We rode on Korean Air to South Korea and it was amazing! Seriously best airline we have ever been on, thanks Korean Air! It was about a six hour flight. The people were so kind and they had amazing food, and it didn’t make me sick! That never happens, because everything usually makes me sick so that was a big win for me. The leg room was unreal, my knees weren’t touching and it was so comfortable and most importantly CLEAN!
I think South Korea was one of my all time favorites. We were only there for one day but I loved every second. We had a 17 hour layover on our way to Hawaii so we decided to make the best of it.
We landed in Seoul early in the morning and went on our way. We took the Airport Railroad Express Train (AREX) into Seoul. It is the fastest and most cost effective way to get into the City. It costs 8,000 wons per person which is about $7 US dollars per person. It was about a 40 minute ride and it was fun to be able to see the view along the way. Once we arrived into Seoul Jared told me to take charge. I had a list of places I wanted to see and things I wanted to do.
First we wanted to see the Seoul Tower so we began the HIKE I mean Hike up the hill to the tower. Every review said to take a bus to the top but I would recommend walking it, it wasn’t that bad. It was so beautiful and we were able to say hi to people on the way up as well. We got to the Tower and there was so much to do around it. There was a Bridge of Locks kinda like in Paris but way better in my opinion. There were soooooo many locks and it went for quite a period of time. Way bigger and longer than in Paris, shhhhhhh I probably shouldn’t be saying this. I love Paris too don’t get me wrong. We walked around there took tons of pictures and the views were incredible. So beautiful. It felt like we were on top of the world. It was always way overcast so it was like gloomy and just stunning. We were walking around when I saw this lady bring out these traditional costumes and I was thinking man I would love to dress up with Jared and take a picture with that guard, we started walking away and I thought I’m just going to look to see how much. It was FREE! So of course we got all dressed up and have hilarious pictures. I got probably the worst one, BRIGHT PINK AND LIME GREEN! Jared said I looked like a cute little Kiwi and we were laughing so hard. Jared looked good, of course hahaha. When we were up there we got in contact with Jared’s cousin Sanni, who is from Finland, she was in Seoul for the week and wanted to get together and go site seeing together. We didn’t want to take a taxi to save some money but it was quite a walk to the place we were meeting Sanni so we decided we would try and figure out the city buses and see if we could get over there. We couldn’t read the sign, different language, so I went up to this younger lady and asked her and she didn’t know what I was trying to say so this old lady comes up and says I can help you. She went out of her way and got on this bus with us and took us right to the place, she was the sweetest thing ever, she had a cane and a really bad limp and she went WAY out of her way just to help us. There are amazing people who really are so generous and kind. We were so grateful to her! We get to Gyeongbokgung Palace….. It was amazing. There were thousands of men and women dressed in traditional clothing, they were BEAUTIFUL. This was picture heaven for me. I was snapping pictures left and right and even asking the ladies to stop and smile for the camera, they loved it. We were in there for about 20 minutes and then I get a text from Jared’s cousin saying she was there and we looked everywhere for her, little did we know were were at the wrong place we were supposed to meet her at Changdeokgung Palace, ooopppps! We hurried and walked the 1.2 miles to meet her we finally found her and then we walked around the grounds and saw all the amazing architecture. It is so cool how much it changes based off of every culture. It was absolutely stunning. It was so cool being able to spend time with Jared’s cousin Sanni. Us from America her from Finland and we both happen to be in South Korea at the same time and the same place! So amazing how that works!
Just an FYI it does cost to get into every Palace, but there are a few options. There were some tickets where it gave you a discount and you could get into all 5 palaces, another idea is if you’re wearing traditional (which there are renting places everywhere) you get into the Palaces for free, or you can pick and choose your favorites to go to and just purchase the ticket there.
*If you purchase a book of combination tickets it is 10,000 won ($9 US) for adults and 5,000 won ($5 US) for youth and it includes the Gyeongbokgung Palace, Changdeokgung Palace – the Secret Garden included, Changgyeonggung Palace, Deoksugung Palace and Jongmyo Shrine.
*Ask the people for help if you need it. They are the nicest and are so willing to help. They speak pretty good English too so you don’t have to worry too much about a language barrier.
Wow. Nothing feels better than the cold breeze and the sound of leaves crunching on the ground. The past few days of being home from Thailand have been absolutely beautiful. It has been chilly for all the cozy sweaters and jackets but not too cold to freeze my little bum off. We’ve been able to do so much. We are currently living with Jared’s parents for about 2-3 months until we build or buy our home where we are going to settle down. We were able to unpack all the clothes and get everything settled in and organized. (even had time to color coordinate my closet, whooohooo) We have spent so much time with family it has been so fun, from girls nights to my adorable grandma’s 80th birthday party!
Jared has been searching high and low for a truck to buy since we sold his when we decided to move to Thailand, so if anyone knows of any sweet trucks for a killer deal let us know please. We also have been out and about looking at homes. We found some cute ones yesterday that are modern and seriously adorable they are called still water homes I think? Anyway, they are way cute and the layouts are beautiful from the wood floors to the fresh look with all the white. LOVE!
Coming back to from Thailand has been a little difficult because of the time change but we are hanging in there pretty good. Last night I only woke up once and it was seriously the best night ever! Also, I’ve been basically wearing shorts and dresses for the last few months so trying to figure out “my style” again has been exciting. I love being able to work with cute brands that have unique clothing and offer such fun pieces. I was able to collaborate with the cutest company called FAY WITH LOVE. They are the cutest people ever. Seriously a delight to work with. They have some pretty rad items that you should go check out.
Website: www. faywithlove.com/
You will love what you find.
I’m excited to start back up work tomorrow and get back in the grind of things! I have such a big list of things I want to do, make, start, etc. So i’m hoping I can get things under control and be able to do the most things possible and enjoy every second to the fullest.
I cannot wait to share this story with you of our “Move of a Lifetime!”
Jared and I were at my best friend Charlee’s wedding when we received a phone call from my parents. They called to tell us how much they missed up and wanted us to come visit them again. My parents are mission presidents over the Thailand Bangkok Mission. We visited them over Christmas last year and it was amazing. We got so excited thinking about going once again to see my parents. We were deciding when we should go and how long we would stay. Jared and I got thinking, what if we moved to Thailand? We both kinda laughed but were like “no really we should.” So we started moving forward in life like that was apart of the plan. We were in our last semester of college. Both of us has 20+ credit hours and working 35+ hour weeks at our jobs. We were crazy busy. We ran this idea by my parents and they loved it. They were super excited for us to come and we got the approval to live with them when we moved out there. Everything started to fall into place. My husband runs a side business called Utah Unique which is an outdoor company that helps encourage people to explore the outdoors and it was a great source of income for us while we would be in Thailand. Then the best thing happened, my dream came true! My husband got us connected with Operation Underground Railroad (OUR) and we were going to be helping them out in Thailand, since Thailand has a huge population of children who are in sex trafficking. We graduated college, whoohooo! Then the fun began. We were finishing up at our jobs for a couple months in the summer to get ready to move out to Thailand. We started reading all the books OUR gave us to prepare us for the troubling and heartbreaking circumstances we would be seeing. We did all the background checks, drug testing, and informative interviews discussing where we would be working and what we would be doing. We were so excited. We felt like this was something we could do and give 100% of our heart to for the next year. We quit our jobs and sold our HOME, CARS, and FURNITURE in preparation to leave. Packing was an adventure. We brought everything we possibly could into our two bags each weighing 100 pounds total.
August 14th came and we woke up early and loaded our bags into the truck. On our way to the airport Jared got an email saying “We’re sorry but we do not have enough work in Thailand for you, so we won’t be needing you anymore.” We about died. We both had tears coming down our faces and thinking what in the world are we going to do we just sold EVERYTHING and quit our jobs that we loved to give 100% of our time and hearts to this great cause. We had no idea what was going to happen. So we got to Thailand and my cute parents picked us up from the airport, it took three hours to get to their home from the airport which usually only takes about 30-40 minutes depending on the traffic. In Bangkok you never know how long it is going to take you even to get around the block. We arrived at their house and it felt so good to see my cute parents again. We were able to just talk and eat some delicious fruit. We decided to make the most of our time out here. We started exploring around Bangkok and figuring out how to use the MRT and the BTS. We were having so much fun and it was pretty nice getting a little break from our crazy lives before moving here. After about a week of just spending time with my parents traveling and relaxing a bit we decided to figure out what we were going to do now that ALL of our plans had changed. My dad told us to talk to Elder Pollmann who is over the Public Affairs of Thailand about finding volunteer work. We were able to get in contact with him right away and he recommended the Mercy Centre to us. This was the orphanage I had wanted to go to the previous year we visited Thailand but we weren’t able to make it there.
Anyway, we had a meeting with Father Joseph, the man in charge of the Centre that Friday. We had really no idea how to get there but we just went for it. We took the BTS (skytrain) and then we hopped off and walked about three miles to the Centre. WOW! Walking there was an adventure. It is in one of the poorest parts of Thailand. We walked past the poorest of the poor and it was really eye opening and made you really feel guilty for ever complaining a day in your life. They live on the Clong, which is some of the dirtiest water just full of trash and sewage and some would be fishing out of it or trying to bathe in it. It was heartbreaking. Then the next thing you do is walk past all of these people, and MILLIONS OF CATS AND DOGS ahhhh, doing wood work. It was absolutely beautiful and they are so talented. Then this was the part that got me both with emotion and fear. We were walking down the slums looking for the Mercy Centre. We were literally walking through the homes of these beautiful people. They were all sitting in their homes and we were walking by and they had to be thinking “what the heck are these farangs doing over here?” I started to feel very uncomfortable just thinking oh my goodness something bad is going to happen because we are invading their space and we have no idea where we are but Jared being who is he reassured me everything was fine and we kept going. IT was so narrow we could tough both sides of the houses on each side. Some people looked nervous as we passed and some just smiled from ear to ear, that was reassuring. We turned a corner and there was a man with his dog. So I panic, first i’m terrified of dogs, second this walkway was TINY, so I just grabbed onto Jared. Jared tells me just to walk by like nothing is there so he does it and of course nothing he is fine. I got nervous so I kinda faced off with the dog and he did not like that at all so it starts barking and going in for the bit and I could feel the teeth on my skin and then the man yelled at the dog and hit its back and I was able to walk away with no bite but a heart that was pounding through my chest. It’s funny now looking back but I honestly don’t think I have ever been more scared in my life. I was thinking in my head the rest of the way to the center I don’t think I want to come here if I have to walk past all of this everyday, I did not like that one bit.
We eventually got there and met up with Father Joe. He is one good man. He has the biggest heart and has such a desire to make a change, and he really has. Father Joe welcomed us with open arms. We met with him and he gave us a tour of the Centre, walked us around the classrooms, meet the cute children, and we instantly felt excited about this opportunity to help. They wanted us to get right to work. We met with the other teachers there and they gave us our schedule, and told us which class we would be teaching.
On our first day, we walked in and were greeted by hundreds of the most beautiful children, seriously our hearts were exploding, I don’t think my face has ever hurt so badly from smiling. They were in the middle of their morning songs and dancing. It was seriously the cutest thing EVER! We introduced ourselves to these cute little ones, not knowing which of the students would be in our class. We went into our classroom and waited for our class to come in. We had 13 of the cutest four year old kids, like literally perfection.
We went around the room and met each little one as they were smiling and giggling the entire time. We were expected to teach English but we had no idea how this was going to go since they were four and we didn’t speak Thai but we were shocked with how smart these kids were. Our schedule had us teaching Monday- Thursday from the morning exercises until lunch. This was so fun because we were able to spend lots of one on one time with each child. We had daily lessons and a way fun art project, not gonna lie the art projects were BOMB. We were able to teach them the alphabet, colors, shapes, numbers, emotions, animals, and much more.
Jared and I wanted to bring all of them home. Seriously why not? Jared fell in love with this tiny little girl named (Pay / wah) and she sure loved him back. It’s times like this when you just wish you could have endless amounts of money so you could adopt every single child and love them with your whole heart and show them how amazing they are, but sadly that is not the case. SO since we cannot bring all of them home we decided we would make this such a fun experience for this and help them feel loved and just BE HAPPY!
Our time at the Mercy Center was one of the most beautiful experiences Jared and I have ever spent together. The children in our class were inspirational and precious. They taught us how to be truly happy, it was humbling. We will never forget the memories we made and the emotions we felt. This experience will continue to bless us and help us throughout the rest of our lives as we raise our own children.
WE NEVER WANT TO LEAVE THOSE KIDDOS! THEY HAVE OUR WHOLE HEARTS!
In between all of this we were able to do some AMAZING traveling! We went to South Korea, Hawaii, Laos, Singapore, Malaysia, and Cambodia! All of these places were absolutely incredible. I love traveling because not only seeing beautiful places but meeting incredible people. Not going to lie I felt like a celebrity for the last 4 months because everyone wanted to take pictures with me and would just smile so big if I smiled at them. I LOVE that. I also love to see no matter how little people have they still have so much HAPPINESS! I really learned a lot about gratitude and attitude while being here in Thailand and during our travels.
Well we LOVED our time in Thailand and wouldn’t have traded it for the world. It was not only fun and adventurous but it was a very humbling experience as well. We decided it was best to return home since we barley had any source of income since we were just volunteering and doing a little social media online. We are happy for the memories we made and shared with one another, but are ready to return back to “real” life and make new memories here in Utah.
Some of my favorite memories from Thailand:
-The market every Tuesday and Thursday where we bought fresh fruits and veggies for way cheap. My favorites were the Mangoes and Carrots.
-Paying our respects to the King. We participated in the year long viewing for the King. We waited in a line for 4 hours with thousands of Thai people. We were the ONLY white people there. They had signs everywhere that said NO FOREIGNERS allowed, but since PAPA J is fluent in Thai and cute everyone loves him so they let us in. We were in black from head to toe, we were basically from August-November as well. We made it to the front where they made us put our shoes in a bag and we were in the same room with his incredible coffin and we had to participate in this ceremony where we laid on the ground and did three bows and then they moved us right out. IT WAS SOOOO COOL!!
-Seeing TONS of temples.
-Jared speaking Thai. His famous line was saying ” Chan Mi Phud Phas A Thiy” which is I don’t speak Thai.
-Being with Jared 24/7
-The Rain and our street being flooded. It was a daily thing. Down pours for like 15 minutes and then our street would be up to our knees. It was really fun. I love the rain.
-Riding in a Swan Paddle Boat
-Khao Yai National Park
WE LOVE THAILAND AND THE PEOPLE. WE WILL MISS BEING HERE! AND MISS ALL THE FRIENDS WE HAVE MADE!