Laos 2016 life outtakes

This originally started while I was talking to friends from Laos via Whats App. The list in my head of embarrassing things I had done just in Laos alone got to about #59083023. Then, as I started sorting through my Dropbox to make room on my phone between wiping laugh-tears off my face, I thought to myself...

Should probably keep these private + not share them with the internet. 

So, obviously, I put this post together for the whole of the internet. Life isn't always glamorous. Most photos don't fit seamlessly on an Instagram grid. It's not all fancy international flights or exciting passport stamps. 

Most of the time, life is eating curry under dim lights while mosquitoes swarm you. Sometimes it's blurry photos of people and places you love. And sometimes it's a Friday night spent watching documentaries and eating popcorn in your bed with a bad sunburn. Here I am, sharing some of the moments that aren't 'blog-worthy' on my blog. Because, put simply...

...everyone needs a laugh, amirite? 

  • Trying to get back into some semblance of a fitness routine in a developing country with limited resources and a lanky British dude as my workout partner in a 'Lao-sized' space. It led to me getting whacked multiple times. I hadn't really practiced yoga since I had dual membership at two studios and went every day, sometimes multiple times. And, it showed. And it was hilarious. We should have just stuck to practicing Francis and the Light dance moves, Tavener. 
  • There was a time I honestly thought I was jaundice. I was truly concerned. I vainly noticed it in all the photos of me and my little Lao family of friends. I was so tan thanks to the endless sun exposure, but that tan slowly turned to an off shade of...yellow?? One night, waiting for volunteers to finish a meeting, Luke and I were sitting at a table and I was Snapchatting videos of him, attempting to create a video profile for women to swoon over. He quickly got annoyed, as he always does with me, and started sneaking embarrassing videos of me. Below is 'The Jaundice Video.' Luke's legacy. His film masterpiece. Me, looking at myself in my phone screen, concerned that I could be jaundice. Turns out, the birth control I was on did list jaundice as a side effect. Luke assures me I definitely did not, but what does he know? He's not a medical professional. I'm still not convinced. He also spelt 'problems' wrong in the vid {jokes on you!}. 
  • I once ordered 'noodle soup without noodles' with 100% confidence. Touk had been giving me Lao lessons after work and throughout our days {which we spent together and with the girls almost exclusively}. A lot of times, it felt like we had our own little girl gang. We frequented a local Lao restaurant where for $1 you could get a massive bowl of noodle soup and fresh vegetables. The waiter and I always flirted. He was kind and patient while I practiced ordering in Lao and he constantly asked me about my days. He would have made a killer husband, except he was like 17-years-old and Lao {which made him more than totally off limits}. One day I ordered my noodle soup in Lao, but, instead of ordering it without meat, I muddled the words and ordered it without noodles. Poor guy looked at me so confused through his perfect smile. Touk died laughing {RIP} and explained that if he came back with a bowl of broth, it's what I asked for. I was so confident in my execution. I guess that was payback for the time I let Tash roam around South America without correcting her Spanish {#worthit}. 
  • Speaking of the language barrier...besides the bashful/perfect/perfect waiter at IQ Inn, I had another 'Lao boyfriend' who never knew I adored him. He worked as a translator before moving to China for University. I thought he told me he loved me in Lao, which led to a moment of absolute embarrassment and confusion. This goes along with the handshake moment as a time I was actually embarrassed, which doesn't happen easily. 
  • As Trump pulled ahead in the 2016 Presidential Election, the weather reflected the tears I was crying on the inside. It was absolutely bucketing rain down outside. I had to walk 20-minutes with a shitty, broken umbrella to 'the Centre', where the girls probably wouldn't show up for health workshops because of the flooding. Touk and I grabbed a tuk-tuk to ride instead of walking since a Skype meeting with our head office in London ran late. And, guess what? Our tuk-tuk broke down. The driver called a backup tuk-tuk driver for us...which never showed. So, we decided to walk in our sinhs and sandals. This lovely video was made as candid documentation of my reaction to the day. Clever background music became my anthem for a few days to come. Luckily, after laughs and a big Beer Lao, I remembered that it was just a bad day and not a bad life. 
  • I crashed my friend's motorbike. Goes without explaining really. However, I stuck to riding Dora's bike after she left and while it may sound safer to ride a pedal bike, the bicycle was falling apart and made the loudest sounds imaginable everywhere I went in town. One night, meeting Sam who was over on business from Bangkok, I rocked up to a nice restaurant on the main road with the bike and he laughed so hard he cried actual tears. 
  • That time I went looking for birth control and had to mime out a pregnant belly and an 'X' with my arms in a dimly lit pharmacy was kind of fantastic. Maybe one of my most clever ideas yet. How do I even have friends?! I ended up leaving the pharmacy without any and a smart dude I know found it for me instead. So, kudos to him. 
  • I introduced Xeng Lee to Snapchat with its filters and he quickly became addicted to them. Needless to say, I had a daily office visitor and got little to no work done other than snapping with XL, which I'm not mad about at all. 
  • The girls went to Nong Khiaw to get away for a weekend in a WiFi-free bungalow. In our roles in Luang Prabang, you're always on duty. In Nong Khiaw, we let loose. Afternoon cocktails led to a long {nearly 9 kilometer} walk to caves during the hottest part of the day. Sunburnt, covered in sand and dirt, dehydrated, creeped out by a bunch of teenagers at the caves...we made our way to dinner with a bottle of 'water' to enjoy Lao food under twinkly lights. 
  • Dora, my co-worker, left Laos for her home in Brazil in October. Along with some sinhs, t-shirts and some toiletries was the flute she used to summon volunteers to meetings. I tried to play it once. I thought I'd be continuing her legacy. Unfortunately, on the night I made my attempt, all the volunteers were out at cooking lessons. I was playing the flute {poorly} to an empty house. Touk and Luke took advantage and videotaped the moment, so it wasn't all a wash. 
  • The staff take turns picking up volunteers from the airport upon arrival into Luang Prabang. Luke and I went to pick up a van load of fresh-faced volunteers and waited for the delayed flight by talking about random things, like the genius of Chance the Rapper versus Kanye West and other personal anecdotes. It's funny the conversations people have to pass time. 
  • Rollerskating with Xeng Lee for his first time. I absolutely smashed the rink, but the music at the place was so inappropriate I still laugh thinking about it. Think the dirtiest Rap song you know of {the one no radio station will play due to obscene language} playing at a family roller rink. 

Photos and videos that go un-posted. The stories that don't get told. Aren't they always our favourites? If you like the vids, you can thank my Lao loves for sending them to me every once in a while with the message "Don't forget, this exists" attached.