Australia: Fremantle, Perth, and Rottnest

Australia: Fremantle, Perth, and Rottnest

May 8-15, 2019

Wow. Australia. So good to be back. So good to be in a cooler place and a place where I can cook my own meals. So good to be able to drink the water out of the tap. So good to eat salads and grilled cheese sandwiches, yogurt, coffee from a bodum, start my day off with a hot water and freshly squeeze lemon. So many things I missed since leaving Switzerland. 4 months is a long time. And I realized I sort of forgot how to cook as well. While a did a bit of cooking in Switzerlerand, it feels like it’s been 10 months since I cooked something on a stove.

Firsts that really put such a smile on my face:

  • cool temps. Walking outside of the airport and happily putting on my sweater.
  • The smell of grass. I haven’t smelt fresh cut grass in probably 10 months. It is an incredible smell.
  • The 2 or 3 ply toilet paper. What a treat.
  • Our first buffalo chicken Subway sandwich with blue cheese dressing. Absolute perfect thing to eat for a massage of the taste buds.
  • Shopping for white wine that tastes great and is only $10 a bottle.
  • Shopping in a grocery store. 4 months since we’ve done this. So many things to look at and now to take into consideration all the plastic consumption. So we’re buying glass jars as much as possible and avoiding brands that are in plastic. #newmarketingniche
  • Driving. OMG driving myself. While it was a bit nerve-wracking to drive again on the left hand side (it’s been a week and I still throw on the windshield wipers when I want to turn a corner), I’m enjoying the freedom of just hopping in the car and going to get what we need.

I’m so thrilled to be back in Australia after 20 years. The smell of the Eucalyptus trees is incredible. The birds! Green parrots flying wild everywhere. The funny sounds some of them make. I must confess that I spend a lot of time wondering now if sticks are snakes after seeing one on the road at Rottnest.

Interestingly, I don’t remember a lot of the places that I went before when I was here. I wonder if maybe the memories will come back as we move up the coast toward Darwin. I had to ask my cousin where we lived for 3 months… couldn’t remember. We’re going to swing by there in a couple of days when we leave Perth area. I also don’t remember Rottnest Island at all when I visited that with my cousin, Linda. I guess that’s good in a way that I get to make my own memories again with Luc and Vivi.

Our first week here has been really wonderful.


We signed up for Helpx to find a place to live for free for a week and have a home base to explore Perth and Freemantle. Helpx is a website that puts people who need help around their house with people who need a place to stay. We found Jenny and her two dogs Nora and Charlie and her huge property just outside of Fremantle for a week. Jenny needed some help with gardening, pool cleaning, website updates, and some general maintenance for 1.5 hours a day. In return we got a room and access to her kitchen to cool wonderful meals. We also could use the pool but it’s cool here now! Vivi got the use of a blow up mattress and sleeping bag and her own room too!

There was also another couple living there who were building their van to travel around Australia. A French couple – wouldn’t you know! So Luc and Vivi were loving speaking in French. They also spent 5 months in South East Asia so we had a good time comparing stories.

We all shared meals together for a couple of nights and we went out and watched Jenny play a gig at a restaurant called Gypsy Tapas in Fremantle. She’s a wonderful singer. Check out her music.

King’s Park

Our first outing was to Kings Park overlooking Perth. We gawked at the perfectly manicured lawn that was like carpet and good enough to eat on. The views were stunning.

We walked through the Botanical Gardens and looked at all the beautiful flowers and trees. Luc took many photos to send back to his mom in Switzerland.

Then we walked over to the natural playground in the park. This playground is huge! Vivi had a great time cruising through all the structures and playing on the rocks.

Mother’s Day and Rottnest

While we were here we celebrated Mother’s day! Luc and Vivi made me a cake and we went down to South Beach and Bather’s Beach near Freo. We also visited a brewery and had some delicious dark IPA’s. I’ve been missing those dark dreamy beers. Fremantle reminded me of New Orleans with the architecture. It’s also so beautiful and really feels artsy and chilled out.

The following day we got up EARLY to catch a ferry to Rottnest and do some exploring. Rottnest Island is a must see. It’s really expensive to get there and rent bikes (it cost us $192 with parking) but I’d say it was worth it. We biked all over the island. It wasn’t too hot, just perfect. The beaches there are white sand and turquoise blue water. We found a really long beach where we were all alone (again) and I suggested we skinny-dip in broad daylight! Luc said “I don’t think we can do that here” I said “and so…?” and so we did. I was first in and last out. It was breathtaking. The water was cool and it was so refreshing to not have to strip out of a wet bathing suit. We really should do that more often. Hey now there’s an idea….

We saw a ton of wildlife on Rottnest. Birds with orange beaks, a pelican, the infamous Quokka that is so incredibly cute and tame (don’t feed, don’t touch!), a snake on the road, probably 20 or more lizards.

We had a mishap where Vivi fell off her bike near the (not so) Pink Lake but she dusted herself off and got back up again no tears.

If you go to Rottnest, pack a lunch and snacks. Food over there is EXPENSIVE!

Next stop Margaret River area!


  • My mood has significantly lifted. I attribute this so much to the weather and being able to cook my own meals. It wasn’t that I was in a shitty mood before but the heat and eating in restaurants 3 times a day was just kind of oppressive in a way.
  • The wildlife here is stunning.
  • Good coffee and white wine. My two staples needed to make me feel at home and comforted.
  • We’ve gone vegetarian 6 days out of 7 to cleanse our bodies and get lots of whole grains, legumes, and raw veggies into our bodies. Hummus….. yummmmmm!
  • It’s dry here so it’s a bit of a shock to go from tropical rain forest to bushland but the drop in humidity has me feeling a lot lighter and wanting to walk and explore a lot more.
  • I’m so freaking excited about getting in our van and driving up to Darwin! 7 more sleeps!
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Apr 3-8, 2019

I had debated just showing photos as there’s not a lot to tell you about our trip to Cambodia except I think this is the hottest that I experience. It’s almost unbearable. It’s in the 40s (centigrade) for a good part of the day, all day. If it’s not in the 40s it’s in the high 30s. Even at night. What we find when it gets this hot is that we have to live in AC. Which is kinda too bad because there is a lot to see around. But it’s just not doable.

Of course we came here to see the amazing temples of Angkor Wat so we had to see them, but I was nervous about heat or sun stroke given how quickly we lost water. I usually worry about finding public toilets but when you’re not even peeing, there’s hardly anything to worry about (ok, that’s a joke).

Phnom Penh

Really not much to report except we had a wonderful bus ride to Phnom Penh where we spent less than 12 hours there I think.

The highlight was seeing our friends Roman and Julienne from France. They were coming around the other way from Laos (where we left them) and we managed to meet up with them for dinner.

It was so great to see them and eat dinner with them and connect with them again. Vivi absolutely loves them and so she was so excited to see someone else we knew!

We didn’t stick around long enough to get to know this big city but I understand it’s not that interesting and there’s a lot of garbage and prostitution happening so I’m happy to make a quick stop and go.

They did cancel our booked bus when we got here for the next morning but we just booked a better bus (Giant Ibis). So spacious and lots of stops. Highly recommend paying the extra to get this bus.

Siem Reap

Again another all day bus trip to get here. We had booked an Airbnb that was a little outside of Siem Reap but it had a local school that the owner ran so we thought it would be great to volunteer in the afternoons with the kids.

We were not anticipating what came next. Well it was officially low season so there was no one else (tourists) staying at the Airbnb. We were anticipating lots of action and people to meet from the photos. It was basically empty. The room we slept in was ok, but the bed was horrific. Probably a 20 or 30 year old mattress. And me with my PTSD about bed bugs didn’t sleep at all.

Our French friends told us about this place in Siem Reap that was half the price that had a pool. The place we booked didn’t have a pool and it was blazing hot.

And, it was some sort of Cambodian holiday (easter break?) that there weren’t any kids at the school.

So we were all alone, down a remote road for 4 days. Since we were the only ones there, they moved us to a better room with newer beds and pumpin AC. But it’s pretty isolating when there’s no one around except the 3 of us.

We had been put in touch with a tuk tuk driver from our French friends in Koh Lanta and he picked us up the next day and we did a tour of the temples. That night we went to Pub Street where we had some 2 for 1 cocktails and dinner.

We had decided that we would do one day of temple hopping, then a day off to explore Siem Reap and then another day of temple hopping and then we leave. So the next day was spent at the museum (AC) learning about the temples and different religions that are celebrated here. Then we visited another silk farm. Then back home to regroup in the AC.

The following day we were up EARLY to watch the sunrise over Angkor Wat. A friend and cousin both told us to go at sunrise but then go into the temple while everyone is outside waiting for the perfect shot. Yes you’ll miss the perfect shot but you’ll get to see the temple before the masses arrive. So we did that and it was really nice to be walking around getting great pics without a ton of people in the photo.

We sat with a monk who blessed us with nice smelling water and tied string around our wrists. Right for women, left for men. For me, I had seen this in blogs and pics, and it was really special to be able to do this little ceremony with my family.

Then we set out and visited more temples. My favorite was Bayon with so many faces and the golden hour after sunrise shining on the rock carvings was stunning.

There were a few more temples that Vivi couldn’t go into due to safety issues I think so we took these opportunities for Luc to adventure and us to sit and fan ourselves. Sometimes we would meditate together.

The day continued with temple after temple. I was drenched by the end of the day. It’s exhausting being in that heat. I just don’t understand how the locals do it.

The next morning we got a ride to the airport and we took off on an airplane to Malaysia for a one night stopover in Kuala Lumpur.


  • I’m glad we went. While it was a long 2 day bus trip and it was stupid hot but to come all the way to South East Asia and not go to Cambodia to see these amazing temples, would be a shame. I’m not sure I would get over to this area of the world again in the next 10 years.
  • I think we could have picked a cooler time to come and I would have appreciated it more.
  • Hind sight is 20/20 and we should have picked a place in town with a pool. There’s just no way that we could have known that the school would have been out and we would have been alone.
  • I’m officially “templed out”.
  • You could definitely feel the difference going from Vietnam to Cambodia. Immediately the roads were worse, back to a lot more garbage and you could feel that this country was a little more rustic than Vietnam and Thailand. More like Laos as far as development went.
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Feb 25-Mar 8, 2019


We left Chiang Rai EARLY in the morning. I think it was 5:30am. It was an early wake up call for my birthday. For my birthday I wanted to get over the border into Laos with just one company that brought us there. We could have saved money and did it ourselves but it would have required us taking a bus to the border (2 hours away), a tuk tuk to the “checkout” of Thailand and then another tuk tuk to the Laos border to get our Visa, then another tuk tuk into town… Way too much “figuring out” on my birthday. So I pulled the birthday card and I got what I wanted which was for it to just be EASY. One company that herds us along.

We got into the van that was going to take us and the driver immediately wanted to know which passports we had so he could know how much American cash we would need to get a visa. I don’t think he was very happy that Luc and Vivi had Swiss passports because he couldn’t do a crazy ass exchange rate on them – visas are free for Swiss going into Laos. For me, I already had the USD I needed for my British Passport. Canadian passports are the most expensive Visa around to pass into Laos.

Next stop we picked up a couple from France. They didn’t have any USD so the driver said that he could sell them some (for a terrible exchange). Luc said in French to them that we had some extra USD so we could spot them the cash until they could get to a bank to pay us back. Well I guess the driver didn’t know that this had gone on because he stopped at an ATM. We explained to him that we didn’t need to stop because we were going to lend them the cash and he was PISSED!!! He slammed the door and zoomed off. I guess his side business of ripping off tourists wasn’t going to work today.

A couple of times I tried to talk to him but he completely ignored me. Finally Luc made him listen when we all had to go to the bathroom. Nice start to my birthday – piss off a local.

We got to the border and stamped out of Thailand and into Laos. It was pretty easy. Forms to fill, photos to give (I had brought some extras for times like this so I patted myself on the back). We had made fast friends with the French since our little incident which we would continue to hang out with them for a while and meet up with them again in Siem Reap.

We got into the back of a truck and headed off to the boat. But not before we had a stop at the tour guides restaurant where he told us that the beer is cheaper here and such. Total scam. He also told us that he would be with us for the two day tour but we never saw him again.

Down the Mekong

Onto the boat, our assigned seating was basically bullshit and we ended up sitting closer to the back of the boat where the engine is. We were off and heading down the Mekong. The Mekong is stunning. The river is brown but you float past jungle, water buffalo, mountains, small hill tribes… we made about 10 stops that day floating into different places where people would get on or things would be delivered. Then a 360 degree turn in the river to get back on course. At some point some young fellas got on and the drinking began. They were trying to put beer in everyone’s hands. It was really crazy. They kept buying and buying beer and giving it away. It was all a bit suspect to me. There were two girls with them and one of them had about a 6 month old baby. It was kinda crazy.

Oh and Luc and Vivi tried to get the whole boat to sing me Happy Birthday which was really special. We ate instant noodles on the boat for lunch.

We got off the boat after about 8 hours at Pak Beng and about 20 of us piled into a van that was being held in place by a rock on a steep hill. I was sure that I was going to end up in the Mekong and I would leave this world the same day, 44 years later. We survived. The crew was a buch of Canadians from BC so after we got to the restaurant, we ate, I drank a few Gin and Tonics, watched the sun set over the Mekong and then us and the French went to the bar. Annnddd…. We were all alone at the bar. All for us. Vivi had a great time playing beer pong and dancing. My birthday had a wonderful ending.

The next morning I made the mistake of somehow getting onto a website about the exact same boat hitting a rock and sinking in a matter of seconds. People died. I shouldn’t have read that article because after that I was so freaked out. I’m not sure why I was so scared still but I sure lived in fear when I think back to that time.

The 2nd day of the trip down the river was another day of beauty. Not too hot given the breeze from the boat and just gorgeous. We sat at the front this time (away from the Engine). We made friends with Lola and Josh and sat close to Julienne and Roman (our French friends). These two adored Vivi and she loved them right back.

Luang Prabang

We arrived in Luang Prabang in the evening. We hopped into the back of a truck again and got dropped in the middle of the town to find our hotel.

Luang Prabang is a beautiful town with French architecture and flowers everywhere. It was strange to have this French feel in an Asian country. We even ate at a French bakery a couple of times while we were there.

That next morning, we found a place just down the road to fill up our water bottles for free. And we set off to check out the town by foot. We walked all over and then up the hill and down. I was stupid hot as usual. We met up with the French to get the money back that we loaned them and headed to the market for dinner. There we had a fill your plate to the brim with as much food as possible for like $2. Mine was heavy on the noodles.

We decided to get a van all together and with Lola and Josh to go to the Kuang Si waterfall to cut down on the cost the next day. The waterfall was the most amazing turquoise blue you’ve ever seen. We hiked around and then swam with the tourists. They also rescue bears there so that poachers can’t take the bile that’s in their stomachs to sell. Magical because of the colour of the water.

The next day we met with the French and went to Big Brother Mouse to volunteer. Big Brother Mouse and Big Sister Mouse is an organization that helps Laos children read and speak in English. We all jumped in the back of a truck again and headed to the school where there were a bunch of kids aged 4-12 awaiting us to teach them. We had a bit of a run down from the woman who worked there as to what was going to happen. We chatted with older kids on a mat and we played games with them too. Then we went into the rooms with the kids, sang songs and used flash cards that were a little strange to say the least. We had a delicious lunch of very Laos flavoured and prepared foods at the school and then we moved to the school up the hill to do more flash cards and watch them dance. There was this one little boy who was a dance machine. So cute. It was a long day and now I understand why I’m not cut out to be a teacher. LOL! It did feel so incredible to be able to give back to this organization though and for Vivi to be able to also volunteer was really moving for me.

We took it easy the next day and headed to the pool. It was fairly filthy because of all the people (grand reopening). The day after that we rented bikes and toodled around again. Luc got a flat but we still managed to get out to the shop that weaves silk. Another scorcher. Vivi was just sitting on the back of his bike on the little seat.  

If there’s a place you should visit in Laos, it’s Luang Prabang. It’s so beautiful and really quaint. The French colonial architecture really sets it apart.

Vang Vieng

We booked a van ride to Vang Vieng and I didn’t realize how twisty and turny it was going to be. Vivi and I both got car sick and she puked. There was a Mexican couple behind us that was super nice and gave us some meds for car sickness. The driver was driving like a maniac and I was sure that Laos was where we would meet our demise. At the top of this crazy ass hill where he was passing people constantly, we switched drivers to go down. This guy seemed to be marginally better and more safe.

I started to not feel so good in Vang Vieng after dinner. Must have been something I ate. My stomach was not feeling well which essentially took me out for the next day. It’s a little humorous because I was just asking the universe for some alone time (traveling and living with your family 24/7 becomes a bit much for this only child at times) and I got sick. So I guess I got what I asked for!

They headed out for the day on a bike to some caves and swimming holes and I got to stay in the hotel room for the day. I did venture out at one point to mail some postcards, buy some charcoal and I happened upon a Mexican restaurant and I couldn’t pass up tacos. By the time I got home I needed a rest.

Vang Vieng is nice, but you don’t need to stay there long. There’s not a lot in the centre. You need to go out a bit to take in the sports. I also didn’t see much of it due to illness but I don’t really feel that I missed out.

Lotus Flower
Lotus Flower


The next day we bussed to Vientiane. Vientiane is a BIG city. We had about 4 days here before jumping on a plane to Vietnam.

We got up early in the morning, had breakfast and tried to beat the heat. We took a tuk tuk to the COPE Visitor Centre that is dedicated to how Laos was affected by the war. Laos was the most heavily bombed place in world war II. There are still thousands and thousands of bombies still in the ground and people continue to die and get hurt daily. It is getting better though. It was a real eye opener that this little country was such a casualty of a war that they really didn’t even participate in. And the shocking thing is that generations later, that weren’t even around at that time, continue to be killed because of it. And I’m sorry if this offends, but it’s the States that dropped these bombs (because they weren’t allowed to come back with bombs in their planes) and they are doing next to nothing to help clean up the mess they made. It’s a little disgusting.

We met up for dinner again with the French and had a wonderful time. I just adore watching Vivi play with the two of them. The genuinely care about her and give her space for her to be a kid with. It’s adorable.

The next morning we walked to a park and around to a big arch. Then we decided to take in a movie: Captain Marvel (in English)! What a great way to spend an afternoon to beat the heat. Have I mentioned how hot it is in Laos yet?

The next day we hopped on a tuk tuk and jetted off to the airport to catch out flight to Hanoi. We were pretty excited because Hanoi was supposed to be about 7-9 degrees cooler than Laos and Vivi and I really couldn’t wait for it to get a bit cooler.


  • While I thought I might finish in Laos, it really is incredibly beautiful. The people, the scenery, everything is stunning, especially the Mekong and Luang Prabang. I would consider coming back one day.
  • I was nervous going into this country. I had heard that it’s less touristy then Thailand (more than Myanmar) so I was a bit concerned about getting around and being understood. I think it worked out just perfect to come here.
  • There continued to be a lot of garbage on the side of the road.
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Southern Thailand

Southern Thailand

January 9-30, 2019

Relationship Renewal

I’m not going to sugar coat this: it took a while to change my mindset about Switzerland. I haven’t yet posted the raw feelings about what I went through in Switzerland as I’m not ready yet, but what I will say is that I felt like I had some depression surface and it was a very rough time in my relationship with Luc. Because of this, I think Luc might have hoped that a switch was flipped when we hit Thailand. Paradise right? Yeah that didn’t happen.

I remember standing in the airport after a crazy time change with about 1 hour of sleep and 10 hours of flying, Luc saying to me “why are you always so negative?” talk about a trigger moment. I was ready to catch the next flight back to Canada and away from him as fast as I possibly could.

After finally arriving at the first fancy hotel, we had it out beside the pool. What a sight – us basically yelling at each other in the most beautiful place we had seen in a while. Him flabbergasted why I wasn’t finally in a good mood and me yearning for him to just try to understand and accept me but totally being reactive and defensive.

I think those 2 days was so crucial for our relationship to finally try to find our relationship and love again through the crap and bullshit of the past 3 months. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all crap and bullshit. We had an amazing experience while I was emotionally very low. I look back now and wonder how did we experience so many cool things when I really felt depressed, alone and low.

From this point on, we spent time getting to know each other again and new things began to crop up that I didn’t know about Luc and him, me. As I move through our trip I will expose those things as they become more and more apparent. There was an article I read that was really interesting. What I got from it was that long term travel with your partner actually has you get to know things about them that you didn’t know or it wasn’t in your face enough to notice. This is so accurate. Traveling presents many different challenges that you don’t get in every day life: being scared (or not), spending money, eating new foods, experiencing new things, being tired, hot, parenting kids who haven’t been through this experience either. It’s challenging to say the least.

So 2 glorious days at the hotel on points helped us to reform our bonds again and start again just the 3 of us.


After lounging in the pool, we headed to Bangkok to explore. You will hear this for the next 3 months until we get to Bali but Bangkok was my first experience of HOT. We had grand ambitions to do learning time with Vivi in the morning and then set out in the afternoon to explore. WRONG. It’s minuscule cooler in the morning so we learned hard the first day to do it opposite from this point forward.

Everything was scary for me. Tuk tuks, walking on the street, worrying about getting my purse stolen from passing scooters, getting ripped off, street food. I was well outside my comfort zone these first few days (weeks). Luc on the other hand was LOVING EVERY MINUTE OF IT. Which killed me. How can one person be so afraid and the other want more of everything. I’ve said it before but we are the epitome of Ying and Yang.

He was ready to sample every single food on the street and I was trying to get back to restaurants for fear of food poisoning. I’ve been sick so many times in the past in Asian countries that I’m jaded. So this was a bone of contention that didn’t stop for about 2 months until I said enough was enough. More on that later.

We went to a few temples in Bangkok, Khao San Road, out to the Amphawa Floating Market and the Maeklong train market (See Luc and Vivi’s C’est La Vie! Video), we did an amazing cooking class (See Luc and Vivi’s C’est La Vie! Video), we hired a boat to take us down the river, and saw the reclining buddha and Wat Pho.

After 4 days in Bangkok I had had my fair share. It’s smelly, noisy and busy. It’s also incredibly unique, different and special. I don’t need to visit Bangkok again.

Koh Tao

We took our first double decker bus to Koh Toa which I think was 12 hours. What an experience of smelly noisiness. Hoped on a boat and met Mossy Mermaid and family! We were introduced to this family from my best friend and mutual friend back home. The MM Fam as 6 kids in total and Vivi was in absolute heaven playing with them and talking in English. It had been a while since she got to play with kids in English.

We made another fail and didn’t do enough research on where we were staying and booked 4 nights in the centre of Koh Toa where you need a taxi to take you anywhere you want to go which is about $12 one way. Or a scooter but we weren’t scooter people yet and I heard learning on Koh Toa was a recipe for disaster. So we would walk to the MM fam daily to hang out with them while Luc and a few of them learned to Scuba dive.

We had a blast swimming, playing in the pool, watching movies and the moms got to do mom things. I got some much needed girl time and empathy from Shelby. It had been so long since I got some face time with another woman. Luc got some much needed guy time with Cam and we even poked fun at their bromance.

Eventually we moved closer to them and we rented a boat and went snorkeling around the island for the morning with them. We forms some close blonds and can’t wait to visit them in Tofino when we get back.

Ao Nang

We took another all day bus to the other side of Southern Thailand. We debated if we wanted to stay at Railay Beach, Krabi or Ao Nang and in the end Ao Nang won due to price. I quite liked this place. It’s like a seaside town with a beach vibe. Very touristy. Here you can buy a ticket to Railay Beach for the day which is what we did.

But first we booked a Kayak and explored with a guide through the mangrove trees and watched monkeys watching us. Of course no double kayaking trip is complete without me and Luc yelling at each other. We never learn to not get doubles.

The next day we spent a day at Railay Beach. White sandy beaches, beautiful Karsts, and PEOPLE. It was hot, busy and a lot of people. I’m sure glad we went to see it as it was beautiful walking around and witnessing the penis shrines (you read that right) – and one day is enough for me.

Koh Lanta

After that we headed to the island of Koh Lanta. We booked this place beside the beach with a great pool! The room itself presented some cockroaches, a lizard, and a massive wasp in our bathroom. The thing that was AMAZING about Koh Lanta was meeting some French people with some kids around the same age as Vivi that we became fast friends with. We ate dinner together and played in the pool.

We had our first experience of Trash Hero. Trash Hero is an organization around the world that organizes beach and city cleanups by volunteers. We decided to walk to the beach for the clean-up but gave up about half way as it was way too hot! Us and the French hitchhiked (they had done it before on Koh Lanta) to the beach and then we had a lovely lunch. Then we got down and dirty and started the clean-up. It’s incredible how much garbage was hiding in the foliage of the beach. Vivi got some motor oil on her but I had my DoTerra Essential Oils so doused her with lemon and watched it cut the grease easy peasy.

We also paid for a crappy experience which should have been a lot better than it was but because of the waves, it was tragic. We were supposed to boat out to 3 different snorkeling places. In the end we went to 2 and they were basically in the exact same spot. I think we got forgotten for pickup because after calling someone got us and when we got on the boat everyone was already on board. They had all been given seasick pills too but they neglected to give them to us. Because we were last, we had to sit at the very back and I got soaked from the waves splashing in and on me. People started puking. I ended up putting on my mask because the salt water was killing my eyes. On the way back it was worse and took even longer to get back. It was one of those moments when you wonder if these might be the last people you see in your life.

We said goodbye to our new friends after about 6 days on Koh Lanta to head back to Krabi by bus for one night before taking off to Myanmar.

I loved the southern side of Thailand because of the ocean. I would come back here in a heartbeat and spend more time on the islands exploring. We made some great friends during this time that I’m really grateful for. I feel like this was a time that we were getting our traveling legs, reuniting as a family, discovering what was scary and trying to deal with the heat. We were newbies during this time in our travels for sure.

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Interview with Vivi: Swiss School

Interview with Vivi: Swiss School

I interview Vivi about her after thoughts of going to school in Switzerland (Luc’s actual school!).

  1. Before you started school in Switzerland, do you remember what you thought or felt about going to school there?
    That’s a hard question. I was scared to not make any new friends. Cuz they would all laugh about my accent.
    And how did it work out? It worked out fine actually, I made a lot of new friends.
  2. What was your first impressions of Swiss school?
    I don’t know. That’s a hard question again. This was a lot more different then I thought it was going to be. In what way? Some things that I didn’t know what they meant in French, I’m like, Ok I think that’s what she’s saying, but I don’t know… Is she saying that or is she saying that? Cuz I don’t know which one. I was a little bit confused. It was more at the beginning.
  3. How did you feel in the beginning?
    Scared. Was there anything that helped you not be scared?  Getting used to it, going every day. What helped you? Somebody explained to me everything. A friend. Avril. Merci Avril. Would you say you were outside your comfort zone?  Yes at the beginning. But then it became the new normal. It was kinda like school in Canada but in French and in a different country – when I was done. Did anybody laugh at your accent? I think a couple did but then they got used to it. I forget.
  4. What was the most fun thing?
    Going to the train to go to the pool, the gym, I love the train and that’s it.
  5. What was the thing you liked to do the most in school?
    Everything that I just said. Ummm… ACM -> where you do crafts, stuff for other people too, when it was Halloween, we made little baskets with skulls on them, I filled it up with candy and give it to someone. Did you like singing? When did I sing? Yeah, I like singing… but I didn’t need to do it in front of the whole class.
  6. What was the thing you liked to do the least?
    Math, and we all had different things to do everyday – so every week we had to change so once I was sweeping and once I was mopping and once I was cleaning tables and I don’t like doing that. Do you do that in Canada? No…. uh a little bit – I forget. What about dictee? No, cuz I only got for 5 months I only got 2 times right.
  7. What is something that is your favorite memory?
    My birthday cuz they all did a parade and said Canada! Canada! Canada! And some people’s birthday and also the train to go to the pool and the pool and the gym and yeah.
    What was it like staying for lunch some days at school?
    The first day was really scary because I didn’t get what was happening. My best friend explained what was happening, she went there last year and she helped me and so that helped a lot. What happens there? You get picked up when you get out of your class, then he collects all the people, and you go to a different room near the gym, you wash your hands, you go to a table that you want, he says “anybody that wants to serve your table?” and you have to put your hand up and you all have to agree. Your table all has to agree what person. And then all of the people who want to collect the  food, and then they go in line to collect the food, and the adults put the food on the plate and then you serve it to your table. What kinds of foods did you eat? Burgers. Once we ate taco, and we ate a whole bunch of other foods [like vegetables, and soup, and fruit] and we always have fruit for desert in Switzerland. When you’re done you brush your teeth and you have your name on a tooth brush and you have a special place to put your goblet and tooth brush on a shelf. They gave us the toothbrush but you have to get it.
  8. Did you learn new games you can teach your friends ?
    Yeah, I forget what they are called but I learned card games, outside games, inside games – there’s a lot of games.
  9. What was your teacher like? 
    Her name is Madame Amandine and she was really nice. She really, oh man I forget, [you told me that she was really nice to, and that she really helped you feel a part of the class and explained things to you as you were new to the class, and with cursive writing, everyone was a year ahead and she really helped you with that but you also told me she was strict and no nonsense.] Yes all of that but only a little bit strict.
  10. What are some of the differences between Swiss school and Canadian school?
    They don’t speak French that much in Canada. Usually the kids just talk in English at recess. But it was really different because sometimes I said words in English, and they copied it but really with a French accent.
  11. What difference would you bring back to Canada if you could?
    I don’t know. What was some of the things that you really liked in Switzerland and wish you had in Canada. Swimming and eating [the canteen, a hot lunch every day], ACM [crafts], sometimes you go in a bus and you go to a place, so I was group “boat”, let’s say, and sometimes I need to go over to another school. I made a pouch for pencil crayons and stuff like that and I made it all by hand and I choose my own colours and my own buttons for the eyes and different stuff like that. And also sometimes I go to a different school and sometimes the one go to a different school. We made a basket for Halloween. It was really cool ACM. So you didn’t do that in Canada? No. You have different tools? Yeah, a cursive pen – ink pen. When you do crafts in Canada, what’s the difference? I don’t know. I forget.
  12. Which school do you like better?
    I like both. 😀
  13. Are you better at speaking and reading in French now?
    Yeah! Yeah.
  14. Would you go back again?
    That’s a hard question because I miss Canada right now, but if I lived in Switzerland, yeah.
  15. If you had a friend that was in Canada and going to Swiss school and that was a bit worried what would you tell them?
    The first time I went there it was a little scary, but once I got used to it it was really fun!

Thanks so much Vivi! Super appreciate you answering all my questions. Your welcome!

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