It’s the end of 2015, and we’re okay

Earlier today, while doing some last-minute grocery shopping, my friend Isa retweeted this:

And I thought, Yes, this.

I admit that I have been putting off this 2015 recap for the past few days and was intent on doing other things (like writing) because I wasn’t sure how to go about this. I mean, 15 is a pretty big number to fill (maybe I should quit doing this numbers thing for my recaps), and I guess a part of me is a bit in denial that this year is ending now.

And perhaps there’s a bit of dread coming in, unlike the previous years, and it felt a little disconcerting because I love the New Year. I love it because it meant so many things: new beginnings, new goals, new everything – even if really, not all of them are new. Everything’s fresh and just brimming with possibilities, and I like to make January 1 always awesome so I could carry it for the rest of the year.

But the ending of 2015 and the start of 2016 is a little bit different. I admit that it’s also probably because I’ve been on vacation, and I am loving the fact that I didn’t have much to do nor work to think of and the new year coming meant I’m closer to going back to the office again. Haha. I guess another factor is that I’m turning thirty next year and how about that for some growing-up anxiety.

I mean, thirtyFriends who are already past that age tell me that it isn’t a big deal afterwards, but I bet you were also freaking out slightly when you were approaching that age. :P But really, I guess there’s that feeling that I should have a grasp of my life better now that I’m reaching a new decade. Like I should have this and that, like I should have a plan and an answer to some of the questions that I had back when I was 20, or 24, or something.

But you know what? Those are lies. No one has all the answers and no one has things figured out right now. And Stephanie Kay Sharp’s tweet reminded me that it’s okay not to be completely 100% ready for 2016 by the time this day ends, because who’s completely ready, anyway? I don’t think anyone really is. The best I can do now is reflect, be thankful, and pray for what 2016 has in store for me, for us.

Because 2015 is all about FAITH: being assured of what is hoped for; being certain of what we cannot see. 

Now that I’ve got that word vomit out (I just watched Mean Girls the other night, haha), I’ve decided not to the 15 things, because really, 15 is not enough, and also already daunting for this Tita to remember everything. ;) I think I’m the only one pressuring myself to do the same things I did in the past years. So, instead, an unnumbered list.

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សូមអរគុណអ្នក, សៀមរាប!

I realized that I never finished writing about the Cambodia leg of our trip that we had until I saw that it’s been almost a year since this happened. (Almost, because this time last year was the Bangkok leg of the trip.) Then I saw this in my drafts, and I thought – why not post it on the anniversary?

Massive photo dump. And I may not remember the order of the places we went to. But even so, that Siem Reap trip was a good one. I think I kind of fell in like with Cambodia after that, and now I smile every time a photo of the Angkor Wat or Ta Phrom or any of the temples appear on my feed.

So here’s a very, very late recap, because  I kind of want to reminisce. :)

I am no stranger to crossing borders in trains, I realized, as I was thinking of how to start this post. I realized that I had done that several times when I was in Europe – when I rode the train from Switzerland to Paris, then Vienna back to Switzerland. Somehow, this border crossing from Thailand to Cambodia felt different, perhaps because of the company, and the fact that the Asian experience was different from the European one.

So early morning on the third day in Bangkok, we headed over to the train station at Hua Lamphong to ride a train to Aranyaprathet. I didn’t have high expectations for the train, based on the blogs I’ve read, and I was glad that I didn’t, because the it was a third class train, very much unlike the ones I rode in Europe. Nevertheless, I was in good company, so it was all right.

Bye, Bangkok!
Bye, Bangkok!

siemreap01

siemreap02

It was a long, long train ride, though. We arrived at Aranyaprathet about an hour later than expected, and it was hot and we were tired, but we must press on! We rode a tuktuk, had lunch, had a money changing experience, and then we made our way to the border.

And then we were in Cambodia! But there was a bus ride, and then a long van ride, and we almost got lost in Siem Reap. Thank goodness our hotel owner was nice.

siemreap04

Then, hello, Siem Reap!

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ขอบคุณ กรุงเทพฯ!

My first international trip was about 10 years ago, before my dad went to Saipan for work. We set off to Bangkok, Thailand that summer before junior year in college, which was a lot of firsts that I unfortunately wasn’t able to document. I never got to blog about it in my old blogs because I didn’t know what to say, nor what to write about, partly because there was a time that I was a bit of a brat back then. :P

But I remember one time while we were there, I told my dad that I wanted to go back, and that I wanted to travel more and he said that it’s a good place to visit with friends. I remember planning a trip mentally with my college friends but that never materialized, and Bangkok didn’t become a priority destination for me…

…until some book club friends brought up the topic of an Indochina backpacking trip. And of course I said yes.

So last October, after lots of planning, booking hotels, and grabbing really cheap airfares for a trip, some book club friends and I set off to our first international trip together, to Bangkok, Thailand (and later, Siem Reap, Cambodia). I was excited, mostly because of the company and the idea of traveling again before the year ends. I was excited about the place, but it has been so long since I was last there that I could hardly remember anything, except that I knew I wanted to eat everywhere instead of restaurants, because I didn’t get a chance to do that on my first time.

Sawasdee-kha, Bangkok!

Batch 1: All sleepy and eye-baggy, but ready to go to Bangkok! (Delayed flight, boo!)
Batch 1: All sleepy and eye-baggy, but ready to go to Bangkok!

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