Reasons to Skip the Gym

1. You got an invite to happy hour that coincides with your usual Bootcamp Booty Blast class.  And then happy hour runs long and you’re too drunk to go to the gym after.  I’m pretty sure you can get arrested for ellipticalling under the influence and we wouldn’t want to risk that.  (Side note: You’re also probably too drunk to drive home so just take a damn cab, okay?  I don’t want to have this conversation again…)
2. Any injury.  Don’t push it.3. Diarrhea.  Don’t push it.  Literally.

4. You got no sleep the night before due to Instagram stalking-induced insomnia (ever looked up #bagelandcreamcheese?  How about #unlikelyanimalfriends?  What about #chocolateseduction?  #shoeshopping?  Well now it’s 3am and you haven’t slept at all.)  Sometimes (usually) (always) sleep is more important than a workout.  You need a pre-dinner nap more than you need an hour spent on the stationary bike watching Food Network.

5. You forgot to bring your gym clothes to work.  Don’t be that person throwing around weights in jeans and bare feet.  It makes the rest of us feel weird.

6.  You got a new kitten.  Those things stay tiny and cute for approximately 8.3 seconds and every moment you spend at the gym is another moment that creature moves further from squishable cuddle bug and closer to angsty teenage feline murderer.

7.  You tore an easy-access hole in your only pair of workout pants.  Nobody needs to see the goods through the crotch hole in your LuLus..  Although I can think of one other form of exercise you might be able to use those pants for ifyaknowwhatimean.  Nope.  Weird.  Sorry.

8. Free pizza giveaway on the side of town opposite that of your gym.  GO GET THE PIZZA!

9. Free cookie giveaway on the side of town opposite that of your gym.  Free food always always wins.
10. The cast of Orange is the New Black gets lost and knocks on your door for directions and then wants to hang out with you all night.  Unless Porn ‘Stache is there.  In that case, please leave your house quickly and discreetly.

11. You accidentally drank too much last night and saw that hot personal trainer from your gym out on the town and might have serenaded him with a sizzling rendition of Olivia Newton John’s “Let’s Get Physical” and then puked mozzarella sticks all over the stage.

12. Your body and your mind and your sore legs are telling you not to go.  If you decide to skip a workout, it doesn’t mean you’re making excuses or that you have no willpower or that you’re not committed to your health.  It just means that you’re a grown ass human who can make his/her own decisions.  Sometimes you gotta push through and get that workout in.  Other times?  No.  And that’s okay.


Reasons to skip the gym… GO!

Home from Thailand

I’m home.  I made it from Koh Phangan to Koh Samui to Bangkok to Tokyo to San Francisco to home.  Being home is lovely and comfy and so, so weird.  How is this trip over already?  How have the past 7 weeks gone by so quickly?

I’m just a bundle full of questions lately…

How do I recap this trip? How do I put into words all of the ups and downs I experienced? How do I tell you how much I loved the kids at the school and how challenging the teaching was? How do I tell you about all of the times I felt overwhelmingly lost in another culture’s rules? How do I articulate the astounding (sometimes unnerving) kindness of complete strangers? How do I explain the homesickness that coexisted with my love and attachment to a new place on the other side of the world? How do I describe each person I met in a way that conveys his/her hilarious quirks? HOW? This blogging shit is hard, you guys…

This whole trip feels a little bit like an extended “you had to be there” moment and I hate it. I want everyone to fully understand my experience, but if you all understood it, then it wouldn’t be my experience anymore, would it? So the best I can do is share my favorite pictures, ramble a little about each one and hope to capture even the tiniest spark of my Thailand trip.

Some of these have been shared in previous posts, but oh well.  I want to share my favorite pictures and moments from this amazing experience.

The Grand Palace Temple in Bangkok.  Walking around and seeing the temples was such an incredible experience.  Not only were the temples beautiful, but it was pretty empowering (and surprising) that I could manage to get around a foreign city by myself.


So, so many selfies were taken.  Despite the totally unflattering angle, I think this picture really captures my excitement and joy.  What it doesn’t capture is how fucking HOT it was.  The denim jacket was a bad choice, but also a necessary one due to the temple dress codes.



My view from Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn.  The steep hike up about nine billion stairs was so worth this view.




Enjoying (<< actually “choking down” would be a better description) a bucket with some backpackers on Khao San Road.  I’m so glad I met other travelers in Bangkok.  I was really starting to get sick of being by myself.


My first view in Koh Phangan.  A pretty good start to the trip, don’t you think?


Part of me really wanted to ride an elephant, but the other part of me knows how horribly the elephants are treated, so I didn’t.  Seeing an elephant walking down the street was a fair compromise.


Our first Koh Phangan party — The Half Moon Festival.  We had SO much fun (and didn’t make it home until about 6am).


The kids!  This was class three (my favorite, but don’t tell anybody that).  I sure miss them.


Our weekend trip to Koh Tao and Koh Nangyuan.  I can’t believe that views like this actually exist in real life.


Longtail fishing boats.  So colorful and sassy.


Oh, how we loved the fire dancers.  I found them totally mesmerizing.  I also did fire limbo on this night and completely failed at it. So go me.


Grade one girls hamming it up for the camera.


One of my favorite parts of the entire trip was the night market.  I absolutely loved being around the hustle and bustle of tourists and locals eating cheap, delicious food.  One of my favorite snacks was this giant fried potato thing.  I’m gonna miss you, potato twister.


The dogs!  Oh my god, the dogs.  There were stray dogs everywhere.  For real.  EVERYWHERE.  Hundreds of them.  Like a dog army.


There were even dogs on the backs of motorbikes.


Hitching a ride into town!


Grade three again, because I love them.


Nothin’ not to love about a sunset, amiright?


Not naked, I swear.

Or am I?

Nope, I not.


BUNGEE JUMPING!  Such a fun adventure.  I’m so glad I did it!  I never thought I would, but now that I’ve done it, I honestly think I would do it again… Eventually.


Gettin’ it going for the Full Moon Party.  Thousands and thousands of travelers come to this crazy beach party.  It was the greatest.


Our day to Angthong National Park!  It was definitely one of the best days of the trip.  I mean, just look at that!  Holy shit!!


The cove for snorkeling.


Loving life.


Our favorite restaurant in town, Mama Pooh’s, was run by a parent of one of our students.  Although the parent spoke no English, after one of our meals, she brought out this plate of fruit for us to enjoy as a “thank you.”  So cool.  And the fruit (rambutans and mangosteens) was amaaaazing.


My cooking class!


‘Member when I ate bugs?  Me neither… I’m trying to block it.





I met a buffalo at Jungle Experience (another party).




AND THEY LET US WEAR THE MUAY THAI GLOVES.  So, so cool.  I mean, not really because they smelled like B.O., but still.


There was this fancy resort right near our bungalows and they had free kayaks for guests.  Except there was never anybody there manning the kayaks, so nobody knew that we weren’t guests.  Don’t tell on me.


Maxine’s birthday dinner!


Oh, there’s that rainy season everyone has been talking about.

Settle a bet: do we look more like aliens or giant condoms?


Grade 5.  They gave us some trouble but clearly loved us in the end.


Am I… Am I allowed to pick them up?  Again, please don’t tell on me.


Our last day.  One of the English-speaking students (one Thai parent, one Western) gave us a little “thank you” speech on behalf of the school.  It was the cutest, most wonderful thing basically ever.


Each kid came up, two-by-two, bowed onto our knees, and said “thank you, teacher.”  I couldn’t stop smiling.  It was one of the most memorable moments of the trip.


One of the teachers presenting us with gifts (which ended up being these beautiful elephant tapestries).



Our last picture!  SO MANY EMOTIONS.



We did it up fancy for one of our last meals on the island.  HEYY-O!  I’m really gonna miss restaurants with floor seating.  Who doesn’t love lying horizontal while eating?  It reminds me of eating Dominos at 11am in my room while watching Netflix… Not that I ever did that or anything.


Saying good-bye to Eiu, the woman who owned our resort and helped coordinate the volunteer program.  Gonna miss her!


Our last dinner together.  We were in Koh Samui (the island with the airport) at this point.  The food was okay, but the night was awesome.


Good news:  On the last night of our trip, we finally found somebody who finds us funny.  Only took 7 weeks of searching.


AWWWWW!  Last night out.  Sad.


Okay, when can I go back?  And who’s coming with me?

No Food Left Behind

The beach is lovely.  Meeting new people is fabulous.  Seeing a different culture is so enlightening, and teaching the children is beyond rewarding.  But you guys… The food.

Oh, the food.  Food is, in my not-so-humble opinion, the best way to experience a culture.  And it tastes good.  And it’s at the very bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which makes it, like, really really important.  I think sleep and sex are also at the bottom of the hierarchy, so food is clearly in good company.

I’ve eaten a whole lotta food since I’ve been here on the stunning (and delicious) island of Koh Phangan.  Seriously, it’s an astounding amount of food and since I photograph nearly everything I eat (#millennialproblems) that means I also have an astounding amount of photographs of food.  I’ve definitely tackled this trip with a “no curry left behind” mentality, but then I didn’t want the noodles and rice and street pancakes to feel left out, so I didn’t leave them behind either.  That would just be cruel.

Today I’m sharing the best of the best – my tastiest meals here on the island so far.

Fruit Plates.

This one is from Phangan Cove, the restaurant at the resort we’re staying at.  Watermelon, papaya, mango, pineapple, orange, dragonfruit, cantaloupe, banana, kiwi, and an unidentified phallic-looking thing, all for the equivalent of less than $3 USD.  I know.


Frozen Drinks.

Let’s play a fun game:  Guess which drinks have booze in them!  (Hint: most of them).

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Papaya Salad Sandwich with Baked Sweet Potato Fries.

From the Green Leaf Cafe, an organic cafe that doubles as a yoga studio.  This meal looks so, so simple but it was really good.  Papaya salad on bread with melted cheese, and nice roasty sweet ‘taters on the side.


Cheese Baguette with Potato Chips.

Believe it or not, but this is not a traditional Thai meal.  I love it anyway.  It’s my favorite post-teaching meal.  I go to 7/11, buy a packet of potato chips, then order a cheese baguette, put the chips on top, and go to town.  It’s embarrassingly good, even though the cheese in the sandwich is complete shit.


Pineapple Fried Rice.

INSIDE OF A PINEAPPLE!  Inside of a freaking PINEAPPLE.  Ten points for presentation, and another seven for taste.  Sweet and savory heaven.  This was another one from Phangan Cove.


Massaman Curry with Chicken and Rice.

I love curry.  I love it so much.  (From Phangan Cove, again…)

Although I must say, the Massamun curry that I made in my cooking class really gave it a run for its money.



Crispy Noodles with Gravy Sauce.

You pour the gravy sauce on top of the crispy noodles and they get all soft and perfect.


Papaya Salad.

Made with green papaya, which is super crunchy and nearly flavorless.  And then you add shit tons of flavor with peanuts and chili and beans and other amazing magical things.


Yellow Curry with Rice.

From Mama Pooh’s, one of my favorite local restaurants.  It has the most amazing and supposedly authentic dishes around.  Plus Mama Pooh is adorable, so that doesn’t hurt at all.  This was one of the best curries I had for sure.  I asked for “mild” spice and my mouth was on fire, so I’ve ordered every subsequent curry with “no spice,” which is still slightly spicy for my Western tastebuds.

Yellow Curry

Fried Big Noodles.

Another Mama Pooh’s win.  I wish you guys could taste this.  Should I bring some home?


Homemade Cookie Ice Cream.

I got this the first weekend I spent on the island and I haven’t been back since because I forgot the name of the ice cream stand.  Damn.


Raspberry Cider and Chocolate Mousse.

From the Belgian Beer Bar.



Organic and vegan, but I didn’t hold those things against it.


All of the Street Food.

Like literally all of it… The night market in the main town (Thong Sala) was one of my favorite parts of the island.  I love snacking my way through dinner, testing out cheap, smallish portions of tons of different things.  Plus all of the food was SO DAMN GOOD.  I think the street food will be the food that I miss the most.

Check it…


With Nutella and peanut butter.  These were definitely a trip highlight.  I’m not even gone yet and I already miss them.  Crispy, buttery, and slightly salty, smothered with the melted toppings = happiness.



Fresh or fried, I don’t really care.  Just throw them in my mouth and nobody gets hurt.

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Three of these cost less than a dollar and could probably feed a family of four for about a week.

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Chicken, because it feels safest and I’m a big baby.



Just look at that.  Look.  LOOK AT IT!  Right?  I know.



OMGGGG YAAASSSS.  I could drink six a day, and at only a dollar each, I think it’d still be more economical than one Jamba Juice.



Oh yeah baby.  Ohhh yeah.

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On another level.  My favorite flavor was the cheese powder.  These are perfection in food form.  Possibly my favorite street food ever.  You should feel sad and empty if you’ve never eaten this.




Yes, I ate bugs.  I promise I’ll stop talking about it eventually, but for now just pretend to be super impressed, okay?  Check out the (embarrassing) video here.



I have six days left to shovel all of the food in Thailand into my face and I promise I won’t disappoint.


What’s your favorite Thai food?

Ever eaten bugs?  What’d you think?

Should I Open a Restaurant?

Because I took a cooking class and can now cook six Thai dishes, so… Seems like a good post-graduation plan, right?  Isn’t the statistic something like 90% of restaurants succeed in their first year?  I think I’ll do it.  I’ll just go for it.  I don’t want to hear your protestations quite yet.  Check out my restaurant-quality pictures and meals before you discourage me from this new endeavor.

I found C&M Cultural Center on Trip Advisor and, wow – it was an incredible experience.  Cherry, the woman who ran the cooking class, was hilarious, knowledgable about Thai food and Thai culture, and super chatty.   Clearly I loved her.  There were eight of us in class and everyone was super nice.  We started the class at 3pm with a briefing on traditional Thai fruits, veggies, and sauces.


The class was held right on a gorgeous lake.  It started dumping rain during our lesson but we all stayed nice and dry.

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We started off by prepping ingredients.  Chopping spring onion, crushing cashews, cutting veggies (with a decorative knife, fancy huh?), and slicing lemongrass.


Our first dish of the afternoon was…

Spring Rolls with Sweet Thai Chili Sauce.

We sautéed veggies with various sauces (fish sauce, oyster sauce, soya bean sauce, etc etc) and glass noodles.  After cooking them up, we added the mixture to a bowl of bean sprouts and got ready to roll the rolls.


Cherry teaching us proper rolling technique…

Spring Rolls

Fresh out of the fryer!


Mmm, check out those beauts.  The spring roll closest to the camera was in a traditional spring roll wrapper.  The one further away was in a rice paper wrapper.  Both were insane.


Sweet Thai chili sauce topped with crushed cashews and coriander.


The verdict: Simple, quick, and delicious.

After we all sat down and enjoyed the first dish, we geared up for dish #2:

Coconut Soup.

With lemongrass and kaffir lime leaves and galangal and veggies and chicken and OMG IT WAS SO SO SO GOOD.


Look at that!  We used fresh, homemade coconut milk as the base and added in brown sugar, fish sauce, oyster sauce, chicken stock to flavor it up.  Then we dumped in chicken, veggies (baby corn, pumpkin, carrots, potatoes, peas, peppers, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir leaves) and topped it off with a squeeze of lime.

How pretty is that?!  I made that!


Sucked that one down in no time.

And then it was onto the noodle dishes.  First…

Pad Thai.

No egg, please.  I just can’t deal with eggs.  I so wish I liked them, but I can’t get on board.  Ick.

The base of Pad Thai is a medium-sized rice noodle and a sauce of soya sauce, black soya sauce (<< super concentrated), palm sugar, salt, oyster sauce, fish sauce, tamarind, a splash of oil, garlic, and shallot.  All cooked up with whatever veggies you please!

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After inhaling that Pad Thai, we moved on to…

Fried Big Noodles.

I loooove big noodles, and although some people despise the texture, I find it delightful.  We used a similar sauce as the Pad Thai, plus more fresh veggies.  I ate a few bites and then bagged the rest up to eat later.


One we were all noodled out, we moved on to my favorite dish of the day…

Massaman Curry.

We started by making the curry paste from scratch, which was awesome.  We ground up coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peppercorns, cloves, salt, dried red chilies, galangal, lemongrass, Thai lime rind, garlic, shallot, and a few other things all into a paste.

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Then we began the curry sauce.  Coconut milk, chicken broth, the curry paste, fish sauce, palm sugar, and a few other ingredients became the actual curry.  We added in potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, green beans, chicken, cinnamon, and kaffir lime leaves before letting it all simmer away.


Topped with cashews and eaten with rice… AMAZING.  I made some questionable moaning noises while eating this.  SORRY EVERYONE.


We finished off the evening with a classic Thai dessert: mango with sticky rice.  The mango here is unreal.  Seriously unlike any mango I’ve ever had in the states.  I’m gonna miss you, mango.


Thanks for the awesome class, Cherry!

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So what do you think now?  Restaurant ready?  No?  Really?  Are you sure?


A Day of Adventure

This past Saturday, Maxine (the other volunteer) and I spent the day at the Angthong National Marine Park, which is (you guessed it!) a national marine park in the Gulf of Thailand, consisting of 42 (stunningly beautiful) islands.  We went with a company called Orion and had the most wonderful day.

Once we were picked up from our bungalows and arrived at the pier, we immediately scoped out the best spot on the boat: the very top.  We laid out our towels and got comfortable since it was about 1.5-2 hours until we made it to the first stop of the trip.  The good news?  We definitely got some color laying out all day.  The bad news?  That color was red.  And a little bubbly.  And then peely.  And a little painful.


The colors of the green islands against the bright blue water was astounding.  I kept screaming, “you guys!  the colors!  it’s green!  and blue!  and omg!  isn’t it pretty?  hey, guys?  guys?  are you all listening?  I said, ‘isn’t it pretty?’” “oh, hell.”

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Our snorkeling stop was right in that little cove down thurr.  IS THIS EVEN REAL LIFE?!  WHAT LOOKS LIKE THIS?  HOW IS THIS EVEN REAL?  (<< The thoughts running through my head when we came upon the cove, which I probably ended up saying out loud as well.  Dearest apologies to anyone on the boat.)



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Check out those sea urchins.  Did you know that people (fancy people, I think) actually eat them?  I don’t understand.  What?  How?  Why?  On what occasion?  Explain, please.

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After about 45 minutes of getting to know the sea life, we piled back into the boat and kept on driving.  Insert more beautiful scenery here…

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The next stop took us to Emerald Lake (or bay, I actually forget and feel too lazy to look it up).  I almost died of excess sweating from the hike up there (it was approximately 8.7 million of the steepest stairs you’ve ever seen), but the view was worth it.  Probably.  Or maybe I should’ve just stayed at the bottom at eaten an ice cream cone instead.

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After hiking back down and swimming in the sea for a hot minute (to wash off the sweat, obviously), we were back in the boat again and onto the next beach.  I just about died (in a good way, not in an “I’m about to have a heart attack because of the aforementioned 8.7 million stairs” kind of way) when somebody said that the place we were going to was called Monkey Beach.  I’m pretty sure my next conversation looked like a slightly less exaggerated version of this:

“Wait, Monkey Beach?  As in, monkeys?  Like, are there monkeys there?  Real monkeys?  Yes?  Are they wild or captive?  WILD MONKEYS?!  Are you serious?  Are  you sure?  Are you sure it isn’t just named monkey beach because it’s shaped like a giant monkey?  You’re sure?  Positive?  Really?  OMG EVERYONE WE’RE GOING TO A BEACH WITH MONKEYS RUNNING AROUND ON IT!  Do you think they’ll swim with us?  Do you think they’ll like me?  What if the monkeys don’t like me?  No, they have to like me, right?  MOTHER FUCKING MONEKY BEACH OMG!”

On an unrelated note, does anyone know why I didn’t make more friends on this trip?

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Hey-O Monkey Beach!

Now where are the G.D. monkeys?

To my dismay, there weren’t monkeys running around the island, but we did opt to go on a treacherous hike up to a crazy cave instead of building sandcastles with wild Thai monkeys.  Compromise is the mark of a true adult, right?


I only took pictures of the easy part of the hike, but trust me when I say that it was rough.  I put my hand in what I’m 90% sure was monkey poop in an attempt to steady myself.  Twice.

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The cave!  We’re in a cave!  So adventurous.



We ended up seeing about 4 or 5 monkeys and it was awesome.


The view from the hike down…

I’m not joking when I say I fell at least 6 or 7 times on the way down.  A couple of them were close to being bad, but I came out unscathed, except for a mud-covered dress and a monkey shit-covered right hand.


Once we made it down from the hike safe and sound, we stripped down (TO OUR BATHING SUITS!  Pervs, all of you…) and got in the water to cool down.  It was the prettiest beach I’ve seen in Thailand so far.  I didn’t want to leave!

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The boat ride back was lovely; we talked with the other travelers on the trip, we snacked on some fresh fruit, and we enjoyed the sunset without the horrible mosquitos that usually make an appearance around dusk.



A(nother) perfect day in paradise.

Living in a Postcard

My life right now is basically a postcard.


Let’s just look at pictures of sunsets and sea and take 10 deep breaths.

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This place is so, so beautiful.  If somebody could ship me some good cheese and my family & friends, I don’t think I would ever leave.


Food I Miss

The food here in Thailand is amazing.  Honestly.  The curries, the noodles, the fruit; it’s all freaking fantastic and you can bet that the minute I get back to the States, I’ll be whining about all of the food I had to leave behind.  But apparently we want what we can’t have, because the food cravings here are getting real intense.  Twenty-five percent of my conversations revolve around food I miss, so I figured I should put it all out there in a blog post so maybe I can start talking about something else.

If anyone wants to ship me any of these foods, I’ll repay you in shittons of curry and noodles.  Deal?  Please?  Please?  Okay…

1. Froyo. I miss the toppings.  All of the flavors.  The candy.  ALL OF IT.


2. Macaroni and Cheese.  From a box, homemade, with fancy truffles on top.  I don’t care, just give it to me.


3. Hamburger Helper.  This is a weird one since I haven’t had Hamburger Helper in YEARS, but food cravings aren’t logical, ya hear?

4. Good cheese.  The cheese here is so lame.  SO lame.  I told my parents that upon my arrival I need a nice cheese plate waiting for me.  I want Brie, sharp white cheddar, and maybe a good block of parm.  Do you hear that, Mom and Dad?  Add it to the grocery list for September 8th.


5. Muddy Buddies.  To be fair, I’m always craving Muddy Buddies, even when I’m not on another continent.

6. Bagels and cream cheese.  This one might be the most intense craving.  I’ve yet to see one bagel on the island.  It’s hugely depressing.


7. In ‘n’ Out Burger.  The ground beef here in Thailand hasn’t been awesome (so I’ve heard from other travelers) so I haven’t had a burger.  I think I’m missing In ‘n’ Out specifically because I’d always go with friends.  I miss them, too.  Maybe almost as much as I miss burgers.


8. Good Mexican.  We had dinner at a Mexican place a few nights ago, and although it was AMAZING for Thailand, it was mediocre at best for back home.  I’m in need of some fresh-from-the-fryer tortilla chips, some juicy shredded chicken, and some black beans cooked with lard.

9. Jambe Juice smoothies.  The smoothies here are just different.  They’re blended with lots of ice so they have a totally different texture than JJ smoothies.

10. Deli sandwiches.  Omgggggg so much.  I want a sandwich with fresh deli meat, lettuce, red onions, some kind of spread or sauce, and tons of salt, pepper, oil & vinegar, all on a freshly baked sourdough roll.  I dream of it.


11. Stone fruit.  The fruit here in Thailand is amazing.  The mango is so florally and fragrant.  The dragon fruit is exotic and sweet.  The pineapple is like candy.  BUT THERE’S NO FREAKING STONE FRUIT.  Will one of you please ship me a nectarine?

12. Ranch dressing.  It just doesn’t exist here!  Restaurants will give you a big ol’ heap of mayonnaise, but no ranch.  My pizza and onion ring experiences have been seriously lacking.

13. Greek yogurt.  I’ve had tons of regular yogurt here in Thailand, but none of the thick, tangy, delicious Greek variety.


14. Diet soda.  The only diet soda they have is Coke Zero.  I know, diet soda is horrible for me and a terrible habit.  But I miss it.  Sue me (<< please don’t, I’m gonna be SO broke after this trip).

15. Asparagus.  Extra thin stalks, grilled with some balsamic glaze, preferably.


16. Pears.  A big juicy one (that’s what she said).


17. Caesar salad.  Salty dressing, crispy leaves, garlicky croutons, and parm shavings.  GIMMIE.

18. Chipotle burrito bowls.  With tortilla chips.  Duh.


Just so you know, going through iPhoto to find these pictures was pure torture.  You better have enjoyed them.

Full Moon Party

All of the pictures you never wanted to see but I’m showing you anyway.

The Full Moon Party is on Haad Rin Beach in Koh Phangan and draws tens of thousands of travelers each month at the (you guessed it!) full moon.  It’s pretty renowned for being ridiculous and crazy, so clearly I was really excited about it.  I went all out with the paint.  LIVING IT UP.


We started the night at the Three Monkeys Bar with our favorite bartender ever, Kai.  He’s a fire dancer.  We love him.




So many pictures.  So many.  I couldn’t choose.  Just go with it.

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I went down the giant water slide down there…  Let me rephrase that:  I was forced down a giant water slide in my white shorts.  You’re welcome, everyone at Full Moon Party on August 10th.  You’re welcome.  I guess you could say that they all probably got a glimpse of MY full moon, amiright?!

Kidding, sort of.

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Buckets on buckets on buckets.  On buckets.


I’m not 100% sure, but the bucket below might be the reason I wanted to die the following day.  It had (lots of) vodka, (a dash of) Sprite, and (weirdly concentrated) Red Bull.  Good decisions up in hurrrr.  Don’t you feel good knowing that the future is in my generation’s hands?  Don’t cha?  Huh?


This girl was our new friend Fiona.  She found us after she left her friends because she got into a fight with them so we promised to let her hang out with us for the whole night.  She ran away five minutes later.  Bye, Fiona.  Or something.

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Pause.  Selfie break!

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Waiting for the sunrise…

Around 6am.

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Starting to look slightly ratchet after seven hours of sweating and dancing and drinking.  But only slightly, right?  Right??  RIGHT?!!!  (Just tell me I look good, okay?  I’m so obviously fishing for a compliment.)

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Best party ever.

One, Two, Three… BUNGEE!

On August 9th, the two other volunteers and I headed to Koh Samui, one of the biggest islands (the one with an airport) for a bungee jump.  I know.  Thailand is making me crazy.  Mostly in a good way.  Mostly.

We took the 7am ferry from Koh Phangan to Koh Samui and spent the first few hours of our day killing time before being picked up at 10:30am for our jump.  I think I peed from nerves about four times in a two hour period.  I was terrified.  It was only me and one other volunteer who jumped, and we spent way too much time reading bungee horror stories online.  Not good.

The company we used was Samui Bungy, and we were so so pleased with them.  They picked us up at 10:30am, drove us to the jump site, we each jumped, got our videos, had a drink, and we were back at the beach by 11:30am.  Quick and dirty (#thatswhatshesaid).

You might remember that I skydived (sky dove?) last summer and I found bungee jumping WAY scarier.  Jumping off a 160 ft. crane goes against every fiber of your being.  It was terrifying but thrilling.  I would totally do it again. Maybe with less screaming next time, but probably not.

Ready to go…


Going up in the crane…


Standing “like Jesus,” as the man instructed me…


One, two, three… BUNGEE!!

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Helping me down…


This guy went up in the crane with me and he was wonderful.  He kept me nice and distracted so I wouldn’t look down.  Good man.


Our bungee team!  They were fabulous.  Thanks, guys!


Go here for the video… So much screaming.  Turn the volume down before playing it unless you want my shrill shrieks to burst your eardrums.

After our jump, we ate.  I had a (well-deserved) strawberry daiquiri (<< my tropical drink of choice) and chicken fingers with fries. It was so good.  Just what I needed.

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I’d like to know what prompted them to create this sign.



Around 3:30pm we left the beach and headed back to the ferry port.  Back to Koh Phangan for us!  It was a truly wonderful day and I’m so glad I actually went through with the jump.

So who’s coming with me on the next jump?


Have you ever bungee jumped?

What’s the most extreme activity you’ve done?

Koh Tao

Because I feel this insatiable need to celebrate every minuscule occasion that occurs in my life, after our first week of teaching, I booked a weekend away from Koh Phangan paradise to go visit Koh Tao, a close-by island.

After school on Friday, I packed my things, got a ride to the port, and took the 2ish hour ferry over to Koh Tao.  Koh Tao is known for its amazing diving and although I was far too terrified to attempt a SCUBA dive, I had the best time exploring the island and all it has to offer (hint: food, booze, and really great views).

I arrived in Koh Tao on Friday evening and after checking into my air conditioned (!!!) hotel, I set out for some food.  I went with the traditional Thai snack of cheesy garlic bread and a strawberry daiquiri.  When in Thailand, amiright?  Honestly though, it just felt good to eat some real (ish) cheese.  I miss real cheese.  Like real bad.  Brie and bleu and sharp cheddar.  I’m gonna stop myself before I go off on a cheese tangent though…


I brought my Kindle to dinner, but spent most of the time just people watching.  Watching people do strange things was the perfect accompaniment to this poor excuse for a dinner.  After eating, I thought about going out somewhere but was completely exhausted from my first week of teaching and decided to head back to the air conditioned room and relax.  Did I mention that the room was air conditioned?  No?  Well it was.  It was heaven.

I was up bright and early the next morning for a snorkeling trip.  I was a little nervous about it since I couldn’t find ANYTHING about the company online, but it turned out to be pretty decent.  The trip took us to several snorkeling spots around Koh Tao and then to Koh Nangyuan, a small island very close to Koh Tao.

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Is it just me, or does the rock below look somewhat… phallic?  Just me?  Okay.  (Insert joke about the rock being hard).

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I bought this crazy pouch thing that you can put your iPhone or camera in and take pictures under water.  It was bizarre bringing my phone underwater.  So weird.  But look at those fish!!


After 5 snorkeling stops, we stopped at Koh Nangyuan for a couple of hours.  I spent most of them hiking up to the viewpoint, taking pictures, and trying not to fall on my walk back down.  It was a killer walk up in the heat and humidity, but check out that view.

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It was so incredibly beautiful there!  I wanted to take a picture of everything I saw.  Actually, I think I might have taken a picture of everything I saw.

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Around 4pm, after the boat docked at the port, they loaded us all into a “taxi” (read: the back of a truck) and dropped us back at our respective hotels.  I made my taxi-mates take a selfie with me.  I told them that since I was traveling alone, I wanted to make it look like I had made friends.  They didn’t find that very funny.   Also, don’t make fun of my baseball cap.  Wearing a stupid hat > sunburn.



Once I got back to the air conditioned room (AIR CONDITIONING YOU GUYS!), I brushed out my disgusting hair, took a shower, and got myself ready for a night on the town.  One of the other volunteers came to stay with me on Saturday night and we ended up making dinner plans at a top-rated restaurant in Koh Tao, The Gallery.  Except when I say “dinner plans,” I mean plans in our heads, not actual reservations.  Consequently, we were turned away at 8pm because they were busy and told to come back at 9, so we headed out for drinks at a nearby restaurant to kill the time.


Finally, at 9pm, we got to EAT.  This restaurant is owned by a British couple and the food was incredible.  Some of the best Thai food I’ve had here so far.  I ordered the Panang curry with rice, and it was spicy and delightful.


I also had a fancy cocktail with blueberry vodka, black current liquor, and a couple of other things that I can’t remember.  But it was gooood.  I couldn’t finish it because I’d had a few snacks (and drinks) between my snorkeling trip and this dinner, but still.  I think restaurants should start offering doggie bags for cocktails.  RIGHT?!  RIGHT?!??!!  Genius.


After dinner, we headed down to the beach and found a fun bar with fire dancing and tons of people.  We ended up talking to some people from Holland for a while, which was really interesting.  One of my favorite parts of traveling so far is meeting other travelers, hearing about their adventures, and comparing life back home.  It’s just so cool!


I also participated in a round of fire limbo.  As in the limbo stick is on fire.  I failed.  There’s video evidence of me failing, but I still can’t figure out a good way to insert videos into blog posts.  Help?


After getting in around 3am, we both crashed (in the air conditioned room, just in case you forgot).  The next day, we had lunch at a nice little Italian restaurant.  It was great to have halfway decent Italian; the food on Koh Tao is much better than on Koh Phangan, and we definitely took advantage of it.


At 2pm, a taxi picked us up at the hotel and took us to the ferry port so we could head home…


…but not before we had a street pancake!  Mine had bananas, nutella, and sweet milk.  I love these so damn much.  So so much.  I’m going to miss them when I have to come back home.

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Our ferry left close to an hour late, at about 4pm, but we still made it home in time for dinner (more food, yes please).  Overall, we both LOVED Koh Tao.  If/when I come back to Thailand, I’ll definitely spend more time there.  I might even work up the courage to try a SCUBA dive.  We’ll see.  I’m not making any promises yet.


What’s your favorite island you’ve visited?

Have you been SCUBA diving?  How is it?  Should I try it one day? 

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