Byebye Bangkok

Thaimaa - 17.7.2018 21:54

Check out the video of our travels in Thailand here: https://vimeo.com/280392096

Password: 1205

We are now sitting at the gate waiting to board our plane from Bangkok to Singapore and then to Sydney, with handwritten boarding passes, which have already created amusement at the security check, passport control, and duty free. Nevertheless, we managed to board our 10th flight of the journey.

Once we returned from Krabi to Bangkok my dad had just arrived from Bhutan the same day. Bangkok is a great hub in Southeast Asia for many organizations. My dad is based there to work in a regional role with Fida International, and he seems to be traveling more than staying in Bangkok. I think he has now Been to about 70 countries, whereas I’ve unlocked a bit more than 50. Don’t know if I’ll ever reach 70!

As we knew that there will be quite much traveling ahead, we wanted to take it easy in Bangkok; eating REALLY well, going to the gym in the mornings, and playing boardgames for example.

Dad and Heather were around just for a couple of more days and then they flew to Finland for a holiday. As they were leaving, there was a beautiful fireworks show on the river just in front of us!

So we had the apartment for ourselves for a couple of days, nice! We continued eating well and going to gym and the pools, and even tried the sauna the last evening. On Sunday morning we went to the Life church in Siam. It was really good to be able to attend church, worship God and hear the word first time after leaving Switzerland. We met some nice people there and had lunch together. It was an international crowd of people working for different organizations, and somehow you feel like you know each other already.

After lunch we went to Chatuchak weekend market, which is so huge that you can easily spend a day there and still not see everything. It’s quite busy though so we were ready to leave after 3 hours. We found some nice little accessories and clothing. It’s good we have very limited space in our luggage so we avoid extra carefully buying anything unnecessary. In three hours we didn’t even get to the furniture, arts, or plants sections. Didn’t think we could fit any of those in though.

Sunday evening went along eating take away Thai food from our favorite kitchen around the corner and watching World Cup football just like on Saturday. Belgium was great and deserved their best ever World Cup result being third. We so hoped the petit Croatia would have conquered Les Bleus, but second place was a great achievement also.

Monday was the last evening and we decided to go check out the latest movie technology max 4D-hold your seats nose and breath- in your face-kick ass cinematography. The conclusion was that we still prefer the good old 2D movies. The Ant man was good though!

On the last day I still took advantage of the 3$ hair cut before saying good bye to our wonderful place in Bangkok. It was all so convenient and comfortable. Thank you. We have many reasons to come back.

Like best friends  The River residents' boat serviceThe girls played Scrabble while the boys competed in Agricola   Shabu shabu Farewell fireworks Lunch after church  Trying out another local eatery Sticky toast Our favorite local kitchen  This is how we started most of our mornings Our handwritten boarding passes

Belgium lost and the weather changed

Thaimaa - 12.7.2018 14:52

It was quite disappointing, we stayed up to watch the semifinal until the wee hours. I really thought Belgium was going to be the champion this time. But no, France was better and they went to the World Cup final. (Now we hope Croatia will keep making history!)

Although it was quite dire to wake up for breakfast after a short night’s sleep, it was worth it since the sun started to break through the clouds and the sky was blue after a while! We headed to the beach, but it was still too early as the tide was high, so we waited. While Deb stayed to watch the climbers at the beach, I decided to make a sacrifice for the sake of nice pictures and climbed the still muddy trail (that was closed during the rain) to a viewpoint. Actually I really enjoyed it, and the views were definitely worth the sweat and mosquitoes (it’s remarkable what kind of a jungle can live on a lime stone). The sacrifice was just in the form of blue shoes turning terra-cotta red.

When the tide went out we were able to reach the nice part of the beach for some cool photos and video. People had been waiting for the beach weather and now they were arriving with boats from the nearby ports.

After the beach we went back to our hotel for lunch and I got ready for my afternoon activity, rock climbing! I’ve heard the Krabi area is some kind of a Mecca for rock climbers, and I understand why. The limestone formations are not only wonderful looking but also really nice features for rock climbing. The rock is really nice to climb; plenty of interesting features and good holds as well. I went top rope climbing with a group of different level climbers. A lot of great climbers there, many of which are Chinese actually. I was climbing and belaying also. The fun cost me some 30$ and offered me the gear and a couple of hours of climbing. I did six different routes which were quite different from each other. Some were with a bit more overhang and climbing over ledges, so heavier on the arms, whereas some were more acrobatic on the feet. The climbing pace was quite high and soon the group was tired already. I however, managed to climb all the routes in the section we went to. Perhaps the most difficult one was a 6a+ route that was also the highest one (maybe some 30m) and had a tricky section just at the top before the finish where the rock didn’t have much features anymore. It was a great sensation to reach the end of that one!

We went for a massage still before dinner, which did very good after the climbing. Dinner was a BBQ buffet accompanied with cultural performance shows. The fire dance almost set the place on fire. The weather has been constantly hot and humid in any case. Good that the rooms have AC and that we haven’t caught a cold, which we both are prone to. Also, we haven’t spent a day sick in bed because of a stomach bug or anything else *knock wood*. Apparently food poisoning and that stuff are quite common at Railay.. we ate lunch almost every day at Local Thai, which was good and the staff was friendly. The last day at Krabi we had some time to walk around the “island” in dry weather and discovered that walking all the way up the east Railay is more quiet and has a really nice restaurant/bar Tew Ley Bar with really nice views and a cool sea breeze. Also, the Great View Resort looked really nice although it’s about a 10′-15′ walk from the beach and restaurants of Railay.

We are happy that we had some sunshine, and could see how beautiful Railay is, the limestones are amazing. And I am so glad I was able to try rock climbing in this special spot! Now we are on our way back to Bangkok, looking forward to seeing Dad and Heather again!

Thai long boats The steep route up to the viewpointRailay  Time to try out rock climbing So many sweet holds in the rock   6a+ This was the climbing spot at Railay Looking gorgeous <3  The cool views and breeze at Tew Ley

Greetings from Thailand

Thaimaa - 9.7.2018 20:37

We have arrived well in Thailand and are getting used to the tropical sauna and the spicy curries. Our time here has been relaxing. We’ve been staying with my family in Bangkok, enjoy the resort lifestyle, and did one week of traveling to the jungles of the north in Chiang Mai and the beaches of the south in Krabi.

Bangkok alone has already been the great holiday. Great food at Heather’s kitchen, with amazing views of the city and the river full of life. Starting the mornings with a run at the gym and relaxing by the pools after breakfast (homemade Karelian pies!). Then playing boardgames(Agricola!) or shopping during the day and delicious dinners in the evenings.

In Chiang Mai we were the chefs for one evening when we took a Thai cooking class. The half day class started by going to the local food market to get to know the ingredients, after which we went to the home garden to learn about the different spices and vegetables. With pink aprons on we started cooking our first dishes, the stir fry. I had chosen the famous Pad Thai while Deb chose a local delicacy Hot Basil Chicken, so we could experiment both. First we prepared all the needed ingredients and then cooked the stir fry. Pad Thai was supposed to be a fairly complicated one to cook, but it turned out well! Next up were spring rolls, which Deb had previous experience of already, so she mastered making a neat looking tasty deep fried roll with crunchy vegetables. There were still two more dishes to make, the curry and the dessert. I made red curry while Deb made panang curry. We had to make the curry paste ourselves by crunching a ton of chilies, and then it was adjusted to the dish. My curry would have needed some more fish sauce to have enough salt, while Deb’s panang curry was delicious! Finally we learned how to prepare the famous mango sticky rice dessert, which was finalized with a pretty blue flower (that had also given the blue color for the rice). To do it again at home, we both received cook books at the end of our class. I would highly recommend this wonderful experience when in Thailand!

Another day in Chiang Mai we spent taking care of rescued elephants. The elephants were rescued from logging, tourist trekking or other activity where the elephants are being ill-treated, drugged, punished, controlled by fear, and don’t live the life elephants should. The way Elephant Nature Reserve rescues these elephants is simply to buy them from their previous owner and take care of them. Our guide told us that the price of an elephant can be from 35,000$ to 150,000$ depending on the gender, age and health of the elephant. And they eat an enormous amount of food every day, so keeping them must not be cheap either, plus all the medicine and rehab needed to get the elephants back to a good health. So we spent a day in the jungle taking care of three female elephants in their 40’s. We fed them a lot of watermelons and pumpkins. Apparently that’s how you make friends with elephants. Then they were happy to go for a couple of hours hike with us in the jungle. It’s impressive how the gigantic animal can walk so smoothly, and even manage narrow paths and steep muddy hills. Once in the forest we kept of feeding them with bananas and rice balls we made. The bananas they grabbed with their trunks but the rice balls we could feed to their mouths. After this we were so dirty that we took a bath with the elephants in the river, and that’s how our day ended with the elephants, giving them a bath. They are such cute and calm animals, very adorable. Huge, yet not scary.

We were in Chiang Mai altogether more or less 4 days, which was enough time to do some activities and also explore the old town. The food there is great! Also lots of temples, but we enjoyed rather spending our time with a good foot massage, Deb took a manicure and pedicure, and then together we had two hour full body massages by ex women prisoners. A long massage like that still cost less than a meal in Europe. Also, lots of things were for sale at the busy Night Bazaar, which was nice to visit since it was so bustling with life compared to the more quiet old town of Chiang Mai.

Transportation in Chiang Mai was convenient with Grab, a local version of the Uber app. We had bought a local sim when we arrived, which was really easy, and made it possible to use the phone with data. It was also useful for finding recommended restaurants when in town. Otherwise, it’s also possible to just jump on Red Trucks that take you to a certain direction for about 1$. There are also lots of bicycles for rent, and even motorbikes, but the traffic looked too busy for an enjoyable ride, and apparently the rental companies try to scam the tourists there, so better just rent bikes once in a smaller town.

From CM we took a 2 hour flight to Krabi, but arrived when it was getting dark so arriving at our final destination at Railay beach was interesting since we still needed a bus and a boat to get there. In CM it got dark quite a bit later than in Krabi, it’s a long country! Fortunately there was still a boat from Ao Nammao beach to Railay after 19:30. We arrived to our honeymoon hotel safe and sound, and were happy to get and upgrade to our room as we arrived.

It’s the monsoon season, so weather at Railay has been more or less (mostly more) rainy, all the time. Therefore we haven’t been able to enjoy the beach and work on our tans much, nor go rock climbing, but we have eaten and rested well, recharged our batteries by reading books, playing games and watching movies. We still have almost two full days here before we head back to Bangkok, so let’s hope we get some dry weather still. But now, to watch Belgium-France! Even though the game starts here at 1am, we must watch and support the Reds!

Family time in Bangkok with Dad and Heather Father-Son time Some more Father-Son time Views of Bangkok and the river, scary high up! Some say, the best pool in Bangkok..?   Our hotel room in Chiang Mai was very nicely prepared Making your own curry paste is HARD work Thai cooking class Pad Thai à la Lauri Mango with sticky rice Preparing the apero for the elephants  Feeding the trunks  Happy! The elephant looks amusing too Gentle touch of a lady Taking the elephants for a walk ...and then for a bath  Eating out in Chian Mai (Ginger & Kafe) Enjoying good treatments in CM   Not a wedding photo Night Bazaar in Chiang Mai Womens' massage center (ex prisoners) in Chiang Mai The weather in Krabi at the moment Dreaming in a cafe on a rainy day Rainy day activities   No matter the weather, food is good!  At Railay beach  Hard to smile when you have salt in the eyes.. ;)  

 

Hopping around the Philippines

Filippiinit - 12.11.2017 14:38

We have just returned from a two-week holiday in the Philippines. Statistically speaking 15 days, 7 flights, 6 hotels, +30 degrees, 12 sunny days, 0 sick days! It was much needed and long awaited for, since we hadn’t had a rest longer than a week for 11 months. We started off with a relaxing stay on Sangat island near Coron in Palawan. Palawan is becoming a very popular tourist destination in the Philippines because of its clear waters, nice corals and beaches, and also nice resorts. There are plenty of islands around the area, and some compare the high rising limestone structures to Halong Bay in Vietnam. The area in general is quite expensive to stay at, easily $100 per night per person, and most people seem to go to El Nido.

We wanted to relax in privacy for a while, so we chose Sangat in Coron. It’s a beautiful island with only one resort on it, and we had our own private beach and a beach villa for five nights. The reception was great; as our boat arrived at the island, we were “welcomed to the paradise” and served fresh coconut drinks before taking us to our place, which was a few minutes walk away from the main resort: a boardwalk around a cliff. As we didn’t want to worry or plan about anything, it was great that we got served food multiple times a day; breakfast at 7:30, snack at 10:00, lunch at 13:00, snack at 16:00, and dinner at 19:30. So we ate, slept, and swam a lot.

It was an ECO-lodge, so we didn’t have air-conditioning, but fans and the sea breeze instead. Unfortunately we got some insect bites, which were itchy a bit, but the resort was clean and we didn’t see any cockroaches, which was Deb’s biggest fear. It was an adventurous experience. At nights we could hear the ocean roaring when the wind picked up, but in the morning we were waken up by the sunshine and listening to the gentle waves rolling to our beach.

Besides relaxing, we also enjoyed some activities like kayaking and snorkelling. We even tried scuba diving! That was something that I always wanted to try. At first I was a little bit surprised how difficult it felt to breathe underwater, as we were practicing to replace our mask and regulator underwater in case of an accident. After the training I felt at ease with the breathing. Deb was doing great all the way. Then we spent half an hour straight under water, diving. I’ve never been underwater that long, and I did start feeling a bit the need to get some fresh air! Also, we dove down to only 7.5 meters, but the pressure already started hurting my ears, and I felt a bit dizzy for a while still after the dive. Nevertheless we enjoyed the diving experience and it was incredible, like another dimension of life! Not many sounds underwater, and the concept of time feels different. Down there everything moves slowly or just stays put, at least that’s how it seems like. Nothing is motorized, no petrol engines. No technologies, just pure nature. We saw beautiful coral, also two cattle fish that can amazingly camouflage to their surroundings. It’s like a digital skin that they have, takes the form of the surroundings. Not only does it change colour, but it also changes shape, which is crazy! One of the fish was close to a spiky coral, so the fish skin also became spiky and white! That was impressive. And we also saw a school of clown fish, aka Nemo, who were living in their cute little coral forest.

After relaxing at Sangat island we took a plane further south to Cebu, and a two hour ferry ride to the city of Tagbilaran, on Bohol island. It was refreshing to stay in a modern hotel for a change and go to a restaurant in the city. We stayed two nights in Tagbilaran, but didn’t do much in the city itself. Instead, we rented a motorbike and drove around the island. Bohol is actually a big island, so we could only cover maybe a third of it. I love riding a bike and exploring! We first drove along the coast and then inland through a mahogany forest to a Tarsier sanctuary. Tarsier is an extremely cute and small monkey-like animal. Funny fact is that each of its eyes weighs more than its brain! They are around South-East Asia, but so small that it’s difficult to spot them in the trees. In the park we saw many, though.

We continued riding and reached the famous Chocolate Hills. There are hundreds of them around in Bohol, these funny little round hills. The history said the area used to be a seabed and that the chocolate hills are where coral was growing and piled up. We then crossed a mountain with our motorbike to get to the coast again. It took quite a bit longer than I thought since the road up and down was winding. It was fun to be out on the countryside, however, and the views from the mountain down to the coast and the sea were beautiful.

For the following three nights we stayed in Panglao, a small island just out of the main island of Bohol. There is even a bridge from Bohol to Panglao, that’s how close they are. Panglao was really nice, we stayed in a boutique hotel called Linaw Beach resort and restaurant. We loved it; the hotel was nice and quiet, with a very nice pool (infinity) and just next to the beach and the sea. Our room had a nice balcony and great views of the sea and the sunsets. On top of this all, the resort had one of the best restaurants on the island, so we were eating really good food! By the way, all the time during the trip we were eating a lot of local food, since it’s something Deborah has fond memories of growing up, and I liked experimenting. At Linaw I found my favourite dish, though, which is the fried Bangus fish, marinated in garlic, lemon and vinegar.

We remained active and explored Panglao with a motorbike, visiting a bee farm, where we had good food and ice cream, and bought some local organic products. We also visited a cave, and on the way there were drenched by an afternoon heavy rainfall. Fortunately, when we arrived at the cave, they had some stalls where we could buy dry clothes at affordable prices! All in all the weather was very good, we had only a couple of rainy days during our vacation. Temperature was always around +30 degrees. It’s not yet the high season, and in fact it was still raining for couple of weeks straight before we arrived. Even on our last days, there was a typhoon in the area. Typhoon season was supposed to be over, but I guess the weather patterns are changing a bit nowadays, and these things remain difficult to forecast.

Another thrilling experience was to rent a jet ski while we were in Panglao! I had been to a lot of beach holidays always wanting to try a jet ski, and now I finally did it! It was so much fun to play with! And Debs was doing all these thrills with me!

On our last day in Panglao we took a tour at 6am in the morning. The boat took us to watch the dolphins hunt for their breakfast, and we did see a lot of them jumping out of the water and riding the waves! After the dolphin safari we were taken to a small island for snorkelling with the sea turtles. So lucky, we saw three of them majestic creatures! It’s like birds flying, how they gently flap forward in the water. And we saw a lot of fish as well, big schools of them. Actually, I think the underwater life was even more impressive in Panglao than in Palawan, it was really good. Finally before returning to our hotel we were taken to the Virgin Island, which is basically an island in the sea with nothing on it, no trees at least! We went there at low tide, and the island was bigger, but we could see where the water level had been during high tide, and there is really not much space to sit around then! Our timing worked well; we were back from the tour by noon, took one last swim in the pool, had a good lunch and headed back to Tagbilaran, then to Cebu, through crazy traffic to the airport, but still managed to catch an earlier flight to get to Manila in the evening.

The last two days we spent with Deborah’s family in Manila. They had come even from five-hour drive away, and taken days off to be with us. We had a really good time with them eating, shopping and talking! I had been to Manila before, but now it was different since we were with people who know where to go to, and it was great to get to know her family and their way of life. They were so hospitable, friendly and funny. Even Deborah’s young cousins joined us. Together we went ice-skating and I had the privilege to be the teacher, since I was the most experienced. Since we booked this trip almost six months in advance, we kept from shopping, awaiting the opportunities in Manila. The two days in Manila we mostly spent in shopping malls, like real Pinoys, and stocked up with clothes and accessories. Deb’s auntie Liza also arranged a photo shoot for us with a professional photographer, and this included a make up artist and hair stylist as well, so that was our day as celebrities, we felt!

Now back in Switzerland, feeling a bit sad to be honest, since it was so great, relaxing, warm, welcoming and kind, the experience in the Philippines, just wishing it could have been longer. We promised to go back sooner than before, which was seven years for Deborah. Her family misses her. For now, we are bringing back lots of positive energy and warmth with us from the Philippines.

Abu Dhabi and the Ferrari world Coron island Arrived in Busuanga airport Waiting for the transport to Sangat Island Sangat welcomed us with fresh and tasty coconuts The boardwalk to our beach villa Our private beach on Sangat island Our beach villa, which was more like a three story tree house Some underwater colours, although the iPhone camera through the aquapack doesn't really do justice to how beautiful the underwater world is.  Getting ready for scuba diving!   Communication with the main resort was with walkie-talkies: time for massage. The shower in our villa came from a cliff   Whenever I'm focused on something... One of our leisure time activities during the holiday. Debs became quite a pool shark    We paddled to the Robinson Cruseo beach  Hey I'm a Tarsier! Chocolate Hills of Bohol After we finished watching a movie, this group of people came to set up the church for the next morning service! What a cool church venue! Enjoying the cocktails at Linaw resort in Panglao The famous Pinoy desert, Halo-Halo We could see beautiful sunsets from our hotel room balcony Beeing friendly at Bohol bee farm Wohoo I always wanted to try a jetski! Amazing restaurant on Panglao island. Luna Rossa, must visit! Chilling at the pool Food for the table Virgin island Virgin island Meeting with Deb's family in Manila. What a great bunch! Hello, meet Noa! Shopping with Nat, Noa and Deb Nice views from Deb's auntie's office Debs getting ready for our photo shoot Gorgeous Ice skating with Nat! Life goals! Back to the Swiss Alps

Field trip to Lebanon

Libanon - 1.10.2017 20:57

I was able to do my first field visit working with Medair at the end of this summer. I was really excited to meet with my colleagues in Lebanon, both the local staff as well as the expats I work with daily, supporting the field team from Medair HQ. I spent a week in the country, visiting Beirut and Zahle, working with the staff in the office and visiting the beneficiaries in the informal refugee settlements. I was also fortunate to do some outdoors activities and sightseeing during the weekend with my colleagues, who introduced me to the flavors, beauty and hospitality of Lebanon.

The field trip was a great boost for me, and I’m happy it was helpful and motivating for the field team as well. I feel it’s so important to have more personal relationships with the people I work with, and now I can understand the life and work in the field better. I was really encouraged to see how dedicated all our staff are, their compassion for the individuals who have had to leave everything behind and flee their home countries in state of conflict. I’m proud of the high quality of aid our teams deliver in Lebanon to bring hope and make a difference in this world, serving those most vulnerable and hard to reach.

Flying in to Beirut I <3 Beirut Beirut is beautiful (and safe) in the evening too! We found this beautiful café on top of a mountain near Tannourin Beautiful stone formations at the mountains. Great for bouldering! Our climbing crew representing different NGOs Beautiful rock for climbing, really got me into the sport again! Visiting vineyards in the Bekaa valley Wine barrels stored in underground caves where people used to take refuge I need to print this for HQ as well! Ensuring the shelter kits are distributed to the correct people Registering the distributions with thumb prints Shelter distributions to the families based on needs assesments I had the privilege to learn about distributions from our great distributions team

Välilasku Hong Kongissa

Hongkong - 6.8.2015 06:03

Matka kohti luvattua maata käy Hong Kongin kautta. Olihan sekin jo melkoinen hyppäys Kambodzhasta, täytyy sanoa. Onneksi minun ei tarvinnut kiirehtiä samalla lailla kuin ihmiset ympärilläni, vaan sain lomaluvan nojalla olla tehoton. Saavuin kamputsealaisittain 10 minuuttia etuajassa paikkoihin, muut tosin kulkivat minuuttiaikataululla. Yksi mielenkiintoinen keskustelu silti ehti syntyä erään eläköityneen hongkongilaisen kanssa. Keskustelun aiheena oli, mikäpä muukaan kuin, raha.Voisikohan olla käyttökelpoinen vertaus, että hongkongilainen mind-set on vähän niin kuin kaupungin infrastruktuuri: kapea ja odotukset korkealla. Business and success. Mutta perhe on aasialaiseen tapaan hyvin tärkeä. Eläköitynyt mies ihmetteli myös, miten uskallan matkustaa yksin..siinä on aika iso kulttuuriero. Hongkongilaiset vanhemmat suhtautuvat hyvin varauksella lastensa ajatuksiin matkustamisesta. Yllättävän monet asiat hongkongilaisten lasten elämässä on vanhempien sanelemia aikuisiälle asti.

Olin täällä kolme vuotta sitten opiskelemassa. Kaikki näytti minun silmääni samalta kuin ennen, paitsi että metrolinjalle oli tullut kolme uutta pysäkkiä. Kävinkin niistä kauimmaisella, Kennedy Townissa, jossa oli mukavan rauhallista istuskella veden äärellä. Yhden kokonaisen päivän aikana, joka minulla Hong Kongissa oli, ehdin nähdä myös neljää koulukaveriani. Kaikki olivat valmistuneet jo kauppatieteiden kandeiksi ja tienasivat hyvää vauhtia finanssialalla. Ainoastaan yksi tosin koki olevansa onnellinen työssään. Muut harmittelivat tekevänsä kovasti töitä ja tienaavansa rahaa työnantajalleen, mutta kiitosta tästä he eivät kokeneet saavansa. En kyllä totta puhuen voisi kuvitella itseäni heidän asemassaan. Elämäntyyli vaikutti niin uuvuttavalta edes kuunnella ja katsella, varsinkin Kambodzhan kokemuksen jälkeen. Kannustin heitä tekemään asialle jotain, ainakin pitämään omasta terveydestään huolta. Ehkä kertomukseni omien rajojen ja unelmien seuraamisesta Mount Blancille ja vapaaehtoistyöhön Kambodzhaan rohkaisevat heitä ja pysäyttää edes hetkeksi kuuntelemaan itseään.

Ihmeellinen ja erilainen maailma, uskomatonta!

Good morning HK! Seurasin kuinka taitavasti ihmiset ripustavat pyykkinsä ikkunasta pudottamatta mitään kadulle. Yammi food  

Kaikkea hyvää – tulee ikävä

Kambod - 4.8.2015 09:42

Niin kuin se, että sateet aikanaan saapuvat, oli minunkin lopulta hyvästeltävä Kamputsea. Sateiden odotettiin saapuvan kuukautta paria aiemmin, ja niin oli minunkin alun perin tarkoitus lähteä, mutta sekä säämiehen että minun suunnitelmat muuttuivat. Tai ehkä olikin suunniteltua, että näin kävisi. Joka tapauksessa olen onnellinen, että sade malttoi antaa minun viipyä vähän pidempään.

On hienoa saada kulkea suunnitelmassa, jonka tietää olevan suuremmissa käsissä. Hämmästelen mitä kaikkea tapahtuu, arvuuttelen mitä tarkoitusta tapahtumat mahtavatkaan palvella ja mitä kautta ne elämää johtavat. Se on kuin eteenpäin vievä virta, elämän virta. Ja tässä olen, Phnom Penhin lentokentällä. Seuraavaksi Hong Kong, sitten Yhdysvallat. Menen tapaamaan ystäviäni elämän varrelta.

Viestin tarkoitus on kuitenkin jättää henkisesti hyvästit hetkeksi Kambodzhalle, maalle, joka minut lämpimästi otti vastaan, lähetti matkaan, ja lämpimästi jo toivottaa uudelleen tervetulleeksi. Jäähyväiset ihmisille, jotka kohtelivat minua hyvin ja hymyillen tunsimmepa toisemme tai emme. Ystäville, jotka kutsuivat minut kotiinsa, seurakuntaansa, lounaalle, kahville, illalliselle, jäätelölle, pelikentälle, elokuviin, luistelemaan, uima-altaalle, yhteiselle matkalle tai pitkän työpäivän päättävälle virvokkeelle. Aikani Kambodzhassa oli todella hienoa.

Tämä oli minulle myös kasvun aikaa. Oman kutsumuksen ja intohimon etsimisen aikaa. Löysin itseni uusien asioiden parista kuten uimasta, golfaamasta, moottoripyöräilemästä, lasten kanssa leikkimästä, pitämässä huolta talosta ja koirista, seurakunnassa puhumasta, katulapsia kohtaamasta, englantia ja miksausta opettamasta. Löysin itseni samanhenkisten ihmisten parista. Löysin itseni työstä, josta nautin.

Kohtasin inspiroivia ihmisiä ja asioita, jotka tulevat vaikuttamaan tulevaisuuteeni. Kokemukset ja ihmissuhteet ovat saaneet jo muokata ajatusmaailmaani. Onneksi lähdin Kambodzhaan avoimin mielin. Joka tapauksessa, tässä riittää reflektoitavaa joksikin aikaa. Kiva olisi tulla takaisin, vähintään käymään. Maan ja sen asukkaiden aurinkoisuus sekä lämpö valloittivat minut.

Kaikkea hyvää Kambodzha.

Jäähyväisiä työkavereiden kanssa. Sain heiltä läksiäislahjaksi kaksi komeaa paitaa. Viimeinen ilta loppui samoille nurkille, kuin mistä matka aikoinaan alkoi

Rannalla

Kambod - 30.7.2015 13:06

Toiveeni rantalomasta toteutui vielä ennen lähtöäni, kun mentiin suomitiimin kanssa Sihanoukvilleen muutamaksi päiväksi. Sadekaudesta huolimatta meillä oli mitä upeimmat säät, tyhjät rannat ja halvat hinnat! Saimme kelliä meressä ja nauttia tuulenvireestä sekä antaa rantaan kuohuvien aaltojen työntää mielestä pois kaiken tarpeettoman. Hyvää ruokaa ja hymyilevää asiakaspalvelua. Kambodzhaa parhaimmillaan.

Aika on lyhyt

Kambod - 25.7.2015 07:29

Viimeinen kyläreissu ja toiseksi viimeinen työviikko on saatu päätökseen.

Jotkin tapahtumat ja keskustelut tällä viikolla johtivat siihen, että aloin miettiä aikaa. En muista pitäneeni sylissäni pientä ihmislasta enempää kuin kahta kertaa elämäni aikana. Se on merkillinen hetki ja erityinen tunne. Ystäväni Australiasta lähetti minulle terveisiä Townsvillestä, jossa kuusi vuotta sitten sain syliini hänen siskonpojan. Löysin tilanteesta kuvan blogistanikin. Nyt Zach on jo kuusivuotias, minua 2o vuotta nuorempi. Hän pitää kirjoista ja skeittauksesta. Hän on herttainen poika. Liekö ollut vaikutusta sillä, että pidin häntä sylissäni, sanoi ystäväni. Oli tai ei, mutta havahduin siihen ajatukseen, että minulla tosiaan voisi olla vaikutusta siihen, millaiseksi toinen ihminen kasvaa. Toivoisin tuon vaikutuksen olevan positiivista. Että se hedelmä, jota elämäni kantaa, olisi hyvää ja esimerkillistä. Lapset ovat yrittelijäitä ja periksiantamattomia. Mietin, kuinka paljon vaatikaan yrittämistä ja kuinka vaikeaa aluksi on esimerkiksi oppia kävelemään, puhumaan ja lukemaan. Kaikki kuitenkin oppivat. Ei siis edellytä erityistä lahjakkuutta, vaan pitkäjänteistä harjoittelua oppia uusia elämäntaitoja. Kovin usein itse tuntuu jo luovuttavan uusien asioiden oppimisen, jotka eivät heti luonnistu, kun ajattelee ettei minulla ole lahjoja tähän. Jatkan siis harjoittelua ja oppimista. Mutta kuusi vuotta, se oli aikoinaan pitkä aika. Siinä on lapsi ehtinyt kasvaa ja oppia monenlaista. Yhtäkkiä se on vain hujahtanut. Oma muutos näyttää pieneltä, mutta ehkä viime vuodet ovatkin olleet enemmän sisäisen kasvun aikaa. Onneksi olen kirjoittanut.

Pikku-Zach ja pikku-Lauri kuusi vuotta sitten

Aikaa on rajallinen määrä emmekä saa sitä koskaan takaisin. Se on toisin sanoen arvokkainta, mitä voimme elämästämme antaa. Joskus täällä ollessani mietin ja saatan turhautuakin siitä, kuinka tehottomasti aikaa käytetään. Kyläreissullani varsinkin ajattelen, että voisimme saada kaiken hoidettua nopeammin ja palata pian takaisin kaupunkiin, jos työskentelisimme tehokkaammin. Saavumme kylätapaamisiin reilusti etuajassa. Mutta se ei olekaan huono juttu, sillä usein odotellessa kyläläisten kanssa syntyy hyviä kohtaamisia ja keskusteluja. Täällä se toimii. On hienoa huomata, että ihmiset antavat aikaansa, vaikkei “vaihdantaa” oltu etukäteen suunniteltu tai sovittu. Ottaen huomioon ajan rajallisuuden ja sen rahallisen vaihtoehtoiskustannuksen, alan ymmärtää annetun ajan arvokkuuden. Annetun rahan ihminen voi tienata takaisin tulevaisuudessa, mutta tämä hetki on olemassa vain nyt. Lapset ovat pieniä nyt, ihminen rinnallasi on nyt.

Haluankin päättää viestini työkaveriltani kahdeksan vuotta sitten saamaani ajatukseen:

Aika olla onnellinen on nyt
Paikka olla onnellinen on tässä
Tapa olla onnellinen on tehdä se toiselle

Kävimme katsomassa ystävieni kanssa Phnom Penhin jalkapallojoukkueiden paikalliskamppailua. Tapahtumarikas matsi sisälsi viisi maalia, joista voittomaali syntyi 15 minuutin sähkökatkon jälkeen. Moottoripyörän ihastelua sunnuntaikokouksen jälkeen ICF:llä Viimeinen viikko lattiamajoituksessa Kampong Speussa Kylillä syödessämme ruoka on luomua ja tuoretta Höyhentäminen käy helpommin kuumavesikylvyn jälkeen Kylänäkymä Lapset kokkaamassa Näyttävä kotipuutarha Kyläkehitystyön seurauksena kyliin syntyy myös pieniä kotiseurakuntia, joista yhtä johtaa tämä sydämellinen mies Mahtavat olivat maisemat viimeisellä kyläreissulla Tytöt olivat keräämässä vesililjoja torille myytäväksi

Parangin viikot

Kambod - 12.7.2015 14:02

Uskon, että vaikein on takanapäin. Koin hetkellistä väsymystä ja yksinäisyyttä vietettyäni kolme viikkoa maaseudulla vaatimattomissa olosuhteissa, toki palaten viikonlopuiksi Phnom Penhiin, mikä oli mahtavaa. Vaikka paikallisten kanssa on hienoa tehdä töitä ja viettää aikaa, väistämättä joudun suurimmasta osasta keskusteluista ulkopuoliseksi, koska en ymmärrä kieltä riittävän hyvin, ja silloin saatan kokea yksinäisyyttä, vaikka olen ihmisten ympäröimänä. Olosuhteetkaan eivät olleet aina mieltäylentäviä. Aamulla saatoin herätä väsyneenä kuumuuden vuoksi huonosti nukutun yön jälkeen. Retkimajoitus lattiallakaan ei aina houkutellut. Mutta ainakin telttani suojasi hyttysiltä, tuhatjalkaisilta ja muilta ötököiltä. Myrskyn tullen se ei kuitenkaan pitänyt vettä loitolla, eikä liioin pitänyt talokaan, jossa majoituimme. Bussimatkat kyliin olivat välillä jänniä; kerran istuin vanhan kiinalaisen bussin (jota käytettiin tavaran kuljetukseen) portailla kuunnellen loppuunkuluneiden iskareiden iskeytymistä pohjaan, kunnes joku osa tippuu tielle ja se sidotaan narulla takaisin paikoilleen. Kuski kääntää rattia jatkuvasti suorallakin tiellä, joten en tiedä miten hyvässä kunnossa keikkabussin ohjauskaan lopulta on.. turvallisuuteni vuoksi tekisi mieli hypätä kyydistä, mutta en tiedä milloin seuraava bussi osuisi kohdalle ja olisiko se yhtään sen parempi. Sitten ajattelen, että ensi viikolla sama homma uusiksi. Kaipasin myös seuraa, jossa voisin kommunikoida joutumatta käyttämään yksinkertaistettua ja hidasta kieltä. Viikonloppuisin olin kuitenkin usein väsynyt ja kaipasin vain lepoa ja saada olla omissa oloissani, joten en ollut kovinkaan sosiaalinen. No tämä on toki hieman kärjistettyä, kaikki vaikeudet kasaantuivat oikeastaan vain yhdelle viikolle. Mutta pian oloni helpottui.

Itse asiassa viimeisellä viikollani aloin tottua ja taas nauttia olosuhteistani. Ehkä osittain myös sen takia, että tiesin seuraavan viikon viettäväni kaupungissa ja ensimmäinen suomiperhekin olisi jo palannut. Siihen asti parhaiten minut tuntevat tavoitettavissa olevat sosiaaliset olennot olivat olleet taloni kolme koiraa: Musti, Viki ja Vili. Kanadalaiset Stephen ja Allison olivat nimittäin olleet koko tuon ajan kiireisiä ja reissanneet itsekin, joten en saanut heistä seuraa. Kolmas viikko, joka oli toinen viikko saman kollegan kanssa, oli kuitenkin jo niin hyvä, että unohdin olleeni mieli maassa. Mieleni oli taas positiivinen ja nautin saada olla kylällä luonnon rauhassa. Olin odottanut tätä viikkoa myös sen takia, että pääsisin silloin ensimmäistä kertaa auton rattiin Kambodzhassa. Menimme nimittäin tällä kertaa kylään lähelle Vietnamin rajaa, jonne olisi ollut hankala päästä ilman omaa autoa. Ajot sujuivat hienosti, vaikka aluksi mietin miten pärjäisin auton kanssa Kambodzhan liikenteessä. Kerran rekkaa ohittaessani sen rengas räjähti ja kumiriekaleet lensivät automme päälle, mutta ei siinä onneksi mitään vakavampaa tapahtunut. Pääsin jopa jonkin verran ajelemaan maastossa joihinkin kyliin mentäessä, ja ajotaitojani kehuttiin, joten koin onnistumisen tunteita. Olen aina pitänyt autoista ja off-road ajosta, vaikka nyt minulle on iskenyt lievä moottoripyöräkuumekin!

Nyt kaikki on taas hienosti ja muistelen viime viikkoja lämmöllä. Danin ja Sirkun perhe palasi lomiltaan ja muutin Pekon ja Heidin taloon loppuajaksi. Asumme mukavalla asuinalueella, jossa tykkään käydä iltaisin uimassa ja saunomassa. Viimeisten viikkojen aikana olen oppinut tuntemaan lähemmin työkavereitani ja he minua. He uskaltavat jo pilailla kustannuksellani. Sanoivat myös tykkäävänsä työskennellä kanssani ja kysyvät milloin tulen takaisin Kambodzhaan. Viimeisen kyläreissun päätteeksi työkaverini kutsui minut luokseen syömään, jossa sain tavata hänen koko perheensä. Saan aina kokea olevani niin lämpimästi tervetullut ja hyvin kohdeltu vieras, etuoikeutettua. Kylähankkeissa vieraillessakin meitä pyydetään jäämään syömään ja sadetta saamme pitää milloin missäkin. Ihmisillä on aikaa pitää huolta tuntemattomistakin. Ihailen sitä.

Kyläläisten tapaaminen Osandanthmeyssä Osandthmeyssä kylän ympäristöstä on pidetty hyvää huolta Mielenkiintoinen ratkaisu. Ehkä vessaa käytetään vain illalla. Jotkin vessat ja kylät eivät ole aivan niin siistejä kuin muut Chilling Melonikausi. Tuoretta ja orgaanista Kampong Chhnanging naisten koulutuskeskuksessa tehdään muun muassa huiveja ja muita kankaita Pääsin kokeilemaan maton punomista Onnellinen Vettä kaivosta Kyläläiset kokoontuivat keskustelemaan kehitystarpeistaan Lasten opetusta Bambumetsän keskellä olevassa kylässä naiset punoivat monenlaisia koreja myytäväksi Hetken sadetta pitämässä Katselin auringonlaskua kauanodotetun ja tervetulleen vesisateen jälkeen toimistomme parvekkeelta Lähdettiin viemään kollegan skootteria Phnom Penhiin CGA:n toimisto Svay Riengissä Kambodzhalaiset hääasut ovat näyttäviä Kambodzhalainen tuktuk