About two years ago, when I was still living in Shanghai and in my penultimate year of high school, we went to Cambodia! I wasn’t blogging at the time, so I couldn’t share this experience with anyone, but I’m excited to share it with you now!
Home Sweet Home
I am in no way exaggerating when I say this… Our campsite was in the middle of nowhere! There were no shops within a million mile radius. There weren’t even any cars around – just motorbikes, which apparently was normal for children to drive? Anyway, the guides who looked after us throughout the trip had built us these huts to sleep in. They were actually the cutest things ever. They looked like something out of Snow White or something.
Oh yes, they had made us our very own bathrooms too. How lovely… not!
The main reason for this trip was to help out Cambodian families and schools as part of a Creativity, Action and Service (CAS) project. We helped local families rebuild their homes and helped design and paint a wall mural for a local school. I can’t speak for everyone else, but I thoroughly enjoyed being able to help these families who couldn’t help themselves, almost as much as the local children enjoyed speculating as we did so. And we had some spectacular views on the way to our work site!
You can see one of the houses we were working on in the top right hand corner of the following photo. During our breaks, we would use sticks to draw pictures in the sand and the local kids loved it!
This was the mural that we designed and created for a local school. The painting bit was fun, but the painting in Cambodian heat part.. not so much.
Obviously, the local kids didn’t have any phones so they didn’t know what selfies were. When I was taking a few with my friends, they caught a peek and decided to try it out for themselves…
Killing Fields and the Genocide Museum
One day, our teachers told us that visiting the genocide museum would be on our agenda and it was something that a few of us were freaked out about. But it was interesting (and scary, I’ll admit) to learn and see the sorts of things that happened in olden day Cambodia. What used to be an ordinary high school was turned into a prison and killing field by Khmer Rouge (the followers of Kampuchea – a communist party). This was a place where captives were tortured, interrogated and executed.
What was a peaceful and beautiful village was turned into the infamous and miserable killing fields by Khmer Rouge. This was where prisoners were sent to be killed and buried.
The place really did look like an ordinary high school – there were buildings with rooms and a green lawn in the middle. It’s scary thinking that this used to be a place where children went to learn. The classrooms were turned into prison cells, and the lawns were turned into areas for torture.
One of the methods of torture was hanging. Prisoners were hung until unconscious and then their heads would be dunked into a pot filled with chemicals that revived them only to be hung again.
Out of the thousands and thousands who were captured, only 7 survived. We met one of them.
That’s enough of that! Moving on to nicer things…
Monks and Palaces
We always had something planned when we weren’t working. One day, a monk came down to our in-the-middle-of-nowhere campsite and blessed us all! It was a water blessing where the monk chanted in a native language, which no one understood, while splashing holy water all over us. Because monks aren’t allowed to touch girls, we were blessed by some rando – not fair! We all received these pieces of red string which we had to tie around our wrists once we were blessed.
We were also fortunate enough to be able to wander and visit some of Phnom Penh’s most incredible palaces and temples, which are the most photogenic things ever. So jealous!
We weren’t really allowed to take photos inside the palace but everything looked so cool, I just had to!
I mean, this really was an experience of a lifetime. I may not have been at the time, but looking back, I am so thankful that I got to see what I saw and do what I did. Well done, Cambodia! 10/10 would recommend.
As the moon met the night
and the stars kissed the sky,
she left the world behind and
dreamt the night away.
All she saw was him. He was as
sweet to her in her dreams as
he was in real life. In her heart,
she knew she was lucky.
She was lucky to
have something so certain
when she was unsure about most,
to have someone who was
constantly on her mind,
to have found a love equally
passionate as it was sweet.
As the sun rose and
its rays danced around the room,
she woke from her dream only
to find his eyes already on hers.
She leaned over and whispered
you have my heart forever.
Satisfaction feels good.
It feels so good that we start craving the feeling, so
to feel the feeling again.
While we’re waiting, time continues to tick,
the earth still revolves…
“Where is this feeling I felt once before?”
Our souls become lost and our hearts, broken – still,
to be satiated once more.
Before you know it, ten years go by.
“It’s far too late now to swallow my pride”, so
until there is nothing left to wait for.
Aligned are the stars,
Oceans calm on the surface,
drag you down beneath waves.
Chaotic is this world we live in:
beautiful and scary.
But that is what gives it
charisma and charm!
To live in peace – that is the dream.
But what is life without a l i t t l e c h a o s ?
It sucks that you’re on the other side of the world. It also sucks that the massive time difference means that you’re asleep when I’m wide awake. And to top it all off, it sucks that we can’t both be in the single ladies club anymore (ugh I hate you). I hate you so much that I decided to write an entire post about you. Just kidding about the hate part. I’m honestly the luckiest to be able to call you my friend – despite our more than rocky start…
In the five years I’ve known you, I’ve liked you for four. I didn’t open myself up to you that first day you came to school and I regret that. Because that just means that I’ve had one year of potential memories with you taken away. But this post isn’t about could haves and should haves. It’s about what we have now. I don’t remember how we even became friends – do you? I’m just so grateful that we somehow got to talking all of those years ago, at some point during year 10. And can we just take a second to appreciate the fact that you were still friendly as f and actually talked to me despite the year before? Best friend award. Seriously.
You may not realise the impact you’ve had on my life, so let me just tell you that you’ve had a massive impact on my life! I’ve never had that one person that I can talk to if I’m going through anything, whether I’m having a good day or a bad day. Everything is so easy and uncomplicated with you. We may not talk every single day – and when I’m being my procrastinating self, weeks. Just know that my horribly bad habits and embarrassingly late responses to your texts don’t mean that I’ve forgotten about you. If anything exciting or shitty happens, you’re the first to know. You’re probably the only person I really care about enough to tell. Though I’ve made many friends across my life, I haven’t managed to keep in touch with most (especially with you know who). But with you, it isn’t forced; like I said before, it’s easy.
I love that we can have those deep conversations when needed, but then switch a flip and have the best time like nothing happened. There’s always something to laugh about when we’re together. I may be biased, but our laugh attacks are the best. Oh, and I am so happy (and relieved) that you now know about this blog. I kept this part of my life a secret because I was scared what people would think – I should have known better that you wouldn’t make a big deal out of it. Now, we can laugh about the stories I write – whether they’re completely fictional or .. somewhat real .. (his name begins with the letter J, DON’T YOU DARE SAY IT).
I don’t know where all of this is coming from or why I felt the need to write this post, but I guess there’s no going back. I mean I could delete it.. I was just being dramatic. Okay now your turn, go! Lol jokes. Anyways, I have to go pick up the little brother from school now so I’ll end this-whatever this is-here. I luh you papi. You’re much appreciated. You’re my best fren – because you don’t walk in front of me, or behind me, but beside me. Thank the Lord for 2009 facebook statuses. Never forget.
P.S. wakey wakey and follow my blog yeah?