Hello, 2016

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The fireworks were great last night, but the moon was spectacular. I spent the last minutes of 2015 and the first two hours of 2016 gazing at the moon and stars with my cousins, and I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. I know this gets used too often to the point of it becoming annoying, but I really do feel so incredibly fortunate. If this was Instagram, I would definitely #blessed this post.

Happy New Year, everybody. ūüôā

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Art on an airplane barf bag

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On our flight back to California from Colombia, my cousin, Michael, took out the barf bag, borrowed my pencil and started doodling. I’ve known him since we were kids, but I never knew he¬†draws and I never thought he did.

And then he shows me this!

I’ve always thought of him as someone who’s great at everything he does. And he is. It’s just that a lot of times, he doesn’t see it. Or maybe he does, but he’s just perfectly fine with not making the most out of it. Or maybe that’s the only time he felt he could share his talent with me.

Whatever his reason is, I will make sure to sit next to him the next time we get to travel together.

To remind me that Life is beautiful

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And that just because I don’t see it right now doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

And that life goes on and that I should go along with it.

And that just because nothing BIG is happening in my life right now¬†doesn’t mean that nothing is happening in my life.

And that even though there are moments in life when I find it almost impossible to not focus on the bad, the difficult and the ugly, I have witnessed and experienced so many moments of incredible beauty and infinite peace.

And that Life is always worth living and will always remain so.

Thank God for photo albums

I completely forgot they existed. And when I found them, I realized I also completely forgot the little girl I once was. It’s kind of amazing really, when you see the child you once were through the eyes of the adult you’ve become. I can’t describe how it felt trying to reconcile the girl in the photographs to the woman staring back at me in the mirror.

I like to think I still remember how I was as a kid. I like to think I was smart for my age, that I knew how to share my toys and that I didn’t give my parents any trouble. I’d speak when spoken to, always in a polite manner, never forgetting to say please and thank you. I’d never forget to say my prayers at night and before meals.

But the truth is, the things I remember are more made up of pixie dust than real memories. And the truth about that truth is, I kinda like it that way. I like imagining different versions of myself as a kid and I like that I don’t ever really know which version is the correct one. There’s no reason. Just because.

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I was born 90% cheeks, 10% everything else
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Me on the left. Working on our charm.
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Me on the right. With my so not identical twin.
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Off to school… or maybe just the porch.
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We all have that one photo where our front tooth is missing

So thank God for old, dusty photo albums. Thank God for the many versions of my kid self. And most importantly, thank God for my twin sister because it is now proven that when it comes to baby pictures, two is definitely cuter than one.

Siem Reap in photos

My sister and I had a 6-day trip to Siem Reap, Cambodia last December. It was seriously the most enjoyable trip I’ve had so far. Here are some of the activities we did, and listed below are the details of our trip just in case some of you plan on going and need a few ideas.

1. Driving an ATV to the paddy fields of Siem Reap to watch the Cambodian sunset

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Tour by Quad Adventure Cambodia: http://www.quad-adventure-cambodia.com/

We did the sunset tour which cost $30. You start out at their garage, drive through the streets of Siem Reap and then into the paddy fields. The sunset is so incredibly beautiful. It was as though everything else stopped to give the sun its due. If you’re doing this, I highly HIGHLY recommend Phy as your guide. He’s incredibly warm and friendly, and we had such a great conversation while watching the sunset.

2. Kayaking through the floating village

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Kayaking Tour by Indochine Exploration: http://www.indochineex.com/

We did the kayaking tour to the stilted & floating village of Kampong Kleang. I have to admit, it’s not that cheap, around $120 each because it was only just the two of us. But the entire tour is pretty long and their tours are private, and you get to enjoy a ¬†hearty meal¬†(complimentary) at a local’s house. Our tour guide, Sokun, and his companion, Lee, were so much fun to talk to and they took care of us all throughout. So I’d have to say you’re definitely getting your money’s worth.

3. Zip lining inside Angkor Park

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Flight of the Gibbon: http://www.treetopasia.com/cambodia-holiday/angkor

This is also expensive but, again, still worth it. The entire course took around two hours to complete. The highlight of this tour, I must say, are our guides, Rahul and Vanna. They were so hilarious, often making fun of each other and telling us jokes that were so silly that it actually was pretty funny.

4. Well, you can’t NOT see the temples of Angkor Park

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We stayed at the¬†Model Angkor Resort & Residence¬†during our stay. It’s a 4-star resort away from the main road where most of the hotels are located, but still near enough to get there in five minutes via TukTuk or bike. Their rates are high, but luckily I was able to book our room at a special discount + flash deal rate through Agoda which came up at about $60/night.¬†Both of us prioritized relaxation for this trip so we decided to splurge on our accommodations, and just save up on food and airfare, which was a good decision on our part because this place is spectacular. And, just like all the people we met in Siem Reap, the resort staff and employees were so nice, helpful and sincere.

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Basically, what I’m trying to say is if you’re thinking of going on a trip and Cambodia isn’t on that list of possible destinations, well, it should. In fact, you should put Siem Reap, Cambodia on your list of places you SHOULD go to. It has the perfect balance of adventure and leisure. I guarantee you you’ll love everything about it.

And if you have any questions about our trip, feel free to ask. I’ll try to answer them as best as I can.