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On war, struggle, and saying goodbye

My last official day at the orphanage was Friday, but I couldn’t stay away. After meeting with a new friend on Saturday, I introduced her to the kids who have stolen my heart. Today, I returned to the orphanage alone to say my goodbyes. When it was finally time for me to leave, it tugged … Continue reading

A birthday in Vietnam

Yesterday was my birthday. The day started by taking the bus to the Ky Quang temple/orphanage, which is more Vegas than Vietnam in its appearance. The temple was built to appear as though it was carved into a mountain of rocks, with huge fake boulders surrounding the perimeter and a towering pagoda in the center. … Continue reading

War remnants

As I mentioned before, the orphanage where I am volunteering is privately run by a Buddhist organization in a fully functional Buddhist temple (Ky Quang). Government orphanages are available here, but they are very crowded; as a result, children in those facilities may not get the care or stimulation that they can receive at privately … Continue reading

Dog lovers, beware

Dog lovers, beware. You may want to skip this post. Okay, well don’t say I didn’t warn you. But in the vein of “when in Rome,” I experienced my first taste of a local delicacy: dog meat. Yes, really. Trust me, I felt more skittish about this than I did about the grasshopper, the tarantula, … Continue reading

On the Mekong, motorcycles, and volunteering

After a few days of relaxation in Sihanoukville (a sleepy Cambodian beach town), it was off to Vietnam. The first stop was Chau Doc, which is a small city in the Mekong Delta. It was while in Chau Doc that I had the pleasure of experiencing a motorcycle ride to the top of Muay Sam … Continue reading

Living la vida locust

After the last post, I thought it was time for something light. Something crunchy. Something chock-full of yummy protein. I mentioned that the heat was interfering with my appetite. Well, I’m happy to report that it didn’t last long. It returned in time for me to enjoy the culinary pleasures of Cambodian cuisine, which is … Continue reading

The horrors of Tuol Sleng and Choeung Ek

I am now in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s largest city and capital. I would love to take this moment to write about all the nice things in this city—such as the French Colonial buildings, the Russian Market, and happy hour at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club—but all of those things are overshadowed by a visit to Tuol … Continue reading

Exploring Angkor Wat

I am now in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Incidentally, the road to Siem Reap was paved last year, so what was once a bumpy, 9-hour drive is now smooth and can be done in less than half that time. I love Cambodia. Siem Reap is a relatively large city, but has a charming small-town, laid-back feel … Continue reading

Entering the land of smiles

I never did make it to the night market. After asking around, I was advised that the area was too dangerous due to its proximity to an encampment, and since the local authoritites have been threatening a crackdown that could happen at any time, it would have been too risky. I also discovered that my … Continue reading

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