Thailand: The Islands

As promised, here is the blog post for the second lag of our summer trip to Thailand. I recently went out for coffee with my co-workers’ daughter who is planning a month-long trip to Thailand this spring with her boyfriend and sister. Talking to her about her trip got me very excited for my own Thailand trip. Yes, you read right! I’m going back to Thailand this summer, but this time with my roommate. The plan is to go explore the Northern part of Thailand, before going off to explore three other South Eastern Asian countries. More details on that soon!


Our plane ride from Bangkok to Krabi!!

In the last post, I told you guys all about my time in Bangkok and just how much I loved it. I could have stayed in Bangkok for longer, but the islands were waiting for us in the southern part of the country. After our first two nights in the city, we caught a flight through Air Asia to Krabi where we took a bus for 100 baht (roughly $5 Canadian) to Ao Nang. Ao Nang was definitely one of my favourite spots. It was a good combination of the beach life, but also had a small-town feel. I found out while searching for a coffee shop first thing in the morning that things did not open till later in the morning, around 9am.


The sunsets and beaches at AoNang are breath taking!

We stayed at Ao Nang Sunset Hotel which I would highly recommend. The hotel is square shaped like a court yard with a pool in the middle. We never got a chance to go swimming, but the staffs were wonderful and super accommodating.





After a couple of days at Aonang, we took a boat to Koh Phi Phi Island. This island is a huge party island, so make sure to bring some hear plugs with you. The whole time we were there, there was a party down by the beach. We stayed at Phi Phi viewpoint island, which was not particular very clean and would not recommend it. They did however have a pool with a beautiful view of the island. Make sure to take a hike to Koh Phi Phi viewpoint. The hike is not all that difficult, mostly a series of stairs. Because it was so hot when we were there, the heat made it strenuous. The view makes it all worth it though, especially if you go in time to catch the sunset.



Koh Phi Phi viewpoint! What did i tell ya; its breath taking is it not?1?1

From Ao Nang, we took another boat to Railay and stayed at Sand Sea Resort, which was by far our favourite stay. The rooms are so beautiful! The island is very much a couple island and seemed as if most people were on their honeymoon. If you’re a single traveller hopping for a travel romance with other single travellers, Railay may not be your best bet. However, it’s a really cute island and you’ll be sure to find tons of monkeys around. We did another hike at Railay to a lagoon. The hike, more like rock climbing, was not easy! It was probably one of the hardest climbs I’ve ever done. Tough, but worth it!



On our way to the lagoon…


What did i tell you about the lagoon! beautiful; am i right or am i right?

A fairy took us from Railay to Ko Lanta where we stayed at Gooddays Lanta Beach Resort. Ko Lanta was another one of my favourite places. It felt less touristy and more like a home. We made friends here. I cannot remember the names, but there were two restaurant not too far from out resort where we eat a lot and came to know the workers there well. We even attend a quarter moon party at a reggae club where we made friends at. Koh Lanta was far more relax and, for me, it felt like I was home.

Throughout the whole trip, I thought I would never get a chance to meet an elephant ethically, but we did. If you know me, then you know I’m obsessed with elephants, but in Thailand, elephants are not treated very well. They are made to do unnatural things like painting or getting tourist to ride them. We found a place in Koh Lanta where were able to feed and bath the elephants without riding them.


My new friend ❤

The end of our trip was near at this point. After taking a ferry from Koh Lanta to Krabi, we took a flight back to Bangkok to spend a night before travelling back home. I absolutely loved Thailand and are very excited to go back and visit Chiang Mia in a couple short months. The plan is to visit the elephant sanctuary and go on a couple of hikes.


Some kind friends i made on the ferry! I was quite sick on this ferry ride so these two were a highlight and kept me laughing. I love Thailand not just of the beauty of its land, but its people too



Best of Bangkok

Back in late August and early September, i had the opportunity to travel to Thailand with a friend of mine. I turned 23 this past August and graduated with my first degree back in April so i guess you can say it was a little gift from myself to myself.

You see, i was pretty scared to travel to Thailand. Thailand would be a whole new playing field for me and all the talk about people getting kidnapped did not help my nerves. I kept telling myself that if i was going achieve my dreams of making this world my playing field, i had to not let fear get the best of me. I have the tendency, travel wise, to always return to the places that i know and feel comfortable in. I’ve been back to Europe twice and my last international trip before Thailand was Guatemala, so of course i thought of going back to Guatemala and visiting my host family. If it weren’t for my friend, who convinced me that we go to Thailand, i probably would have pushed it into the far future. And boy, was i glad i went.

Our flight took us to Bangkok, were we spend roughly two days exploring. If i could describe Bangkok in three words, it would be SO. MANY. TEMPLES. Words nor picture cannot do justice to just how beautiful Bangkok is. I’ve included a few pictures below of the temples we visited that you should check out.


Wat Arun. Hands town my favourite picture! you should have seen me trying to get the monk into the picture haha


Was Pho. It felt rather like a village that you can explore for hours on end. Its famous for its larger-than-life golden reclining Buddha statue so make sure to check that out.



Their rather strict on clothing at the Grand Place, which explains my not very fashionable outfit choice here. You cannot wear spaghetti straps to the temples so i had to buy this red top at a market nearby to cover up.


Just outside the Grand Place.

Since we were only in Bangkok for roughly two days, we did not get to explore the city’s night life too extensively. We did however spend a lot of time at Khao San Road which was about a five minute walk from our hotel.

Khao San Road takes night life to a whole new level. Khao San Road is literally a long street filled with everything from markets, streets foods, rooftop bars, and endless list of things to do. You can shop, drink dirt cheap alcohol in buckets (i felt like i was in heaven), hit up a club or pub, get a tattoo or dreadlocks (for reals). For reasons i need not explain, the majority of my pictures from Khao San Road are blurry so I’ve included just one picture taken at the beginning of our night out. I even eat a scorpion while at Khao San Road and all i can say is that it tasted crunchy and burned, but never again.


After Bangkok, we took a flight to the islands in the southern part of the country. More on that later, but in the mean happy adventures friends.


Healing Among the Clouds

You meet him at a presentation. Your eyes move from the speaker to the left hand side of the room. Your friend taps your shoulder to pay attention, but soon realizes who your looking at and gives you a smile. When the speaker is done, you excuse yourself to run to the bathroom and make sure your makeup is still good. You’re happy that today, unlike most days, you put in an effort. You come back to your friend, only to find that she had moved from your table to his. She weaves you over and you smile.

He’s sitting with three of his friends and you grab a seat beside him. He’s shy and although you keep making eye contact, it’s you who speaks to him first. He asks question, his friends ask questions, but you only pay attention to him. The evening is getting late, but you make sure to get his contact before goodbyes are said. This one feels different.

He calls you. You call him. You do not particularly like talking on the phone, but wth him the conversation never feels long enough.  Your head spins the first time he kisses you and you could barely walk to your car.

You promise yourself you would not fall, but you do. Life feels more vibrant, now that he’s in it. Everything about him was contiguous; from his warmth to his half-smirks to his sarcastic humor.

Although you knew it was long time coming, you do your best not to break down when it all ends. You lay on your couch and try to comfort yourself with the good memories you had with him, but then you realize he would never gently reach across your waist or back and comfort you. He would never make you laugh. You would never talk about life in all its twisted ways until the sun goes down. So, you softly cry yourself to sleep.

You wake up the next day and catch a flight. Your wanderlust heart finds healing on the mountains and alongside elephants. You realize that even if he had chosen you, you would not have chose him years down the road. You have chosen a life of freedom and adventure and him, a conventional life of comfort and routine. You always choose travel. You are thankful for the lessons, the memories and your powerful heart that always finds healing among the clouds.

~ A.M.


Dating As South Sudanese in North America

To echo my fellow South Sudanese female friends, dating just seems so darn difficult. And a lot more difficult when it comes to dating in our South Sudanese communities. Is it just me and my friends or does anyone else feel the same way? What is it about movies and TV shows that makes relationships on the screen seem effortless and well, absolutely wonderful? Whatever the secret is, I feel like I need an in.

Personally, I’ve not dated a lot of South Sudanese men and I think that’s what frustrates me the most. I’ve went through a series of short term relationships of various significances with men of diverse backgrounds. However, every time I’ve taken a liking to a South Sudanese man, it’s always been different. I’ve often felt a sense of connection with them that I haven’t been able to feel in my other relationships. I’ve asked myself time and time again why this is. It cannot just be because were from the same country, look alike and speak the same language. Because the thing is, I’ve had far more in common with men who were not South Sudanese. And yet, I’ve felt stronger connections with South Sudanese men. And yet, the shortest relationships or interests have been with South Sudanese men. It’s not for a lack of trying, I honestly do not get it! Perhaps the problem is with me, but I don’t think so.

Has anyone noticed that people, especially young adults, in our South Sudanese communities do not date? And if they do, the relationships are often not long term committed relationships that end up in a strong, loving and everlasting marriage. Maybe this is only specific to my community here in Winnipeg, but i don’t believe that. I’ve seen tons of broken relationships, including my step-mother and father marriage, and far too many single moms. Why is that?

Call me a hopeless romantic, but I want a fairy tale love story. I know, TV shows and movies are not a true account of real life love because it does not showcase the challenges and work it takes to make a relationships work. However, I don’t think it’s stupid to want an epic love story that lasts all the days of your life. I want to raise children in a loving and caring home with parents that are committed to each other. The more I date and talk to South Sudanese men, the more I lose faith that my partner will be South Sudanese. Why? Because I want a committed and loving relationship and I think this is something we struggle with as South Sudanese living in North America.

Perhaps it’s because we come from a culture where men don’t have to commit to one wife and can marry as many as they can financially afford. Perhaps it because we’re a group of refugees trying to navigate life in a strange and new land. Perhaps it’s because we’ve lost our identity as South Sudanese and are trying to find our place. Perhaps, as refugees, we’ve experienced psychological trauma that prevents us from starting and maintain loving and healthy long term relationships. Personally, I think it’s a combination of all these and more. And if this is the case, what do we do? Where do we go from here?

I do not have all the answers and I write this because I want to start a dialogue. Please share your thoughts on the comments below, I would love to hear from you. I thoroughly hope that this blog post does not offend anyone and if it does, I apologize. Please know that I’m coming at this from my own personal and biased experiences. I also realize that I’m generalizing and that exceptions do exist. I want to hear what your experiences have been like in your South Sudanese Communities so please leave a comment below.

21 Things L’Arche Has Taught Me

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As some of you guys may already know, i have been spending the past year living in L’arche Winnipeg as an assistant. L’Arche, to say the least, has been such a remarkable year of laugher, tears, memories, growth, friendships, and mistakes. I have learned about myself as an individual and also in the context of a team. I have laughed until i literally peed my pants and i have also shut myself in the bathroom to cry. I have made life long friendships and i have also had by heart broken. Despite all of this, would i live L’arche all over again? absolutely! In just over a week, i will be saying goodbye to L’Arche  Winnipeg as a live in assistant and to mark such a transition, i decided to share with you guys 21 things that i have learned this past year.

  1. Perspective check is key when resolving conflict. Half of our conflicts result from misunderstanding and failing to seek understanding.
  2. Earplugs are essential when living with nine other people. Beauty sleep people, beauty sleep
  3. Being a servant is not just serving others, but also allowing others to serve you
  4. People with developmental disability, just like us, have strengths and weakness. They may need our help, but it is very important that we are open to receive their help too
  5. Smile. Always. And Often.
  6. God’s ability to unconditionally love His children is mind-blowing. Now if only i could learn to do the same.
  7. Laugh. A lot. Until you Pee your pants. And continue to laugh.
  8. Living in Joy is an important element in building a strong community
  9. Be stupid. Be Crazy. And have Fun doing so.
  10. It’s okay to make mistakes. Just try again.
  11. First impressions do not always hold true. Be open and allow people to surprise you.
  12. It’s wonderful to be part of something greater than yourself
  13. Have grace for yourself and those around you.
  14. Breath when things get hurt. Or scream in the car with your windows up. Whatever you need.
  15. The bathroom is the best place to go when you need a moment. Or two.
  16. It’s possible as a 21 year old to become best friends with people in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s. Age is just a number.
  17. It’s also possible to become best friends with people wth developmental disabilities. Their people; just like us. There is no us and them.
  18. A leadership team works well when everyones gift is not only acknowledge, but also utilized.
  19. Living with people with varying personalities, perspectives, religions, and culture  is REALLY hard. But also REALLY fun
  20. People with developmentally disabilities thrive best when their a part of a community. In fact, humans in generally thrive best when their a part of a community.
  21. Compromise and flexibility is key to community living.


Quebec, Canada

At L’Arche Winnipeg, we get what they call statutory  holidays which we have to use before our year ends. Before i came to work at L’arche as a live-in assistant for individuals with developmental disabilities, i had spend a year road-triping across Canada and then lived in Guatemala for three months. The past year that i’ve spend in L’arche has been a different type of excitement. Since i’m living and working in my own city, there has not been a whole lot of adventure in the travel department. My travel bug was biting, and i knew that i wanted to travel somewhere for my holidays. A friend of mine was going to Montreal and so i decided to join him. Travelling all of Canada is on my bucket list and i have yet to go to Quebec, and so i thought to myself; “what better time is there than the present?” My friend and i spend a week in a L’arche community in Montreal. We eventually parted ways and i went off to Quebec City to couchsurf (a different post on that topic). In the mean time, here are some pictures from Montreal.


You should of seen me; i was going crazy over the street arts in Montreal!


A trip to Montreal is not complete without a trip to the beautiful Notre Dame #breathtakinglybeautiful


The famous casino; it’s so beautiful at night. The picture just does not do any justice!


And the Cafes; so much character


For those of you who know me; you know the i love colour. And the colour house and doors did not disappoint!