my school holidays

As far as I know, the malaria is gone from my body.  Last week I took it easy; resting, sleeping (and sweating:) a lot more than normal, and being well taken care of by the kids and Elizabeth.  This week I’ve still been feeling a little tired, but not like before.

It’s been a great week for me here in Mukono, Uganda.  As much as I want to tell you about that, I also want to share some of my trip to SE Asia before too much time passes.

 

After flying into Bangkok, Thailand, I made my way to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to stay with Amy.  Christmas and New Years were really low-key, but it was nice to be with such a great friend.

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Christmas in Cambodia…with Amy in front of a tree outside one of the malls and the mini-tree and decorations at the house

 

While I was with Amy, we were able to catch up on what’s been going on in one another’s lives.  I also had the opportunity to be a part of some of her ministries; spending time with and encouraging women who have stopped working in the bars, playing with kids who are forced to beg or sell on the streets, and loving on the people in the first house she lived in.  Oh, and we spent numerous hours completing a mural she designed.  The mural is on a 4′ by 22′ “safety wall,” at single-mothers’ baby day-care center.

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the completed mural

 

After my fun transition to Thailand [which you can read about here], I took an 8 hour bus ride up to Mae Sot, aka “Little Burma” because it is right on the border.  I spent two nights in Mae Sot with a few people I people I worked with over the Summer at Adventures Youth (Puerto Rico).  They are on One Great Journey doing some really cool things in Mae Sot and Burma.

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Burma in the distance (the faint mountain range in the background is part of Burma)

 

From Mae Sot I took a six hour bus to Chiang Mai, where Samara (from my squad on the World Race) met me and took me to her house.  She lives about an hour outside the city in Hang Dong, with a family from her church in America and two Thai children.  It was so great to spend a week with her, getting to know her better, spending time with the kids, and basically just living life along side of her.

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reading with Mai

 

We had the opportunity to visit the translator both Samara and my team shared while in Thailand on the race.  O lives in Chiang Rai, which was absolutely beautiful.  I was also able to see Amy D. from my squad.

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with O and Samara

 

Overall, my trip to Cambodia and Thailand was very refreshing.  I was able to process some things able life in Uganda and had quality time with friends and God.  Along the way I also met some great people and had some really cool interactions.

Thank you all for you prayers, love, and support.

 

much love!

stuck at the border

Have you ever heard the phrase that basically goes, we make plans, God laughs?
As I’m thinking about my transition from Cambodia to Thailand, that just popped into my head, but in a totally good way.
Let me tell you a little bit more about this transition…

The plan:
9pm (Friday night) – I would be picked up from the ticket booking office and taken to the bus station [Phnom Penh, Cambodia]
9:30 – the bus would leave Phnom Penh, hopefully I’d sleep all night until the bus drops me at the border
7:30am (Saturday) – border would just be opening and I do all that fun stuff
8:30ish – get back on the “same bus” (just a different one from the same company waiting at the other side of the border)
12:00pm – arrive in Bangkok, Thailand

 

sunset in Bangkok
sunset during my walk in Bangkok tonight

 

So what actually happened:
9:40pm (Friday) – the tuk tuk finally arrived to pick me up and Amy and I said good-bye
10:45pm – the bus arrived at the station.  Despite not having any leg room and bags at my feet, I was still able to sleep on and off throughout the ride, PTL!
7:35am (Saturday) – depart the bus in Poi Pet, Cambodia.  Take a tuk tuk with a Cambodian family to the border
9:50 – make it through the departure from Cambodia and arrival to Thailand lines at the borders.  Find a van that took my bus ticket and said to join the other passengers, “we will get to Bangkok”
12:00pm – finally leave Aranyapathet (the Thai border town); where my fellow passengers and I have been waiting outside a guesthouse restaurant for the bus to pick us.
3:50 – get dropped off in a really touristy area of Bangkok

 

Khao San Road
view of Khao San Road from my hostel window

 

And why did I start by saying God laughed at my plans:
Sometimes it can be frustrating, especially when you are already going to be traveling a long time, when things start to go off schedule or start taking longer.  But the bus station was the first of multiple interactions with some great people through out this travel night/day.

I’ll give you a quick glimpse of the interactions I had:
-lady with a beautiful smile who got a kick out of me smiling at her (she plays a part later, too:)
-a diabetes doctor who works in Phnom Penh all week, then goes about 40km from the Poi Pet border to volunteer during the weekend.  He told me some Cambodian history and about ancestry there.
-beautiful smile lady…her family helped me from the bus to the border in Cambodia; even took me in their tuk tuk for free
-a high schooler from Australia who made part of my line waiting more interesting, by being able to help him start to process and transition home from working with child trafficking in Thailand and Cambodia for 2 weeks
-2 guys from Argentina that made the 4 hours to Bangkok much more interesting
-a cashier who went out of her way to help me with a SIM card for my phone; she even set it all up for me

I wouldn’t have chosen this day to happen this way…I mean you can see my plan; it wasn’t supposed to.  But God has bigger and better things planned.

 

much love!

making decisions

How do you make a hard decision?

Not those every-day, hard decisions, like, what day should we . . . ?
How can we . . . ?
Or, what should we buy at the market?

photoat Russian Market, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

But the really tough decisions.
You know, those ones that don’t seem to have a right or wrong answer.
So, you can talk to people, ask for advice, but in the end, you really just have to make the decision.

I know prayer is important.
Also, not doing something too hastily.

How do YOU make those tough decisions?

much love!

(this is not about deciding whether or not to leave Uganda or stopping the library project or anything like that:)

goodbyes, planes, and asia

Monday morning was bittersweet.
I had to say goodbye to the family.  To all the kids.  To this:

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[top L] Marion and Kata, [top R] Mercy…[lower L] Joet, and [lower R] Ronnie

But, it’s not goodbye forever.  Not at all!

The kids at our school are currently on holiday until February 4th.  We have learned this means most of them are not even around during this time.  At first, Chandler and I were not sure what this time would look like for us.

As we began working on plans for the library project, Chandler felt her time could better be spent in America for the next three months.  I didn’t feel like I was supposed to go home, but I also didn’t want to be “alone” here for three months.

So instead, I get to see this one for Christmas!

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with Amy Learn in Nepal on the WorldRace

Doors opened for me to go to SE Asia until the end of January.  I will be with Amy in Cambodia, living life and doing ministry with her until mid-January; then I will go to Thailand.  In Thailand I am going up to to the North, mainly to Chaing Mai; while there I will be with Samara, another squad-mate from the World Race, and travel to see my translator from my month in Thailand.

Even though there are so many details that are lacking or up in the air, I am excited about the next month and a half.  I am so thankful for this opportunity to still be doing ministry, while not being alone and seeing some friends!

much love!