Well, I most certainly have a new appreciation for bloggers. Blogging, while I assumed it would be an easy and fun aside to the trip, has turned out to be something that although I look forward to doing has become a bit of a task! (Trust me though, I do enjoy keeping all you updated, blogging provides an excellent avenue for reflection!)

Anyways, as you may have noticed by the title of this entry, I am no longer in Singapore but am now in Thailand! We have been here for 3 days now and it is incredible! (By the way, I feel as if I had said incredible a lot, apologies, but it is this is truly the best adjective). I love Thailand and I love Bangkok. Although it was a short 2 hour flight up from Singapore and even though the heat has remained with us, it is as if we are in a completely different part of the world. Besides the tonal language of Thai, on our first day here, we did a “transportation tour” and unlike our experiences in Singapore where trains (the MRT) would never be more than 3 and 1/2 minutes a part, our train here broke down the stop before ours and well, we changed our mode of transportation to Taxis- things are just very different here! 

So yes, our flight from Singapore to Thailand was quick and easy. Although it  was very sad to leave Singapore! We had made some great friends there and had become very fond of the “Air-Conditioned Nation.” But we promptly arrived in Thailand and had a great series of adventures. We were warmly greeted by our dear friends at the airport and then experienced Thai traffic. Yes, even in a large coach, the traffic was still hard to believe! (And, trust me, we still experience every time we head into Bangkok!)

Once we arrived. the Thai students had a very nice ceremony waiting for us. Think tons of food as well as tons of students ready and excited to get to know us (or that’s the way they made it seem!) Then we saw a short show with Thai boxers and Thai dancing and then took part in a ceremony where they put strings on our wrists that represent good luck, etc. It was really incredibly to be able to take part in this ceremony! Then it was time to sleep!

Our last few days have been filled with learning Thai, learning about Thai culture, going to class- we have a new teacher, Dr. Copeland for our history of Thailand class- going to a Thai grocery store, eating tons of delicious Thai food, our transportation tour (train, bus, cab, boat, long-tail boat, MRT, and my own two feet!), delicious food again, an ago-tourism tour today (looking at a lotus harvesting farm, orchid farm, fruit farm, and a rice cake farm) and just a few moments a go- getting caught in a oh so wonderful Thai thunderstorm. If I ever dry off… it’ll be incredible!

Here some pictures- enjoy!

Hello Everyone! 

Such a great day today! So I woke up early and walked to class (about a 15 minute walk but Singaporeans have a fear of walking so this is a bit surprising). During class we talked about Samuel Huntington’s article called î The Hispanic Challenge which of course sparked some big debate and we also talked about Malay Nationalism and the factors that shaped Malaysia prior to World War 2. 

Then it was time to go the Peranakan Museum! Peranakan is a term that means “child” and “born by”, essentially Peranakans are the children of mixed races in Southeast Asia, particularly but not limited to the marriage between the Chinese and Malay populations. It was really interesting to walk through this museum. They had a really great exhibition of the “Baba Bling” which is all that jewelry that was worn by Peranakans as well as a cool display on the 12 day wedding ceremonies.

Then we went by the Singapore Art Museum to pick up some post cards! We had already been through the museum (it’s a really great museum, highly recommend it, a lot of modern art but it is really interesting). 

After a quick siesta we headed off on a nice walk through the neighborhood. We went to this great park called Kent Ridge Park and let’s just say I attempted to bird watch. But Mom, I think that there is a lot more to bird watching than I thought! I think I saw a Collared Kingfisher? I got a book called Birds of Southeast Asia so maybe I will be better about identifying these birds!

Then Kelsey and I went on an adventure to Orchard Road to find the biggest bookstore in Singapore. Guess where it was, in a mall of course! But the book store was incredible! Jam packed with books- it was really exciting to be there. The book store is called Kinokuniya. I got two books there one called Letters from Burma by Aung San Suu Kyi and A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif! After I finish writing this I will most certainly reading these books!

And finally, to cap off the evening, we went to this delicious Indian food restaurant called Samy’s Curry Kitchen. It was delicious… and there weren’t any plates! But rather big banana leaves! The food was SO good. I think I will be full all day tomorrow! Also, the lime juice was fantastic. Highly recommend it! 

So it was a great day! Hope you are doing well!

Just got back from a wonderful weekend in Malaysia! Here’s a recap of the weekend! 

Friday:

So we woke up nice and early to get a head start on the customs and immigration process. We met at 7 am and hopped onto the bus to ride the grand total of 20 minutes across the island and arrived at immigration. After waiting in line we got back on the bus and drove the 1 km across the bridge to enter into Malaysia. It’s crazy how close the two places are. So, then after arriving in Malaysia we went through customs and once again long lines. The reason? Singaporeans love to come to Malaysia because the prices are cheap and many Singaporeans are originally from Malaysia. So, finally, we weren’t the only tourists (although we still looked like it)! Then we met Francis. And although he had the best of intentions, he was quite possibly the most irritating and non-stop talking tour guide we could have found. Like I said, he was very sweet and sincere, but we had Dr. Emmanuel (our Malaysian teacher) come with us so- no real need for a tour guide. But yes, Francis! He will forever be an inside joke with our group. 

First we went to a prata shop for breakfast. There we loaded up on egg prata (Hayes, yes, it was a mass of eggs and yes I started squeaking because I remembered what you said about a mass of eggs). The prata was really good and gave us the energy we needed to face the heat for the rest of the day. And man, was it hot. 

We then were off to the Southern Most Tip of Mainland Asia. While it is cool to be at that site, what I thought was cooler was to be able to see the mass amount of ships. From this point you could see so many major ships and begin to see the magnitude of trade that travels through this part of the world. This southern most tip is also part of a Mangrove Conservation Park (Malaysia is much more environmentally conscious than Singapore is- it’s very interesting). While we were walking around the park we saw some monkeys as well as some mud skippers (these fish like creatures with feet!)

I really liked walking around the National Park but we only had a short time there before we headed off to Malacca where we were going to spend the next two days. But before we got to Malacca we had a seafood FEAST in this small fishing village. I can only begin to describe how much food there was. We had prawns, clams, squid, fish balls, an entire fish, greens, rice, crab, tofu, rice, rice, and rice. It was overwhelming. They just kept bringing out food. It was delicious and there is nothing like eating seafood while you are sitting over the sea but on the other hand when you notice how polluted the water is, well it made me wonder what I was really eating.

So yes, back on the road to Malacca. We arrived in Malacca a few hours later (Southeast Asia is a lot bigger than I thought it would be). We checked into our Hotel, the Hotel Puri. Our Hotel was also a museum because Malacca is a major historical town (because of all the maritime trade). Morgan and I were roommates and we definitely liked our room! After a few minutes to refresh ourselves from sweating (sorry to be gross but it is just so hot here- usually it is two showers a day) we headed off to the infamous night market. Now, one of the greatest things about Malaysia is that the Ringate (their currency) is about half of what the Singapore dollar is! So cute prices in half and you get the Singaporean price! So friday night we did a bunch of shopping! I got a few souvenirs  (hayes, you have two malaysia turtles coming your way) and Jamie i got a really great shirt for you and Mom and Dad! Well it’s a surprise! But what I really liked about the night market was the culture. Everyone seemed to be involved in the night market and the Malaysians were truly out there enjoying themselves – they were even line dancing to ABBA and Toby Keith?? Yes, I have video proof. So after a night of shopping it was time to head in and enjoy an air conditioned room.

Saturday:

We woke up nice and early to do a walking tour of the city. I won’t bore whoever is reading this with the history of Malaysia but I will definitely say that it was really interesting. A lot of different ethnic groups and different religions have had influence in Malacca including the Chinese, Indian, Dutch, British, Portugese as well as Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity. We saw all these old sites and began to see how important Malacca was in the trading routes that came through and around Malacca. Our tour including seeing a functioning black smith shop as well as a shop where they still sell shoes that were meant for binding feet! It’s crazy! (They sell them as souvenirs not actual shoes). Then it was time for lunch. Now I haven’t done justice to all that we saw and then all that we ate but I know that every single one of us went and took a nice long siesta after our morning. 

That afternoon and night we decided to take advantage of the shopping opportunities in Malacca so we went to a mall (Singapore has really gotten to us) as well as the night market again! It was really fun and really cool to see all these LOCALLY made items!

But, also, we had to get a good nights sleep BECAUSE on 

SUNDAY

We went on a bike ride through the country side! Now I am all up for a good and fun bike ride BUT the last bike ride I went on, well, it resulted in my hanging out in an Australian hospital all day because I fainted. Fortunately I was well hydrated this time and there was no fainting just a really cool bike ride through palm oil plantations, rubber tree plantations, and rural malay villages. It was an incredible morning and it was hot but when is it not? I loved going on the bike ride and I wish that it had lasted all day rather than the short 3 hours. 

Then we headed out to this nice lunch were again there was a copious amount of food! But it was so delicious that none of us could help from eating a little too much! But unfortunately after lunch it was time to head back to Singapore. We loaded back into the bus for another long ride back to Singapore. I read a new book on this ride (started and finished it) The Cellist of Sarajevo. It was a really great book- definitely a page turner and great to read if you want to read some quick but still meaningful. 

 

So, this is a rough sketch of our trip into Malaysia. It was incredible. It was a breath of fresh air after Singapore. Finally something wasn’t micromanaged and controlled to the very last centimeter. Things could just be there. Singapore is incredible because of what it has achieved but there was just this sense of relaxation in Malaysia. It was like we were on vacation from our vacation in Singapore. 

Finally, this is our last week in Singapore! Next stop Thailand! There’s a lot to do before we leave… hopefully I can fit everything in! Oh and tonight we went to the Raffles Hotel to have the infamous Singapore Slinger! (Also today we went to class, I had a really nice Indian lunch, then we went to Fort Canning and learned about Singapore’s colonial history. We even went into the bunker were the decision to sign the surrender of Singapore over to the Japanese in World War 2 was signed. Then we went over to the Malay Quarter and had a delicious mid afternoon snack of Indian food deserts and Milo! Then a small group of us went off to Raffles! So today was a very colonial day! 

 

Hope all is well with everyone! Hope you enjoy this update! And please forgive grammatical and spelling errors… it’s pretty late here in Singapore but I want to keep you all updated!

Here is a little sampling of some pictures from our weekend! Enjoy! Sorry if some of the pictures don’t work too!

 

On the Soccer field with Morgan!

On the Soccer field with Morgan!

Hello! Today is Thursday – crazy how fast the week goes by- but I did some really incredible things today! 

First, for breakfast, I had my traditional banana prata- closest thing you can get to a banana pancake- and headed off to class for a group presentation on Guest Workers (both low skilled and  high skilled)  in Singapore! The group who presented did a really great job and I am excited to start working on my own topic, which is the rights of non-citizens (we are looking at Singapore, Thailand, and the United States). 

Then it was off to the Office of Environmental Sustainability at the National University of Singapore. I figure that this would be such a great opportunity to go and talk to the Singaporeans about their environmental programs and initiatives! More to come on their programs and how Singapore does and at the same time does not do anything for the environment. It’s all in terms of economics for them. But while we were there the student who is working on biodegradable/ compostable / recyclable “take away” containers popped by and said that all the canteens on campus are going to make the switch NEXT WEEK! (Right now they use plastic boxes, similar to the Glad Containers which would be okay IF people reused them but rather they end up in the incinerator by the end of the week).

Then, siesta time after a delicious Indian lunch. It was all I could do from keep going up and getting more and more food! But eventually  I just got so tired so I got back to my air conditioned room and just fell asleep!

After “nap time”  we all met and went over to the east side of the island to play soccer! And while I am not the greatest soccer player we had a great time! From the group, Don, Sean, Laura, Morgan, Kelsey, Monique, and Lea all played (the other half went bicycling on the beach) and it was awesome (and awesomely hot as well)! We played soccer with the NUS soccer team- so let’s just say that they were really good. But they were really nice to play with us this afternoon! Here’s a picture of the group!

 

Soccer Team!

Soccer Team!

It was a great day! Oh and then, of course, on the MRT back, we hopped off at the Bugis stop to run to the market and grad some delicious deserts. I picked up a Kaya Toast. Delicious! Goodnight!

Why Hello! Guess what I did today?! Well, if you can’t tell by the title well then… I went rock climbing! For those of you who have been to Climb Nashville it is very similar (just a big gym basically with a wall for rock climbing- there is no natural outdoor rock climbing in Singapore- it isn’t big enough).

Everyone in the group had a home stay today with a Singaporean family. I went with Lucy, Lea, and Elysa(the Singaporean) and we had such a nice day! Elysa is on the rock climbing team at the National University of Singapore (a.k.a. it was really embarrassing as she gracefully scaled the wall like a monkey and Lucy, Lea and I were struggling with the beginners wall!) But, yes, it was just this really cool climbing club that they have in Singapore and we were able to go for the day and climb. Then we went shopping (a very common pass time for Singaporeans) and we even went to, yes, McDonalds! Can you believe that? I even had a McFlurry! I can’t remember the last time I went to a McDonalds! Then we saw a performance for the Singapore Arts Festival. It was very curious. It was a ballet between a man and a, well, backhoe. It was a “poetic and magical ballet depicting a love story between a man and a machine.” Yes, it was very curious! Then we went to her house and had a very nice dinner. 

Today was really great though. It was nice to see another side of Singapore. Not the showy, touristy, or crazy Singapore but a completely different perspective. We also got to meet a really cool Singaporean (she is actually Malay- but she considers herself a Singaporean). And, well, I got to go rock climbing! And by the end- I made it all the way to the top! (Lea took pictures and since my camera is going through some rough times at the moment  I have to wait for Lea to upload them!)

Well, I have been up to a lot recently – going here, exploring there- but that is no excuse for keeping you all updated! What I have liked best about this whole experience is that I get to both physically and mentally explore Singapore. Truly we have a fantastic forum for asking any and every question we have about Singapore in class with Dr. Quak, Nadia, and Yong (I am sure that we will meet many others who will take all of our questions) Questions have ranged from questions about why there is a campaign for letting people get off the MRT and speaking correct English as well as their education, housing, and healthcare system. 

To me, Singapore, on the surface is a great example of how so many different cultures and ethnicities can live together. However, I am beginning to understand that race is just something that they just don’t talk about. There has never been a race riot in Singapore. More to come on this interesting topic! 

But, yes, what have I been up to? Well! Let’s go back to Saturday May 30!

First we went to this great Indian Restaurant. It was near Chinatown. Although the food was okay (Little India is just way too hard to compare too) what was so great about this restaurant is that is volunteer run. All the woman who worked there were volunteers and for lunch you pay what ever price you think you can/ should pay (usually between $5 and $10 Singapore dollars). 

Then it was time to explore Chinatown… here’s a picture from Chinatown!

Chinatown!

Chinatown!

Chinatown was a lot of fun and I hope to go explore there more. We also saw a bit of a performance of really cool instrument (I don’t remember what is was called- but it is a traditional instrument in China). That was really cool to stumble upon!

Then a group of us decided to go to Bugis Village which is a street market. And although it wasn’t anything like the tour book described it, I think you should all hear how the book described it “Once Singapore’s most infamous sleaze pit, this is now its largest street market, filled with cheap clothes, shoes, accessories, manicurists, and food stalls. You’ll even find (gasp) the occasional knock-off.”

We didn’t spend too much time there because the Arab quarter was near by. This is another little district of Singapore and I took a picture of the street sign because I thought it was a cool picture:

 

Arab Street

Arab Street

 

 

Then we were off exploring more of downtown. We ate at ToastBox and had one of the most delicious food items- Kaya Jam- on toast with butter. It was delicious. I’ll probably try to bring some back… absolutely tasty! We then went to the Library. It was incredible. It is about 15 stories high with a basement. Just beautiful. In fact on Sunday I went back there to do my homework! Then we headed off to the Esplande and happened upon the Raffles Hotel, an incredible hotel that still leaves the impression of British Colonialism. It is also the spot to the get the infamous Singapore Slinger. Gotta try that one! Anyways when we made it to the Esplande it was time for some energy – but thank goodness for Max Brenner. Now who is Max Brenner? Well he is the fine inventor of a chocolate bar. And Hayes, yes, little snuffs, this was the most incredible hot chocolate I have ever had. In fact, last night I believe I dreamt of this hot chocolate so I will be returning. Here is a cool picture of the cup… I drank the hot chocolate too quickly!

the HUGMUG

the HUGMUG

Then, of course, because we are in Singapore, we were hungry again (it happens a lot) and we went to Orchard Road to get some delicious dumplings. By then, keep in mind this was one day and I pretty sure I have not done justice to the amount of walking that I did, we wound up back at home and feel right asleep.

The next day was Sunday. And well let’s just say it wasn’t a rest day. Singapore was up and running and so were we. Although this day we had homework so we went back to the National Library to do some work. (Did I mention I just love this library… excellent study site Dad!) Then it was time to museum hop. We went to the National Museum of Singapore, the Singapore Art Museum, AND Fort Cunningham. There is so much to say about all of these places and I hope to go back so at some point I will write more about them. But to give you an insight… the National Museum of Singapore had a gallery on FOOD! Yes, a whole gallery dedicated to Food. Am I in the right country or what!? 

Then it was to a great little cantine for dinner then finish up the homework.

Monday was another adventuresome day. We had gone to the Arab Quarter, Chinatown, Downtown, and now it was time to explore Little India. It is what Dr. Quak describes as only true and “non-touristy” part of Singapore. Here is a picture.

 

Eating with our hands! True Indian style-- the restaurant didn't have silverware!

Eating with our hands! True Indian style-- the restaurant didn't have silverware!

 

 

 

Okay so that is only part of the fun that I have gotten into but I want to post this real quick for those of you keeping up with me! I will write more soon but I have to run to a Chinese Acrobat Show and then dinner! Miss you all and hope yall are having grand adventures as well!

Love,

Mary

Hello Everyone!

So, as I imagined, it is very hard to keep up a blog especially when there are so many exciting things going on!  So here is my feeble attempt to keep you all updated! 

On Thursday morning we had our first class. Classes for us run from 9-12 and one class is taught by our UNC professor Dr. Steiner and the other class which is on the History of Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand is taught by a local professor. Dr. Quak is our teacher for the next two weeks. Both of our teachers are incredible. They are inspiring and really want us to take as much as we can from this experience. For our international immigration class we are going to be able to do a lot of first hand research with the Singaporeans. Just in passing we have meet some incredible people who say they are Singaporean but are originally from France, Iran, Malaysia and I am sure many others. 

So then after class and another interesting lunch at the Canteen we headed off for our first attempt of the MRT (aka subway system) to get to one of what must be hundreds of shopping malls. Yong (a local Singaporean) told us that Singaporeans love to shop and eat a little too much! But yes, there are malls and food places EVERYWHERE! It was fun to take the MRT with everyone and like everything we have done here it was a great chance to get to know more people on the trip! 

Then we had a very nice welcome dinner with our teachers (including Dr. Emmanuel who will be teaching us about Malaysia). I sat at Dr. Emmanuel’s table and it was such a great meal. He told us about all the different food we were eating (oh, it was an Indonesia restaurant) and let us ask ANY and EVERY question we had about Singapore and Malaysia and life in general. For me it was really cool to talk to him about environmentalism in Singapore and his main point of emphasis was that he truly felt that no matter what they do here on Singapore- it’s not Singapore that is creating this current environmental crisis but rather it is countries like us (ugh) China, and India. Although it is a very valid point of view I don’t think that that should be a reason for inaction for energy saving and efficient technology. But Dr. Emmanuel told us all these great places to see and all these wonderful things to do!

Let’s see- then suddenly it was Friday! Heavens! Okay so Friday. We went to class (interesting again… it is really nice to have discussion  based classes as opposed to lecture). Then we were off again. This time we went to an incredible Thai restaurant named 1827 next to the Ancient History Museum. The food was delicious as was the company. It truly has been so much fun getting to know everyone on the trip! Then we got a fantastic tour of the Ancient History Museum- a must place for anyone visiting Singapore. It gives a very comprehensive tour of the four different parts of Asia (West, South, Southeast, and China) in conjunction with the religious influences in each sector. Although we only got to spend close to an hour and half there I would love to go back and see more of it. 

Then we had a very nice boat cruise down the river in Singapore. Aka we were the typical tourists. Cameras were out and all everything from the modern skyscrapers, the restaurants, each other, to the other tour boats going by were photographed. Moreover we saw the Manlion (Singapore means City of the Lion because when man first stepped foot onto Singapore it’s been said that there was a lion waiting for him at the bay.) Singapore’s History (thank you Wikipedia!) 

After we got off the boat we headed off to explore. Yong meet us and showed us the Esplande (there was some incredible music being preformed there because the Singapore Arts Festival is going on right now). Then we went to Orchard Road to walk around. Let’s just say the subway and the malls are HIGHWAYS of people. It’s insane. People moving this way and that talking listening to their ipods. It’s crazy (and I guess I was a part of it). Then we had a nice dinner at a food court- but man. Don’t think american food court. Think some of the most delicious food. ever. being cooked right there! I think my opinion of food courts might be changing. So then some how we found our way back after this long Friday and well let’s just say the small, very firm cot that I have in my room was very welcoming!

Today we are off to another luncheon with UNC Alumni and the some of the students we will be doing homestays with! It’s over in Chinatown so now we just need figure out how to get there! Time to pull out our EZLink cards!  Then we are on our own to explore. So basically, if you can’t grasp from this blog, Singapore is grand, and Dad- don’t worry! I’m learning a lot! Miss you all! Oh and Jamie- Congratulations!

Whew! What a day (or maybe it’s been two days)! Let’s just say Singapore is nothing like I thought it would be, in a great way though. Truly it is a garden city to the point where there are flowers and vegetation flowing off of the medians into the roads and where there would be  regular concrete slabs – solid through and through – circles have been left out in order to plant another tree (sort of like sidewalks where trees are sporadically planted). Moreover all the vegetation is incredibly lush because of the rain. But yes, greeting us as we walked out of the Singapore airport were the most incredible flowers. 

When we landed it was overcast and and slightly misting (or was it the humidity- it’s hard to discern between the two)! But yes, overcast and grey, but like I said above the flowers were absolutely incredible – brilliant pink and dark (handsome) green!  So we drove to where we are staying for the next 4 weeks and were able to shower and then we were off again. This time to see a bit of the National University of Singapore which is where we will be taking 2 classes. (In fact, my first class is tomorrow at 9). Then we were of the Holland Street Market for our dinner. Through the heat and jet lag we made it to this incredible Hawker Center where I had chicken rice.  So basically imagine the downstairs of Lenior or a food court in mall but instead of the chicken nuggets already prepared for you there was a whole chicken hanging ready to be cut up and placed on top of my rice and then I was promptly advised to cover both with a delicious chili sauce. Well I was hungry but the food was also delicious! Then we explored the Holland Street district but then promptly returned and went to sleep. 

A Hawker Center

A Hawker Center

 

Each and everyone of us must have slept for close to 12 hours. Although I am not completely over jet lag, that large chunk of time definitely helped! But then we went and got some breakfast. I had a delicious banana prata (it was basically a banana pancake but so much better) some people had a cheese and mushroom prata or an egg and mushroom, or even better a “special chesse” prata. So then we had to do a bunch of registration stuff as well as a bunch of tours. We got a tour of the library here at the National University of Singapore which was very nice. Quiet, very clean, colorful (unlike Davis) and seemed like it would be a great place to get some work done! Oh and it is air conditioned. After walking around here – man- air conditioning is appreciated!

Oh and for lunch- I had fish ball soup… it was okay. I liked the soup but the fish balls (think donut hole with solid fish flesh – didn’t taste fishy) were pretty tasteless! But – hey – I’ve eaten fish balls!

So then we went to the Botanical Gardens and they were absolutely incredible! We saw the Orchid part of the garden as well as the other parts and I am definitely going back there- maybe that is where I will do all my readings! But it was such an incredible Garden! Beautiful! Here is a picture of a few of us! 

The Botanical Gardens!

The Botanical Gardens!

Okay! So since I am going to be taking a class tomorrow and I have homework (ah!) I should get to it! It’s a reading about Immigration (Deparle, Jason – A Good Provider is One Who Leaves). So yes, Singapore is great after the small taste that I have gotten of it! I can’t wait to see more!

After two easy flights, both with excellent in-flight entertainment (I watched Last Chance Harvey, An Officer and A Gentleman, Marley and Me, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button- and Hayes, you weren’t there to comfort me when I cried through all 4 of them!) but the food wasn’t the greatest but that’s okay, half the group has arrived in Hong Kong. Now we are just waiting to meet up with everyone else and head off to Singapore! Oh and the Hong Kong Airport is incredible – it’s clean and the architecture is really interesting, someone described it as a parachute-esq! But yes, this is a very cool airport (moving sidewalks included)! Although at the lovely hour of 5:00 am there isn’t too much activity!

It was a quick fourteen and a half hour flight. And as far as my 2009 calender is concerned May 25th did not exist! But let’s see on the flight I read One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (which is quite excellent if you ask me- highly recommend it) and I finished up the homework that I needed to do (interesting articles about immigration and “elite” education). Oh and I read this great article from National Geographic about Green Roofs… what if every building had a roof like this! 

Anyways, time to battle jet lag although that shouldn’t be too hard… there is just so much to do! But yes, I think everyone is just getting really excited about getting to Singapore where the weather is a high of 90 with scattered thunderstorm with a humidity of 90%! Fantastic!

Hello everyone! 

I am just two (very short) days away from heading off to Singapore and Thailand for eight weeks this summer! It is through a program at UNC with 25 other freshman (who I am eager to get to know and meet)! Although I would like to say that I am organized and understand how to pack a head of time, well, let’s just say I don’t. So as I scramble to set up this blog along with my  Twitter I am trying to figure out what exactly I need to bring. Of course I want to be respectful to both Singaporeans and Thais but I have been warned that the weather is rather hot. However, I think by being raised in the south I will be able to find an appropriate balance! 

 

 

So, this is where I will be!

So, this is where I will be!

 

 

When I tell people that I am going to Southeast Asia for the summer their first question is: Well, what are you going to do there? So, here’s my answer. Besides taking two classes (one on the history of Southeast Asia and another on international immigration) I will have the incredible opportunity to explore these two nations and act like a sponge in this region of the world. It’s funny because this program, the opportunity to apply to this program, is the reason why I decided to come to the UNC. Fortunately it all works out in the end! I have never been to Asia and I am eager to compare and contrast it not only with the American culture I know so well but to also compare it with Europe, Australia, and Africa (some of the incredible places I have been). I am also interested in looking into joining a few environmental groups in Singapore and Bangkok and compare and contrast them with the environmental groups I have worked with! And finally another issue I am very curious to look into is the issue water. More to come on that! 

 

For now: ta ta!

I’m off to go find a few last minute items to finish (or start) my packing!

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