Siem Reap Temple Exploration

Siem Reap Temple Exploration

 The single most breathtaking and exhilarating experience during my three-week trip to Cambodia was my time in Siem Reap exploring temples and riding an elephant. If you want to read more about my three-week trip to Cambodia head on over to my Series Overview to check them out!

RIDING ELEPHANTS & TEMPLE EXPLORATION

Siem Reap is a huge tourist spot because of the beautiful temples. Siem Reap was once the capital of Cambodia when it was considered the Angkor kingdom. Read more about Siem Reap here.

Temple Exploration

Our last weekend in Cambodia we went to Siem Reap to tour some of the ancient temples and temple ruins. It was so unbelievable cool and beautiful! So, for this post I am going to use a lot more pictures than words to describe this experience.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat Siem Reap Cambodia

Oh no! Im blinking! Oh well, this is me in front of Angkor Wat.

Angkor Wat Siem Reap Cambodia

Angkor Wat Siem Reap Cambodia Wall

Isn’t this just beautiful!?

Elizabeth08@jihielephant.com /home2/jihielep/Fix Wall

Angkor Wat Siem Reap Cambodia Stairs

Angkor Wat Siem Reap Cambodia

I am pretty sure these ones are Angkor Wat… If not, I apologize. We visited a lot of Temples in one day and the pictures are jumbled.

Angkor Wat Siem Reap Cambodia Stairs

It was very scary how steep these stairs were! Massive leg workout.

Angkor Wat Siem Reap Cambodia

Angkor Wat Siem Reap Cambodia

Finally made it up those stairs!

Angkor Wat Siem Reap Cambodia Stairs

And lastly, the group shot!

The Bayon

Bayon Siem Reap Cambodia Temple

Bayon Siem Reap Cambodia Temple

These head statues were outside of the temple and many were disintegrating or beheaded from the Khmer Rouge Era (read about it here).

Bayon Siem Reap Cambodia Temple

Cambodian Monkey

This cute little monkey was just hanging out as we walking in. Then all of a sudden there was nearly a dozen monkeys around! Be careful with the monkeys, they aren’t very nice.

Bayon Siem Reap Cambodia Temple

Bayon Siem Reap Cambodia Temple

Oh, just me standing in an ancient doorway, the usual.

Ta Prohm

Now this temple was my favorite because it is in ruins and has trees growing everywhere! Exploring and climbing around this temple was fun!

Siem Reap Cambodian Temple Ruins

Siem Reap Cambodian Temple Ruins

The trees look like melted candle wax to me!

Siem Reap Cambodian Temple Ruins

Siem Reap Cambodian Temple Ruins

This tree looks like its crawling around the temple roof!

Siem Reap Cambodian Temple Ruins

Siem Reap Cambodian Temple Ruins

Siem Reap Cambodian Temple Ruins

Don’t do this at home kids. Dangerously climbing to the top of a temple. We gave our camera to a stranger to take a photo, then we returned the favor. Turns out he was from the US like us too!

Siem Reap Cambodian Temple Ruins

Siem Reap Cambodian Temple Ruins

Siem Reap Cambodian Temple Ruins

OOOOMMMM….

Riding an Elephant… Up A Hill… To A Temple… At Sunset

Excited Elephant Ride

Can you see the excitement in my face here!? Yeah, I was beyond excited because I absolutely love elephants. I was so overwhelmingly excited that my friend who was taking the photo told me to smile less so that I had a nice picture to post on social media and show my family. Here is the “smiling less” version.

Elizabeth Petting Elephant

If you hadn’t picked up on it yet, in Siem Reap, I was given the opportunity to ride an elephant! How cool right!? It was, beyond fun. We payed $20 to ride an elephant and then climbed a very unstable wooden platform to get on. Getting on was kind of scary because of the wobbly platform you used to get on a semi-wobbly saddle.

Cambodian Elephant Ride

Up the Mountain

After a friend and I got on, we started off up the mountain. Our driver sat on the neck of the elephant using his feet behind the elephant’s ears to steer. When we got about halfway up the mountain he began to play music on a piece of grass—he was playing Jingle Bells! He must have realized that we were American and known Jingle Bells as an American tune.

Cambodian Elephant Ride

On the back of our driver was a pouch labelled tips, so naturally, I gave him about half of the Riel I had collected while shopping in the markets.

Cambodian Elephant Ride

Going up the mountain was also scary for me. Don’t get me wrong I was so excited (I mean look at me in those pictures!). But I am also a little afraid of heights and I was on the side of the elephant that looked down the mountainside. I made my best effort not to focus on the height, and to instead focus on how much fun I was having. This was difficult because the elephant was stepping less than a foot from the very edge!

Cambodian Elephant Ride

At the Top of the Mountain

Once we reached the top of the mountain we got off the elephant and were given the opportunity to take pictures with the elephants, as well as petting and feeding them.

Cambodian Elephant Ride

After our photoshoot, everyone is our group met near the temple to watch the sunset. It was beautiful. Then we walked back down the mountain and headed to dinner. What an incredible  experience, I highly recommend this to everyone!!

Experiencing Cambodia | Jihi Elephant Click To Tweet

Read About My Other Cambodian Experiences

My Cambodian Diet: Food I Tried in Cambodia

Walking Around in the Streets of Phnom Penh

Genocide: Killing Fields & S21 Prison of Cambodia

Meeting Cambodian Women Working in Clothing Factory

A Day on Rabbit Island

Visiting Cambodian Schools

Visiting Cambodia’s Vietnamese Floating Communities

Meeting Buddhist Monks

Siem Reap Temple Exploration

Shopping at Cambodian Markets

Cambodian Youth Nights

Learning About Cambodian Non-Profit Organizations

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

20+ Mother’s Day Gift Ideas (Includes DIY Ideas)

20+ Mother’s Day Gift Ideas (Includes DIY Ideas)

With Mother’s Day approaching fast (May  14th in case you didn’t know), I thought it would be helpful to share my Mother’s Day gift ideas with the world! Here are over 20 gift ideas I have done, plan to do, or just have floating around in my head. I hope they are helpful for you.

Homemade or DIY

Homemade products will always be a hit! Everyone loves when someone puts in their time and effort to make something personal from the heart. This doesn’t have to be something extravagant. It can be as easy as a home-drawn card with a sappy personal note. Or you can go all out and find a DIY they will surely love. No matter what you make, it’ll be amazing because you made it. Here are some homemade and DIY ideas as well as store-bought alternatives!

Homemade Cards

No Mother can turn down a homemade card. If you are hard on cash this year, or don’t have time to get a gift, try hand-creating a Mother’s Day card. All this requires is some pens or other coloring utensils (I use sharpie, felt-tip, or acrylic paint) and some thick white or off-white paper. These products can be found at your local office supply store or click on the photographs below.

  • White Card Stock - 8 1/2 X 11 Smooth Cardstock
  • Sharpie Color Burst Permanent Markers, Assorted Colors,
  • Sharpie Color Burst Permanent Markers, Ultra Fine Point

Homemade cards pair well with a Bouquet of flowers.

Not good at creating cards? Try these cute, FREE alternatives.

Printable Mother's Day Cards

Frame Your Art

My parents have always loved when I give them my art, especially if it matches their decor. Last year I got them both framed art work (Mother’s Day and Father’s Day). I made sure these pieces of art didn’t clash with the decor and were the same size–same frame and everything!

Framed Artwork

Framing or gifting your artwork is a great idea for your Mom on Mother’s Day. Not only will she love it because you made it, but having it framed is a great way to make it easier to put up on the wall and it’ll look better too!

Framed Artwork

DIY Stuff Mom Will Surely Love

Here are some random DIY projects I found on Pinterest that your Mom will love!

DIY Bedside Lights by Peanut Company

Mod Mesh Honey Blanket Sweater by Moma In A Stitch

My DIY | Tissue Paper Watercolor Mug by I Spy DIY

DIY Double Scarf by Love This Pic

Greenery

I don’t know about your Mom, but mine has a green thumb. She has always been good at keeping plants alive and had a collection of flowers living in our front room for a long time. She also LOVES getting flower Bouquets from my dad. Get your mom some plants or flowers!

Check out these Mother's Day #GiftIdeas! Click To Tweet

Potted Plants

If your Mom has a green thumb like mine, potted plants are a great idea. Around this time of year, they can be found fairly cheap everywhere. I can’t go grocery shopping without running into them. My mom loves vine-like plants, but delve deep into what you know about your mom. Does she like green plants? Flowers? Cacti? Ferns? What would she appreciate most?

Pixabay Potted Plants

You want to do something a little bit cuter and more personal with potted plants? Check out some of these DIY plant ideas!

The New Floral Trend You Have to Try by My Domaine

Succulent Plant Hangers by Style Caster

Indoor Mini Water Garden by Live Dan

Indoor Water Garden by Tilly’s Nest

Bouquet of Flowers

A Bouquet of flowers is great for Moms who don’t have a green thumb. I don’t know a single woman who doesn’t love getting flowers, so you can’t go wrong. Head over to your local grocery store or wherever you can get flowers near you and make an order. Flowers sell fast around holidays like Mother’s Day so if you have something specific in mind, you may want to order ahead of time.

Flower Bouquet Pixabay

Jewelry

Jewelry is generally a safe Mom-gift option because a large majority of women wear jewelry. Obviously, you know you Mom better than I do. So, if you Mom is a jewelry lover, you can’t go wrong!

Check out these Mother's Day #GiftIdeas! Click To Tweet

Pampering Products

Everyone loves to be pampered and Mom is no different. Spa products are a great way to show your Mom that you appreciate everything she does.

Bubble Bath

Bubble bath is a classic bath-time go-to. Your Mom would love to spend some time relaxing in a nice soothing bubble bath. Check out these great bubble bath products!

  • Aveeno Stress Relief Foaming Bath
  • Deep Steep Bubble Bath - Grapefruit Bergamot

Bath Bombs etc.

Growing ever-so-popular are the bath bombs. These are a lovely choice to spruce up a relaxing Mommy-time bath. Bath bombs can be store-bought or homemade. Here are some DIY bath bomb options:

DIY Bath Bomb Recipe by Swanson Vitamins

DIY Bath Bombs with Epsom Salt by The Makeup Dummy

Make Your Own | Bath Bombs *LUSH Inspired* by Muffin Chanel

 Not interested in a DIY project? Check out some of these store-bought options

  • Handmade Organic, Shea Butter & Palm Oil Bath Bombs
  • Luxurious Bath Bombs set - Ultra Lush Essential Oil - Organic, Vegan & Gluten Free - Handmade in USA - Fizzy & Colorful
  • Bath Bomb Gift Set USA - 6 Vegan All Natural Essential Oil Lush Fizzies

Epsom Salt Blends

My Mom absolutely loves using Epsom salts in her bath. For her birthday last year, I made her a lavender Epsom salt blend and she loved it! Here are some DIY Epsom salt blends:

Homemade Bath Salts by Martha Stewart

DIY Bath Salts with Epsom Salt by Mom Always Finds Out

DIY Sinus Congestion Bath Soak by Love & Marriage Blog

Don’t want to make your own? Here are some packaged blends your Mom will love!

  • Calily Life Organic Dead Sea Salt with Eucalyptus, 32 Oz. – Luxurious and Therapeutic Bath Salt Soak
  • Stress Relief Bath Salt - Epsom Salt With Eucalyptus & Spearmint Essential Oils & Vitamin C
  • Happiness Bath Salt - Epsom Salt Bath Soak With Wintergreen & Bergamot Essential Oil & Vitamin C

Check out these Mother's Day #GiftIdeas! Click To Tweet

Lotions

Lotion is another classic, you can’t go wrong. Lotion provides not only skin care but is also easy and full of variety. There are so many types of lotions and scents out there, you are bound to find something your Mom will love. Here are some of my Mom’s favorites:

  • Bath & Body Works Eucalyptus Spearmint 6.5 oz Aromatherapy Lotion
  • Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy Sleep Lavender Chamomile Body Lotion
  • Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy Body Lotion (Orange Ginger)

Scrubs

Scrubs are another great Mother’s Day skin care product! Using a scrub can be like getting a massage and it’s great for your skin. Your Mom will feel amazing and pampered after using one.

Making Scrubs are easy, and your Mom will love that you made it just for her! Sign up to get the FREE DIY Mother’s Day Scrub Recipe.

Scrub Recipe Teaser

If you would rather just buy a scrub here are some highly rated scrub products that your Mother will love.

  • Himalayan Salt Body Scrub with Lychee Essential Oil from Majestic Pure
  • Coconut Milk Body Scrub from Majestic Pure
  • Activated Charcoal Body Scrub and Facial Scrub from Majestic Pure

Face Masks

Face Masks are another way to pamper your Mom on Mother’s Day. They pair nicely with a relaxing bath and can be great for the skin! I haven’t bought any face masks that I have been impressed with, I generally make them.

Here are some DIY face masks that your Mom will love!

10 Amazing 2-Ingredients All Natural Homemade Face Masks by The Indian Spot

25 DIY Face Masks for Gorgeous Skin by Mom Fabulous

10 Simple Honey Face Masks for Every Skin Problem by The Indian Spot

Perfume

Perfume, like jewelry, is a safe Mother’s Day option. The only hitch in getting perfume is that everyone has their own scent preferences. If you know your Mom is a huge fan of fresh scents, get a fresh-scented perfume. My Mom is a big lavender and vanilla fan, so I would be most likely to buy her a perfume with similar scents. Here are some of my Mom and I’s favorite fragrances!

  • Bath and Body Works Fine Fragrance Mist Warm Vanilla Sugar
  • Bath & Body Works Fine Fragrance Mist Magic in the Air
  • Bath and Body Works A Thousand Wishes Fragrance Mist

Candles

Candles are a GREAT Mother’s Day option because everyone loves when their house smells good! Buying your Mom candles works just like buying perfumes. Know what your Mom likes. Candles are perfect to set a relaxing tone to a room, enhance a bath, and to make your house smell great. Here are some of my favorite candles (I am a huge Bath & Body Works Fan, could you tell?):

  • Bath & Body Works Candle 3 Wick Waikiki Beach Coconut
  • Bath & Body Works 3-Wick Scented Candle in Lavender Vanilla
  • Bath & Body Works 3 Wick Candle in Fresh Cut Lilacs

<< Spa Kits >>

Now the spa kit is the best of the pampering ideas. It’s the best because it encompasses several of the previously mentioned gifts and is highly customizable! My favorite spa kit would include a candle, homemade scrub, homemade Epsom salt blends, a bath bomb, and I’d top it off with a homemade card or piece of art. Now, I love gift-giving so maybe I go overboard. But I think since my Mom put up with me in my teenage years, she deserves a full-on spa kit.

The Perfect Mother’s Day Spa Kit Shopping List

Candles

Scrub

Epsom Salt Blend

Bath Bombs

Framed Piece of your Art or A Homemade Card

Not good at creating cards? Try these cute, FREE alternatives.

A Date Night

Buy your Mom a date night! A date night is great because it is a way to give your Mom memories. And memories can’t be beat by any product.

A date night can come in a million forms. You can offer to take her out for dinner at her favorite restaurant, take her to a movie, or do something else that you know she will love with her.

OR

You can buy her a date night for her and anyone she chooses. Buy her a gift card to her favorite restaurant, movie theater, another date place for her to take someone else out! Perhaps she wants to go out on a date with herself! Alone time is sometimes just what a Momma needs and this option gives her flexibility!

Check out these Mother's Day #GiftIdeas! Click To Tweet

Give your Mom something to open up on Mother’s Day by creating a “gift-card.” Check out these FREE downloadable date night “gift-cards”

Printable Mother's Day Date Night Invite Cards

Clothing

Your Mom wears clothes, right? Then if you know or can find her size, clothing is another option. My mom is super fussy, so I stay clear of buying her clothing too often. However, I know she is in the market for some leggings and I just so happen to know her size, so perhaps I can get her leggings.

Buying clothing for your Mom can go well if you know what to get her. If you aren’t sure, try something else like a gift card at her favoring clothing store, or a shopping spree.

Shopping Spree

The shopping spree is a nice idea if you know your Mom wants clothing but just can’t figure out what she would want. Set a budget and create her a card inviting her on her shopping spree. She’ll love it. Not only does it give her new clothing for free, but it offers some one-on-one time with you and, like it said, can’t beat memories!! Don’t know where to start to make the invite card, sign up to get FREE downloadable shopping spree invite cards.

Framed Photographs)

Nothing says, “I cherish you, Mom” like getting your Mom a nice framed photograph of you two together for Mother’s Day. Don’t have a picture with your Mom to frame? Maybe try a picture of you and your siblings. Or Maybe your Mother cherishes her relationship with her Mother, get a picture of your Mom and her Mom (your Grandma) framed. You could even frame a picture from vacation that she loves! The list of ideas doesn’t end here!

You simply can’t go wrong with framed photographs because there are a million different ways to do it. The hardest part is picking the photograph. Once you have figured out what you are framing, figure out the frame you want and the size. If you are doing a wall-hanging photograph, I highly recommend getting it professionally framed. The photographs will be less likely to stick to the glass and be ruined and they will simply look nicer. A standing frame will also look great, and doesn’t necessarily need to be professionally framed to look amazing.

Framed Photograph

Books or Movies

Does your Mom read or watch movies? Then do some research and find one she will like! A book or a movie are a great simple gift that will still allow your Mom some well-deserved downtime.

Pixabay Books Black and White

Check out these Mother's Day #GiftIdeas! Click To Tweet

The Importance of Self-Love: I Challenge You To 30 Days of Self-Love!

The Importance of Self-Love: I Challenge You To 30 Days of Self-Love!

Are you up for a challenge!?

Awesome! I challenge you to 30 days of self-love! For the next 30 days, pamper yourself!

Why is it Important to Love Yourself?

My question is, why wouldn’t you want to? The key to happiness in life, is loving yourself. How can you love someone, or expect them to love you, if you don’t?

Be in love with your life. Every minute of it. -Jack Kerouac Click To Tweet

Self-love is more than just loving your life. It is loving who you are and taking care of yourself. So many people spend their time taking care of others (their spouse, children, clients, friends, etc.). This is great, but we forget to take care of ourselves!

30 Days of Self-Love

So what is self-love? Well, according to Deborah Khoshaba over at Psychology Today,

“Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth. Self-love is dynamic; it grows by actions that mature us. When we act in ways that expand self-love in us, we begin to accept much better our weaknesses as well as our strengths, have less need to explain away our short-comings, have compassion for ourselves as human beings struggling to find personal meaning, are more centered in our life purpose and values, and expect living fulfillment through our own efforts.”

This challenge incorporates a ton of ways you can implement daily self-love in a small not-so-time-consuming way.

Without further ado…

The Self-Love Challenge

Let’s get started! First, you’re going to want to access the challenge by entering your information below. Don’t worry you won’t get spam mail and your information won’t be shared (Read about it here).

This challenge includes some of my favorite relaxation and self-care activities. But, please, by all means, love yourself the way that is best for you. If you don’t like puzzles but you like story-writing, then write a story on the days I challenge you to complete a puzzle. It’s completely customizable!

For this challenge you will need

An open-mind

Willingness to love yourself

30 days of commitment

A candle or multiple candles

A journal or notebook

Water

Tea, any kind will work

Bathtub

A leisure book of your choice

And if you don’t have all of this, don’t worry because you can change the challenge to fit you!

Take part in the self-love challenge with me! #selflove #challenge #selflovechallenge |… Click To Tweet

30 Days of Self-Love Challenge

Meeting Cambodian Buddhist Monks

Meeting Cambodian Buddhist Monks

Meeting Cambodian Monks was one of the activities we did that I was very excited about. I had recently had a conversation with my sister about Buddhism. She had kind of explained some of the Buddhist principles that she really connected with. I really liked the principles she talked about and wanted to learn more. Because of this I couldn’t wait to learn about Buddhism from an actual Buddhist Monk!

Meeting Cambodian Buddhist Monks

If you haven’t read the previous parts to my series check out Part 1: Preparing for My 3-Week Trip to CambodiaPart 2: On My Way to Cambodia, or head on over to my Series Overview to check them all out!

Meeting Buddhist Monks

This post is going to be a little shorter because we were running late and were only able to spend about an hour with the Monks. We met upstairs in a little room that has beautiful Buddhist murals all over the walls and a Buddhist statue against one corner.

Meeting Cambodian Monks

The women were advised not to touch the Monks as this would render them impure. Monks are not allowed to participate in romantic or sexual relations and touching a female counts.

The Monks were very soft spoken, selfless, and kind. Because we showed up late, our question and answer time dug a little into their meal time. If they did not eat at this specific time in a specific way, then they would have to wait until the next meal. The Monks insisted that this was okay, but we wrapped everything up as quick as possible so that they could eat and we could witness their mealtime experience.

Cambodian Buddhist Monk Mealtime

For no obvious reason, I had expected the Monks to think more highly of themselves. Perhaps I expected this because I was raised in a very hierarchical and individualistic culture. However, the Monks were so kind and selfless and never drew attention to their self as an individual person except when asked questions about their life and how or why they became a monk.

What I Learned From the Monks

Because of our limited time, we only learned a little bit about Buddhism. One of the older Monks answered any questions we had. One thing that he clarified for us was that Buddha is not a god to them. He was a very wise Buddhist, but Buddhists do not worship him.

Any specific practices he had explained to us, I have since forgotten. However, one practice really stuck with me. Buddhists focus on kindness, but not for selfish purposes. Whether we like to admit it or not, often we are kind in order to make ourselves feel good. It is natural to feel good about yourself after being kind. Buddhists instead are kind for the sake of being kind, they believe that kindness can have no negative lasting effects.

Buddhist Temple

My Take Away

Group Monk Shot

I absolutely love the idea of being kind more often. I am a fairly kind person; however, I am a bit of a control freak and when I feel like I have lost control of someone or a situation I get very irritable. After interacting with the Buddhist Monks, I realized that while I’m a generally nice person, I am rarely kind for kindness’ sake. I had hoped to practice kindness more often. Check out my post on working with the developmentally disabled and the importance of kindness here.

Experiencing Cambodia | Jihi Elephant Click To Tweet

Read About My Other Cambodian Experiences

My Cambodian Diet: Food I Tried in Cambodia

Walking Around in the Streets of Phnom Penh

Genocide: Killing Fields & S21 Prison of Cambodia

Meeting Cambodian Women Working in Clothing Factory

A Day on Rabbit Island

Visiting Cambodian Schools

Visiting Cambodia’s Vietnamese Floating Communities

Meeting Buddhist Monks

Siem Reap Temple Exploration

Shopping at Cambodian Markets

Cambodian Youth Nights

Learning About Cambodian Non-Profit Organizations

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Visiting Vietnamese Floating Communities in Cambodia

Visiting Vietnamese Floating Communities in Cambodia

One of the most eye opening, action-packed experiences I had in Cambodia was visiting the Vietnamese floating communities. Vietnamese? Didn’t I just say I was in Cambodia? Well, yes, I was in Cambodia. But in Cambodia there is a community of Vietnamese people who live in floating homes and have floating stores and restaurants.

If you haven’t read Part 1: Preparing for My 3-Week Trip to Cambodia or Part 2: On My Way to Cambodia, head on over to my Series Overview to check them out!

vietnamese floating community

First Impressions

The community was beautiful and very picturesque. We got there by boat, obviously. The boat ride was also beautiful and (like I mention in my A Day on Rabbit Island post) I love boating. So, immediately I was all for this excursion. I had just assumed these people migrated over from Vietnam and had decided that floating homes were the most effective way to live for them. But I was wrong.

Cambodian Boat

History of the Vietnamese Floating Communities

Once we got settled in a little floating school house, an advocate for the community spoke to us, giving us some history of the community.

cambodian floating community school

The people of the Vietnamese floating community were, in fact, Vietnamese immigrants. However, once they had immigrated to Cambodia they were unable to go back to Vietnam and the Cambodian government would not accept them as legal. Because of all this, these people do not have any documentation. Not having any legal paperwork, they aren’t allowed to own property, get an education, or get jobs on land.

Not being able to go back to Vietnam, nor live in Cambodia, left them to live on the water in between.

Vietnamese floating community

The Crocodile

After spending time with in one of the communities asking the speaker questions about living in the community and interacting with some of the residents, we headed over to a floating restaurant and store.

floating restaurant cambodia

We didn’t eat here but we shopped around the store area and the sunset view from the top level. In addition to shopping and sightseeing, we were shown the skin to a crocodile and several LIVE crocodiles. Yeah, they were alive and hanging out just below the floorboards.

If we went around the side of the boat, there was a fenced in opening in the floor for crocodile viewing. Our tour guide bought a fish tied to the end of a large stick and decided to tease the crocodiles.

cambodian crocodile

Don’t get me wrong, this was extremely dangerous because of the size and strength of the crocodiles. But, it was also very thrilling! I was standing next to our tour guide, so once the crocodiles started taking bites at the fish, I got a little bit of blood on my legs and shoes. At one point, one of the crocodiles got a good bite on the line and nearly pulled our guide into their enclosure. Thankfully, a bunch of guys were standing by him to help him remain stable and grounded.

After watching the crocodiles and the sunset, we rode our boat back to shore and went out for dinner

Sela and i Cambodia

Experiencing Cambodia | Jihi Elephant Click To Tweet

VIETNAMESE FLOATING COMMUNITIES

Read About My Other Cambodian Experiences

My Cambodian Diet: Food I Tried in Cambodia

Walking Around in the Streets of Phnom Penh

Genocide: Killing Fields & S21 Prison of Cambodia

Meeting Cambodian Women Working in Clothing Factory

A Day on Rabbit Island

Visiting Cambodian Schools

Visiting Cambodia’s Vietnamese Floating Communities

Meeting Buddhist Monks

Siem Reap Temple Exploration

Shopping at Cambodian Markets

Cambodian Youth Nights

Learning About Cambodian Non-Profit Organizations

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Bullet Journal Spread, April 2017

Bullet Journal Spread, April 2017

For my bullet journal in the month of April, I decided to make some changes that were much-needed. In March’s spread, I talked about some things that I needed to change and add for April. Well I listened to myself and made those changes, check it out!

Monthly Spread

My monthly calendar page is visually exactly the same as last month. I still have the same layout. There are a few changes, though.

April 2017 Bullet Journal Monthly

The first, and most obvious change, is that I have chosen a different quote. This month’s quote is, “Every day may not be good, but there is something good in everyday.”

The next change is how I mark scheduled blog posts. In March, I was writing out the titles of the post in the month (check out the article here). To me, this just seemed cluttered and not necessary. I already had the title written in my weekly spread.

Instead of writing the whole title, I referred to my legend, where I had already created a solution. I had a little icon for blog posts. As you can see in the photo, I have implemented this icon in my monthly spread for April.

Lastly, I am fiddling with different ways to indicate all-day events. For April, I am trying out coloring the top bar of the day and then writing the event in that day’s box. I am not in love with this and will probably try something else next month.

Weekly Spread

Most of the changes that have been made are in April’s weekly pages.

April 17 Weekly Bullet Journal Layout

The biggest change on the weekly page is the shopping list. In last month’s layout, I mentioned that I had forgotten to implement the weekly shopping and grocery list. I also commented about the “Due Dates” column being useless currently. To fix these issues, I removed the “Due Dates” column which made room for a shopping list column. I also shortened “Events & Appointments,” since I noticed that I did not need all the space I had previously allotted.

Shortening “Events & Appointments” allowed me to include a “Tracking” column. This is a section that I love to include because it helps to keep me accountable. Tracking is another item that I forgot about in March.

The “Tracking” column, though depicted as blank, is being used to track water intake. When I drink a glass of water, I am drawing a small glass into the tracking square for that day.

UPDATE: I am just drawing the little glasses and filling them when I drink a glass of water.

Bullet Journal Water Tracker Weekly

For April’s weekly spread, I have also decided to keep the title’s all in the same sandy color, instead of alternating with green.

List Pages

In March, my “Mind-Dump” page quickly filled up with blogging ideas! So, it was only natural that I created another one. This time, the title is in cursive and is written much smaller, as to leave more space for mind-dumping. It already has a ton of ideas in it!

BUllet Journal April 2017 Mind Dump

A second list-page addition is the Wish list! This is a page I had in my previous bullet journal (depicted here). I loved the wish list because if kept track of things that I wanted that didn’t quite fit in my budget or that I considered additional purchases. Many of the items that I include on this list are expensive and require that I save for them. Other items are not immediate needs.

Bullet Journal Wishlist

I hope you have enjoyed April’s bullet journal spread! I will continue to add and perfect my spreads each month! Is there anything else you would like to see me trying in my bullet journal? Share your bullet journaling ideas with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or talk about it in the comments section below!

April Bullet Journal! What did you add to your journal this month? | @JihiElephant… Click To Tweet

Checkout my previous Bullet Journal Posts

Simple Bullet Journal Page Ideas

March 2017 Bullet Journal Spread

Bullet Journal Tracking Pages Ideas

Must-Have Bullet Journaling Tools

  • Essential Gridlined Notebook
  • Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers, Secondary
  • Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers, Primary
  • Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens, Medium Point, Limited Edition Tropical & Assorted Colors
  • Pilot G2 Retractable Premium Gel Ink Roller Ball Pens, Fine Point
  • Wonderful Washi Japanese Decorative Paper Craft Tape - Geometric Collection

April Bullet Journal Spread

Bullet Journal Tracking Page Ideas: Based On My Bullet Journals

Bullet Journal Tracking Page Ideas: Based On My Bullet Journals

Bullet journaling is my favorite way to stay organized! Bullet journals are super customizable which is my favorite part. You can add anything you want to help you keep organized. I like to add tracking pages! Here are a ton of tracking page ideas!

If you’d like more bullet journal page ideas, check out my post 15 Simple Bullet Journal Page Ideas!

Habit Tracking

I find it really difficult to build habits all on my own. The only way I have found I can build them is to track them and keep myself accountable. However, if I use the same tracker all the time, they lose their effectiveness. Am I the only person who find that to be true?

Here are a bunch of ways I have tracked my habits! Get creative and find something that works for you!

Bullet Journal Habit Tracking

Bullet Journal Habit Tracking

Bullet Journal Habit Tracking

Bullet Journal Habit Tracking

Embedding my habit tracker into my monthly calendar page is a great way to track a few habits and saving space! I love the idea but it just doesn’t work for me. I don’t look at my monthly calendars very often, so I end up forgetting about building habits.

Bullet Journal Habit Tracking

Bullet Journal Habit Tracking

Water Consumption Tracking

Water is something I definitely don’t get enough of. Keeping a water consumption chart in my bullet journal keeps me accountable and reminds me to drink more water. There are a million ways to track your water consumption (I like cute little pictures), here are a few that I have used.

Water Consumption Bullet Journal Tracking

Water Consumption Bullet Journal Tracking

Financial Tracking

Tracking finances and savings is another useful bullet journal page. You can track your spending, or work towards a saving goal! Here are a few ways to track a savings goal.

Bullet Journal Financial Goals

Bullet Journal Financial Goals

Bullet Journal Tracking Page Layouts! | jihielephant.com #bulletjournal #Journaling… Click To Tweet

Hobby Tracking

Hobby Tracking! This isn’t always tracking for me as much as lists. But really, lists are just another form of information tracking. Hobby tracking doesn’t have to stop at reading, you can track any hobby you want!

Here are the book tracking layouts that I have used in my last two bullet journals.

Bullet Journal Book Tracking

Bullet Journal Book Tracking

Like I mentioned, hobby tracking doesn’t have to be reading! I collect Disney classics over at Disney Movie Club (not sponsored). They have amazing deals when you sign up for a membership (right now the deal is get 5 movies for only $1 each, PLUS free shipping!!). Sign up here if you are interested!

Use your bullet journal to track your collections and goals!

Disney Bullet Journal Tracking

Mood and Gratitude Tracking

Tracking your mood is extremely helpful when it comes to understanding yourself better. You can keep an eye on patterns or learn more about your triggers. That way you can learn to control them if you’d like, or it’s nice just to know.

Monthly Bullet Journal Mood Tracking

Weekly Bullet Journal Mood Tracking

I love gratitude tracking! Some people keep gratitude journals or do social media challenges. But, I like to make it a part of my bullet journal. I am already interacting with my bullet journal on a daily basis. So, I find it easier just to keep everything in one place. I find it less overwhelming to keep everything in one place.

Gratefulness Monthly Bullet Journal Tracking

Miscellaneous Tracking

Another tracking page I tried was weather. My moods are very interlaced with the weather. Because of this I thought maybe keeping tabs on the weather, and my moods, would help me increase my self awareness. However, the weather where I live changes drastically on the hour. So, I felt this tracker wasn’t as accurate as I had anticipated. If I move somewhere with more consistent weather, I will be re-adding this to my weekly bullet journal tracking.

Bullet Journal Weekly Weather Tracking

What tracking pages do you find useful? Let me know how you track in your bullet journal!

Look at all these #BulletJournal tracking layouts! What tracking layouts do you love? | Jihi… Click To Tweet

Must-Have Bullet Journal Tools

  • Essential Gridlined Notebook
  • Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers, Secondary
  • Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers, Primary
  • Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens, Medium Point, Limited Edition Tropical & Assorted Colors
  • Pilot G2 Retractable Premium Gel Ink Roller Ball Pens, Fine Point
  • Wonderful Washi Japanese Decorative Paper Craft Tape - Geometric Collection
Visiting Cambodian Schools

Visiting Cambodian Schools

My three-week trip to Cambodia was educational, so it was only fitting that we spent some time in Cambodian schools! We visited a primary and secondary school, a high school, and two Universities.

If you haven’t read Part 1: Preparing for My 3-Week Trip to Cambodia or Part 2: On My Way to Cambodia, head on over to my Series Overview to check them out! If you’d like to read about the other places I went while I was in Cambodia, check those out here.

Primary & Secondary School

The primary and secondary school we visited was a two-room school. Poverty is a huge issue for students at this age level. Often parents can’t afford to send their young children to school so they will pull them out and send them to work instead.

Because of poverty primary and secondary school lasts only half a day. Cutting the school day in half allows kids to go to school and still have time to work during the day

Cambodia Secondary School

During our visit, we played games with the kids and colored with chalk. The school yard was extremely packed and barely had room for all the kids and a bunch of full-grown Americans. Despite the small space, we packed in and had a great time! It was a blast coloring and interacting with these kids!

However, this part of the trip didn’t last more than an hour, as school got out and we had to be somewhere else. We left all the toys and chalk behind for them to play with later and parted ways with those amazing little kids.

High School

The high school was far bigger than the primary and secondary school, and it looked much like the S21 Prison (read about the prison here). There were motor bikes everywhere and the students wore uniforms.

First, we sat in the library and waited. Then we split into groups and spoke to the shy high schoolers. A lot of these students were really excited to practice their English on us. Because of their excitement, most of our time was spent teaching each other our native languages. I wish I had written down what I had learned, but I didn’t and I have since forgotten (I am awful at learning languages).

Cambodian High School

After Interacting with the students, class got out and we all migrated over to the sand volleyball pit where we played Americans versus the school’s men’s team. They had seven players and we had over twenty, but it was still a very close score! This was so much fun, as I mentioned before, our group played a lot of volleyball together! The entire school mobbed around us to watch, taking pictures with us, and exchanging social medias.

Cambodian High School Selfie

After volleyball, we filed onto the bus and headed to dinner.

The Royal University of Phnom Penh

The first university we visited was The Royal University of Phnom Penh and was a public school. Being government funded RUPP is technically free to attend; however, the government takes advantage of fees and additional costs. These additional costs include exams, books, food, living, and course fees. For those who live in poverty, going to university is impossible (According to The World Fact Book,  17.7% of the population live under the poverty line which is $1.90 a day). This is a real issue, especially since so much of Cambodia’s educated were killed during the Khmer Rouge Era (read about this genocide here).

The Royal Palace of Cambodia University

These students were beyond thankful to be able to go to university because being able to go was so rare. When I spoke to these students one-on-one, they raved about their education and school. This was mind boggling because, in America, we take our education and our ability to get an education for granted. I wished I could be thankful like the Cambodian students. And, from that moment on, I decided to change the way I looked at school. I was going to be thankful like the Cambodian students.

Norton University

The next university we visited was Norton University, a privately funded university. The school was much smaller than RUPP and had higher success rates.

After introductions and a short presentations from both Norton and my own university, the chairs were pushed aside and the students began to teach us to dance! This was a lot of fun!

Cambodian Temple Scarf

When it was time to leave Norton University students gave us each a scarf, we exchanged social medias, took a group photo, and went on our way. This was truly an incredible experience!

Norton University Cambodia School

Cambodian Education: English Focused

Cambodian higher education hugely focuses on the English language and western culture. Half of RUPP’s campus was dedicated to their English department! Because tourism is one of Cambodia’s largest industry, many young Khmer people want to go into the field. Since most tourists speak English, it makes sense that so many of Cambodia’s young people study English.

Upon learning this, a lot of what I had experienced started to make sense, like why Cambodian’s spoke such good English and why they were so eager to practice on us. Speaking English meant food on the table for so many of them!

Cambodian School Classroom

Learning about Cambodian education was such an eye-opener! Not only did I learn a ton and have fun with the other students, but I also learned a lot about gratefulness. I am so lucky to have been given the opportunity to pursue not one, but two degrees. How could I be so ungrateful when Cambodian’s were so thankful and excited to have been given the opportunity to have one degree. I learned so much from those students, and I am a better person for it.

Hanging out with Cambodian Students | Jihi Elephant Click To Tweet

Cambodian School

Read About My Other Cambodian Experiences

My Cambodian Diet: Food I Tried in Cambodia

Walking Around in the Streets of Phnom Penh

Genocide: Killing Fields & S21 Prison of Cambodia

Meeting Cambodian Women Working in Clothing Factory

A Day on Rabbit Island

Visiting Cambodian Schools

Visiting Cambodia’s Vietnamese Floating Communities

Meeting Buddhist Monks

Siem Reap Temple Exploration

Shopping at Cambodian Markets

Cambodian Youth Nights

Learning About Cambodian Non-Profit Organizations

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A Day On Rabbit Island in Kep, Cambodia

A Day On Rabbit Island in Kep, Cambodia

The first weekend of my three-week trip to Cambodia was spent in Kep. This was much more of a vacation spot that our other activities had been. This article is going to focus on our day at Rabbit Island.

If you haven’t read Part 1: Preparing for My 3-Week Trip to Cambodia or Part 2: On My Way to Cambodia, head on over to my Series Overview to check them out! If you’d like to read about the other places I went while I was in Cambodia, check those out here.

The Hotel

For our weekend trip to Kep, we stayed in a very nice hotel! The hotel had an amazing view, was within walking distance of mountain paths, a waterside pool, and had wonderful continental breakfasts.

Kep pool Cambodia

For breakfasts, the hotel offered eggs, toast, breads, noodles, fruit, and an amazing variety of juices. But, the biggest take away for me was the pineapple jam. I had never tried pineapple jam before and I was blown away by it. So, I had some each morning, and snagged some to bring home to share with my family.

Rabbit Island, Kep, Cambodia Hotel

Boating to the Island

While we were in Kep, we spent a day on Rabbit Island. Since Rabbit Island is, of course, an island, we could only get there by boat. The Cambodian boats were really cool! growing up alongside one of Michigan’s great lakes, I had been boating a million times before. But, the Cambodian boats were far cooler!

Boat Trip to Rabbit Island

The boats were beautiful. Perhaps I found them so amazing because I love boating, because not everyone enjoyed it like I did. Some people were terrified that it would tip over or sink. The boat seemed sturdy enough to me!

Rabbit Island Boat

The Island

When we got on the island we immediately set up camp around some hammocks and beach chairs under a beautiful tree. Here we unloaded our things and ate our lunch.

Rabbit Island

Lunch

Lunch on Rabbit Island was AMAZING. We had fresh mango, pineapple, watermelon, and dragon fruit that was to-die-for. Honestly, I don’t remember most of the actual food. All I remember is the addictive fresh fruit. I’m sure we had a chicken dish and a meal that involved fish or seafood, and I am sure they were good. But, the fruit made such a huge impact that I forgot everything else.

I’m nearly 100% sure I learned how to use chopsticks on Rabbit Island, I am making this assumption because I kept a pair of their chopsticks as a souvenir. Why would I take chopstick if I didn’t know how to use them, right?
Rabbit Island Chopsticks

The Beach

After eating, we put on sunscreen and played volleyball. The sun in Cambodia, and particularly on Rabbit Island, burned far hotter and brighter than back home in Michigan. Because of this, we were warned to keep up on our sunscreen applications. Nearly everyone burned—like lobster-red level sun burns. Oddly enough, I did not, I must have been paranoid enough to avoid it, because I put on A LOT of sunscreen.

As I mentioned we also played a lot of volleyball. I talk about volleyball later in the series (it’s what my group did in our free time). But on the beach and in the water, it was a ton of fun! However, I did leave injured…

A group of people (including several large males) and I were playing beach volleyball and I was up at the net. I had been teased for not jumping to block at the net, so when the ball came close I jumped up. But, so did the three guys across the net from me. And they landed on my foot. Thankfully, I was only bruised, but man was it a deep bruise. Sandals were uncomfortable to wear for about a week. Despite my bruised foot, I had a ton of fun!

Stray Dogs

There are stray dogs all over Cambodia, roaming around and scavenging for food scraps and Rabbit Island was no different. Most of the dogs were in rough condition. Two specific dogs hung around us, and they were CUTE! One was scraggly, we threw the poor thing food at lunch. The second dog was white and looked somewhat healthy. Both of the dogs would come right up to us for attention and food. The dogs liked us so much that they hung out under our beach chairs when we were sitting in them. I fell in love with these dogs, and so did a few other group members.

Rabbit Island Stray Dog

Exploration

Near the end of our beach island excursion, a few of us decided to explore the trail. At the far end of the beach there was a trail that extended to a few small rocky beaches and a field that previewed the island mountain. This sight was breathtaking!

Rabbit Island Mountains

 I was exhausted and my foot was throbbing after strolling through the trails (and having a million photo-shoots of course). Because of my exhaustion, I decided to take a break on a Hammock.

Rabbit Island

Relaxation

Our set up was under a large tree that held two or three hammocks, which we took turns laying in. I patiently waited my turn and finally got it. After a few moments on the hammock I was nearly asleep. This was truly a great day.

Rabbit Island Hammock

Five Dollar Beach-Side Massage

Just to the left of our tree, a couple of massage tables were set up. The massages were selling for as little as five dollars! That’s crazy! Naturally, I had to get one. These massages were the best massages that I have ever gotten, and for so cheap! I will never regret spending that money, the massage was beyond relaxing! What a great way to end my day on Rabbit Island.

Kep Sunset

Rabit Island | Jihi Elephant Click To Tweet

A Day On Rabbit Island

Read About My Other Cambodian Experiences

My Cambodian Diet: Food I Tried in Cambodia

Walking Around in the Streets of Phnom Penh

Genocide: Killing Fields & S21 Prison of Cambodia

Meeting Cambodian Women Working in Clothing Factory

A Day on Rabbit Island

Visiting Cambodian Schools

Visiting Cambodia’s Vietnamese Floating Communities

Meeting Buddhist Monks

Siem Reap Temple Exploration

Shopping at Cambodian Markets

Cambodian Youth Nights

Learning About Cambodian Non-Profit Organizations

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25 Self-Love Quotes

25 Self-Love Quotes

These quotes are to help you take care of you! Everyone is important and needs some pampering, that includes yourself! I hope these self-love quotes can inspire you to love yourself more!

She took a deep breath and let it go.

 

Your mind is a powerful thing. When you fill it with positive thoughts, your life will start to change.

 

If you realized how beautiful you are, you would fall at your own feet. – Bryon Katie

 

I am Grounded. My spirit is grounded deep in the earth. I am Calm, Strong, Centered, and Peaceful. I can let go of fear and trust that I am eternally safe. I am worthy of all things beautiful. -Carly Marie

 

Darling don’t forget to fall in love with yourself first

 

self love

Be kinder to yourself and then let your kindness flood the world. -Pema Chodron

 

I am in charge of how I feel and today I am choosing happiness.

 

Inhale. Exhale.

 

She took a deep breath and let it go.

 

Worrying won’t stop the bad stuff from happening it just stop you from enjoying the good. -Eleanor Roosevelt

 

Be with those who help your being.

 

Be in love with your life. Every minute of it. -Jack Kerouac

 

self love

Admire someone else’s beauty without questioning your own.

 

Maybe it’s not always about trying to fix something broken. Maybe it’s about starting over and creating something better.

 

Past does not equal the future. It does not matter that you failed yesterday, or all day today. What matters is what are you going to do, right now?

 

None of us come to this earth to gain our worth; we bring it with us. -Sheri L Dew

 

Here are 25 self-love quotes I'd like to share! | Jihi Elephant Click To Tweet

Forgive yourself for not having the foresight to know what now seems so obvious in hindsight. -Judy Belmont

 

You’ll never be happy if you continuously hold onto things that make you sad.

 

self love

One small crack does not mean that you are broken, it means that you were put to the test and you didn’t fall apart. -Linda Poindexter

 

Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth.

 

Chin up beautiful. Don’t let it get to you.

 

Choose happy.

 

 Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself. -Coco Chanel

 

The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself. -Maya Angelou

 

self love quotes

Meeting Cambodian Clothing Factory Workers

Meeting Cambodian Clothing Factory Workers

During my three-week trip to Cambodia, my group and I went and hung out with some ladies who worked in clothing factories. These ladies lived among other clothing factory workers. Most of them were from the countryside, but had to come to town for work to support their families. We were able to visit a couple of their comes homes and with others in the streets. This article will describe my experience interacting with these ladies and their community.

If you haven’t read Part 1: Preparing for My 3-Week Trip to Cambodia or Part 2: On My Way to Cambodia, head on over to my Series Overview to check them out!

If you’d like to read about the other places I went while I was in Cambodia, check those out here.

Their Living Conditions

When I tell you that these women (and their families in some cases) did not live in a very nice area, I really mean it. These women were trying to support their families on unfair wages. This meant that they don’t have much. The area was scattered with rotting food, garbage, and it smelled of an outhouse during a hot summer carnival. There were rats and other uninvited animals all about, and they barely had clean water and electricity.

The homes they lived in were very small, I hesitate to even call it a house—they lived in shacks. These shacks didn’t have doors and often one shack housed several women. We spent time in one of the shacks where seven people lived! Keep in mind, these shacks are maybe 10 feet by 10 feet, if I am being generous.

The Workers and Their Families

Despite living in complete poverty, making barely any money, in a terrible work environment, these people came out into the streets to greet us with huge smiles on their faces. They were so excited to bring us into their homes and to meet with us—to share their stories. And beyond that, they were so grateful for what they did have! This was humbling because I can be so ungrateful for all that I have (I am blessed with more than enough). When I am complaining that I don’t have enough space to store all my things, these women don’t have many things to put in their tiny space.

Welcoming Us into Their Homes

Because of the small size of their homes, my group of 17 had to split up into smaller groups of about 5. The first home we visited housed just one lady, and she was pregnant! Oh, you could tell because she was glowing! She told us all about her other children and her husband back home in the country. We asked her questions about her life and work, and just got to know her.

The next home we visited housed seven women of varying ages. Most of these women were from the countryside and came to the city to work and send money back home to their families. This hut had a bathroom (kind of) and couldn’t have been big enough for each of these ladies to fit on the floor to sleep comfortably. These seven ladies combined had even less than the first lady. Each of them had a bag, I believe a pair of shoes, and maybe an outfit or two all hung up on the walls. These ladies were very excited to share their stories with us and to answer questions.

For both home visits, we had interpreters, but some of the seven ladies wanted to practice their English on us and we let them. They were good! Most Cambodians spoke very good English.

Saying Goodbye

Passing Out Candy Cambodia

When it was time to go, everyone filed into the streets. We had some candy to hand out to the children before we left, so everyone grabbed a handful and started handing it out. After the candy, everyone got together for a huge group picture. The younger Khmer people thought this was so cool, everyone wanted in! Unfortunately, after some fun and photos, we had to move on to our next event.

Experiencing Cambodia | Jihi Elephant Click To Tweet

MEeting Cambodian Factory WOrkers

Read About My Other Cambodian Experiences

My Cambodian Diet: Food I Tried in Cambodia

Walking Around in the Streets of Phnom Penh

Genocide: Killing Fields & S21 Prison of Cambodia

Meeting Cambodian Women Working in Clothing Factory

A Day on Rabbit Island

Visiting Cambodian Schools

Visiting Cambodia’s Vietnamese Floating Communities

Meeting Buddhist Monks

Siem Reap Temple Exploration

Shopping at Cambodian Markets

Cambodian Youth Nights

Learning About Cambodian Non-Profit Organizations

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Genocide at the Hands of the Khmer Rouge: Killing Fields & S21 Prison of Cambodia

Genocide at the Hands of the Khmer Rouge: Killing Fields & S21 Prison of Cambodia

During My 3-Week Trip to Cambodia, my group visited the Killing Fields and S21 Prison in Cambodia. These places are memorials for those who died during the Khmer Rouge era. This article takes you through my experience touring these two memorials and should serve as a memorial itself.

If you haven’t read Part 1: Preparing for My 3-Week Trip to Cambodia or Part 2: On My Way to Cambodia, head on over to my Series Overview to check them out!

This article includes affiliate links.

Khmer Rouge Genocide

Our second day in Cambodia was spent going to places that remembered the genocide of hundreds of thousands of Khmer people. The genocide occurred less than 100 years ago (your parents or grandparents were probably alive…maybe you were even alive during this time!).

To give you an idea of the magnitude of this genocide, far more innocent people were murdered than in the Holocaust, or the Rwandan genocide. Khmer (Cambodian) people with any spec of a possible education (even just having glasses) were murdered by the Khmer Rouge. Many others were also killed for any and every reason the Khmer Rouge could think of. The Khmer Rouge Era ended when the Vietnamese invaded in 1978.

To learn more check out United to End Genocide – Cambodian Genocide or World Without Genocide – Cambodian Genocide.

S21 Prison

The S21 prison was just one of many prisons in use during the Khmer Rouge era. These prisons were held in schools. This means that many schools in Cambodia look like prisons! …or the Khmer Rouge prisons look like Cambodian schools…

Anyways, these prisons were used to torture false confessions out of innocent people. After confessing their fake wrong-doings, they were sent to what is now known as the killing fields (read on to learn more).

I can’t even begin to tell you everything I learned about this prison. Words can’t even describe the horrible things that occurred here. It’s completely and utterly heartbreaking.

S21 Prison Cambodia

TOURING THE PRISON

My tour of the prison included holding rooms, torture rooms, and a guillotine. There were still blood stains all over this place! I can’t even begin to imagine what these prisoners went through.

After the tour we were allowed to roam free. The feeling of looking at the faces of victims up on the walls…indescribable. I honestly don’t have words for this experience. And because I don’t have words I have provided some links for you to learn more at the end of this post.

Killing Fields

Next, we toured one of the many killing fields memorials Cambodia has. The killing fields were the next step after the torture prisons for the victims. As you can imagine, at the killing fields people were murdered. Mercilessly. Babies were smashed against trees, awful. The Khmer Rouge did not view these people as people. They were useless pieces of trash to the Khmer Rouge.

The Killing Fields were even more indescribable (again links at the end). You could see scraps of clothing and bone coming up out of the dirt around the paths. That was surreal to see. At one of the death pits, there were bracelets everywhere on the posts to remember the people who died there—what a beautiful thing.

Spread everywhere throughout the fields were glass containers that were slowly filling with bones that had been found after the original excavation.

The most heartbreaking stop on our tour was the memorial filled with bones, skulls, and torture tools found in the fields and mass graves. This was beyond explanation and incredibly difficult to comprehend.

Killing Fields Memorial Cambodia

My tour guide at the fields recalled escaping a killing field as a child. I wish I could recall more of his story to tell you.

My experience at the prison and killing field didn’t feel real. It’s hard to imagine that human beings are capable of such awful destruction. I wish the Cambodian people’s stories could be in history books like the other widely known genocides because their stories are important too.

If you’d like to learn more about the Khmer Rouge Era, the S21 Prison, or the Killing Fields, I have provided a few books and links:

United to End Genocide – Cambodian Genocide
World Without Genocide – Cambodian Genocide
The Killing Fields Museum of Cambodia
Cambodia’s Curse: The Modern History of a Troubled Land by Joel Brinkley

Cambodia's Curse

Children of Cambodia’s Killing Fields: Memoirs by Survivors by Dith Pran

Cambodia's Killing Fields

Experiencing Cambodian Genocide Memorials | Jihi Elephant Click To Tweet

Killing Fields and S21 Prison Cambodia

Read About My Other Cambodian Experiences

My Cambodian Diet: Food I Tried in Cambodia

Walking Around in the Streets of Phnom Penh

Genocide: Killing Fields & S21 Prison of Cambodia

Meeting Cambodian Women Working in Clothing Factory

A Day on Rabbit Island

Visiting Cambodian Schools

Visiting Cambodia’s Vietnamese Floating Communities

Meeting Buddhist Monks

Siem Reap Temple Exploration

Shopping at Cambodian Markets

Cambodian Youth Nights

Learning About Cambodian Non-Profit O

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Meet Kaida, My Crested Gecko

Meet Kaida, My Crested Gecko

Kaida is my adorable baby crested gecko and I’d like to introduce you! I have decided to introduce you to her because she is such a huge part of my life. I have already mentioned her in my About Me page and in my post on 6 Ways to Declutter Your Desk Space and I figured it was time you formally met!

Kaida is a fairly new member to my family. She was gifted to me by my boyfriend, Mark, around November 2016.  Mark breeds crested geckos and when I saw her, I just had to have her!

With the passing of my dog, Benny and Bearded Dragon, Little Man, Kaida has become my baby.

Kaida the Crested Gecko

Her home sits promptly on the right side of my desk where she eats bugs like a fiend, and sleeps all day long (well she’s nocturnal, so this is normal). She is growing so fast I can hardly handle it! Kaida means ‘little dragon’ which is fitting because she looks like a teeny tiny dragon.

Kaida the Crested Gecko

She is a pretty simple gal, so this is a pretty simple post. Here are some fun facts about Kaida!

Kaida the Crested Gecko

+ Kaida has the most vibrant tail

+ Kaida hates it when I disturb her during the day

+ She has been hunting on her own nearly her whole life (proud mom!)

+ She loves hiding under her log and in her foliage

+ Kaida is super energetic once she has woken up

Kaida the Crested Gecko

+ Kaida must love the heat of my laptop, because she enjoys sitting on the keyboard

+ Watching Netflix is how we bond [laptop sitting]

+ I’m not 100% sure Kaida is a girl, but she probably is

+ She sure loves to make noise while I am trying to sleep (silly girl is an attention hog)

+ Kaida thinks my hair is a nice daytime hiding place

Now that you’ve met my family, I feel like I can really open up to you! Hope you like her, she sure likes you!

Meet Kaida, My Crested Gecko

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Walking Around in the Streets of Phnom Penh

Walking Around in the Streets of Phnom Penh

If you haven’t read Part 1: Preparing for My 3-Week Trip to Cambodia or Part 2: On My Way to Cambodia, head on over to my Series Overview to check them out! At this point in my All About My 3-Week Trip to Cambodia series, I have now arrived in Cambodia!  Here is my experience walking the streets of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital city!

Streets of Phnom Penh

When we were walking around in the streets of Phnom Penh, there was a lot to see. Food stands and shops, hospitals, red light districts, filth (their government kinda sucks), families sleeping on the street, laundry drying, little buddhist huts, and more. I specifically remember one family, a woman and 3 very small children, camped out on a blanket outside of a government building’s wall. The children would ask passing strangers for food. It broke my heart.

Phnom penh Streets

It was very common for children to come up to you and ask for something or to try to sell you something. Most of what they tried to sell where bananas and other bundles of fruits. Sometimes it was hard to trust their food, but the trip leader would often buy us bananas from the children.

Children Cambodia

I have 12 ear-piercings. I often had my hair braided back exposing my shiny little stud earrings. On several occasions, I had little girls asking if they could have some of them. Unfortunately, if I had given them my earrings, I would most-likely lose a piercing or get an infection because a few of them were not fully healed and had cracked from the dry environment.

Is it Safe?

Walking around in Phnom Penh was  also dangerous. The fact that Cambodia struggles with a human trafficking problem, wasn’t what made the streets so unsafe though (not saying this wasn’t something to worry about, just not the biggest problem).

What was so dangerous about Cambodian streets was the lack of traffic laws and traffic control. I do not believe I saw a single traffic light or sign directing the hundreds of cars, bikes, tuk tuks, buses, etc. This meant that intersections and crossing the streets were complete chaos.

No one got hurt on the trip, but we kept an eye out when crossing traffic and relied on experienced Cambodian drivers to get us around.

Experiencing Cambodia's Streets! | Jihi Elephant Click To Tweet

Phnom Penh

Read About My Other Cambodian Experiences

My Cambodian Diet: Food I Tried in Cambodia

Walking Around in the Streets of Phnom Penh

Genocide: Killing Fields & S21 Prison of Cambodia

Meeting Cambodian Women Working in Clothing Factory

A Day on Rabbit Island

Visiting Cambodian Schools

Visiting Cambodia’s Vietnamese Floating Communities

Meeting Buddhist Monks

Siem Reap Temple Exploration

Shopping at Cambodian Markets

Cambodian Youth Nights

Learning About Cambodian Non-Profit O

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My Cambodian Diet: Food I Tried in Cambodia

My Cambodian Diet: Food I Tried in Cambodia

If you haven’t read Part 1: Preparing for My 3-Week Trip to Cambodia or Part 2: On My Way to Cambodia, head on over to my Series Overview to check them out!

Eating In Cambodia

I am an incredibly picky eater, always have been. One of my biggest fears when I decided to spend 3 weeks in Cambodia was that I wouldn’t have anything to eat. Asian food was one of my least favorites and I don’t like fish. I was doomed.

In preparation, I packed a ton of non-perishable snacks. If there was a meal I didn’t particularly fancy, or a meal where I just didn’t eat much, I would pull out a granola bar or box of raisins to fill in the gaps.

Being a small person, the trip leader was worried about my eating. He told me before we even left the States that he would be keeping a close eye on my eating to make sure I was getting enough and wouldn’t faint. He kept to his word. Nearly every meal he would make sure there was a chicken dish available to me (we almost always ate family style and he knew I liked chicken). After eating, he would also ask me if I had eaten enough.

The rest of the group also looked out for me. They had learned what I liked and made sure I got plenty of it. Their kindness was really a lifesaver. Though throughout the trip I had become much more adventurous than I was before, I was still very picky. At locations where we ate predominantly fish, I was given first pick of the chicken and morning-glory dishes.

My Favorite Cambodian Dishes

Morning glory was my first favorite excluding any chicken dishes. This was a dish made of mostly greens and often had hot peppers mixed within it. I loved it. This was surprising because, before the trip, I generally did not like hot dishes. Morning glory was very spicy. Because of morning glory, I now enjoy spicy dishes!

My next favorite dish was beef Lok Lak. This dish was cooked with soy and fish sauce (which I don’t like). Despite this, I was able to fully enjoy the dish. Alone, the beef was gross. But, this dish was served with sliced limes and a small dish of 1-part sugar, 1-part salt, 1-part pepper. The limes were to be squeezed into this mixture. The beef is then dipped in this lime pepper sauce. It is AMAZING! I have made this dish at home countless times, because I love it so much. Highly recommend looking up a recipe!

Trying New Foods

Cambodia, like every country, has dishes and foods that are unique to the culture. Because of these differences, I had the opportunity to try a lot of foods that I had never tried before. Here are some of them.

DOG

Dog was a dish made available at the first Cambodian youth night. This was at the beginning of the trip and I was not feeling adventurous enough to try it. I was told it tasted a lot like beef jerky. I’m not a huge fan of beef jerky, so I did not feel as though i had missed out.

Cambodian Stray Dog

TARANTULA LEG

At a small food market, I tried tarantula leg. It was barbecue flavored and kind of tasted like a funyin chip. There was a guy in my group who was brave enough to bite into the body. The body of the spider was filled with excrement. Gross!

Spider

SEA EEL

Another food that I tried was sea eel. I was terrified to try this one, since it is a water animal. However, I was pleasantly surprised when it tasted exactly like chicken! I would totally eat sea eel again.

COW PENIS

Perhaps the worst food I tried in Cambodia was cow penis. Yea, you read that right. Let me tell you, I gaged. It tasted of beef which wasn’t bad. But, the meat was so unbelievably chewy. My teeth could not break it down enough to swallow it and I ended up spitting it out.

BAMBOO RICE

During a day trip outside of Phnom Penh we stopped on the side of the road to buy Bamboo Rice. Bamboo Rice was sticky rice and beans in a bamboo stalk. I do not like beans so I was reluctant to eat this. I tried it and the rice was good, but I gave my stalk to someone else because I did not enjoy the beans

Bamboo Rice

SUGAR CANE WATER

From another roadside stand, we bought sugar cane water. This was served in a bag and was very sweet. It wasn’t bad, I drank most of mine. It was naturally sweet, but did not taste sweet like the artificial sugar I know and love, it was a bit boring in comparison.

Sugar Cane Water

COCONUT WATER OUT OF A COCONUT

While eating lunch in Phnom Penh, the trip leader bought us all Coconuts to drink from.  I didn’t really like it, but it was cool so I drank about half. Since it was warm, I am sure it would have been better cold.

Coconut Water

There you go, my Cambodian diet! I am so glad that I stepped out of  my comfort zone and tried these foods! Highly recommend.

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MY CAMBODIAN DIET: FOOD I TRIED IN CAMBODIA

Read About My Other Cambodian Experiences

My Cambodian Diet: Food I Tried in Cambodia

Walking Around in the Streets of Phnom Penh

Genocide: Killing Fields & S21 Prison of Cambodia

Meeting Cambodian Women Working in Clothing Factory

A Day on Rabbit Island

Visiting Cambodian Schools

Visiting Cambodia’s Vietnamese Floating Communities

Meeting Buddhist Monks

Siem Reap Temple Exploration

Shopping at Cambodian Markets

Cambodian Youth Nights

Learning About Cambodian Non-Profit Organizations

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