Southeast Asia Adventure

Throwback Thursday: Malacca at Night

In continuing some of my recent posts, I’m still going through old photos from my Southeast Asia adventure in the summer of 2012.  During my quick solo trip to Malacca (aka Melaka) City, in Malaysia I had a great time walking around photographing to my heart’s content.  It was great eating at a delicious Indian restaurant (where I’m sure I looked quite foolish, not knowing for sure how to properly eat what I ordered) and taking in the sight of the canal from the back patio of the hotel where I stayed. Here are a few of my favorite shots from that time.

Right before the sun started to set, as I was searching for a good dinner spot in Little India.

Right before the sun started to set, as I was searching for a good dinner spot in Little India.

Outside where I ate dinner.  The trees were filled with birds, making it one of the noisiest parks I've seen.

Outside where I ate dinner. The trees were filled with birds, making it one of the noisiest parks I’ve been to.

My dinner in Little India

My dinner in Little India

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A pretty great way to spend the evening on my hotel's back patio!

A pretty great way to spend the evening on my hotel’s back patio!


Throwback Tuesday (Is that a thing?): Walking Around Malacca City

As mentioned in my previous post, some photos from my Southeast Asia adventure in July 2012 got lost in the shuffle of life and I’m finally getting back to editing them.  Here are some photos from my quick trip to Malacca City (aka Melaka) in the Malaysian state of Malacca, northwest of Singapore.  I concentrated my exploration in the touristy areas of Little India and Chinatown. I feel like this post contains a bit of sensory overload, but then I remember that’s kind of what my first day was like there.  I don’t have my travel journal or travel book with me right now, so I apologize for not having more details about what these sights are, but I do hope you enjoy these photo highlights!

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My delicious lunch- their well-known chicken rice ball dish

My delicious lunch- their well-known chicken rice ball dish

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I loved the picturesque canal

I loved the picturesque canal

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The town center where I had a few people ask to have their picture taken with me…

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Decorated Trishaws are quite a sight to behold!

Decorated Trishaws are quite a sight to behold!

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And here's some proof that I was present in all of this... a couple selfies and a random fake giraffe feeding from a museum I visited.  :)

And here’s some proof that I was present in all of this… including a selfie with Mr. Universe and a random fake giraffe feeding from a museum I visited. 🙂


Flashback Friday: St. Peter’s Church in Malacca, Malaysia

Hi there!  Welcome to my very random Friday blog post.  I’m currently on spring break from teaching and I’ve had a chance to revisit some photos that I never got around to editing a while back.  I just can’t bear the thought of having gone on such a fun adventure and not sharing the photos, so thanks for indulging me by checking out this throwback post…

Here’s some background:  In June and July 2012, I had the awesome opportunity to travel to Southeast Asia as a recipient of a Lily Endowment Teacher Creativity Grant.  You can learn more about the photography club I started and the great things I saw happening in Cambodia on the blog with much gratitude for the experiences the grant allowed me to have.  One bonus of my trip was the time to travel to Singapore, visiting my cousin and her family.  While there, I took a quick side trip to Malaysia, visiting the city of Malacca (also known as Melaka).  When I returned from my southeast Asia adventure, my life got a little crazy, as did my photography business.  I continued to teach, travel, and photograph, and found that time got away from me and I didn’t get to edit and share photos from my many adventures.  So I’ve decided to revisit those photos and share some over the next few months.  I hope you enjoy these somewhat outdated photos!

When I got off the bus in Malacca, I started to explore and was immediately drawn to this church, St. Peter’s.  I think that after spending a couple weeks in Cambodia where Christian churches are uncommon, I found this church to be a novelty and enjoyed checking it out.  While the date is somewhat in question, most believe that St. Peter’s was erected in 1710.  I loved capturing the light pouring into the sanctuary and appreciated the more modern installation in front of the church remembering Jesus walking on water.  I hope you enjoy these photos.  More Malaysia photos will be coming soon!

 

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Photography Club

As you may remember, I received a Lilly Endowment Teacher Creativity Grant last year to study photography and go to Cambodia to capture a story through photos.  I had a wonderful experience in Cambodia, capturing pieces of its history and projects of hope for its future (scroll through these posts to see more)!  As a result of my experience there, where I had my own chance to view the world from a different perspective, I wanted to start a photography club at the school where I teach.  With the help of a fellow teacher and friend, Mrs. Tsu, we worked with a group of ten fifth and sixth grade ESL students to help them view the world differently through photography.

We were really thankful to all the people who contributed cameras, batteries, and memory cards to help supply our crew.  We had a great time getting to know these kids from the U.S., Burma, Mexico, and Iran.  We challenged them to look around their school and home for things that represented beautiful, ugly, shapes, shadows, reflections, candids, and portraits.  It was really fun that I was able to use some of my photos and stories from my experience in Cambodia to guide their photography.  At the end-of-the-school-year program, Mrs. Tsu put together a great slideshow of pictures the students took, as well as some of them in action as photographers.  The students also chose their favorite photo to have framed and displayed at the program.  Below are some highlights from our club and display.

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It was really fun to share some of my photos from my trip to Cambodia with the students to help guide their photo-taking.

It was really fun to share some of my photos from my trip to Cambodia with the students to help guide their photo-taking.

It was great to share some of my Cambodia photos with the students!

It was great to share some of my Cambodia photos with the students!

Here is part of the display of students' (plus a couple from my trip) photos at the school program.

Here is part of the display of students’ (plus a couple from my trip) photos at the school program.

Here is part of the display of students' (plus a couple from my trip) photos at the school program.

Here is part of the display of students’ (plus a couple from my trip) photos at the school program.

Some of our photography club students enjoying the slideshow of their photos.

Some of our photography club students enjoying the slideshow of their photos.

They had a great time showing their photos to family and friends after the program!

They had a great time showing their photos to family and friends after the program!


Daughters Project- Center for Global Impact, Cambodia

As mentioned in previous posts about my time in Cambodia last year, I had the chance to see some really great projects in action.  One such project is Daughters, a project for young women located just outside of Phnom Penh and run by the Center for Global Impact.  They are doing some great things in providing training and opportunity for work and personal growth for women who may not otherwise have the opportunity.  Here is what the CGI website has to say about the project:

CGIDaughters is a division of Center For Global Impact, a U.S. faith-based relief and development organization. It is a two-year residential program.  We offer life-skills training, education, health care, money management and professional seamstress training all through the lens of Jesus Christ. Our product line is handmade with fair-trade principles.

I had a great time visiting the project on a few different days.  My friends are involved in it on many levels, so I was able to experience the project in a variety of ways.  From running errands for fabric and picking up labels for purses to playing a role in English classes and seeing my friend, Katy, lead them in Bible study.  I also saw them meet their goal of making 100 clutch purses to receive a reward of Dairy Queen ice cream.  It was great motivation for them!  CGI is doing some great things to help women succeed in Cambodia!

The daughters' workshop

The daughters’ workshop

The women at work

The women at work

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One of the many purses made during my time there.

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Katy leading English class

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They reached their goal!

They reached their goal!

Katy and I with some of the Daughters after English class.

Katy and I with some of the Daughters after English class.

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I also had the chance to visit the home where the Daughters live on another side of the city.


byTavi: Center for Global Impact, Cambodia

When I was in Cambodia this past summer, I was able to visit the workshop of byTavi outside Phnom Penh.  It was really fun for me to be there and to meet Tavi, since I had attended a trunk show of byTavi products and have since worn an ID card holder made by one of these women everyday at work.  Rather than putting it in my own words, I’ll share the Center for Global Impact‘s description of this successful project:

A faith-based micro-enterprise initiative of Center for Global Impact (CGI), byTavi teaches at-risk, impoverished women how to sew handbags and other accessories. Employed by CGI, the women receive fair wages while their products are marketed internationally.
Through this program these women have grown in confidence and joy as they provide for their families in a healthy way. In addition to learning marketable skills, these women are also surrounded by the love of Christ through CGI’s trusted Cambodian Management Team and other international partners.
Founded in 2009 by CGI’s president Chris Alexander and a meek woman by the name of Tavi, this program provides a unique opportunity to empower the poor and prevent human trafficking.

Please click over to the above links to learn more about what Center for Global Impact is doing in Cambodia to help women succeed.  Here are some photos from the byTavi workshop.  Enjoy!

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Here are the elephant purses in the works.

Here are the elephant purses in the works.

This is Tavi (for whom the project is named) working in the workshop.

This is Tavi (for whom the project is named) working in the workshop.

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Bags ready to go to the U.S.

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A bonus of being onsite was that I got to give a custom order!  This is my rice bag in the making by Nary.

A bonus of being onsite was that I got to give a custom order! This is my rice bag in the making by Nary.


The Battambang Bamboo Train- Cambodia, June 2012

While I was visiting Battambang and the Green Mango Cafe & Bakery, I had the chance to go on the infamous “bamboo train” outside the city.  Alan and many of the Green Mango girls went along with me (Katy decided to sit that one out with her baby in utero in mind).  The bamboo train uses old railroad tracks that were used for trains during the time of the Khmer Rouge on tracks left by the French.  According to my Lonely Planet book, the rail line may be upgraded in the future and the bamboo train may lose it’s usefulness.  However, for the time being, many 3 meter long wooden frames covered with bamboo and resting on two barbell-like bogies make the trip up and down the rickety tracks daily.  One bogie is connected by fan belts to a gasoline engine.  You can fit about 10 people on the bamboo frame and take a 15 km/h ride down the tracks (though I’m sure they’ve managed to fit many more).  The best part is that it’s so easy to take apart, so when you run into a group coming the other way, one group can just get up and take the car off the tracks to allow the others to pass.  You can thank Lonely Planet for that detailed explanation of the train.  🙂  It felt like a very rustic amusement park ride to me.

We had quite an adventure on our ride down and back up the tracks.  I enjoyed the gorgeous Cambodian countryside until we saw a group stopping up ahead.  We slowed down to find a few “cars” disembarking on a bridge.  It turns out it was a wedding party that stopped on the bridge for a photo shoot among the rice fields.  It seemed they were a bit surprised to see a group of Cambodian girls in green shirts and two Americans on a car come barreling through, but they were quick to step out of our way to allow us to continue our journey.  We broke up our trip with a stop at a roadside rest stop where we could buy treats and scarves and check out a brick-making kiln.  We then headed back to where we came from, with a stop on a bridge to get some photos of the breath-taking view of the green rice-field expanse.  I haven’t figured out how to post the video I took of the ride, but I hope you enjoy the photos!

Click here to see the rest of my Cambodia posts in succession.

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Taking apart the cars so we could pass.

Taking apart the cars so we could pass.

Surprising the bride and groom.  Somewhere in a Cambodian wedding album is a photo of our bamboo train full of Green Mango girls and two Americans waving as we passed the happy couple!

Surprising the bride and groom. Somewhere in a Cambodian wedding album is a photo of our bamboo train full of Green Mango girls and two Americans waving as we passed the happy couple!

A brick kiln

A brick kiln

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Scarves for sale at the rest stop along the tracks.

Scarves for sale at the rest stop along the tracks.

Our car along the side of the tracks.

Our car along the side of the tracks.

A man demonstrating how it worked.

A man demonstrating how it worked.

Close-up for my engineer friends.

Close-up for my engineer friends.

The "rest stop."

Children playing by the “rest stop.”

Images just don't capture how beautiful this place is.

Images just don’t capture how beautiful this place is.

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The girls who work at the Green Mango had a fun time accompanying us on the trip.

The girls who work at the Green Mango had a fun time accompanying us on the trip.

Green Mango girls

Green Mango girls

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God did a good job here. 🙂

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Had to prove that I was there!


Katy, Alan, and Jonah: Visiting from Cambodia

You may remember these friends as the great people who helped show me around the beautiful country of Cambodia this past summer, from Angkor Wat to Battambang to Phnom Penh and Kep (photos of that are still to come).  Well, their family has since grown from this back in June:

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to this:

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They came home to the U.S. for Christmas and I had a great time catching up with them on a chilly Indianapolis day.  The weather didn’t cooperate much for an outdoor photoshoot, but we had fun nonetheless.  🙂

Here are a few more fun shots from our time at the beginning of this month.  Enjoy!

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This was what he was like when I first met him. We didn’t let it last long. 🙂

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Mass Ave Toys was a great place to warm up and check out some fun toys.  This little guy was very intent in checking out the world, with his fingers getting pretty close to pointing to the place where he was born… it’s like he knew.  🙂

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Such a contemplative look.

Such a contemplative look.

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The Market in Battambang, Cambodia- June 2012

The day after I went up the mountain to the Killing Caves outside Battambang, I was able to visit the Battambang market with a kind woman from the Green Mango Cafe & Bakery on her daily market run.  She has a very efficient system to her market run, which includes visiting regular vendors who she knows and having the Tuk Tuk driver appropriately parked and ready to come assist in retrieving the good when they’re ready.  She has friends with whom she leaves some of her buys to pick up on the way out, so she doesn’t have to carry everything around with her.  I appreciated her willingness to slow down a bit so I could capture some of the many sights of the market with my camera.  Please note that if you don’t enjoy the sight of raw meat, you may not want to proceed to some of the final photos… don’t say I didn’t warn you!  🙂

First, a photo of the lovely, kind woman who took me to the mountain and allowed me to tag along with her at the market the next day:

my wonderful market guide

my wonderful market guide

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This is where the Tuk Tuk driver dropped us off.

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busy place

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I have no idea how she sat there by the grill with long sleeves on in the Cambodian heat.

Yes, I believe those are yellow chickens... and yes, I wish that the pajamas as normal day wear trend would reach the U.S.

Yes, I believe those are yellow chickens… and yes, I wish that the pajamas as normal day wear trend would reach the U.S.

I love tropical fruit.

I love tropical fruit.

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Buddhists monks walk around in the mornings asking for donations for the temple.

I can't remember what these are... i think it might be some kind of fish paste?  Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

I can’t remember what these are… i think it might be some kind of fish paste? Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

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They sell everything!

They sell everything in those markets!

A meat section... not exactly the USA supermarket meat department!

A meat section… not exactly the USA supermarket meat department!

Yes, I did take a photo of the pig heads and I posted it here... just want you to get the full experience like I did!

Yes, I did take a photo of the pig heads and I posted it here… just want you to get the full experience like I did!

And finally we picked up a treat for the girls at the restaurant- fried bananas.

And finally we picked up a treat for the girls at the restaurant- fried bananas.


The Green Mango Cafe & Bakery in Battambang, Cambodia

As promised, it’s time to share about the great things happening in Cambodia that I was able to see this past June and July when I visited.  (Click here to see the previous posts from my trip, in succession.)

The Center for Global Impact has a fantastic thing going on in the city of Battambang in northern Cambodia.  Their website describes it well, so I’ll quote them here: “The Culinary Training Center (CTC) is the largest project undertaken by CGI to date. Students are enrolled in a two-year training program that will prepare them to enter into the most distinguished kitchens in Cambodia. The CTC plays a significant role in establishing a successful strategy for developing future employment opportunities for orphans, at-risk, and formerly trafficked women .”

My friends, Katy and Alan, and I were able to spend a few days in Battambang seeing The Green Mango Cafe & Bakery in action.  It was so fun to hang out with the head chef and teacher, Ryana, and get to know the girls in the school a bit. During those days, we ate a lot and I had a fun adventure at the market and on a bamboo train that I’ll post about in the future.  The food was SO delicious and the atmosphere was very comfortable.  It was fun to see how much business they were getting after the few short months they had been open.  Check out their website here.

I hope you enjoy a look at this great project that is providing work for some wonderful young women in Cambodia!  Oh, and since you probably can’t stop by for a food sampling anytime soon, please check out the Green Mango Cafe & Bakery Cookbook available for purchase here.  You won’t regret it!

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The food there is seriously delicious. I’m still craving the pickles and sauce (bottom left photo).  You really should go buy their cookbook (see link above).  🙂

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They had a big group that day!

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Chef and teacher, Ryana, does a great job keeping things running smoothly.

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The girls are able to build relationships with each other and volunteers. Through the school, they also have life skills and English classes, culinary teaching, and devotional times with mentors.

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They sell byTavi items there, another project of The Center for Global Impact.

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Place-mats out to dry.

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This makes you want to go buy the cookbook now, doesn’t it?

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The tuktuk is a moving advertisement for them. It goes to the market at least once a day! Stay tuned for a blog post about the sights, sounds, and smells of a Cambodian market. 🙂