things I've learnt, and things I'm still yet to learn

14 April 2018

It weirds me out beyond belief that my friends are turning 19 and that soon I'll be 19 and then after that I'll be 20 which seems like the official age of adulthood. It stresses me out that with getting older comes all these new social experiences that no one teaches you how to behave in. There are questions in my life that still haven't been answered, there are new questions arising almost every day, but with me and my friends it is the blind leading the blind. Maybe that stretches beyond me and my friends though, I don't know if anyone has answers to half the things I have questions about, but then there are some questions I have that I know some people must have answers to but I just find it impossible to come up with an answer myself.

just for the record, I stole this pic from Katies blog but since I'm the model I figured it was okay
However, despite all the questions I have and the fact that since getting older my brain has become more dominated by question marks than full stops, there are some things I have learnt. Some answer the questions that drift around my mind, but most things I have learnt have no relevance to any questions I've ever had.

Things I have learnt since I've gotten older:
-There is so much more to life than just plain humus. Branch out and try something new, my personal faves are beetroot hummus and Moroccan hummus.
-Not everyone likes ABBA
-If you miss someone, chances are they miss you too but it's important to not let the feelings of missing overwhelm you- you got to recognise whether is a longing for the way things used to be between you two or whether you actually miss the current them as well. If it's the latter, don't be afraid to get back in touch.
-Not everyone washes their feet in the shower with soap and, to be perfectly honest, I just find this very strange. At first I thought my friends were dirty, but more and more people have said they don't put soap on their feet in the shower and I can't figure out if this is a normal thing or not
-A mist of anger can become too thick to see through, so never reply when you're angry
-Break ups are complicated and hard. Before, in films/novels I never fully understood a parents desire to be there for their kids first 'heart break', I always thought people went through many breakups in their life, so in my head a heart break couldn't be that bad. I wish I had recognised the title of heart break more, I wish I could have understood that there is a reason 'break' is in the title, yet break doesn't even begin to do the feeling justice. I wish I could have understood that breakups aren't always as black and white as they're made out to be, that sometimes a breakup means you both have to force yourselves out of love for things to be okay. Now I know though, I understand the twists of a heartbreak and that a breakup isn't all that simple. I feel more prepared for any future breakups that may happen.
-Medjooli dates are delicious.
-The world can be so cruel, so you got to do some small things to make it better
-Literally everyones life is falling apart, social media just shows the good shit and some people use it to trick themselves into the illusion that their life is together since their Instagram is full of good times, but in reality we're all just falling apart.
-Some friendships need to be dropped, and it can be so difficult but they just do sometimes. Don't worry about seeming cruel, because if a friendship feels bad to you then it's bad for the both of you- it can be hard but sometimes you just got to cut that person out your life. Don't be afraid to unfollow them on social media, once you no longer have constant reminders of that person in your life your anger and bitterness will fade. Just don't mistake the feelings of fading anger as you wanting to be their friend again (and don't follow them back after a while as unfollowing someone twice on Instagram is just awkward)
-People who are 100% good aren't necessarily small and weak. And yes, these people who are filled with purely good intentions do exist.
-Dance! Dance when you're out, sing along to the songs!

Things I haven't learnt
-When I'm meant to pay for myself and when my mum is meant to pay for me. Do I pay for my own bedding? Do we split the price of my work uniform? Do I buy a Diet Coke if we're out and about together or will she?
-I don't know if I'm allowed to turn the heating on whenever I want, even though I am an adult
-How to stop being angry at someone
-How to walk away after you've hooked up with someone (apparently curtsying is the wrong thing to do)
-How to say no
-How to stand up for myself
-How to stop comparing myself
-How to have self control and not eat an entire jar of peanut butter within 72 hours of buying it
-How to go from acquaintances to friends with some people. Do you know what I mean when you know someone, but they already have an idea of you and you feel like you can't exceed what they already know of you so you live by the person they think you are despite desperately wanting to break that boundary and become an actual friend rather than that girl they see on a night out? I'm not sure how to explain.
-How to stop watching my life from a distance and actually experience it and follow the voice of reason rather than my overpowering selfish instincts

There are many other things I don't know, many other things I don't think I ever will know and a shit ton of things I will never understand. I'm trying to live by a quote though, that we should try to understand less and accept more. My desperate wish to understand some things is highly annoying and inappropriate at times so I'm trying to just accept the fact some things happen and reasons/labels/explanations aren't always necessary- or even possible. Even though I don't understand why not everything can be explained (ugh). Anyway, see you soon dudes!

TRAVEL DIARIES: VIETNAM

5 April 2018

I won't lie- in Vietnam there are a few places we went which I could have done without going to. In some ways I think doing Vietnam in a group tour was good as it's so big and understanding their transportation systems (aka their trains) can be confusing. We got the night train a lot and honestly, if it weren't for our tour guide we would have been fucked. They don't even announce the station you're arriving at, you just have to know somehow when it is the right stop. However, seeing the freedom of people who were travelling alone did make me slightly jealous. I met a few people out there who had rented motorbikes and were going round Vietnam on their bikes (which could also be taken on to coaches and stuff) which seemed amazing. They could travel through little villages and stop off at any place they fancied and take detours to see some amazing scenery. Although, despite this seeming preferable over long ass coach journeys, the roads of Vietnam were terrifying. I don't think I could ever understand their road system or if there even is a system. My friend saw two people on a motorbike with a giant ladder in between them, or sometimes we'd see people carrying a baby as they road their bikes and there just seemed to be no order. It was absolutely manic.

Vietnam was the country I felt most comfortable in, I'm not sure why as the people weren't overly friendly, but something about it just felt right.

ps- in Vietnam I went to: Can Tho (but I didn't see much as we stayed in a local village who have connections with G-Adventures) Ho Chi Minh City, Nah Trang, Hoi An, Hue, Halong Bay and Hanoi. 


HO CHI MINH CITY

Let me tell you, Ho Chi Minh City roads are insane, in fact scrap the word roads because people drive on the pavement. Nowhere is safe. Other than that, Ho Chi Minh was fun- it reminded me of London in a way which was nice, it was comforting to have something that felt fairly familiar after the homestay. We just wandered around on the first day that we were there, I really wanted to go to the War Museum but by the time we arrived it was too late for us to go. I met some people who went though and they said it's a really good museum to go to, apparently it really helps you to understand the effects of Agent Orange and how devastating it was, with a more personal aspect as well. In Ho Chi Minh there's a big street food market place (where I got some banging cocktails) which reminded me of Camden and they also have a massive pub street- I didn't go out but the people who did had a wild time, to say the least.

We were only in Ho Chi Minh for two days, and on the morning of the second day we went to the Cu Chi Tunnels which was super interesting, 10/10 recommend going. It's definitely worth getting a tour guide there, otherwise I'm pretty sure it could easily feel as if you were just walking through a forest. It was strange, as our tour guide had been on the Americans side, and he would tell us the most violent, saddest stories and then would smile or laugh after- I guess laughter is better than tears in a way. At the Cu Chi Tunnels there's the chance to go through a tunnel that starts off small and gradually gets smaller and smaller until it's the size of the original tunnel. I went to go through the tunnel, but the size of the beginning was too small for my claustrophobic heart to handle so I just turned around and waited for them to finish climbing through. Apparently small was an understatement as to just how minuscule these tunnels were.


NAH TRANG

This place had a really pretty beach but other than that I don't have much to say. Some people went to a temple there that had a giant white Buddha, but I didn't go as I was pretty templed out at this point.



HOI AN


Now let me tell you, Hoi An was my favourite place of the entire trip and I think will forever be my favourite town in the entire world. It is small, it is quaint, it is beyond beautiful and endearing and I don't think anywhere could quite compete with the amount of charm the place has.  The buildings are painted with the most calming yellow colour and it just induced such strong feelings of happiness being surrounded by all the yellow, as well as having lanterns hung up across the little lanes that sparkled at night. I don't think it's possible to go to Hoi An and not feel in awe at the immense beauty and colour of the place. It's an effortless beauty though, some of the buildings are old but contain so much character. It's just an amazing place really, I wish I could describe it better.

There is a lot of shopping you can do there, cute little souvenirs, earrings- you name it. It is like a calm Brick Lane. I wish I could explain the vibe of the place, it is as if they have their own clock there and the days just stroll along. We went on a bike ride around the surrounding village and went in a coconut boat which was fun. We also went to a cooking class there. It was really busy for us as we were there for Chinese New Year, but it didn't interfere with the charm of the place. On one night we put lanterns in the river and it was just so beautiful, I couldn't get a photo but it was so pretty. Hoi An just felt like an entirely different world. They also have good night life, it's strange though as places aren't allowed to be open till a certain time but some clubs bribe the police to stay open longer so we just moved to one of the clubs that were open beyond 12am. There were a lot of tourists there which was nice and although they weren't mental nights out the alcohol haze definitely added something. I also watched the place wake up one morning as me and a friend stayed up and out all night just strolling around which was strange but also lovely. Although I did regret it when I returned home only to have three hours to sleep, pack and sort my life out before a super long coach journey. All in all it was a great place (a bit hard to find ice cream there though, that is my only complaint).

HUE


I won't lie, I found Hue a bit dead- you can go to the Imperial City which is cool. I'm only including Hue to tell a story about a lovely stranger that I met who made me feel excited to fall in love again, because let me tell you after going through a breakup I feared love due to the inevitable pain that would follow, but this guy reminded me of all the great parts of falling, and being, in love.

I was sitting outside on a balcony and this guy came outside (a very beautiful guy may I add) then went back inside and came back out with a chair. We sort of spent a few moments in silence then somehow a conversation sparked up. We spoke about TV shows, films and music and our lives back at home- the differences between growing up in Finland (where he was from) and the UK. There was nothing flirtatious, just friendly conversation with someone new. He then begun to tell me about his fiancé, who he had originally come outside to phone. When I said I'd go back in so he could phone her he said to stay, his fiancé would be there his entire life whereas conversations like this don't always happen. It was sweet, his confidence that his love would always be in his life (he was 21 as well, imagine knowing at 21 you had found the person to complete your life forever, even if there isn't a forever between them two, having that conviction and trust for however long must be a wonderful feeling) and also the fact that he was enjoying the conversation with me. It was strange but enjoyable just talking about everything with a complete stranger, I don't even know his name but I feel like that night we spoke about so many things and it is a moment I don't think I'll ever recreate. Meeting him didn't make me excited to fall in love, it was his pure, devoted love for his fiancé that sparked something in me, that made me realise the feeling of heartbreak is worth it for the intense happiness love can bring. I feel rude, sharing his engagement story so I will say it briefly. Near the beginning of their dating life, she told him she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him, which unsurprisingly freaked him out. Then years went by and their relationship continued and he went travelling with a friend, and on FaceTime to her a few weeks he said he realised he needed to spend the rest of his life with this girl and so he proposed. My friends said it wasn't romantic or admirable at all that he proposed over FaceTime, but just something about the impulsivity of the initial proposal, not being able to contain the realisation that he wants to spend the rest of his life with her counteracts the lack of surface romanticism.  I have strange feelings towards marriage, but it's not really the proposal that got to me, just the fact his stars aligned and allowed him to realise how precious the love he has is and the fact that he can protect that love and spend time with the woman he loves. Also lads, don't even get me started on the way his face changed as he spoke about his fiancé, I never really knew what books meant by recognising love in someones eyes but ah. Ah! Love hey, who knew it could impact your life and your brain and your entire demeanour and perception and understanding of things in so many ways. I feel like seeing someone completely in love as well, makes you realise how much love can change a person- I would say I've been in love, but seeing someone else in love adds another type of appreciation for the feeling. Anyway, sap is over. Hue was boring other than that in my opinion, although we did sing karaoke which was fun.

HALONG BAY
I'm a fashion icon
Halong Bay was sort of the same as Hue in my opinion. It has potential though, and I reckon in a few years time it will be a great place to visit. We went on a boat trip and around caves which was interesting. Then me and two of my friends went to this theme park which was across the road from our hotel for a few hours for dinner and it was so surreal as the theme park was next to empty. We were the only ones on most of the rides, and would just sit there and ask to go again. It felt strange, but also very exciting. I never really thought I was a fan of theme parks, but going to one that felt empty created a separation between us and reality, sort of. We were surrounded by plastic dragons in a place created purely with the intention of generating happiness, so all in all it was a pretty great experience. Plus, we made it back in time for dinner.

HANOI
Oh Hanoi, Hanoi- I didn't explore this place as much as I should have. Mainly due to issues with timing. I don't have much to say about Hanoi as I missed the opening times of most of the places I wanted to go, so me and my friends aimlessly walked around one day and the next we all had a lie in (which was a rarity on this trip) then continued to wander around aimlessly. It was rainy the last day in Hanoi, it felt like a slightly unfamiliar London although I was grateful for the rain in a way as it meant I could put my rain jacket to use.

I wish I went to the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Temple of Literature and the Ho Chi Minh Museum. It's so frustrating looking back on it and having regrets- but due to the nature of the tour, time in places couldn't be extended so I'm just hoping I get to go back one day.

Woah, and there is the majority of my Vietnam adventures! Vietnam is amazing and if you go, you just got to go to Hoi An. I don't even understand why I love it so much, but I just do. Anyway, peace out!

Brain Vomit About Reassuring

21 March 2018

I am, in no way at all, a strong person. I think I fit the definition of a cry baby perfectly. Insults sometimes don't sit well with me (depending on the way they're delivered, if it's just banter than go ahead I think I'm quite good at having the piss taken out of me) and in many ways I am not overly comfortable with myself. However sometimes 'reassuring' really annoys me. I feel fine with being comforted over some things, so if someone else were to insult me I would like to be reassured by my friends and what not but some things are just facts and it bothers me when people try to reassure me against them or when people try to deny things that aren't necessarily bad as an attempt to comfort. I don't get into an irrational state of rage or anything, but there are just some facts that can't be disputed, or even some things that don't need to be reassured about.

this photo has no relevance at all to the post
Don't get me wrong, reassuring is great and being a good friend is even better, but when it comes to comforting over something physical I think things can get a bit blurry in my case. There are some things that are just facts to myself and they may not be facts to you but to me they are and if they are a fact to me, chances are I've accepted them. However, when people try to tell me those things aren't the way they are then it sometimes makes me feel like I shouldn't have accepted that 'fact' and that it's a bad thing.  For example, I think I have quite a chubby stomach, I don't really care though as if I'm exercising and eating well it's not a problem as I'm healthy- but then when I make a passing comment about it sometimes people are so quick to try and deny the fact which can make me feel sad about having a little bit of chub because it makes it seem like it's a bad thing even though, as well all know, chub is perfectly normal. Obviously, some people insult themselves looking for compliments and in which case reassurance should be given because if someone needs a compliment then they need a compliment! Kind words can go a long way and all that. However, for a simple passing comment reassurance isn't always necessary. I think if someone does insult a part of their body it's hard to know what to do, because 'reassuring' can go either way. Who knew socialising could be so difficult!! I think it's best to provide comfort in things that aren't physical, just in case someone makes a passing comment that can make you a bit concerned its best to go for a compliment about their personality rather than their body. This makes no sense, hence the 'brain vomit' title aha.

On a similar note, if someone calls themselves unphotogenic- don't dispute it! I am unphotogenic, that is a fact of life. I can get some good photos after ages of trying and sometimes I am lucky enough to get a photo that looks nothing like me at all in a glorious way. However the majority of the time I don't come across well in photos. My face becomes wonky, I actually have to practice smiling for photos because as soon as there is a camera it's like my natural muscle memory of a smile fades and my face weirdly contorts into a grimace no matter how great a time I'm having. I haven't mastered the art of working my angles (unfortunately) and it can be annoying as it seems to ruin many group photos/attempts at capturing a memory but it's no bother really. Even if I'm not unphotogenic and I do look exactly like I do in real life in photos which I think look terrible, don't tell me I am photogenic because Jesus Christ I do not want to be looking like that in real life!!

Enjoy the brain vomit, just some thoughts I wanted to share. It can be hard comforting people but I think moral of the story is never go against someone who says they are unphotogenic and that sometimes it's best to refrain from comforting about physical things. Another moral- if someone insults their physicality just call them healthy, even if they're not (lol) as who doesn't want to look like the human embodiment of pure health!? But then again sometimes it is good to dispute peoples complaints about themselves, good luck figuring out when to do that lads. The stress of growing up!
(side note I have another post coming soon about my travels they just take me a while to sort ) 

Travel Diaries: Cambodia

15 March 2018

I have honestly struggled so much to write this post, I'm not sure why I've found it so hard to write about my travels. Probably because I have no experience writing travel posts, and I always ramble on when I shouldn't. Anyway, here we go!

So I went away for just over a month exploring Southeast Asia with a company called G-Adventures, I booked the tour through an organisation called Gap360. My time away was amazing, as were some of the people I met. Coming home was greatly dreaded, but fate (my bank account) wouldn't let me stay any longer. It's okay though, because I have a million new, great memories and a few new great friends and it has made me excited for all my future travels.  ps- my first day was actually spent in Bangkok, but for ease of these posts I have separated the posts by countries, as I also spent a few days at the end in Thailand as well. 

SIEM REAP
We spent 2 nights in Siem Reap, and it was great. When we first got there I went for a stroll with someone else from the group around our hotel and literally within 5 minutes I found out what people meant when they say Cambodian people are some of the friendliest you will ever meet. We walked past a school and all the kids ran at us waving and saying hello. Their enthusiasm was so heartwarming and the welcome feeling the kids gave us stayed throughout the entire time we were in Cambodia. The adults were equally as friendly, albeit minus the obvious enthusiasm, but adults smiled at us after a few questioning glances and some would speak to us, asking basic questions as a way to practice their English which was just really lovely. 

NEW HOPE RESTAURANT
Going for dinner at the New Hope Restaurant is a must if you're in Siem Reap, as it stands on really great morals. The restaurant is surrounded by a school, and all the money from the restaurant goes to help fund the school. Not only this, but the restaurant works uses local woman as their chefs, training them up so they can become qualified as real chefs so that they can move on to work in other restaurants and better their lives. 

We were lucky enough to go into into one of the English lessons which was a bit strange, we were definitely intruding but no one seemed to mind. We were told to just talk to the students, but surprise surprise- me being awkward isn't limited to England. I pretty much sat in silence next to a girl after a mini conversation, I could hear everyone else chatting but for some reason no words came to my head. One of the girls in my group told me that after she told the boys she was talking to that she was 19 they were all shocked that she she wasn't married yet, which was a bit sad but honestly the school is so great.  The school really seems to care about their students, checking up on them if they haven't been in for a while and if there is a problem with money they try and figure out if there is a way to resolve it.

There are many ways to help what the people at New Hope do- or if you're ever in Cambodia you should 100% go to the restaurant. Just click here to have a look.



ANGKOR WAT
We woke up at the actual crack of dawn so that we could see the sunrise over Angkor Wat, and let me tell you it was definitely worth it. If you go to Angkor Wat, you have to go and see the sunrise because you may have seen a 1000 beautiful sunrises before, but they're all magnificent and no photo or words can explain what it felt like seeing the sun peak through behind the temple, or just how many colours illuminated the sky or the way the water ripped with the colours of the sunset and reflection of the temple. So if you're in Cambodia, go check it out! It was sad there though, as kids were rushing about collecting cans and waiting for you to drop some rubbish, then I found out that they do this because they get paid for collecting a certain amount of cans. When I say kids I mean young kids as well, ones who shouldn't have to worry about picking up tourists litter. 

We then spent hours exploring the temples, we had a guide but to be completely honest he sort of repeated the same things over and over again just in different ways, so it got quite confusing trying to understand what he was going on about so I haven't really come back with any fun facts other than the temple that inspired tomb raider is there. Angkor Wat is massive, there are so many temples to see but it has to be done. We didn't see all the temples and I can't remember the names of all the ones we saw but all of them were beautiful and had so much detail put in to the tiniest things. When we were walking in-between temples our tour guide kept telling us not to touch any monkeys, which let me tell you was the last thing on my mind. I'm pretty sure my entire time away the word RABIES was constantly pulsing in my head. 

NIGHT MARKET & PUB STREET
Siem Reap has the best night life out of everywhere we went in Cambodia. It has a street just full of pubs and is also round the corner from the night market. Let me tell you, both are equally as crazy as each other. The night market is so hectic, you turn your head slightly and someone is bargaining about the price of something you haven't even seen yet. The market wasn't as bad as they are in Vietnam, but the stall owners don't really have any qualms about touching you to get your attention (which I found uncomfortable) but they are all very polite about it but some other markets I went to in other places the stall owners could be quite rude. Supporting the fact Cambodians are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet! I got my best elephant pants from here, but alas I have now shrunk all but one of my comfy pants. 
Pub street is equally as fun, I won't lie- I don't remember much. The drinks are so strong in Cambodia  and are ridiculously cheap. I'm pretty sure drinks are 9/10 alcohol 1/10 mixer. Also so many straws are given to you! Forget the environment (to be fair I do feel like Cambodia has more pressing matters than the environment) but Jesus Christ they don't hold back on the straw front. Also, I don't know if it was just the club place we went to but there were fire dancers there which was sort of terrifying as throwing about fire whilst surrounded by drunk people doesn't sound safe (fyi I wasn't drunk by this point so I was full of pure fear) however all the drunk people seemed to love it, and no one got hurt. Although they then set up a limbo game, and the stick was on fire. Healthy and safety?!! I don't think so. It was a fun night though, the fact we had a super long coach journey the next morning didn't seem to stop anyone.

PHNOMH PENH

Phnomh Penh was strange, as you the streets were dirty and run down and randomly there would just be a really expensive, modern looking building. I feel like by just looking at the street, it seemed as if an architect were made to draw the unequal disposition of wealth of Cambodia in city form. That didn't make sense. Anyway, it was strange and a lot busier than Siem Reap. I think this was one of my least favourite cities- but essential to get exposed to the history of Cambodia and also there is no denying the centre of Phnomh Penh has some beautiful sights.

Briefly about night life... This place is full of roof top bars! Fancy ones or basic back packer ones, their is always something to do at night although it can be hard to find which place is the most popping.


THE KILLING FIELDS & TOOL SLENG GENOCIDE MUSEUM 
We done both of these on the same day and oh my god was it a heavy day. Knowing the history is one thing, but going to the actual place where such horrors happened was life changing and I can't quite put it into my words. I spoke to my sisters boyfriend about it, and he said when he went to The Killing Fields there were really graphic murals of what happened there, but they aren't there anymore. If you go to the Killing Fields you should definitely get a tour guide, the S21 Museum there are things up explaining what you're seeing (a tour guide is still recommend though in my opinion) but in the Killing Fields you have to. 

I think the thing that got to me most about the Killing Fields is how well preserved everything still is. The tree that provided the guards with poisonous fruits to feed the victims was still there, remains of the victims clothes were still on the floor and in some places you could see victims bones peeping through the ground. It was awful and especially having been in the country a few days and already having recognised the Cambodians as such friendly people, I don't know it just still shocks me how people who have been through so much are still able to form such a friendly and welcoming community. I'm not going to go into depth about some of the things we were told (I'm sure a lot of information is online but you can ask as well) but I still find it unfathomable the murder techniques used, because they didn't kill just to end lives but the guards made sure the victims had the most painful deaths possible (physically and emotionally- mothers had to watch their own children go through the most gruesome deaths). I wasn't aware of the fact the rest of the country didn't know what was going on at the time, in the fields you can still see the poles that held the speakers which played music to cover the sounds of the victims screams.  There is a building that shows some skulls of the victims and there's signs to let you know how they died and some of the victims ages. It felt weird, seeing the wound that actually ended their lives and the amount of skulls made me become a bit desensitised to the fact that those were the actual skeletons of people who were alive not even that long ago. Sad doesn't do it justice, but after going to the Killing Fields we were all just unable to talk. I don't really know how to explain how much going here changed me, going to the Killing Fields is something you have to do in your life.(Top tip, of course we can't just all jet off to Cambodia so a good film to watch to understand more is 'At First They Killed My Father'. Be prepared to cry) 

The Tool Sleng Genocide Museum was equally as jarring as the Killing Fields, and in the same way as the Killing Fields, so much is still in tact there as well. The floors inside some rooms are still stained from blood and bed frames that victims were chained to are still up. It was just such a shock seeing it at first as well, as I had expected it to no longer look like school considering the gruesome events that happened in there; but it still looked exactly like a school. Outside there were even some exercise bars up from the school still, but then we were told about how the soldiers used the bars as a way to torture their victims. It was just so bizarre because seeing schools and typical playground things is so familiar to me, like my brain just automatically links these things to childhood. Yet being somewhere where the link is so different to what is natural to me, especially where the link is one to such extreme tragedy was so strange and twisted.  Hearing more about the torture techniques was shocking as well as it's just hard to imagine anything but a monster doing such dreadful things, replacing the monster with what looks like a man is just impossible to do. In the museum there are rooms dedicated to showing the victims, and one of the victims was a relative of our tour guide. Not even a distant relative. It's not that the history hadn't really hit me by this point as the Killing Fields kind of gave me the moment where my brain shoved aside the label of 'history' and replaced it with reality (if that makes sense?) but being with someone so connected with it all seemed strange. Ah it's so hard to explain and I've said strange so many times. Moral of the story, being in a place where so many lives were lost, in a place which changed the world felt completely different to how I expected it to.  We were able to met two of the known survivors of the prison, Chum Mey and Buo Meng. How they have the strength to go back to a place where they were tortured relentlessly is beyond me. Here's what got me most though, when Chum Mey saw us he was waving and beaming at us and he just seemed to be radiating positivity and when he spoke to us those vibes didn't fade. I bought his book and got a photo with him. I think both men are the a lot of the time, so if you ever go you will most likely get to meet these incredible men. 

I feel the need to say this but I wasn't sure how to slot it in. Opposite the Killing Fields there is a School that was full of children playing in their uniforms. When we left Phnom Penh we went past the University of Phnom Penh, and the roads were often filled with teenagers going to and from school. Cambodia is an amazing country. It has been through so much and the people are still struggling so greatly, but they are moving forward. It was heartwarming seeing all the schools, yet it was still tinged with sadness as it's hard to forget so many people were killed purely for being educated- or not even educated, some were killed just for looking educated. Considering all the educated people they lost though, it's amazing how many schools and places for education they have, and how many children attend. 



SIHANOUKSVILLE
This was the beach part of Cambodia and it was nice, but it wasn't anything overly impressive. The most we done there was relax on the beach, and the beach wasn't overly nice or anything. There are a few good bars in Sihanoukville though, apparently there are some along the beach but I didn't see them. It was nice and had things to do but there wasn't an overwhelming list of things to do.


SNORKELLING TRIP
On the second day in Sihanoukville some of us went on a boat trip (one of the girls was so hungover, it was pretty funny but also felt quite bad for her) to a little island with the most beautiful beach. The boat was nothing fancy, but it was fun. The sun was beaming down on to our backs, and it was so quiet- we were so far away from any other people and the feeling of isolation created such a blissful and relaxing feeling. It were if the sea was protecting us from any negativity. In saying that, it was fun and relaxing but it wasn't the most amazing experience of my life. That's not to sound ungrateful, but I easily could have stayed on the beach all day. I don't really like snorkelling, and despite knowing this about myself I still went. To be fair, to say I snorkelled is a bit of a stretch. I pretty much just swam with a pair of snorkelling goggles on my head, whilst in a constant state of nerves due to the threat of fish and sea urchins. I just really hate fish, I hate the thought of one touching me and I don't want to see them, which is rude of me since I am entering their home by going in the sea. The beach where we stopped for a while was absolutely beautiful, we spent a few hours lazing about here, trying not to forget a single detail of the beautiful scenery, before heading back. 


Two extra things. Firstly, in Cambodia you have to try an amok curry- it's a classic Cambodian dish and they are delicious (although it is restaurant dependent). Also, in Siem Reap you can go to a circus  show, which is pretty cool. By circus I mean acrobats who dance and do gymnastics- I just thought I'd include that as I found it really nice that they still have time to appreciate the arts and show off their skills. I am a bit delirious now as this post has genuinely taken me a week to write. So with that, I bid you good bye and will do my Vietnam adventures next!

Back From Some Travels Update

8 March 2018

I haven't written a post in ages, and I feel like I've forgotten how- but I'm going to do a mini update. I want to share all my travelling stories however at the moment I'm a bit hesitant because

a) I've forgotten how to write. That's my only reason to be honest.

However, nonetheless I feel the need to update my blog about minor matters, just to get the ball rolling and whatnot.

I went travelling for a month around Asia during February with a company called G Adventures and if you have any questions about it just let me know as I'm more than happy to help- booking a trip abroad, especially in a culture so alien from your own, can be scary but there is no need for it to be! I went to Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and spent a few days in Thailand and I had an amazing time. Amazing doesn't really do the experience justice, but I can't think of a word that captures just how incredible the trip was. I wanted to stay in Asia for longer, but as Katie pointed out to me- the return to reality is inevitable and even if I stayed longer my 'problems' would still be present. Now I am back in rainy England, wearing my dressing gown like usual but am planning another change. I plan on getting back into my health and fitness as over winter my life can easily be summed up into one word: lazy. I also want a physical change, with the hopes that this will be a catalyst for a mental change (but after travelling I have come to the conclusion that a mental change can't be sparked by materialism, but still the idea of a physical change brings comfort). Tomorrow I'm going to cut my hair, I am planning another tattoo which hopefully I will also get sorted tomorrow and also hopefully getting back into health and fitness will help get some muscles. Not that muscles are for show, but if I do get muscles I sure as hell will show them off. I also need new glasses, so I'll have a look tomorrow but if that fails I know of a shop in London I can use for glasses.

Materialism may only be a surface level cure, but hot damn am I excited for this haircut. I've always had long hair, I think I'm usually recognised by my long, blonde hair. As my mum said, my hair is iconic- but I just hate that. It's annoying that my hair is more well known than me and I hate that it just hangs there and feels like a load on my head. I know I've placed so much metaphorical significance on my long hair, but for as long as I can remember I have had long hair. 'But you are your hair' but I'm not, my hair isn't as important as I or anyone else makes it out to me. The only thing that is slightly true about my hair is that I used it as a shield, to deflect attention.  I want to feel new and shiny and I think a new haircut and a new tattoo with significance to me is the way forward. future me- have now had the haircut, been made blonder and in certain lights fairly peachy. I am in love with it. 



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