. Teachers literally get to sit there and do absolutely nothing. It’s awesome.

  55. Graded our test and felt the depression that comes when your kids don’t do well, kinda believe now that teachers don’t actually want their students to fail bc it feels v not good.

  56. Had a driver who drove us to work one day who honked 68 times in 12 minutes. I counted each individual honk and may have even missed a few.
  57. Heard the phrase”cheating ma’am cheating” more than 100 times even when kids literally COULD NOT cheat. Snitches get stitches kids.
  58. Brought a huge beach ball to school one day and threw it into the yard as a way to occupy them during recess time with something other than the “white people are scary” game. This turned the schoolyard into a scene straight from World War Z, kids were crawling over each other and on top of each other all trying to grab the beach ball. It ended with about 15 kids crying and every kid covered in dust from being trampled.

  59. Made a hand block printed scarf, the most stressful arts and crafts ever.
  60. Saw the Taj Mahal.
  61. Licked the Taj Mahal.
  62. Discovered the ungodliness that is a warm pizza hut cookie with ice cream.
  63. Got a flat tire on our way back from Agra.

  64. Sat on the side of an Indian highway for 3 hours and got served freshly plucked radishes from random Indian men (dw Mom I did not eat these)

  65. Watched people fly thousands upon thousands of kites to the tune of Justin Bieber’s Sorry mixed in with Bollywood music.
  66. Attempted to fly an Indian kite. This is no normal US kite let me tell you. The wind just doesn’t do the work for you.
  67. Got hit in the face too many times to count by my kite. Zuzu got a black eye from her kite lol.
  68. Was and still am unsuccessful at flying an Indian kite (can you tell I’m bitter)
  69. Watched thousands upon thousands of lanterns pop up all over the city with fireworks going off in every direction. It was one of the most incredible site I have ever seen.
  70. Surprised Maddie for her bday by having dinner at a rooftop restaurant complete with gluten free chocolate cake.

  71. Post dinner Kate and I almost ended up getting lost in India with no phone, no address, in the middle of the night. We were on our way to Delhi when I realized we were most definitely not going the right way and told the tuk tuk driver to turn around when I spotted the shadow of the abandoned amusement park that we pass everyday and was able to get us home. God bless you abandoned amusement park.

  72. Played hella Spot It and other games with our host sisters, and discovered that our host sister is the most frighteningly competitive person I have ever met and that says a lot bc I consider myself pretty damn competitive.
  73. If she didn’t win or wasn’t winning she would whine more than reasonable and one time even cried during a game not because she hadn’t won but because she wasn’t currently winning (she ended up winning the game in the end and was more than just a sore winner about it)
  74. Had to deal with a 30 year old man, who just so happened to be the principal of our school, begging all of us for things like photos or for us to dance at the dance recital. Saying things like “please ma’am!!! Please!!! My photos ma’am!!! Please where are my photos!! Please ma’am its my birthday please please dance for me on my birthday!!” And other things along these lines. (Picture these said in a mixed British Indian accent with a grown man on his knees hands clasped together in front of me)

  75. Learned how to say NO to this begging without feeling any feelings of guilt.

  76. Side note when his begging didn’t work and we said no to him he would have the kids write down on a sheet of paper what he wanted from us. For example 20 of my kids came up to me the day after we said no to doing a dance on for his birthday and read from a piece of paper; “Ma’am we would greatly appreciate if you would dance on the 26th of January.”

  77. Unintentionally became a chain smoker bc according to Zuzu’s sister and some internet stat living in an Indian city for a day is the equivalent of smoking 4 cigarettes and since I’ve been in India for 47 days I have smoked a total of 188 cigarettes. Hence my chronic bronchitis.

  78. Played paintball for the first and last time, supposed to be team bonding event but ended with me trying to shield my body behind a large can and getting attacked from the left and right and from behind (by someone on my own freaking team)

  79. Ended with me crying and begging for mercy/for the game to stop.

  80. Played Harry Potter on the last day of school so we didn’t have to teach lol.

  81. Was sad to leave our kids, we sang the good bye song which features the lyrics “see you in the morning bye bye bye” knowing that we would not see our kids in the morning or probably ever again 😦

  82. Ate chapati, rice, and some curry type thing every single freaking day, for those who will say you are so lucky you got to eat real authentic Indian food everyday let me tell you that you would not want to eat it everyday for a freaking month. Honestly will not go anywhere near anything remotely Indian for a long while.

  83. On our last day we thought we were having an innocent goodbye photo shoot which then turned into a full on propaganda photo shoot for our host parent’s health clinic in our basement. The photoshoot included a yoga session complete with a photo of every yoga pose, a photo of us “buying” medicines from their pharmacy and me getting a fake massage with our host dad massaging my literal butt. It was QUITE the experience.
  84. Went to Pushkar and Udaipur.
  85. Watched some monkeys smiling a cow (see fb)
  86. Rode a camel for the first time and have officially decided that they are the weirdest animals on our planet, they are constantly peeing and constantly farting, they also vomit up what I thought were their tongues but were actually their 5th stomachs??

  87. Glamped (glamour camped0 so hard in the desert, our tents had beds, wallpaper, windows, and a bathroom and shower with actual warm water which our hotel didn’t even have.

  88. Saw where Octopussy was filmed.
  89. Went to the same restaurant in Udaipur so many times that the men running the restaurant knew us by name and noticed when Ana dyed her hair blue.
  90. Saw Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in the city where it was filmed and saw all of the places we had been in Jaipur in the movie which was cool (v cute movie about old people finding love in India, 10/10 would watch again, however, do not get your expectations up about what India looks like from this movie as I did before this trip bc you will be quite disappointed)
  91. Had 47 days of straight shits (and still counting). Put this lower down bc I know only my true friends will make it here and will expect this from me and for those unexpected readers of this bullet point I am sorry you had to know this about me but it’s true. India really did a number on me.
  92. Shed more than a few happy tears as we took off from India on the most amazing airline in the world, Emirates Airline I am doing some serious PR for you right here.
  93. Ate Shake Shack in Dubai.
  94. And now I am in freaking SOUTH AFRICA and feel like I am living in a dream. We went on a hike yesterday and swam in the oh so blue Indian Ocean and ate BEEF and I had gummies (oh yea India did not have any gummies either bc they have beef gelatin in them) and life is wonderful. I truly am so happy I am considering not coming home, jk family I will be coming home. And with that I conclude India and can put it all in the past!
  95. Also huge big massive CONGRATULATIONS if you made it through this hella long blog post.

  96. See you in 40 days USA!!!

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Greetings, I am a Thai rice farmer now

Hello hello hello! Quick summary of my life right now. Basically spent the last 5 weeks farming rice in the rice fields of rural Thailand. Before we even get started let me just say that rural Thailand is on a completely different level from rural Ecuador. Looking back I just don’t even understand how I made it through Ecuador. But anyways I think I’m going to stick with this little theme I’ve got going of doing a highlight reel.

So here we go!

  1. Arrived in Thailand after 52 hellish hours of traveling.
  2.  Sat in my hotel room staring at the ceiling contemplating whether I was dead or alive for a full 24 hours.
  3.  Went to Thai lessons and attempted to learn Thai which just wasn’t and isn’t happening.
  4.  Was forced to go to the hospital where I was laughed at by a Thai doctor bc I told him I didn’t believe there was anything wrong with me.
  5.  Was forced against my will for the second day in a row to go to the hospital. Was told I wasn’t allowed to leave the hospital until I pooped into the tiniest cup in the universe. Sat at the hospital from 9AM to 5PM struggling to produce even the most minimal sample. Was finally successful after 8 hours of sitting and drinking the heinous tasting drink known as coffee only to find out I had nothing wrong with me (which I already knew).
  6. Went to a place called UHDP which is a seed bank/agricultural development compound thingy. Basically summer camp.
  7. Lived in a nasty bunk room with 11 other girls.
  8. Got CEREAL for breakfast (this is a big deal).
  9.  Caught, beheaded, and gutted cat fish with my bare hands that we then proceeded to eat.
  10. Binge watched How to Get Away with Murder. This show is addicting even though the acting is downright terrible, but Annalise is such a force she kinda makes up for it.
  11.  Was persuaded to take shots of a mysterious liquid known as Moringa from a random missionary that was staying at the compound.
  12. After having drank the liquid we were told that it was either supposed to make us very sleepy or very alert. Nothing in between.
  13. We then received a sermon about how we need to decide to either join the Lord with him and his Moringa or be with the Devil.
  14. I then gave the missionary Katie Mathisen’s email when he asked for our contact info.
  15.  Moved in with our host fam, an adorable elderly couple named Mae Deang, and Pa Moon. Went to our house to discover a new queen sized mattress wrapped in plastic waiting on the porch. We then moved this into the house and it became our bed which I shared with my roommates Ana and Katrina for the next 4 weeks.
  16. Received our Thai names. We are known as the Fruit House because we are named Som (Katrina), Apple (Ana), and Sham Poo (Me). Which means Orange (bc Katrina is a ginger), Apple (lol), and Golden Apple (shampoo).
  17. Ate quite a large amount of rice in many different forms. Ate everything from sticky rice to steamed rice, fried rice, sweet rice with custard (a personal fav), rice cakes, rice jellies, etc. I don’t even know how many more things I ate that were made out of rice but there were plenty more I can assure you.
  18. Ate wonderful home cooked Thai food for every meal.
  19. Cut rice, bundled rice, tied bundles of rice, carried rice, beat rice, and worked in hella rice fields for the past 4 weeks.
  20. Basically my routine was eat, sleep, and breathe RICE.
  21. Had snack time at 10:30 am every morning.
  22. Had work playdates with other families arranged by our host parents. One day at work our mom brought us 5 sticky rices so that we could share with Kate and Maddie and make friends bc she didn’t think we had any.
  23. At 12 PM everyday of work the host families would yell at us to GO HOME GO HOME until we obeyed and walked home.
  24. Made a dope video about rice called The Story of Rice. Go Watch It. NOW.
  25. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLWDBRJFKh8
  26. Seriously go watch it NOW…..please.
  27. You can come back to my extremely long blog post in a few minutes. 6 minutes 27 seconds to be precise.
  28. Participated in the lantern festival, made lanterns and set them off down the river.
  29. Lived with an evil cat named Meow who would jump on me, hide in our blankets, and pee on Katrina’s shirt.
  30. We then discovered that we could trap Meow under a plastic contraption and did so as often as possible without our host family noticing.
  31. During one of my nightly bucket shower I was squatting so that I could get the water over my entire head when my thighs proceeded to lock. As I realized my predicament and began to fall backwards I scrambled for something to grab onto to keep myself from landing on my ass. But alas to no avail I ended up falling on my ass on the slippery and nasty cement floor and slid all over the place and couldn’t get up for 5 minutes.
  32. Semi successfully peed in a squat toilet for the last few weeks (I am getting better at this!). But every time we had to poop Katrina and I would sneak to the public bathrooms without our host family noticing bc they had real toilets.
  33. Almost caused some other serious cultural controversies. One time we weren’t sure if our host mom was telling us to cover up or if she wanted us to hang our clothes up and another time we thought our host dad was asking us if we wanted to shower, so we told him “Later! Later!”, then we realized he was asking us to leave so that he could shower.
  34. Went to work with our host families at an organic market at 4:30 AM in Chiang Mai and helped our families sell their organic vegetables.
  35. Proceeded to go to 3 other farmers markets.
  36. Had Thanksgiving Dinner American style in Thailand. Complete with rolls, pumpkin soup, cranberries, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, apple crumble, and a big heaping pile o turkey.
  37. Went to see the Hunger Games in Thailand which is a BIG deal. Now that I am out of the country I can safely discuss this without risking being detained by the Thai Government. We weren’t sure if the movie was going to be shown in Thailand bc a week earlier a group of people were arrested in Bangkok for doing the 3 finger salute thing bc Thailand has the same government as the Capitol in the Hunger Games. Lmao.
  38. Also had to stand up and salute the King before I got to see the movie.
  39. Side note someone was recently arrested and is facing a 30 year jail sentence for photoshopping a picture of said King.
  40. Randomly discovered the joy that is Cold Stone Creamery while in Thailand. All Lovin No Oven is a cup of ungodliness.
  41. Took a Muay Thai boxing class and got schooled by an 8 year old boxing legend.
  42. Went to Chiang Mai Elephant Nature Sanctuary which is a reserve that helps rescues elephants out of abusive working situations. We met and learned about elephants whose legs had been blown off by landmines or blinded by circus lights.
  43. Played with and bathed elephants. Caused a scene when instead of bathing the elephant we all decided to have a water fight and bathe ourselves in the nasty water we had just watched an elephant pee in.
  44. Kate almost got taken out by a huge piece of elephant poop. It nearly knocked her over it was so big.
  45. Got two Thai massages both of which ended with random Thai women shoving their feet up in my crotch. Apparently this is common practice in the world of the Thai massage.
  46. Religiously followed the schedule of ABC family’s 25 days of Christmas and watched a Christmas movie every night of December.
  47. Discovered the absurdity that is Portlandia.
  48. Watched all 8 HP movies. (Jk this is still a work in progress but we are getting there and will eventually make it).
  49. Hosted a Christmas party complete with Home Alone viewing, snow, (jk we bought some mysterious chemical in a can and sprayed it on stuff), and a Christmas tournament with 2 teams: The Krusty Crab vs The Chum Bucket (captains of the team were Kate and Steven whose main element of their friendship is their mutual love of Spongebob Squarepants).
  50. Said goodbye to our host families. Just about every host parent was crying and everyone was hugging, EXCEPT for my host mom. Who after I gave her a hug repeatedly pinched my stomach and told me that I liked to eat her food a lot. She then continued to pinch it in front of everyone who had stopped crying at this point and was instead laughing at me.
  51. The gap year 30 (as we’re dubbing it) is just all too real.
  52. To sum up Thailand, as our host families summed it up for us with the only 3 Thai words any of us really know, Thailand was “dee, im, alloy” which means good, full, delicious.
  53. Once again, if you made it this far you rock.

Happy Holidays and talk to you all in India!

Lol 2 months later

Greetings everyone, I have made it out of rural Ecuador alive, barely alive, but nevertheless alive. These past 7 weeks have been wild and I am unsure of where to even begin and theres too much to say so I’m going to do a highlight reel. 

Highlights of these past few months:

  1. Got violently sick 3 hours after writing and posting my last blog post, died on the 3 hour bus ride to Bua.
  2. Got to Bua, lined up like we were getting picked for the kickball team at recess.
  3. My name got called, a couple across the room from us stood up and we were told that these were our host parents, Maria and her husband (I was never fully sure of his name from the start and now 5 weeks later I honestly still don’t know what his name is)
  4. We walked towards a truck where a pudgy boy sat making unknown arm motions and strange sounds. This was Justin, my 7 year old (now 8 as of a few weeks ago) host brother.
  5. Took a 30 minute truck ride away from everyone I had ever known and arrived at this random house in the middle of rural Ecuador.
  6. Shared a house with a constant 8 other people, with various visitors coming to stay during our time there. Maria and her husband were the parents and grandparents of everyone under our roof. Justin and his mom (their daughter) lived behind us. A young teen couple (the boy was their son) lived next to us with their 2 year old daughter Nabilla, and then there were some various relatives who lived on the second floor of our house.
  7.  Got a tour of the house and kept wondering where the hell is the bathroom? Wish I never found out the answer to that question bc our bathroom was a lean too made of trash bags that housed only a toilet bowl in our backyard. I spent a majority of my first night on the toilet questioning what the hell I had gotten myself into and why I had done this to myself.
  8. For those of you who think that roosters only cockle doodle doo at the break of dawn I am here either to inform you that Ecuadorian roosters are either extremely stupid or that this is a straight myth. From the hours of 3 AM to 8 AM the 20 plus roosters that live in our backyard, along with the possible 50 plus roosters that live in our neighborhood, continuously screamed at 1-5 minute intervals.
  9. We would drive to one of the community member’s farms and plant trees for them from 9-12. After these past few weeks of work I can wholeheartedly tell you that the last thing I ever want to be is a landscaper. I hate planting trees with a passion I didn’t even know was possible. I am by all means FOR saving the environment but I will NOT be the one planting the trees.

  10. I was banned from the eco toilet at the community center which is a hole in the ground that you have to aim your pee in. I am not good at aiming. Still receiving hate for my lack of aim and receiving requests that I see a urologist (nothing new here).
  11. Ana went to the bathroom and her cell phone fell into the squat toilet and I had to surgically fish it out using long sticks it was incredible. I am now a certified surgeon.
  12. One morning I went out to the bathroom for my morning pee and came out to a scene straight from the birds, chicken addition. I was attacked from every direction by chickens nose diving out of a tree at my face, meanwhile all members of my host family came out to watch and laugh at me.
  13. I ate more magnum ice cream bars than I ever thought possible. I also am terribly lactose intolerant.
  14. Ran a internationally renowned salon complete with head massage services down at the river every afternoon during our communal bath time. Steven
  15. Had the best 19th birthday party of my life lol. Whole neighborhood came out and threw me a surprise party. Got my face shoved in my, not one but TWO, cakes and ate the best shrimp fried rice of my life.
  16. Went to a quinceanera for one our host family’s relatives which we proceeded to ruin bc the local community was freaked out by our dancing and refused to dance after watching us lol.
  17. Came back from quinceanara to discover 11 cockroaches crawling around the walls of our room. Then proceeded to kill 9 cockroaches with my hiking shoes. The other 2 are still MIA.
  18. Woke up to a cockroach crawling on my face. Yup. That happened.
  19. Went into Santo Domingo, the closest city where our families sell their crops. Justin, my devil of a host brother got hyped up on sugar, ran the grocery cart into 3 people who then yelled at me for not controlling my child, he also ran the cart into his 4 year old cousin Brittany’s head, refused to apologize, then he ate all of his cousin’s ice creams and drank all of our coconuts without asking then threw his trash at an old woman on the street who then cursed and flipped me off.
  20. Almost died on our commute to work just about every day. Truck almost flipped 12 separate times and broke down due to our weight about 7 times. Mara almost got her arm cut off by a passing truck and people almost lost their teeth countless times.
  21. Kate is awesome (she requested to be in this blog post)
    1. Hannah (who is watching me type this now) is also awesome
  22. Ate a shitton of rice, plantains in just about any form you could ever imagine and some you couldn’t ever imagine, more rice, lots of fruit juice, more rice, lots of bananas, and let me think about it……MORE RICE.
  23. Planted a shitton of trees, painted some houses, built a community center, built a bridge, cut sick cacao off of cacao trees, planted more trees, put dirt in bags, and planted more trees.
  24. Went to the mall in Santo Domingo and saw new Peter Pan movie in Spanish (it was terrible in Spanish and I don’t think it gets much better in English) and had my first KFC of my life.
  25. Went to the beach for a weekend, surfed, ate the most amazing pineapple smoothies (liquid gold), had literally 16 of these smoothies, had the most amazing burger, bacon, 2 burger patties, grilled pineapple, and caramelized onions then chocolate cake and lemon tart, (can you tell I missed real food), and slept on a real mattress!!
  26. Came back to host family house, got super sick (possibly from the excessive smoothies) died on the toilet, threw up my favorite thing (Coco cookies by Nestle) in the world (now my least favorite thing).
  27. Attempted to go skinny dipping one afternoon with Kate and Mara, looked down the river to realize a man was staring at us from downstream, ran to the side of the river only to realize that one of the cooks was coming down to do her laundry so we had to thrust our bodies into the hillside.
  28. Finally got my host brother to say please, it only happened once but it happened.
  29. Watched tons of Ecuadorian soap operas where people in business suits walk up on savages making out in rivers.
  30. Watched Iron Man 2 in Spanish, just as good in Spanish. I love you Iron Man.
  31. The 2 year old, Nabila, who lived with us didn’t understand who we were for most of the time and would just stand in our doorway and death glare at us. 4 weeks in she started calling us her aunts and actually liked us and would let us play with her. Then one night we saw our sheet of a door swinging in the what I thought was the wind until Hannah exclaimed “Kristen” I turned to see a ghostly Nabila inside of Hannah’s bug net death glaring at her.
  32. Age of Adeline is a terrible movie.
  33. Read the first 3 Harry Potters
  34. Babysat a minimum of 5 kids every weekend for the whole weekend.
  35. Hannah showered in the rain one night.
  36. Went into the kitchen one night and looked at the usually white countertop to discover it was now completely black. Upon further investigation discovered there were over 500 black flying ant creatures covering the counter, the floor, and all over the freaking house. Our host family was totally unphased and the bugs stayed there all night. I am still scarred and get full body goosebumps every time I think about it. I have them now.
  37. Mara is awesome (also requested)
  38. Last day there we had our Despedida celebration. Girls and boys dressed up in traditional dress, one of the boys on our trip actually shaved his heads and now looks like a pineapple head. Participated in a traditional ceremony, had to go for a 2 mile hike in our traditional dress, everyone ate so much crap bc they couldn’t move in the skirts, I beat the local shaman in an arm wrestling match, and ate maggots amongst other unknown Ecuadorian substances.
  39. On our last night for Justin’s birthday, he got his face shoved in the cake, we all thought he was laughing about this but then we discovered he was throwing a tantrum, which only ended upon Justin eating his entire cake by himself.
  40. Then on the 28th we said goodbye to our host families and headed back to Quito. 😦 / 🙂 but mainly 🙂 (rural Ecuador was rough)
  41. Accidentally summited a 15,000 foot mountain in Quito.
  42. Saw my friend Brooke from home in Quito!!!!
  43. Ate lots and lots of gelato. Miss you white chocolate gelato. Oh and the mint.
  44. Flew to Cuzco on Halloween, died all of Halloween night. V sad. No Halloweekend for me. Jk died like mostly all college students do on this night just in a different way.
  45. Hiked a glacier, had dystentery on the summit of said glacier, everyone took a pic on the summit ( minus me bc I was dying), camped in a valley of glaciers with the coolest starry night view I have ever seen, woke up in the middle of night bc I was about to die, couldn’t find the bathroom and accidentally wandered into the glacial hills for an hour with only the light of my kindle guiding me in 15 degree weather
  46. Hiked to hot springs, where a bug infestation of blood flies, which are the most heinous creatures in the world, they bite and suck your blood, attacked all of us, I had to take a benadryl bc I was covered in full body hives, Kate also was a casualty in the war
  47. Woke up next day, hiked to town Agua Calientes below Machu Picchu, Kate discovered that her ankles had swelled to the point of elephantitis, could not walk or live anymore (she later went to a hospital where they told her her feet were hella infected and that she needed hella antibiotics)
  48. Hiked up to Machu Picchu it was v cool, although I was dying of dysentery like all of your kids in the Oregon Trail game, Kate was also dead with elephantitis but Machu Pichu was still v wonderful (hence why it is a wonder of the world)
  49. Then began the 52 hours of travel to Thailand, accidentally spent a day in China at a 5 star resort for free (with most beautiful and bountiful buffet breakfast included)
  50. Now I am here in rural Thailand about to go off the grid until Thanksgiving (which is in a week wtf).
  51. If you made it this far you are impressive or you really like me.
  52. Thanks for reading!!! See you in another 2 months when I’m in India.

Yo from Quito

Wooo first real blog post!! Don’t expect anything great here just gonna give you some little tid bits about what’s going on in my life. My group is super dope (obligated to say that because they’ll most likely end up reading this post lol) but they actually are super cool. There’s 12 girls and 4 boys and then 3 female leaders. We were chilling at this awesome eco hotel (pics on fb) in Mindo for the past 2 weeks. When we were there we went ziplining, went on a strenuous 40 minute hike to this waterfall that was just a fricken trickle, took a shower with some spiders the size of my face, killed some spiders the size of my face, then went to an actual waterfall and did some swimming in it, then went to a butterfly sanctuary (don’t really like flying things, birds and now butterflies included), got attacked by a hummingbird (again I hate flying things), swam in a river and nearly drowned, danced at a local dance hall got called up by the teacher and had to dance in front of 100 people, took malaria meds that made me have weird dreams and then I wet the bed in the middle of the night, girl in my cabin accidentally drank the river water when we nearly drowned and then she died for like a whole day, watched some Arrested Development, got fire ants in my pants, ate some good food, drank some good juices, ate a ton of magnum ice cream bars, and then ya know I did some other stuff too. Now we’re in Quito at this sweet hostel where I’ve been taking Spanish lessons, eating a crap ton of gelato, straddling the equator, running head on into metal poles in the middle of streets, and being all metropolitan and what not. I’m here until Monday which is when we go to live and work in a rural village for the next 5 weeks.Will be bathing in a river, living with a local family, planting trees and doing some other cool stuff too. I won’t have internet until late October so this is it for now! See ya then!

Hello everyone!!

Hello friends!

Whether or not you were aware of it yet, I decided to defer for a year from Colorado College and am going to be spending the next 7 months traveling to Ecuador, Peru, Thailand, Cambodia, India, and South Africa. In each country that I visit I’ll be living with a host family, doing various service work and going on adventures. I won’t have my phone at all during the trip so the only way to contact me is through email or Facebook. My internet connection will be a bit spotty so I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to post on here but check back periodically for updates on my adventures!

Here are the dates of when I’ll be in each place,

Mindo, Ecuador: 9/13 – 9/23

Quito, Ecuador: 9/23 – 10/31

Cuzco, Peru: 10/31 – 11/6

Chiang Mai, Thailand: 11/6 – 12/14

Phnom Penh & Siam Reap, Cambodia: 12/14 – 12/21

Jaipur, India: 12/21 – 1/28

Udaipur, India: 1/28 – 2/4

Plettenberg Bay, South Africa: 2/4 – 3/11

Addo Elephant Park, South Africa: 3/11 – 3/18

Washington DC, USA: 3/18 – 4/10