Friday, April 29, 2011

I'm in India!

I've been in India for a week now but we've been working so intensely to prep the leadership team we are working with, I've hardly taken a picture!  Here is one from my first (cloudy) morning when we took a walk on the beach that is right by the apartment I am staying in.

Today we are heading out to the site where we will be training the staff and welcoming the campers to the first GPI program ever in South Asia!

I'm excited to see what camp looks like here.

Lots of stories to come about accidentally drinking tap water, surviving a rickshaw driver with road rage, and other great adventures on this time in indiaindiaindia.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

From Vietnam... To Chennai, INDIA!!

After an entire 3 days in Vietnam, full of super productive meetings and a great dose of checking out some highlights of Hanoi, we're off to the main purpose of this jaunt... to start the first GPI program in INDIA!!!


Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Crossing the Street

Warning: these might make you motion sick.  And/or worry about my safety more than you already are (mom).

video
video video video

Today in Hanoi, a Thai monk and I took pictures of each other.

























Posted by Picasa

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hanoi!

I'm still jetlagged to no end, but there is no rest in sight.  Today we rose before dawn and left Phnom Penh for Hanoi, Vietnam!

I was struck by a few things:

1. This is a communist country (err.. socialist republic?), and someone doesn't want you forget it.  Red flags flying everywhere and Viet Cong memorabilia on sale on every street corner (it seems much more so than in Ho Chi Minh City).  But the most amazing thing to me is despite the not-so-distant-history of war between our two countries, we have been made to feel without exception completely welcomed.  I find this both amazing and humbling.
File:Communist Party of Vietnam flag.svg
(image location)

2. The architecture (I assume heavily influenced by the French) is gorgeous.  I was really struck when driving in to town how beautiful the buildings were.  Pictures to come soon.  I am also in love with the foliage - it is thick, even in the most populated and bustling areas, it is almost like there is a canopy of trees and vines covering everything. 

3. There are Seaweed flavored Pringles.  I ate half the can.
4. We went to a water puppet show tonight.  Its a Vietnamese tradition that dates back centuries, and it was really quite entertaining.  The puppeteers are waist-deep in water the whole time, but you never see them, so it looks like the puppets are dancing on the water.



5. I am so excited to see what tomorrow brings.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

From Cambodia to.. VIETNAM!



The whirlwind continues!  Now we're headed from Phnom Penh, Cambodia (it was just a sneak peak, I'll be back in August!) to Hanoi, Vietnam!  We're headed for a second planning visit for a camp that will happen in June.

Inspired - NHCC

Yesterday I visited the site of our partner organization, New Hope for Cambodian Children.  It is a children's village for children abandoned because they are HIV positive, and it is just beautiful.  It is a place where love is tangible and visible.

Being there brought back a lot of memories of another children's village close to my heart, McKallie's Home of Future and Hope in Malawi, Africa. 

Both of these places are founded and run by people with a vision and a calling and passion that I wouldn't even be able to believe if I hadn't seen it first hand.
 
I left NHCC yesterday feeling touched, energized, inspired and with a renewed sense that anything is possible.  I am so excited to spend more time at the village this August, and this will definitely not be the last time I mention the amazing work happening there.

I am so grateful I've had the opportunity to get to be involved with these two organizations and others like them. There are too many beautiful things happening that we could be putting our energy into to be consumed by the negative things.  There is good stuff happening out there. Let's celebrate that good work and support that good work, and push forward. 

xo

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Took a tuk tuk: Cambodia

Last night the first thing I felt when I got off the plane was a huge wave of warm humid air.  I love breathing in that first breath of the thick (usually smoggy) air that hits when you get off the plane in the tropics.  I mean that in all sincerity.. it is like the thickness of the air is directly coorelated to the depth of adventure that is about to take place.  (And FYI, if that stands, the work in this country is going to be off the charts)

This is my first time in Cambodia.  I will be managing a program here this August, so this trip is just a teaser of what's about to come.  I'm so glad because I want to explore every last corner.


This morning we took a tuk tuk to work and a moto home.
Its tradition.
 Our view from dinner - overlooking the Mekong river. 
 Our tuk tuk ride home.


A side note: A couple of weeks ago I watched the Killing Fields, a movie about two journalists covering the Khmer Rouge regime.  I have put off watching for a long time because I wasn't sure I wanted to see the imagry of genocide (I've been increasingly sensitive to movies that show violence or war the last couple of years).. but since I knew I was coming here, I watched it and I am so glad I did.  I recommend it for anyone wanting to learn more about the genocide that took place here not so very long ago.. I am also hungry to learn more, so if anyone has good book/film suggestions, please let me know!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

on the road again

Sunday I leave for the next round of this crazy job.

This one will take me to Cambodia for 2 days, Vietnam for 3, and India for three weeks.

Meanwhile spring is creeping in here.  The rainy days feel damp and chilly but not cold, and the sun finally has warmth to it again.  Buds are popping open all over and the tree in my house exploded into pink on Sunday.

My life here is nice.

And my temporary life in Asia... is about to be real!

Spring

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is."  - Albert Einstein