Crew’s Birth Story

It’s been quite a while since I have blogged last. I’m going to have to chalk it up to the fact that my pregnancy was not at all what I expected. I was sick almost the entire time. I think, if I remember correctly, I was throwing up until I was 30 weeks pregnant. I started every morning by waking up to bad nausea and not being able to move until I had taken my nausea pills and Michael bringing me food. Sometimes that would not be enough and I would roll over to throw up. Anyway I did not blog throughout the second and third trimester because I didn’t want to remember those times and have a lot of recorded complaining because honestly I was just happy to be pregnant! But the day he was born, that I do want to remember. So here we go back to blogging. On to the new best day of our lives…

So as most of my social media friends know, Michael and I went on our last solo date {for a while} on September 18. Michael surprised me with a romantic dinner on a permanently docked boat turned into a restaurant called The Frying Pan. He timed it perfectly so that we were eating as the sun was setting. After dinner we decided to walk along the water, walked a good portion of the High Line, and then walked to get dessert. We went to City Cakes to share one of their Killer Red Velvet Half Pound Cookies and Amorino to get my favorite gelato! After we got home I was exhausted. We had done a lot of walking {5.5 miles} and my feet were killing me. It was about 11:30pm, and Michael suggested we go to bed. I agreed but was determined to do 20 squats before we went to bed. I had never done this before, but a friend suggested to start doing them the last few weeks of pregnancy so I thought tonight was better than never! I had also made Michael try some foot pressure points on me a few days earlier. I wimped out after ten minutes. They are called pressure points for a reason! Anyway, I thought these were all good ideas in theory but would not put me in labor. Two days earlier my doctor told me that I was 1cm dilated and 70% effaced. I was super excited, but I had tons of friends and family who told me you could stay in that state for weeks! So with that long introduction, this is how it all happened.

September 19, 2015

*4:10am*

I woke up to use the restroom. The minute after I got back into bed I realized I needed to use the restroom again. {Probably the most frustrating thing in pregnancy.} I debated with myself for about a minute and decided I was too tired to get up again, and I would just try to fall back asleep. Baby Boy had other plans. I felt myself leak a little in bed. I had a panic moment thinking did I really just wet the bed?! What is wrong with me?! Can I really not control myself anymore?? So I jumped out of bed to ran to the bathroom, but as soon as I jumped out of bed I leaked a little bit more. Now I just felt like a crazy person. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t control myself. Then I got to the hallway and it all came rushing. I kinda started to cry and yelled for Michael. Thankfully Michael woke up immediately and rushed to my side. I told him I think my water broke. He started laughing and agreed. I think I was so tired that it made me scared because two seconds ago I just thought I couldn’t hold my own bladder anymore but really our child was coming whether we were ready or not! So I was still kind of crying and Michael just looks at me and says “Why are you scared? Our baby is coming! This is going to be the best day!” And he was so right. Even though my contractions hadn’t started I had to get to the hospital right away since I tested positive for Group B Strep I needed to be on penicillin for four hours before Baby McQuade made his appearance.

We then continued to put the last few things in our hospital bags, cleaned up my mess, and called an Uber. Our first Uber cancelled on us when he was a minute away. I started panic because there aren’t that many Ubers out at that time! We requested another driver and thankfully one came a few minutes later. By this point I started to feel some contractions, but it was barely anything.

*4:45am*

Our Uber driver pulled up. I was so nervous he wouldn’t let us in the car because I was obviously very pregnant and obviously leaking. {I was carrying a towel for me to sit on.} When we got in the car the driver looks back and says “headed to the hospital?” and I timidly said yes. He was like “This is so exciting! I have four of my own kids! Has your water broke?” Again I timidly said yes. Thankfully this sweet man looked back and said, “Well we better get to the hospital! The baby could be coming any minute!” He also then preceded to ask if we wanted him to run all the red lights. I said no thinking of our safety, but he ignored me and used each red light as a stop sign. Thankfully it was 5am and barely anyone was out of the road.

*5:00am*

We arrived at the hospital. Not going to lie Michael and I were both a little panicked at this point. All we had to compare what my labor would be like was what my mom’s were like. Her longest labor and delivery was three hours total. I was supposed to get four hours of penicillin so Crew wouldn’t be introduced to the Group B Strep. The desk receptionist told me to calm down, which only made me more flustered. Michael was trying not to be nervous but in the taxi he called contractions “constructions” and when the receptionist asked my name Michael said “Deanna Crespo”. It was pretty cute because he was trying to be brave for me 🙂

*5:30am*

I was in a triage room hooked up to all the monitors. My contractions were pretty regular at this point. I was in pain but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t manage.

*6:00am*

A resident came to check on me. She said that I was at 2 or 3 cm and 90% effaced. She said that I was going to be admitted because I had Group B Strep and I needed to start the penicillin. As soon as a room opened up in labor and delivery I would be transferred. She also warned me that everyone would be switching shifts at 7am so it might take a while. While waiting, my contractions were getting stronger and I was becoming less patient to be transferred. Michael was a hero and messaged my feet to get my mind off the pain.

*7:00am*

Am angel nurse came to my rescue. She said she heard that I had been waiting to be transferred so she wanted to come get me before she left for the day. I was so surprised by her ability to look past her own needs {probably tired, hungry, etc.} after a 12 hour shift to come transfer me. I want to be more like that nurse. And now come to think of it, I want to be more like most of the nurses I came in contact with over the 60 hours I was in the hospital. Thank goodness for nurses.

*7:15am*

The resident in triage had asked if I wanted an epidural. I said yes. The resident said I could get it whenever I want once in labor and delivery, so I decided no time better than the present. Half because I figured why not get rid of any pain I have right now and half because I was worried next time they checked me I would be too far along for them to still give me the epidural. Since I was now in labor and delivery, the resident anesthesiologist came in and gave it to me right away. They also finally hooked me up to the penicillin. Then the waiting game began. I was dying to know how I was progressing, but I had to wait five hours until they would check me again. While I waited I watched too much Netflix and Michael took a nap. I was so frustrated that I couldn’t sleep, but I was SO anxious. It was like Christmas Day on steroids. I couldn’t wait to not be pregnant and hold my baby boy in my arms.

*12:00pm*

The OB/GYN resident doctor came in to check my progress. I was only at 3cm and 90% effaced. The next thing out her mouth was that I was going to be put on the smallest dose of pitocin. Because my water had already broke they can’t keep checking me because every time they check me they are putting the baby and me at risk of infection. So they needed to speed up the process to lessen the chance.

*2:00pm*

I started to feel the contractions again and my back was killing me. Maybe it was back labor, maybe it was because I was uncomfortable laying down in a hospital bed for so long. The contractions started to hurt more and more which was confusing me since I hadn’t felt any pain since the doctors gave me the epidural. After about 30 minutes of feeling a lot of back labor and contractions, I called my nurse in to ask her what was going on. She said she wasn’t sure, so she had the doctor come to check me. The resident came in and told me I was dilated to 10 cm and 100% effaced! The only problem was that baby boy was still at a 0 position, and he needed to be at a -2. The resident got me all excited though and told me we were going to start pushing, but first I needed to learn how to push. So we did a few practice pushes. I had no clue what I was doing because I couldn’t feel the lower half of my body! I couldn’t tell if I was actually pushing! The resident decided baby boy needed to drop more before I start pushing, so she left me and sent the anesthesiologist in to give me more epidural that would numb my entire torso and hopefully push the baby down.

*4:00pm*

I couldn’t feel the contractions anymore after they gave me the extra dose of the epidural. I was getting antsy though because I didn’t realize they weren’t going to let me push for another two hours! And I was so ready to meet our baby! Plus I may have told Michael to call our families at 2:00pm to tell them that I was starting to push! Well the resident finally came back in at 4:00pm and said I could start pushing! So by 4:30pm the process had begun.

*5:30pm*

I couldn’t believe I was still pushing. It was the most frustrating thing I had ever done. The resident, nurse, and Michael just kept telling me to push harder, but I couldn’t feel anything so I had no idea if I was actually pushing or not. Or if I did do a good push then they would cheer me on and say do that again, but I had no idea what I did differently that time! I was having a hard time breathing and felt that I wasn’t getting enough air, so they put an oxygen mask on me. My back was in so much pain it was extremely distracting. And to top it off this is when the nausea came and I threw up three times bright green. To say the least, I was exhausted. I wanted it all to be over. And I started to beg Michael to give the go ahead for a C-Section, not that it was ever part of the plan. And even though no one would give in to my desire to do so, still to this day I really wish they had. {Maybe I wouldn’t feel that way if they had actually done one though.} And then relief came. At 5:53pm the resident said, “one last push!!” and for once she actually telling the truth.

*5:54pm*

Crew Michael McQuade was born. They immediately laid him on my stomach and I started bawling. It was the most beautiful, scared moment we’ve ever been a part of. I remember holding onto Crew and thinking I never wanted this moment to end. Michael was hugging me and I just kept repeating “I just love him so much”. The moment was perfect. Crew is perfect, perfect for our family. For the next hour or so we just stared at his handsome face. He is our angel that we prayed for, for so long, and the wait was definitely worth it.

It felt like I was never really pregnant as soon as I held Crew in my arms. And much to my surprise, after a week went by I had already forgotten the pain of labor and delivery. And life before Crew seemed so far away. Our family of three just feels right. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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Gender Reveal

Going into this pregnancy Michael thought we would have to wait months, like most, to find out whether or not our little peanut is a boy or girl. Then my doctor told me about the numerous test she wanted me to take to find out if our baby has any diseases or abnormalities. I agreed to everything because I’m a first time mom, and I wasn’t ready to fight back on this office’s protocol for all expecting mothers. When the time came closer my doctor notified me that the Panaroma blood test I was taking at 11 weeks would also tell me the gender the baby if I wanted to know. I couldn’t believe that reading the baby’s chromosomes through the mother’s blood was even possible. Modern medicine is truly amazing! {I was skeptical how correct this test could be, but the office said they’ve never seen the test be wrong so I was convinced!}

The timing worked out perfectly because it takes about ten business days to get this specific test back from the company that does it.  So my next appointment was scheduled so I would come in and find out after the test got back to my doctor office. That also happened to be the last day of my mom’s trip to the city to visit Michael and me! My mom was SO excited to make our gender reveal a day to remember.

Around 11am on a Monday, my mom went with me for my check up. Everything looked great and I was gaining the proper amount of weight (phew!) according to the doctor. The doctor asked if I wanted to find out the gender. I said that I would like her to write it down and put it in an envelope for my mom. So she did that and then my mom tried to get rid of me as fast as possible! Of course she couldn’t contain her curiosity, and she looked in the envelope as soon as I left on the subway to go back to work. After work we met my mom at Olive Garden in Times Square for dinner and the most fun way to find out the gender of our peanut. She had arranged with Hershey’s in Times Square to display the message on their billboard at a 6:15pm. So at that time Michael and I called our families on Google+ and my mom was ready with the camera. {for posterity’s sake, the my family’s guess count was 7 for girl and 3 for boy. Michael guessed girl, and I guessed boy.} We turned around, at our perfectly picked out table by my mother, to see the Hershey’s billboard out the floor to ceiling windows. Then the waiter arrived with special drinks and my mom gave us the candy bar.

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Dinner was so great. And I just couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Finding out the gender makes things a little more real for Michael and me, and I feel that connection between me and peanut growing stronger. The fun wasn’t over for the night though. We took pictures in Times Square and then had a sweet surprise waiting for us at home.

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^^The next day I surprised my team with “cupcarons” {cupcake + macarons} from Melissa’s bakery to tell them the gender. It was a tad confusing because there is pink icing on these, but it was the most blue cupcake they had!^^

I’m so glad my mom was able to come visit in general. She is just so much fun! And of course a huge help around the apartment. It was so special to have her there to make our gender reveal so much fun. {and she loved being the first to know haha}. The next time my mom comes to town she will be called Grandma. And I will find so much joy when she’s holding our little boy.

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^^14 weeks^^

Oh Baby…

Starting a family is something Michael and I have been excited about and praying about since day one. Both of us adore kids and love being around them. Even while we were engaged we would discuss names for our future children. After a series of moments that the light bulb went on for both of us we decided it was time to grow our eternal family. These moments are very personal to us, but I will say I’m so incredibly grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who leads and guides us to know when the timing is right for different events in our life.

At the end of January I had this feeling that I was pregnant. I held off saying anything to Michael until I took a home test at the end of the week. On my way home from work I bought a test and took it right before Michael got home. I was honestly stunned when I saw that little plus sign. It just didn’t feel real! I was so impatient for Michael to get home at this point. I started texting him like crazy asking for updates on his whereabouts. When he got home I had a picture I made waiting for him on the computer. I wanted him to come sit down and see it, but of course he ran to the bathroom when he got in the door. So I’m sitting on the couch yelling into the next room “where are you going?!” “To the bathroom…? Is something wrong?” Michael shouts back. “And I’m like nope…just wondering what you were doing…come here when you are done I want to show you something!” I yell back. Anyway he finally sits down because he can tell I will have heart attack if he doesn’t. Michael a similar reaction to mine when I showed him the picture below. Stunned, speechless, but so, so happy.

announcement

 

Since then it has been really hard to keep our mouths shut that we are expecting! We are so happy we just wanted to share it with the world! It becomes especially hard when you feel like the news becomes all encompassing with your life. About a week after we found out I started feeling really sick. I basically got every symptom you read about in the first trimester. I honestly couldn’t believe my body became a text book pregnancy. I had tried to be so optimistic that pregnancy wouldn’t be too hard for me before I was expecting that I was sure morning sickness wouldn’t really be a thing for me. It also didn’t help knowing that neither my mother or my maternal grandmother did not have morning sickness whatsoever with any of their pregnancies!!! Anyway moral of the story is that the last 8 weeks or so have been more difficult than ever imagined. And now I have a new appreciation for my amazing Michael and my sympathetic new team at work. My gratitude for those people is off the charts.

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{1} The weekend Michael and I found out about our sweet baby {2} Our fancy night out on the town for Valentine’s Day. Note to Reader: don’t go to a restaurant’s set 7 course menu night while pregnant. It is delicious but painful. {3} Baby’s first picture {4} 11 weeks on 11th Street

AUCKLAND

Day 32:


We had to get up at 6:30am for our 10:30am flight. These early morning flights are finally hitting me. Hard. Especially since the only medicine that seems to be working for my cold is NyQuil haha. But we got Krispy Kreme donuts at the airport and Krispy Kreme makes everything better. We had another great flight with no problems. We got to the New Zealand airport and had to go through the most thorough customs I’ve ever seen. Everyone had to declare any food (except candy, which we thought was an odd exception) and any kind of gear (coats, tennis shoes, hiking boots, etc.) that you wore in nature or the mountains. We found out once we got to the counter that we had to report that I had taken shells from the beach in Thailand and our a wood sculpture. So those two things had to be inspected by a guy and then through an x-ray. Pretty dumb. But they are really worried about diseases coming into their country, but I don’t know what an x-ray would do to detect that. After the whole customs fiasco we caught the airbus to our hotel. We got checked in and decided to head over to the Auckland Civic Center. We found out that Illusionists 2.0 was playing their last show in Auckland that night. So we ended up getting tickets for it! It’s a magic show with seven different types of magicians from all over the world. Before the show we went and got a bite to eat down the street at Elliot’s Stables (recommendation from the guy working at the box office). It is kind of like a high end food court. You walk into this crowded hall with mini restaurants lining the walls and a bunch of tables in the middle. Basically you order and pay at whatever restaurant(s) you want. You tell them which table you are sitting at and they deliver your food to your table. We ordered from two different restaurants getting jambalaya and risotto. It was all very good. Then we rushed to change our clothes at the hotel and get back to the theatre. The illusionist show was really fun and we were quite puzzled by how they did some of the tricks. After the show we headed back to the hotel and got a great nights sleep on our king sized bed. 

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Day 33:


This morning we went to church down the street from our hotel at the Auckland 2nd Ward at 9am. We were almost the only white people there! Haha The ward consisted mostly of Polynesians. They were SO welcoming and friendly though. We felt very loved. As soon as we would open our mouths they would say ohh so you are from the states haha. After church we got some breakfast from a cafe nearby. They sold cronuts! I was like sooo did you guys copy the guy in NYC? And they were like yeah he didn’t trademark the name fast enough and we figured out how to make them so we make them now too! They didn’t look as fresh as Dominique Ansel’s so we tried their bagels and a Canadian beaver tail copy cat which was kinda like a huge American scone. It was all pretty good. Then we came back to the hotel for an hour nap. After I woke up we went to La Ciagle for their French styled market. It was small but cute. We got a pork belly classic sandwich and a ham and cheese stuffed croissant to share. The weather is pretty crazy right now. It’s cold and windy with the on and off rain. And I lost my jacket in Hong Kong…I think I left it in the temple dorms unfortunately. Michael has been so kind to let me borrow his rain jacket the whole time we were in Sydney and Auckland, so I wouldn’t be as cold. He’s just the best. It was super cold, windy, and rainy when we were at the market so we weren’t sure if we should try to go hiking or not.  It started to clear up by the end of our meal, so we decided to go for it. Public transportation is a nightmare here. There is no convenient subway or train, so we only used buses. There are no bus stations so there are no bus route maps or stands to buy tickets. So we walked a while to get to a bus stop and then we took it as close to One Tree Hill as we could. It was all a long walk but worth it. One Tree Hill is the tallest hill in Auckland. It is commemorated to the Father of New Zealand by a large steeple on the top of the hill. Surrounding the hill is a large park called Cornwall Park with sheep all over just roaming free! Pretty cute. They kind of just doing their own thing unless you get too close to them, then they run away. Or if you get too close to a baby sheep and the mom doesn’t want to move she gives you a scary deep “BAAAAA” while staring you down. It’s pretty intimidating. But the baby sheep are just the cutest little things! They have a cute little baa and frolic all over the grass hills.  When we made it to the hill I finally understood how Michael felt as a kid walking to school in the Wyoming cold, windy weather. (Check out our hair in one of the pictures below haha) I was knocked down multiple times by the wind. It was crazy up there but so, so pretty. It was also a muddy mess walking up the hill because there isn’t a real path so I slipped and ripped my pants even more and now I can’t wear them without being immodest haha. Michael slipped as well but only got muddy hands! On the way down we got a little lost but ended up finding a cool playground with a zip line. Michael made friends with a few kids and tried it out. It was entertaining to watch. Anyway we had a lot of fun playing with sheep and dodging their poop. We then went back to the hotel and relaxed for a bit. And hit the town for some dinner later on. And then we hit the hotel hot tub. We have been missing our hot tub dates, so it was quite nice. 

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Day 34:

So we got up and went to grab a bagel at the cafe down the street. Then we took the hotel shuttle down to the water where we met up with the bungy jump company. They took us down to Auckland Bridge where their office was to get us all ready to go bungy jumping! They had to weigh us twice, and we had to sign our life away (haha just kidding…but seriously…) We got all harnessed up and made our way across the bridge. We climbed to the middle of the bridge and then climbed up into a bunker where you bungy from. It was pretty intimidating walking up there. You have to clip into a line that makes sure you are attached the whole way while walking, but once you get into the bunker they detach you and you are free to walk where you please. But as I said previously it’s cold and windy here, so I was starting to get chills up my back and panic! They already had a set order by weight, so Michael was second to go! He was freaking out but ultimately super brave. When they put him on the platform he said just give me a sec, he took a big breath in, and was totally calm while they counted down for him to jump! And he jumped out from the platform really far! (We have this all on video by the way, so get excited! We each held the GoPro in our hand when we jumped.) Michael did scream the entire way down so that was pretty funny. Unfortunately for him, he did not get dipped in the water. He was hoping to get dipped in the water, but the cord they had to use for him was really new and not stretched enough. Anyway everyone else in our group went including a 70ish year old grandpa who was there with his grandson and both were not scared at all! I was comforted to see everyone doing it without any problem but also getting nervous because I was the last to go! So I get up on the platform and they count down “3,2,1…” And I basically bend my knees all the way and my arms were up like a divers touching my toes and…….. I didn’t move. So everyone started laughing… awesome. They count down again, and I bend down like that again and somehow my body just went over the edge without my brain realizing haha. Everyone was shocked I dove off the platform almost completely straight down rather than jumping out. When I finally hit the end of the cord and bounced back up again I couldn’t believe I was down there! My mind was still up at the platform and I didn’t start screaming until after I was bouncing back up haha. But once my hands touched the water I was so happy. It’s probably the coolest feeling dropping like that. I might do it again if we go to another cool place to do it…or if we come back to New Zealand and go to the south island to do the one that’s three times as high. We really enjoyed the experience overall.

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After we got back to the pier, where they picked us up, we got lunch and walked along the water for a while. Auckland has the prettiest dock water I’ve ever seen. It’s super blue even with all the yachts and whatnot. I wish it was warmer here so we could have taken a ferry out to one of the islands for their great beaches!

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we found a boat with owners from wyoming in the harbor…so random!^^

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^^the bridge we jumped off of

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After that we took the hotel shuttle back to the hotel and face timed with some family. Then we headed to Mt. Eden, a dormant volcano. We climbed to the top and watched the sunset. It was so romantic and we loved the view from up there.Then we headed back to the hotel, got some great Korean food for dinner, hit the hot tub, and went to bed.

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Day 35:
We woke up at 7am in order to get our rental car by 8am. We packed up the rental and checked out of the hotel. We headed out to the Hamilton, New Zealand temple, which is about an hour and a half away from Auckland. The Hamilton temple is one of the original 12 temples that were built, so that’s really cool. We enjoyed the drive out there because it was all very green rolling hills with all different types of trees. There were tons of sheep and cows. We got off a little later than we hoped (Michael may or may not have gotten into an accident five minutes after picking up the car because he wasn’t used to driving on the wrong side of the road haha) so we didn’t arrive at the temple until 10:50am and the session started at 11am. All the other temples we have been to on this trip have been pretty small and had small sessions, but this temple is huge and had tons of members doing the work. So we ran in asking if they could hold the session for us and they were like no we already had them walk up to the room and they have started. We were like what!? It was pretty upsetting especially because we have names from Michael’s parents to do endowments. But they said we could do initiatories so we were happy to do some of those. Then we got to go up to the celestial room and talk for a bit. It was a beautiful room with three gorgeous chandeliers. That temple has tons of workers and most of them aren’t missionaries. The workers run a tight ship too haha. Although we didn’t get to go through a session we were happy we got to go to the temple in New Zealand at all.

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After the temple we grabbed some lunch and headed another hour south to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. It was SO cool, but unfortunately we don’t have any pictures because the workers are very strict on protecting these caves (but google the caves and you can see some good pictures!!). These caves have these worms called glow worms living on the ceiling. These worms hatch from little eggs and immediately start glowing. They then spend the next nine months spitting down a pin size thick line of spit (up to 15 at a time, and as long as 20 cm long) vertically down from the ceiling. Their glow-light attracts flies and moths that come down to the cave and the bug gets stuck in their line of spit and the worm slurps them up and eats them. After nine months they cocoon and come out as a mosquito type bug, but when they transform they no longer have mouths or stomachs and they die within the next four days. So within those four days they reproduce and the female bug lays 120 eggs. So there sole purpose in life is to keep the species going and nothing else. How weird is that?! But really it was so cool to see them in the caves because it looked like millions of green stars. It was so pretty.

New Zealand is a beautiful country. The people were so kind and friendly! Like Australia we can’t wait to return and explore more of the country. We would also like to return during their summer months. The windy, rain beginning of spring was not ideal haha. But I’m so glad we got to see those rolling hills and dormant volcanoes in vibrant green grass.

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I know it has taken me forever to blog about this trip. But now that I’m done, I’m really sad. Before the trip started I thought I would blog while travelling. How naive I was to think I could email our families, blog, and explore every day all day. We were always on the go or sleeping. I’m so glad I didn’t give up precious time doing fun things to sit down in front of a computer. I have loved reliving our trip through these posts throughout the past six months.

Our trip was a trip of a lifetime. Something I had always planned on doing when I found my other half. Traveling the world to learn and explore different cultures has been a passion of mine since my parents sparked that bug at a young age. Traveling gives you the opportunity to learn about the people you are with in a new view. Traveling with Michael has always reassured my deep feelings of love and admiration for him. He is my other half, my better half. He is the one I always want to be with. We have never gotten sick of being with each other too much. We will always set aside money to continue traveling the world. It is one our top goals. We want to show our children God’s beautiful creations as they learn about life.

One of the coolest things about this trip was the bounty of miracles and blessings Michael I saw over the 35 days. There could have been so many things that could have gone wrong, times we could have gotten really hurt, taken advantage of, or our plans not work out. The worst thing that happened was me getting sick multiple times. And that still wasn’t bad enough to change our plans too much or have me see a doctor in a random country. We couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to travel where we did before we started work and have strict time to take off. We are also really grateful for our loved ones who helped make this possible. You are greatly appreciated. We will never forget this experience. Forever we will look back with fond memories of those seven countries.

SYDNEY

Day 28:

We arrived in Sydney on Tuesday at 11:30am to beautiful spring weather since we were below the equator now. We had a taxi take us to our hotel, which isn’t as bad as the Google review made it sound. It’s definitely not a nice hotel but not really gross or scary. Anyway the hotel wouldn’t let us check in for another hour, but we were pretty hungry so we went out for some food. The guy at the front desk said there was a good place across the street, so we went over there. Randomly it ended up being the bakery that I had seen on a list a few months ago online that was titled the top twelve bakeries in the world. I only realized it was that bakery as we finished eating though haha. We got ham and cheese toasties. The bread was pretty good. Then we got the keys to our hotel room and took a nap. We slept until 4:45pm; then we got up to get ready for our date at the Sydney Opera House. We ate at the Opera Bar, a restaurant right next to the opera house and on the water looking out on the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It was really pretty. Michael got mushroom risotto, and I got a goat cheese caramelized onion potato pizza for dinner. Both were absolutely fabulous. We shared warm donuts with berries and cream for dessert. Then we went to the opera house to seethe musical The King and I.
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The musical was great! The sets and costumes were very well done, and the King and Anna were great actors. We really enjoyed it and went back home after the play. It was one of my favorite date nights we have ever been on. I will always remember that night. 

Day 29:

We slept in a bit and grabbed some chocolate raspberry muffins at that same bakery across the street. I asked the people working there if they knew about that list they were on and they said no but were pretty happy I told them about it haha. We made our trek out to the Featherdale Zoo. It took about an hour and a half to get to it. We got the suggestion from Michael’s best friend, Steven, to go out to this zoo. At this zoo they are liberal with the cages. A lot of the kangaroos  and some of the bigger birds, including peacocks, are just allowed to go where they please. And the koalas are on trees that are in a tall box but there’s no wall or glass between you and the koalas after four feet off the ground. Pretty fun. So we got to feed and pet kangaroos! They were so cute when they nibbled the feed out of our hands! And we got to see a mama kangaroo with a baby in her pouch! It was so cute!! We also got to pet a koala that they had out of the cage with a trainer. Both were really soft! We also got to see Tasmanian devils, bilbies, wombats, dingos, and a crocodile! The Tasmanian devils and wombats are kinda cute. The bilbies are strange and the crocodile was absolutely terrifying. It was HUGE and looked fake until I saw its mouth start moving. The dingos were pretty adorable too. The baby dingos were rough housing like little puppies. We also got to see porcupine looking things and tons of really pretty birds. It was a really fun zoo, and I’m so glad we went out there to see it. Thanks for the suggestion Mr. Kapeles!
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After that we headed to the Sydney LDS Temple. It’s really interesting and pretty. The roof is blue shingles and there is stained glass in some of the windows. It was a great session and a pretty celestial room. In case you are wondering, the video isn’t shown in an Australian accent haha. I was kinda hoping it was!
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After the temple, we took a bus to the Parramatta Wharf to take a ferry back to downtown Sydney. It took us an hour to figure out all our public transportation the night before, and we had really scheduled it out to a T. But it turns out there was no ferry after 7pm, so we walked back to the train station to get home instead. They have a Max Brenner mini restaurant there so we got dessert and headed back to the hotel. 

Day 30:

Today we slept in again…I think jet lag has set in for the first time on the trip. We keep staying up really late and sleeping in late. Anyway we grabbed a few donuts when we headed out the door to Bondi Beach. It’s spring here so it’s sunny but windy which can make it a little chilly at times. We got some lunch and laid out on the beach for a few hours. The water was way too cold to swim, but we enjoyed our beach day. We were going to scuba dive here too, but there wasn’t a dive shop nearby that was willing to take us out. They said we could rent the gear and go out ourselves, but I don’t feel quite ready for that. Anyway around 4:30pm we started the Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach walk. It takes about two hours to walk it with stopping for pictures, but man, was it beautiful. It kind of reminded me of Monterey, California. You get to walk along the coastal cliff line on this walk and the views are remarkable.
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When we got to Coogee we ate dinner at Beach Burrito. It was pretty good especially since we haven’t eaten Mexican in a month! haha Michael got a mucho burrito, and I got a cilantro lime prawn taco and a chipotle chicken taco. And we got gelato after because Michael said we earned it after our two hour walk haha. After dessert we headed back to the hotel. We are basically masters of public transportation around the world now. From subways, trains, taxis, ferries, and buses we’ve seen it all. 
 
Day 31:

On Friday morning we went to Darling Harbour to have breakfast at Pancakes on the Rocks. A friend from Renner who was on a study abroad here recently told us to go there. They had some pretty crazy pancake options. They all had ice cream on top even though they are supposed to be for breakfast, not dessert haha. Michael got the macadamia pancakes, so it was macadamia pancakes with macadamia nuts, syrup, and vanilla ice cream. I got chocolate pancakes with strawberries, chocolate syrup, cream, and chocolate ice cream. Both were great. Something we’ve learned on this trip is never order juice. It’s always gross and overpriced. I thought since we were in Australia that maybe that would change but no.
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Anyway after breakfast we walked across the pedestrian bridge to go back to Darling Harbour where the ferries come. We took the ferry to Circular Quay, which is where the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House is. We did that so we could get better pictures of those two things and enjoy the water a little more.
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And we loved that the ferry had wifi, so Michael could check the score of the BYU game, and we could FaceTime with both sets of parents! Go BYU on another great win!! We are starting to miss college for the first time since graduating. We miss our BYU home football games. Getting pretty jealous of all the pictures of people at the game on social media. Although travelling the world and having no responsibilities at the moment is pretty great too…. just wish we could do it with college football! After the ferry we walked over to The Rocks Friday Foodie Market. It’s a cute little market where restaurants set up tents each Friday. It is definitely a local favorite. There were tons of people taking their lunch break waiting in line for certain tents. Unfortunately we weren’t hungry yet because breakfast was so big! So we walked around and tried samples from whoever was giving them out. We tried traditional French salami, and it was the best salami I’ve ever had! It sure doesn’t look good all wrapped up, but it tastes so good!
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After that we walked over to the Royal Botanic Gardens. We took the Choo Choo Express (a red mini train they drive around the park with a tour guide). The park is so interesting because it contained Australia’s first bridge, the first glass pyramid green house in the world, and a tree that we thought to be extinct for hundreds of years until a man found it in the Blue Mountains in 1994. Anyway the park was filled with beautiful flowers and trees. We also saw Mrs. MacQuaire’s chair (the first governor of Australia’s wife’s chair carved out of stone) and tons of Australia’s birds. You know the white evil bird from the movie Rio? Those are normal birds you see flying around here! There were tons of them at the park. They are kinda terrifying. People who had bread were able to get them to come up on their arm. It was pretty cool until one guy was getting bit by the bird like crazy after the bread was gone. We were still sad we didn’t have any bread to try to get them on our arms though haha. The park also has a few trees with really fat trunks. They are a special species that retain water, so if you were to tap a hole in the trunks then water would come rushing out! We also ran into three weddings in the park! So romantic! 
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After the park we went to the Queen Victoria Building. It’s a beautiful building that has about one hundred years of history in the city of Sydney. It has been used for many purposes (mostly involving the government) until the early 90’s when it was refurbished to be a high end shopping mall. We walked around a bit while enjoying a chocolate dipped peach and a Dr. Seuss collectibles store. I also loved stopping at TopShop!
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After shopping we walked about a half an hour to dinner. We got a recommendation from the same friend in Plano to go to dinner at Jazushi (a sushi place that has live jazz music every night). So we got there and it was closed because it was only 5:30pm and it didn’t open until 6pm! So we waited down the street on the curb playing games on my iPad. So at 6:05pm we walked over to the restaurant and walked in. No one was seated yet and there was no customers in there. We asked if they were seating people yet. And he said “…yeah.” So we said “great! Two people.” The host then gave us a weird look and said “well do you have a reservation?” And we said “no, do we need one?” He rudely laughed at us and acted disgusted that we didn’t know you needed a reservation to eat there. He was like “there is noooo way you can eat here now” We were a bit confused because no one was there still. So we asked when the next reservation was open for tonight and he said maybe 8:30 without looking at the book. So we put our name down but decided we were too hungry to wait that long/had no idea what we would do until then. We walked down the street to find another place. Michael saw a less nice sushi place so we decided to go there. Unfortunately it wasn’t good and there was no jazz music haha. As michael so bluntly put “it was the worst sushi I’ve ever had.” Hahaha so we got Anderson’s of Denmark Ice Cream near our hotel later that night. We had to get the nasty taste out of our mouths. We has Danish nougat and banana chocolate ice cream. We’ve had some great ice cream/gelato/sorbet on this trip, in case you were wondering. And I think I’ve lost weight on this trip. Score.
Sydney is a dream come true. It is beautiful. The coast is gorgeous. We are sad it wasn’t warmer, so we could go swimming and scuba diving. We loved the city scene of the different neighborhoods. People weren’t rude, but they weren’t friendly either. We would love to live there except that it is also an expensive city. Just about everything is extremely inflated in price. (Every place we want to live internationally is SO expensive!) We can’t wait to return to Sydney and the rest of Australia though!
Next up…AUCKLAND!

BANGKOK

Day 25:
We left our hotel in Phuket at 11am to make our 1:20pm flight. Kind of interesting, the Phuket airport makes you go through security twice. Once immediately when you walk in the door and once when you have your ticket and got your bags checked. (Random side note: the airport in Singapore doesn’t make you go through security until you get to your gate. The airport is kind a tourist attraction in itself, so they don’t make you go though security until the gate. But you also have to wait outside the glass enclosed gates until it is your special time to be sitting in the gate area. Weird.) Thankfully our flight to Bangkok was just over an hour because it was the worst flight of my life. For some reason the air pressure in the cabin made my head cold feel like my head was going to explode and my nose had so much pressure from it being so stuffed up that it made me cry. So basically I was a mess on the plane. When we were landing my ears were popping like crazy. But when we actually touched the ground they stayed unpopped and I wasn’t able to pop one of my ears. I went over 24 hours of not being able to hear much out of one ear which makes hearing in general hard. (Thankfully it popped Sunday morning!) Anyway we got our bags and got in a taxi to our hotel. Our hotel is really nice for only about $50 a night. Score! We got checked in and looked up some stuff in my electronic travel book. We decided to see one thing for the day because most things close at 5 or 6pm here and it was already 4:30pm.  We went to see Wat Pho. It’s a buddhist temple where a 45 meter reclining buddha is sitting inside a building. It’s amazing how intricate the temples are here. Probably the prettiest temple we’ve seen on the trip so far. There is all these mosaic spires and color mirror chip door ways and gold leafed everything.
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After we explored all the buildings inside the temple walls we walked around the area for a bit. We saw the grand palace and the ministry of defense. The grand palace is surrounded with tall walls so you can’t see much.
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Then we found dinner at a restaurant just off the sidewalk…the restaurant was also called Sidewalk haha. It was a fairly nice restaurant and we got two entrees and two drinks for $8! Probably the best Thai food we’ve had yet too! It was great. After that we got a taxi back to the hotel and stayed in the rest of the night.

Day 26:

Today was our only full day to explore Bangkok, so we hit the ground running! Michael did get up at 6:30am to watch the BYU v. UT game streaming online in case anyone was wondering. Michael couldn’t stop talking about the game all day haha. I had a traumatic experience that morning though. So for those of you who don’t know I think bidet toilets are really gross and unnecessary, and now I have a fear of them after that morning. Our toilet in our hotel room is super fancy. It has heated toilet seat and a control panel on the wall. The panel has tons of buttons. There are four different types of sprays, a stop button, a water pressure button, a nozzle position button, a small flush button, and a large flush button. So I was going to the restroom and was on my phone {guilty} when all of the sudden the sprayer comes out and starts spraying me hard core!!! It scared me so bad that I started screaming and jumped off the toilet! And of course it didn’t stop spraying and the water pressure was so high that it sprayed all over the bathroom, even hitting the mirror across the bathroom. Michael comes running in so confused. I explained what just happened and was so traumatized that I just decided I needed to shower right then. Michael just dies laughing but was sweet enough to help me clean it up. Yeah, I officially hate bidet toilets. So for breakfast we headed to the mall to get McDonald’s at MBK Center (a mall). Also in Phuket and Bangkok you see religious shrines at every home and place of business. I had to take a picture of at least one, so here’s the one that was outside the mall.
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Then we went to Jim Thompson’s House. Back at the end of WWII this guy named Jim Thompson from Delaware got stationed in Thailand. He fell in love with the culture and the people and decided to stay in Thailand permanently. He found out that Thai silk wasn’t really an industry in the big cities anymore. The only people taking advantage of Thai silk lived in small villages. So he brought the silk back to NYC and it took off. Everyone loved it, and he started to have it made for him and sold it internationally. All the silk used for costumes in the original “The King and I” are all silks made by Jim Thompson’s people. Pretty cool. So he gets super wealthy and decides to stop renting a place in Bangkok and build his own place. He found five original Thai homes in the old capitol of Thailand and had them taken down and put back together at the piece of land he bought in Bangkok. Three of the houses were put together to make one house and the other two were separate buildings on the property. So since he was so wealthy he planted a beautiful jungle-like garden around the houses and filled his houses with artifacts and antiques from Thailand and other neighboring countries. He had some really cool stuff! The house was actually really pretty and cool to look through. Weird part of the whole story: so eight years after the house was finished (he was 61) he took a trip to Malaysia for a vacation with a long time lady acquaintance and some doctors and their spouses. On their last day there Thompson took a stroll by himself around 3:30pm and was never seen again. Literally never again. The Thai and Malaysian government looked for him for seven years but still have no clue as to where he went or how he died. Pretty weird and super creepy. So in his house they found a will that said the house was supposed to go to his nephew. After a few years the nephew gave his house to the Jim Thompson Charity that promotes keeping Thai culture alive. So that was a really interesting tour!
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After that we went to Chatuchak Weekend Market. It was so fun!! It was a maze of hundreds of shopping stalls. Things had price tags, but you can still barter. They had stalls for clothes, accessories, home decor, food and drinks, antiques, souvenirs, pets, and plants! We definitely did not get to all it by a long shot. We did get see fun things though! I got a shirt for work and cool pants to lounge in on the weekends! We also got an awesome wooden elephant head. We had fun looking through all the craziness. Then we headed to the Taling Chan Floating Markets. Trying to get a taxi can be an interesting adventure here and sometimes it made me feel like I was on the amazing race haha. So you go up to the taxi window and you say the place you want to go. Normal, right? Except here you have to say it at least ten times before they decide if they know what you are talking about. Then if they know where that is they decide if they want to go there. If they want to go there you say “meter?” And they say yes or no. Yeah just process that for a second. So if the taxi drivers in Bangkok don’t want to run by the meter then they can just tell you what they want to do the trip for!! But here you definitely want to do it by the meter because they always up charge when they just give you a random number. So we talked to about fifteen taxis before we found someone who knew where we were trying to go and would do it for meter. Anyway I really wanted to see some floating markets so we went out there to have lunch. At this market they had a few floating markets of people selling lunch and produce. There were tons of huge catfish swimming in the canals too. On the land surrounding the canal there were market stalls and a big food market area. I got a chicken and rice meal and came back to sit at the bamboo picnic tables while Michael got his food. While I was half way through my food I found a bug in my rice and that ended that meal haha. Thank goodness it was only a $1! Michael came back with pad thai and pot stickers. He shared his pot stickers with me 🙂 After lunch we got homemade coconut ice cream! It was great because Michael said it was! Haha I can only taste really strong things since my cold is messing with my taste buds. So all of that for about $7! We love how cheap everything is.
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After that we went to the Golden Mount and Wat Saket. Golden Mount is a huge golden spire on a large white platform. We walked to the top of the white platform. It was fun because you can also look out on the city. Wat Saket is all the temple buildings surrounding golden mount. There is one building that has really interesting murals of Buddha’s life and heaven and hell. Kind of creepy if I’m being honest haha.
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So after that we were pretty exhausted and overheated that we decided to head back to the hotel to relax before we got dinner. We walked to dinner from our hotel with the cats and the cockroaches. Michael is scared of the cats and I’m scared of the cockroaches haha. We found a restaurant on Trip Advisor that is the “best Bangkok sidewalk restaurant.” So this restaurant is not an actual building like the previous night. This restaurant is literally folding chairs and folding tables that are set up on the sidewalk outside of a bank when the bank closes for the night haha. And the restaurant kitchen is a few pavilions with a few stove top burners. Pretty interesting but this place got rave reviews on Trip Advisor so we thought we should try it. It was good but not great. I liked the last night’s dinner better.
Day 27:
We woke up a little late and rushed to the flower market in Chinatown. We decided to grab a few muffin like things from the 7 Eleven nearby and eat while we walked around. It turned out to be a flower and food market combined. It was so interesting. People buy their food so different than people in America. Yes we have “markets” in America but they are more about being green, helping out the local farms, or just being hipster. Here it is basically all you have. And the flower market is also kind of a must do since they are obsessed with fresh special flowers for their Buddhist alters. There are all these women stringing flowers on fishing wire or on foam formations for them to hang in their cars or at the two alters that almost every business and home has here. Even the taxis have special writings on the roof above the drivers head and flowers on the rear view mirror. The flowers are SO cheap there. I was dying and Michael was wishing he had bought flowers for that cheap in the past. For instance we saw 3 dozen sweetheart roses for $1 and 2 dozen normal roses for $2 or $3. I’m really interested to check out the floral market in NYC when we get back now! I would love to have fresh flowers in our home often if the prices were that cheap since I took the floral design class at BYU.
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Anyway after that we walked along the river and found Wat Arun across the river. It’s another really cool looking Buddhist temple. It was so hot out that day that we decided not to climb it and just go to the spa instead haha.
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We had to take advantage of the ridiculously cheap spas in Thailand one last time before we left! Michael got another hour long massage for $13, and I got a mani pedi for $10. It was great. Then we went to the MBK Center to have lunch. We ate at the food court. Another weird food court at a mall. The food court is all closed off except for one entrance and one exit. At the entrance they give you a card that is like a credit card. You go around to whatever station you want and charge your meal to that card. There were probably 15 stations with cuisines from all over Asia and a few other countries around the world. Then at the end of eating you go to the exit and give them your credit card-like things. They swipe them and you pay the balance. Kinda weird but it was pretty good food. After that we just walked around the mall for a bit.
Then we thought we should just go back to the hotel and wait to leave for the airport, but it’s a good thing we decided to leave half an hour early from the mall because it took that long to get a taxi since we had to wait in the taxi queue. We got to the hotel and just decided to leave for the airport knowing that we were going to be three hours early for our flight. So we get in the taxi and drive to the airport. We get to the airport and the departure board when you first walk in says our flight has been cancelled. We panicked a bit since we had a connecting flight in Singapore to get to Sydney. We hurried over to the information desk to ask where Scoot Airlines desk was, and the lady was like Scoot doesn’t fly from here. And we were like yeah it does that’s what our email confirmation says! And she was like well they used to fly from this airport but as of the 1st of September they moved to the other airport in Bangkok, didn’t you get the email?? Um…no!!! We were dying. So she is like well just go downstairs to this floor and we have a free shuttle for people like you who didn’t know about the switch. Just show them your flight number and stuff and they will let you on. So before we left for our trip I made an itinerary for all our flights with all the information possible. She said that would work to show the guys downstairs to get on the bus. So we run downstairs and show the guy and he’s like no you can’t get on unless you show me your boarding pass and we are like how are we supposed to have our boarding pass if we can’t check in to this airport?? And he’s like well show me your email confirmation and we were like well we can’t because we don’t have internet on our phones! And he’s like well go inside and get internet. Well the free wifi takes forever to get on because they ask for all this personal information before letting you on. The bus was leaving in ten minutes and it only runs every hour. Did I mention the other airport we had to now get to takes 50 minutes by this bus?! So then we ask the guy if we could just pull up our email on the workers phone and he’s like um definitely not. So Michael runs inside, and I’m praying so hard. I stopped my prayer for a minute to plead with the worker for me to use his phone and he’s really not giving in. We had three minutes on the clock before the bus left when Michael came back with the email pulled up on his phone. Luckily inside a different worker was nice enough to connect Michael’s phone to an easier wifi. So we were off on the shuttle to the other airport. Thank goodness we left so early from our hotel because it took the shuttle 70 minutes in rush hour traffic. We made our flight with plenty of time. We had a good flight to Singapore in the front row of economy. It was a huge flight. Our flight was late landing in Singapore and we only had a just under two hour layover so we were a little worried about getting to our next gate. They told us on the flight if we didn’t pay for their “scoot through” service that we would have to get our bags from the baggage claim, re-check in, and go through security and customs again. Thank goodness we somehow knew to purchase that service when we bought our tickets back in April because we didn’t remember buying it! Plus we would have missed or connecting flight if we had to go and get our bags ourselves and what not. Anyway we got on our next flight and we were sitting in row 62 on the right side with a window and middle seat…not our favorite option but not horrible. The only negative part was that the guy next to me was a rather large man. But I guess he was already in talks with a stewardess before we got there because when we sat down the stewardess said she had another seat for him after take off!! Woot! Extra seat for us! So Michael finished his book and hung out while I slept the entire 7 hour flight. So by the time we landed in Sydney we had been traveling from 8:30pm-11:30am on planes. Rough.
We sure loved our time in Bangkok though! It was really interesting to see the city side of Thailand. The people were kind and everything was so cheap. Three days was the perfect amount of time to see what Bangkok had to offer.
Next up…Sydney!

PHUKET

This is the part of the trip was on my must go list when we were trying to decide where to go. I have dreamed of going to Thailand for years and years. Every time I saw pictures it looked like paradise…and guess what? That’s exactly what Thailand is.

Day 20:

We had a 8am flight (yay a little later than usual!!) to Phuket Monday morning. We had a 40 minute taxi ride out to our hotel. On our way to the hotel we saw two elephants on the side of the road!! One person was riding one of them and the other one was being watched by someone while it was having a snack. We stayed on Karon beach at Centara Grand Beach Resort Phuket. We got here and checked in while they gave us a refreshing cool towel. All the hotel people put their hands in traditional praying hands  form and bow to you for everything. It’s cute. Our room is amazing!!! We have a huge bathroom with a large soaking tub, a rain shower, etc., a nice king bed (for the first time this trip, everywhere in Asia only has doubles), a couch, and a beautiful balcony. {below: view from our balcony of the pool area}

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They even leave complimentary waters and exotic Thai fruit every day! We even had a pillow menu, meaning if we don’t like the pillows that are already here we have a list of 6 different types of firm and soft choices haha. So we hurried and got into our swimsuits. We went to the main pool and got lunch at the swim up bar, after lunch we decided to try the beach. Okay never have I been to a place where it is literally the perfect amount of humidity and heat with the most perfect temperature sea water. It is seriously amazing. It’s a nice sandy white beach too! And the sea stays shallow for a good ways out too! We hung out at the beach for a bit and then headed to the cliff jump and water slides at the pool. The fake cliff jump is about 20 feet and was a little intimidating at first haha. The slides were super fun though! Then we tried the lazy river, complete with occasional waterfalls. At one point in the lazy river there is a mini slide that you went up some stairs from the lazy river that you go down with your tube, it was soo fun! After that we went to check out the adult pool. It’s a really pretty infinity pool. We ended up taking a nap there on the lounge chairs. It was perfect. I got up a few times to jump in for a quick, cool dip. Then we headed back to the main pool for awhile before heading up to the room to shower. After we showered a lady came up to our room for turn down service and gave me some pretty purple orchids. So I put them in my hair and we headed to dinner. 

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Day 21:

We woke up around 7am so we could be ready and go to breakfast before 8:30am. We paid to do the hotel’s buffet breakfast, and it is well worth it! It’s a good selection of American breakfast and Thai breakfast and convenient for the mornings. At 8:30am our tour people came to pick us up for our Phi Phi Island tour. We got a ton of recommendations to do a tour like this so we couldn’t pass it up. Our driver took us to Phuket Marina, and we got on a boat with about 25 people. Our first stop was at Island. We swam and enjoyed the beach. The water here is ridiculously beautiful and warm. Then we got back on the boat and drove a little farther from that same island to snorkel. Unfortunately the clouds looked like they were going to start raining on us and the current got really strong, so they got everyone in the boat to head in the opposite direction.

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Then we got to Monkey Island. It’s an island inhabited by only monkeys. We weren’t allowed to get out of the boat because if the monkeys bite you they will probably give you a disease, so the company we were with doesn’t risk it.

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Then we went to island right next to it to eat lunch. It was actually a decent lunch. We had some extra time on that island so we walked around to look at the shops and whatnot. A few guys were letting you take pictures with their baby monkey. I was like UM, YES PLEASE!! So we took a picture with our friend Nancy, the 5 month old baby monkey. Pretty cute. We then visited an island that we walked the width of to take some pictures.

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Then we went to another island, anchored, and went swimming and adventuring for a bit. It was beautiful.

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An hour later we got back on the boat to go to Island where we parked the boat in the middle of two islands and got to jump off the front of the boat.

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After that we headed to Island where we snorkeled again. It was pretty cool. We saw lots of fun fish.

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After that we got back on the boat and headed back to Phuket Marina. We got back to the hotel around 6:30pm. We went to our hotel room ad showered and went out for dinner. We went to the resort’s Italian restaurant and got really good pizza and sorbet all while being serenaded by a few men. After that we went back up to the room an hung out the rest of the night.

Day 22:

We woke up so early because our scuba diving instructors were picking us up at 7:30am! We drove to a different marina and got on a boat there with our British instructor. So it took about an hour and a half to get to our dive spot. We dove at Racha Yai island.

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There are two small ships out where we dove that a Swedish company sunk on purpose {apparently it helps build natural reefs}. So let me tell you. Michael and I are convinced everyone should get scuba certified. It is the coolest thing! Such an amazing way to experience God’s creations under the water. We had the best time!! It is so peaceful and fun to be down there with the fish! It’s not like snorkeling where the fish run away from you! These fish aren’t as scared of you when you get down on their level. We saw lion fish, trumpet fish, dory fish, sea urchins, sea slugs, sea cucumbers, and all types of colorful fish! The boat was a little eerie to go through, not going to lie. I think it helped knowing that a company sunk it on purpose and no one died in a tragic situation. Then we got out and ate lunch on the boat. It wasn’t that great haha. Then we moved over to a different place on the island and dove again. This time we got to see clown fish in their annemy!! So cool. We also got to see a sea snake! They are even more poisonous than a land snakes! But guess what? I wasn’t even scared! Something about being underwater didn’t make me as scared. We got touched a black and orange spike sea cucumber too! It was really smooth. We also saw a really creepy moray and really large, yet skinny starfish. We got to swim in schools of fish and have fish surround us because they want food. Overall it was just about the coolest experience. We can’t wait to scuba all over the world! So quick story about our instructor. So after he graduated college he worked a corporate job for ten years. He had broken up with his girlfriend and he bought out her part of the house they owned together and was pretty depressed about how he was living. He said he was having to work just to make the house payments and put food on the table and was barely scraping by. So he decided to sell his house and all of his things, get a Australian working visa, and leave for Australia. He found random odd end jobs and just traveled around settling where he wanted to. He met his now wife in Australia, she’s Finnish and was doing the same thing as him. So they went back to Finland for a year and he told her he didn’t want to move back to Europe and have a normal life again so he was moving to Asia regardless if she wanted to come. She said she was down with that plan, so they moved to Indonesia for a few years, Then they moved to Phuket so he could start his own business. They’ve been here for eight years and they have two kids now! And he says they’ll stay here for the rest of their lives! How crazy is that?! {not going to lie, kind of a tempting lifestyle haha} Anyway he was really cool and we were happy we happened to choose his company to go with. He made us feel really comfortable about our first real open water dive.

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After we got back to the marina they took us back to our hotel and we got showered and ready to hit the town by 5:00pm. Our hotel had a shuttle that takes you to Patong at 5pm everyday. Patong is a lot different than Karon, where our hotel is. Patong has crazy nightlife and tons of shopping and places to eat. Luckily when we first got there most of the bars hadn’t gotten crazy yet. We are at a little hole in the wall called Sabai Sabai, a recommendation from an Australian couple that comes to Phuket often. It was pretty good but it made it even better that we got two entrees and two drinks for under $10!!! Parts of Thailand are ridiculously cheap. It’s awesome. After dinner we got massages because Thailand is suppose to be the massage capitol of the world. It’s kind of ridiculous how many massage spas there are here. We got hour long massages for $10 and $13. And they were great! Michael loved his first professional massage! After that we walked around a bit and shopped. Then we got $1.50 blizzards at DQ. We headed back to the hotel on a tuk tuk, a motorcycle with a couch on the back that has a roof over the whole thing but no doors or windows. It took a little while to find one that would take us back for the price we wanted haha. You barter with them on a price before you get in. Michael is really good at bartering, but I’m getting pretty bad at it haha. I think I can only do it in Spanish. It was a great day to say the least.

Day 23:

Thursday was our animal day. The elephant trekking people came to pick us at the hotel around 9am. They took us to a jungle-y area with lots hills. And we got to ride an elephant for an hour! It wasn’t exactly what we were expecting plus they kinda lied online about what they said we would do but it was still cool to be with the elephants. We had a driver who sat on the elephant head and he made me a grass-woven bracelet while we were riding, it was sweet.

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Then we watched a short elephant show. They had the elephant throw darts at balloons and kick a soccer ball. They asked for a male volunteer, and I volunteered Michael…whoops haha. They had him lay on the ground and they put bananas on the bottom opening of his shorts! And then they let the elephant go loose trying to get the bananas. So Michael had elephant trunk up his swim shorts! Haha he said thank goodness that was the day I wore Under Armour compression shorts under his swimsuit hahaha. Then they gave us some fruit and we were off to Tiger Kingdom!

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Tiger Kingdom is where they train tigers from birth to 2 years old before they are taken to zoos. The tigers aren’t drugged or abused. They are just trained to be with humans from a very young age. They split the tigers up by size so there are smallest, small, medium, and large areas. We chose to pay for the smallest and large cages. When did the smallest cage first. They are in a 10×10 ft cage with two trainers. There were two 2 month old tigers that we got to be with alone with the trainers! They were adorable! They just wanted to rough and tumble play with each other. It was pretty darn cute. They would sneak around the back of the other one and pounce haha. We tried to get them to cuddle with us but not too much luck. After that we went in the large tiger cage that was probably 50x30ft. There were five tigers in there, three trainers, and us. These tigers were mostly sleeping with the exception of one that woke up at the end. The one that we took the most pictures with was hugeeee. He was 19 months old and weighed 350 lbs. He definitely could have eaten us both easily. I was so hesitant to get too close. But he wasn’t bothered when we laid on his back! Pretty nuts.

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After that we headed back to the hotel. I woke up on Wednesday morning with a head cold and it had gotten pretty bad by this point. Hanging out with the tigers was just about the last thing I could do for the day. So we went back to the hotel and took a nap. We got room service for dinner that night and watched Tom and Jerry on TV haha. (It was the only thing in English other than a movie that we didn’t care to see)

Day 24: 

I was pretty out of it on Friday. The previous night was rough, and I felt like all my energy had been sucked out of me because I got so sick. We hung around the room until 4:30pm. We took two hours to hang out in the ocean and in the pool. It was about all my body was going to let me do for the day. Too bad too because this place is amazing. I’m seriously obsessed with Thailand. I wish we could have spent the whole day outside! Michael was so patient and great about me being sick. I had been sick for most of this trip up to this point, and he was so awesome about it! We got dinner up in the room again so we didn’t have to dress up for the hotel restaurants. We got packed up too since we were headed to Bangkok in the morning. Phuket was the first place since Korea I haven’t wanted to leave! It would have nice to explore Korea more and meet up with more people Michael wanted to, but Thailand is just gorgeous and really like paradise! The weather and beach are so wonderful. I could have spent a month here!

 

Next up…BANGKOK!