Tuesday, July 6, 2010

We are soooooo close to getting home. We're now sitting in the Seattle airport waiting for our next flight. The flight here didn't seem to long though because we just slept most of the way. I'm really sick of airplane air and food.

See you guys at home!
Hello from Taiwan.... again. Abby and I have claimed ourselves a spot on the airport floor to camp out for a 5 hour layover. Woo good times. Abby is pretty frustrated though that she can't find a decent snack to eat besides dumplings. So instead, we got a water and a coke.

I'm pretty sure we just saw the male Taiwan version of Brittany Spears. Long blond hair with nasty grown out roots and a black undertone. Man I love Taiwan.

The flight here wasn't too bad, we basically just slept the entire way. The only time we woke up was to eat some yummy airplane food. I'm just relieved we were able to check our bags. My bag felt like it weighed as much as my body weight and I prayed it wouldn't be overweight and God answered my prayer. It was barely under.

So cute story of the day. Because our apartment was on the fifth floor, Abby, Joanna, and I were afraid to take all of our bags down the stairs without breaking ourselves or something else. We grabbed a couple guys from outside and we paid them to take our bags down. One dollar each, no big deal. The little boy who's parents own the apartment building offered to help too. He can't be no more than 8 and he's a sweetheart. After we were all finished carrying the bags downstairs we gave a dollar to each of the men. I went up to the little boy and thanked him for helping and handed him his dollar. You would have thought he won the lottery. He had the biggest smile and got really shy. I would say that's a good note to end Cambodia on.

Well. Hopefully the time goes quickly so we can get settled on our next flight with some good movies.

Sorry it took so long, but this is the final shot of the wall

Twister time

Poor Phirum

Joanna playing with the girls

Monday, July 5, 2010

This is our last day in Cambodia and it feels weird to be saying I'm going home because this has been my home for almost a month now.

Yesterday we spent the day at the pool just relaxing and enjoying our last full day. It was absolutely wonderful.

Then that night we went to the center just to hang out with the girls and enjoy spending time with them. When James and Athena got here they brought the game Twister so we decided to try it out. It was absolutely hilarious. Girls were falling all over each other and laughing hysterically. Poor Phirum, his little body couldn't stretch across the mat very well because he is so small. He sure did give his best efforts though with a bunch of sarcastic complaining yells. My stomach hurt because I was laughing so hard. It really was a great way to end our time with the girls.

I feel so honored to be able to spend time with these amazing human beings. We are around the same age and I cannot even imagine all the things they have gone through. The strength they have is unbelievable. I am so thankful that God has given me this experience. Cambodia has definitely gotten into my blood and is apart of me now.

A big thank you goes out to James, Athena, Summer, and Joanna. They are the reason we were able to survive here. They have been so supportive through this entire trip.

Another thank you goes to all of you reading this. You are the reason we were able to get here emotionally and financially.

I will have to update my last group of pictures when I get to the airport because I forgot my camera at the apartment. I will continue to update in the airports until we get safely home.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hello from Cambodia. This is James Pond - posting to Kaytlyn's blog with an appeal for you to 'vote' and make an impact in the lives of girls, here in Phnom Penh. Transitions Global is about restoring dreams to girls that have been robbed and prevented from having a future. Kaytlyn and Abby have been here for the past weeks, working (and playing) with the girls and getting to know them - as girls, as teenagers, as freed slaves.

Right now, Chase Bank (yeah, the really big one) is offering millions of dollars to organizations for free! Ranging from $20,000 - 250,000 for first place! All you have to do, is vote...you follow the link on Facebook at within a couple of clicks, you will have given us the opportunity to win some money that will directly impact the lives of these girls. So, please, take 30 seconds and 'vote' for Transitions Global.

Go here or Athena's facebook
Happy 4th of July everyone! It definitely didn't feel like it here.

Joanna, Abby, and I had a 4th of July that consisted of going to a pool and hanging out for most of the day. This one pool that Joanna really wanted us to go to is under construction so we asked the man there if he knew of any other pools that we could go to. He mentioned a pool that was only $5 to get into so we grabbed a tuk and went there. Just from the road you would have never known it was a hotel/pool. At first we thought we were at the wrong place. As soon as we walked up to the gate though, a man opened it and revealed this small resort like property. The pool was toward the back and it had chairs to lay on and a little poolside resturant to grab a bite to eat. It was refreshing to see something so "normal."

We met this awesome family at the pool that was from London. This lady, her husband, her two sons, and her daughter are traveling the world for 3 months. Some of the places they are going to are, Cambodia (obviously), Australia, Fiji and California. How awesome is that? When I have a family someday, I want to do something like that.

After relaxing at the pool for 3 hours, not shocking, it started to rain, so we called it quits. Abby was super tired and we dropped her off at our apartment to take a nap while Joanna and I decided to get foot and shoulder massages.

Later on, we met up with James, Athena, and Summer for dinner at this Thai place called Setsara. It was super good. I had Pah Thai, which is now my favorite Thai dish.

Today seemed to go by really fast. I mean, you guys get to celebrate Fourth of July American style, and we get to celebrate it Cambodian style.

Tomorrow is going to be a really sad day. Our last day with the girls, our last day with Polo as our driver, and our last full day to spend with Joanna. I'm really going to miss this place. Although, I know there are great things in store for me after I leave here and I have no doubt that I will be back. It's amazing though how close we have become to these people in three short weeks.

A couple boys that jumped on the back of our tuk

A monk

This is the huge brothel that I wrote about in one of my recent post

Some of the girls tye dye shirts

The intense raining, it's kinda blurry, put you get the feeling for it

The girls in their shirts

Phirum made this for Abby and I, he's so sweet

This sign says it all

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Wow it feels good out right now. It just rained which always cools things down thank goodness.

Starting with yesterday. We had breakfast with Dave, Ben, Summer, James, and Athena for a going away breakfast for Dave and Ben. They had a really short trip and left yesterday.

We spent most of the day rinsing, drying, washing, then drying again all of the tye dye t-shirts that the girls did. Yeah it was a really long process with our little tiny washer that sounds like it's going to explode when it spins.

We had torrential rains here yesterday and lots of flooding. Cambodia doesn't have a very good draining system. Abby and I decided not to go to the center because of the rain, we still needed to finish the tye dye shirts, and the center is quite a drive away from our apartment. So of course instead, we called our tuk driver Polo because we were really craving frappachinos. We also decided we were going to get a manicure and pedicure since it was raining and their was nothing else to do. It's a weird thought process I know. Polo pulls up and we run out to the tuk. It basically just looked like we took a shower. The water is spraying up on the side of our tuk because the water is so deep. After picking up Joanna we went to Gloria Jeans to get the frapachinos. I step out of the tuk and the water is over my ankles. While trying to lift my foot out of the water I lose my flip flop and it starts floating down the Cambodian street river. This police man/traffic director sprints after it and saves it for me. We really wanted this coffee. The manicures and pedicures were delightful also.

We decided to try this place called the Ally Cat for dinner. It has really good Mexican food. It was kind of sketchy though because it actually was down this alley. Oh well, what else can you expect here.

After eating still our stomachs were about to bust we all wanted to check out this night market that we kept hearing about. This place was lots of fun. It was open air with a stage in the center that guessing by all the people laughing, there was a comedian on the stage. Honestly to me it just sounded like a bunch of loud jibberish. Compared to Russian Market this place was heaven. There were a lot of clothing booths, jewelery booths, and houseware items. It was refreshing to just be able to get out and walk in the cool air.

This morning Abby and I headed to the center to do our last project with the girls and finish the wall. The wall looks great. Our final touches were the hand butterflies that the remaining girls did. I'm really sorry, I forgot to take a picture of it. I will post a picture by Monday though. This last project was about the girls expressing words that explained themselves. They had to trace their hands and in each finger write something they like about themselves. A lot of the girls had a hard time with this one. It's weird for them to soley be focused on themselves for once. After thinking about it though, many of the words were, loving, friendly, good friend, good student. It makes me happy to know that these girls are to a place where they can realize these things about themselves. After the project we just hung out spending time with all of them. There was lots of loud music and lots of dancing going on. Fun times.

This story I'm about to tell is probably one of the funniest stories since we have been here, and there have been a lot. So Joanna had been working at Java Cafe since early this morning. She had seen this cockroach flipped on its back struggling for a couple minutes and assumed it had died. We get to Java to meet her and she tells us this story of seeing the coachroach. Abby freaks out because where it was before was right next to her chair. It wasn't there anymore so Joanna and I just said "Oh I'm sure it's just under the chair or something". Reassured, Abby sat back down and continued writing in her journal. I walk up to pay for my smoothie and say to Joanna "I'll be ready once I pay." When I come back and sit down Joanna gets her computer case out of her bag and this huge bug scurries out. We both realize at the same time that it is "the cockroach" and scream, jumping up on the couchs. The timing of this is perfect too because it's around lunch and the cafe is packed. Joanna and I are still screaming, I'm jumping from couch to couch to get away from this beast, and everyone is staring at us. Great. One of tuk drivers must have seen us freaking out through the big window and ran inside to help us. He starts beating the cockroach with his hat and the entire cafe is still staring at us. Finally, the thing dies and is swept into the garbage. We thank him repeatly as he goes back outside laughing. Not one of our better moments. At least now we can laugh about it.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Us staying at Joanna's hotel room is going 4 days steady now. It's nice to hang out with good friends after the chaos of a foreign city.

Yesterday night we tye dyed t-shirts with the girls as just a fun activity to do. It was pure madness when we first explained it. It was a long skinny room with two black sheets on the floor, all the girls, the staff, two translators, and us. Yeah, a little packed. At first the girls did not understand what exactly we were doing. This tye dye nonsense was pretty strange to them. But once we explained and got them settled down they really enjoyed it. The staff was fun to watch too, they were just as excited as the girls. The girls could choose from three designs, stripes, a swirl, or a bulls eye. Some of them chose to use all of the colors and others were particular about what colors they chose and where they put them. Since it was so hectic we decided to put each of the girls shirts in a bag with their name on it for us to take with us to wash.

Joanna had seen this sign for Italian next to Java, one of our favorite cafes. So for dinner we decided to check it out and see what it was. Best decision ever. We were seated in a cabana like table outside. We just lounged at the dinner table, how awesome is that. There was a fan blowing right on us and the outside lighting gave it a warm glow. Each of of got a different dish so we could have a bit of each others. The food was to die for. That place might be our going away dinner location.

This morning we got up and decided to go to a place called Gloria Jean's (obviously owned by an American with that name) that Athena had suggested. I was in heaven. They had all kinds of coffee. Well, not "real coffee", but chai tea, white chocolate mocha, and caramel frappachino. Ah, a little taste of home.

The majority of the time during the day today was the rinsing, drying, washing in the washer, and drying again of the tye dye shirts. I'm pretty sure my hands are raw from that dye. The shirts look adorable though, and I'm sure the girls are going to love them.

Joanna had a nice surprise today, she got a package from her boyfriend. Abby and I were just as excited as she was, just because she was so excited.

On the way back from picking Joanna's package from the post office we had Polo drive by this building called the Anarchy Building. This building is a 5 story tall, between a quarter of a mile to half a mile long brothel. This building is absolutely dirty and disgusting and crumbling apart. Some of our girls from the TLC center are from there. This building is so huge that even when there is a raid by the police they can only raid one section at a time. So, by the time they raid one section, the others are tipped off in the building and the girls are hidden. It's just a never ending process. It makes me sick to think of how dirty it is on the outside and then imagine how dirty it is on the inside. I honestly just prayed to God as we drove by, that he would have this building fall to the ground. Somehow keep the girls safe and let them escape, but just have the building fall to pieces.

Tonight we met all the girls, the staff, James and Athena, Dave and Ben, and Joanna at Khmer Surin for dinner. There was a total of 41 people there. Reservation for 41 anyone? I posted once about this place in my earlier blogs. It serves amazing traditional Khami food. The girls had a blast hanging out and having good food. I'm pretty sure the entire resturant knew we were there because we were so loud. Lots of laughing and squealing, some dancing, oh and lots of pictures. It was just pure fun to see the girls having such a good time.

The three of us just finished tye dyeing our t-shirts. With all the craziness last night we didn't get time to tye due our own t-shirts. So, we just set up shop in Joanna's hotel room. Now were all exhausted. I'll post pictures tomorrow.