Category Archives: Trips

Challenge: Getting on a Plane and…

I haven’t lived with my parents for more than a summer since I was 17, but for the past week or two, I’ve been waking up in the middle of the night, completely disoriented, thinking that I’m in my childhood bedroom.  It takes me a few minutes to realize that I’m in Bangkok and that those lights outside the window are buildings, not stars, and then it takes me a few more minutes to settle back into uneasy sleep.

My bedroom at my parents’ house is tiny. It’s literally the width of two twin beds, with enough space at the end for a dresser and a bookshelf. The wallpaper, which I picked out when I was 10, is little-girl pink, has little flowers all over it, and is pretty hideous, let’s be honest. The sun comes blaring in full-blast in the mornings, warming the room up and making it impossible to sleep late. My mom bought a day bed for me when the room was transformed from her sewing room to my bedroom, and now I always bang my head or smash my face on the railing when I turn over in my sleep.  It’s a cozy room, to be sure, but not exactly comfortable.

And now I’m crying. Because when I dream about being back in that bedroom, it means I’m so homesick that it’s crept into my sub consciousness, that it’s invaded my brain so deeply that the only way it can come out is at night, when I can’t block it out.

Denial, people. It’s not just a river in Egypt.

Why I’m really crying, though, is because I know it’s time for me to leave Bangkok, to leave Thailand.

Not for a visit.

For what I’m calling “an indefinite trial period back home” because that makes it easier to deal with.


It’s been a long time since I cried about leaving a place. I lived in Japan for a year and a half and when I left, I was like—“See ya, suckers!” When I left Maryland again after having been there for five years (eight years total, including my previous time there), I felt relieved.  And this may sound heartless, but it’s been years since I cried about leaving my family. I’ve come and gone enough that it’s gotten less difficult to handle, relatively (ahahaha! Relatively! Ahem).

So why am I leaving Thailand, if it upsets me so much?

Ugh, that’s not an easy question. All I can say is that it feels like it’s time to leave. I didn’t come here with the intention of staying long-term. “Neither did I!” protest my friends who have been here for years and years. “You can stay forever, too!”

Yeah, I could, but when I see myself six months or a year in the future, it’s hard to see myself here. It’s hard to see myself not here, too, though. Gah.

The thing is, this has been one of the best years of my life, by far. Maybe even the best. I’ve had some incredible ups and downs (and I learned to use clichés for good, not evil!). I spent some time wallowing in the mud and being depressed and miserable and hating life, and I spent some time being happier than I can ever remember being. That’s okay; that’s how life goes. I mean, you take the good…you take the bad…and then if you take them both, there you have the facts of life.

I hope that if they remade this today, they would allow Jo to have a girlfriend.

I’ve been lucky enough to meet some of the most amazing people I’ve ever known, grown closer to two of the best men I already knew, and had a year of mostly being a lady of leisure who lunches.

I originally came here because I needed a break. Or something. Basically, I wanted to live abroad again, and Brock and Josh were coming to Bangkok, so I joined in on the fun. I had no particular interest in Thailand, really. I would have moved to, I don’t know, Somalia, if that’s where my best buds were going, but I am thankful that they have more sense than that.

Thailand, and Bangkok in particular, is one of those places that gets to you, in both the positive and negative way.  I love being here. What’s not to love?


3. “This woman (Note from Megan: That’s ME!)  certainly has every right to exist, even exist in Thailand, where she is predictably ignored by all males, farang and Thai (and it drives her NUTS!)…And bitches like this (she’s not even hot by any stretch of the imagination, so I can only imagine the gross creatures who would actually hit on her…but still…) wonder why normal guys flee their Western countries for Thailand, so they can actually meet women and DO something with them…??” –Excerpt of a comment from a loving anonymous commenter on a loving anonymous Thai forum (Dear Sir: You are right–I do personally wonder WHY you couldn’t get laid back in your home country! Clearly you have a sparkling personality!)


Erm. Okay, okay, clearly the nostalgia has already set in. Obviously, there are plenty of things not to love, but I’m trying to be positive! It’s the new and improved Megan!

What it comes down to is, for now, I feel like I’m ready to be back in the United States for a bit. Maybe I’ll be back in Thailand in a few months. Maybe I’ll write everybody and say, sheepishly, “Oh, uh, hey guys, remember me? It’s Megan…yeah…I’m coming back…” And Melanie and Eric, who have been my gracious hosts for the past couple of months, will be like, “OH CRAP. Um, our second bedroom is full! Of…uh…cheese…or…and our Netflix is…broken…wow, look at the time! Gotta run!”

It could happen. Really. Not the part about Melanie and Eric (I wouldn’t believe they would allow Netflix to be broken, for one). The part about me coming back. What if I get home and hate it? Wah!

In any case, as I said, I’m calling this “an indefinite trial period back home” because if I tell myself I’m leaving Thailand FOREVER, I will have a serious freak out.  If I think how I have been living in the same city as Brock and Josh for 8 years (more or less), and how I will soon be very, very, very far away from them, I start to feel the need to curl up in the fetal position and whimper my way through the afternoon.  I got over leaving my family in Missouri a long time ago, but Brock and Josh have been my family-away-from-family for a long time. Now I’m going to have to leave them, and I don’t know how I’m going to do it. Well, by plane, clearly, although a cruise ship could have been a fun alternative, now that I think about it. What I’m really concerned about is how I’m going to leave them and maintain my sanity. (SHUT IT!)

But I’m leaving. I’m really doing it. Does that sound like I’m trying to convince myself? I think I still am.

When I told my buddy Dwight that I was leaving, he said, “Yeah…you’re going to have to start practicing talking about this like it’s not a death sentence.”

So: Oh my god! Ponies and unicorns! Hooray! I cannot wait to get back to the Land of the Free!

And I shall make a Jello cake, and it shall have Cool Whip on top, and it shall be delicious.

I reserve the right to return to Thailand at any point, though, and I also reserve the right to leave the US and go somewhere else, at any point. You have been warned.

Also, I’m preemptively apologizing to everybody back home, because there will be some point when, despite myself, I go to a Thai restaurant and say, “YOU WANT ME TO PAY HOW MUCH FOR THIS?!” And then I will mutter under my breath, “This isn’t even authentic. Bunch of crap.” And then it’s entirely possible I will try, like a total dbag, to speak to the waiter in Thai, and will then find out the waiter is Korean. And then you will all hate me for being pretentious and obnoxious. I’m sorry!  If it makes you feel any better, I will also be hating myself.


It’s kind of unclear what I’m going to do with this blog. Since I’m not going to be in Bangkok, it might be odd if I were to continue writing about, you know, being in Bangkok. I’ll be writing on this site for at least another month, though, as I still have incredibly important things to say and stories to tell. I might end up rolling everything over into another blog, but I’ll keep you posted. I’m sure you’ll lose sleep over it in the meantime.

In case you were wondering, my plane leaves here in the wee hours of the morning on August 17. There will be a see-you-later party (NOT a goodbye party) at some point, and if you ever wanted to meet me out for a drink and tell me how awesome/horrible I am, now’s your chance! Lunch? Coffee? Let me know!

When I leave here, I’m flying first to San Francisco to visit some cheese one of my best, most awesomest friends (you can’t have her–she’s mine!), then flying home to Missouri the day before my birthday! East Coasters, I’m planning on heading your way in early September.

My final plan is to settle in Denver, where my sister, brother-in-law, and a couple of my best friends from college are. I’ve been wanting to live out there for a long time, and I might as well give something new a try. Again.



Filed under Living Abroad, Thailand, Trips

Challenge: Solo Travel

For many people, the first few weeks of college are a time of joy, newfound independence, and partying.

My first few weeks of college were a time of depression, sobbing, and misery.

Same with my first few weeks of studying abroad in France.

I would call my mom, crying so hard I couldn’t breathe because I didn’t like being away from home and I didn’t know how to live on my own, and she would tell me I could come home if I wanted to, that I didn’t have to stick it out if it was going to be too painful. She gave me a graceful way out and assured me I always had a place to go back to, but also let me know she and my dad would support me in whatever I decided to do.

Yeah, and thanks to them, I haven’t lived in my hometown for longer than a summer since I was 17. Nice work, Mom and Dad, you got the exact opposite of what you really wanted!

My mom now loves to say, “I wish that I hadn’t raised such independent daughters, so you would stick around and be near me all the time.” She also loves to say that I better start making some money so that when she gets really old I can support her in the style to which she hopes to become accustomed. Clearly she is barking up the wrong tree there, amiright?

That was only a little bit of a digression from my real point, which is about:

Solo Travel!

I used to love traveling by myself. It’s not hard, contrary to popular belief, to travel by yourself. It’s really very easy to eat by yourself, see movies by yourself, and all that jazz, by yourself. It’s not like giving birth or something. You just get on a plane, alone, and see some stuff without other people you know. Bring a book and your iPod. Maybe you’ll meet other people, maybe you won’t. Case closed. It’s not rocket science.

I used to actually prefer solo travel, as a matter of fact. I mean, what is not to love about it?

Solo travel allows you to:

  • Choose what you want to eat without compromise. You want pizza for dinner? You got it! You want ice cream and Kit-Kats for breakfast? No judgments! (Well, maybe your own shame after, but whatever!)
  • Stay wherever you want. If you want to blow your budget on a place that you can’t really afford, but really want to stay at anyway because you’ve spent the past week bathing out of a bucket and sleeping on a board, then you can blow your budget and only have yourself to answer to. And, yeah, you might regret the decision more than a little when you realize you can only afford to eat at 7-Eleven because all the food at the beach is really expensive, but that’s life. And you’re the one who made the decision.
  • Stay as long as you want somewhere. Let’s say, for example, your poor timing and cheapskatedness gets you to a beach on, say, Koh Phangnan in the south of Thailand. And let’s say, for to continue the example, that beach is where the infamous Full Moon Party happens, which is where tripped-out backpackers put neon paint all over themselves and drink themselves silly (although luckily, the FMP is not going on when you find yourself there). And then, let’s say, that despite the fact that this beach town is really crap, expensive, and not at all Thai, and is the complete opposite of what you really want, you stay. Because you’re lazy, and the beach is actually really beautiful and nobody is out until about 3 p.m. because they’re all 20-year-old backpackers sleeping off their hangovers. So if that were all to happen, you could hypothetically end up in that terrible beach town for several days without anybody to make you feel bad about it or to urge you to stop being so lazy. Because who wants you to stop being lazy? Terrorists, that’s who. Terrorists and Communists. And Republicans.
  • Do whatever you want, in general. Sleep until noon! Wake up at dawn! Sit your ass on the beach! Go shopping! Eat crackers in bed! Cats and dogs, living together! The world is your oyster! (Who came up with that expression, anyway? I love eating oysters, but why would I want the world to be one? Unclear. And kind of gross, to be honest.)

Yup, all pretty awesome things.

As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve started to enjoy traveling by myself less and less.

Solo travel sucks because:

  • Being at the beach alone is annoying. I recently spent a week at the beach and every time I wanted to frolic (frolic!) in the water, I had to leave my bag that contained my Kindle, iPod, phone, and cash. I would walk into the water, often backwards, then stare intently at my bag and everybody on the sand, ready to run out and tackle whoever tried to take my stuff. It wasn’t that much fun. And, yeah, I could have not brought so much stuff, but I was by myself on the beach for hours at a time. You can only gawk at Brazilian women changing into bikinis right in front of everybody and stare at the waves for so long, you know? Maybe you don’t know, but it’s true.
  • Going out in the evenings alone can be dangerous. Seriously. Most women know that they’re not supposed to leave drinks unattended in a bar because somebody can slip you a roofie and then you will wake up in a horror movie, raped and murdered, and that would really make your mom and dad and sister and friends mad at you. So. As a woman, you often have to be super paranoid about that kind of stuff. I never drink a lot when I’m traveling by myself, and I rarely stay out late. That’s something that’s changed as I’ve gotten older, though.
  • Figuring out how to take pictures of yourself gets old. Scenario 1:  Hold your arm out really far from your face and try to take a picture of yourself. Realize that you cut your head off. Try again. Be shocked at how awful you look when you get a camera that close to your face. Give up. Scenario 2:  Spend 5 minutes figuring out where your camera won’t fall over if you set it up without a tripod. Figure out the timer. Take a picture of yourself with the timer. That picture is stupid. Adjust the camera so you’re actually in the picture. Set the timer. Take a picture. That picture is stupid. Give up on having a picture of yourself. Scenario 3: Ask somebody to take a picture of you. Do that once a day because who wants to ask strangers to take pictures of you all the time? (Terrorists!) Scenario 4: Give up on getting pictures of yourself and take only pictures of scenery.

See that person waaaaay out there? That's me. Self photography: BOO

  • It gets lonely. I’m sorry, but it does, especially as I’ve gotten older. I don’t like to stay in hostels anymore because I now prefer not to share a bathroom or sleep in a dorm. When I was younger and staying in hostels, I could always find somebody to hang out with. It was fantastic! But now I like mid-range hotels, and mid-range hotels offer fewer opportunities to meet people, I’ve found. Luckily, I can keep myself occupied and I think I’m pretty good company, but I’m still by myself the whoooooole time. Anybody gets boring after a lot of time, ya’ know?

The truth is, I’ll probably always travel by myself sometimes. I learned a long time ago that there was no point in waiting around for somebody to have vacation at the same time as me, or for somebody to want to go to the same place as me. Am I going to skip ever seeing Guatemala because nobody else wants to go? That’s just crazy talk.

Final Score:

Solo Travel: 0   Megan: 1

I’ve been doing it for so long now it’s really not much of a challenge at all.


Filed under Living Abroad, Trips

WTF?! (What THE?! Fridays): Burmese Edition

Hooray, Burma also has WTF?!-worthy moments!

Please keep in mind that WTF?!-worthy moments for me are also just things that make me scratch my head or kind of go–huh! Not passing judgment (I mean, sometimes I am, but not always!).

Erm...Is it the human hair that's working OR are humans working the hair? I NEED ANSWERS, MYANMAR.

Yikes. I know this probably isn't uncommon, but we were all still kind of weirded out by it.

I'm including this in WTF?! just because I don't have anywhere else to put it, but I loved this aspect of Burma. Cell phones aren't common, and I don't know how many people have home phones, so people set up phones on the street and charge for calls. Like phone booths, only not. It was brilliant.

Now whenever I complain about Thai sidewalks, I think of these and feel better.

All photo credits to Melanie.

Happy Friday and Buddhist holiday to those of you in Thailand!


Filed under Trips, WTF?

Challenge: Eating ALL the Burmese Food!

In case you don’t keep close track of my schedule (and why not?!), I visited Burma/Myanmar a few weeks ago with my buddies Sarah and Melanie. One of the reasons I was excited to visit Myanmar is that I just knew that Burmese food was delicious. All the Burmese food I’ve had in the States and in Thailand has been fantastic, so I was really excited to go to Myanmar and eat ALL the food.

Well, no thank you, Burma, I will pass on most of the Burmese food you presented.

Look, I’m sorry, but sometimes somebody has to speak the truth: Burmese food in Burma is not the most delicious stuff I’ve ever eaten. The Indian food was crazy good, though, so that’s positive!

Let’s recap:

Burmese food in Burma: No, thank you.

Burmese food outside of Burma: Yes, please!

Indian food in Burma: Yes, please!

Indian food outside of Burma: Yes, please!

Conclusion: Indian food is awesome.

And now some pictures!

My favorite meal of the trip:

See, it’s Indian! Fried bread cut up, samosas cut up, chickpeas, mint, tomatoes and potatoes, all covered in broth. It cost about 40 cents. I will dream about this for the rest of my life. Really.

This was supposed to be our last breakfast, except that a plane ran off the runway at the Yangon airport and we had one more night at a very nice hotel in Yangon. Air Asia actually came through; they took care of all the hotel stuff and then had a special extra flight the next day for all of us to get back to Bangkok.

That has nothing to do with food.

Final Score: 

Eating ALL the Burmese Food: 0   Sarah, Melanie, Megan: 1

We tried and tried and tried. I say we win!


Filed under Awesome, Food, Trips

Megan vs. Herself: History’s Most Boring Smackdown Ever

**So, I tried to make this short, but…you may have to take some time to read it!

I’m sure you’ve all been dying to know more about my meditation retreat, so I have answered some of your (imagined) questions. Calm down, people, here you go.

Q. Um, what was this?

A. Dipabhavan Meditation Center offers silent meditation retreats from the 20th to the 27th of every month. It’s all free, but you can make a donation at the end if you want.

Q. Oh, right. So, the real question here is: Have you lost your mind?

A. Not that I am aware of, although at times during the week it did, in fact, feel like I was slowly going crazy. I wanted a shorter retreat, but they’re hard to find in Thailand, for some reason. Most are 10 days, and I thought I was signing up for a 10-day retreat until a few weeks ago when I woke up in the middle of the night and realized—wait, the 20th to the 27th is not 10 days. Funny how time works.

Q.  But silence? For one week? Why? As your mother said, “That’s weird.”

A. I thought so, too, at first. I thought it was going to be horrible. I was terrified—not speaking for a week seemed like a superhuman feat, and a really stupid superhuman, at that. (When I told my friend Jonathan I was doing this, he said, “I could never do that. I’m like a shark—I talk or I die.” Ha!) But before 7:30 on the first morning, I knew why we weren’t talking. All I had to say was boring, thoughtless drivel or gossip: “It’s hot. Did you see how much she fidgets? She’s not following the rules like I am. Ugh, why is she so perky in the morning? I’m tired. This is hard. My legs hurt. Has it been 30 minutes yet? I hate you all. I’m hungry.”

Not speaking allowed me to focus on what was actually important enough to say, and allowed me to turn inside and focus on my meditation more. It also meant that groups weren’t formed and nobody felt excluded or judged (even if we were actually judging everybody, silently and harshly, in our heads—or at least I was).

Turned out that not speaking was my favorite part of the whole retreat. Seriously. I loved it, and it really wasn’t at all difficult not to speak, despite what I’d thought. I said a few things to the staff when I needed something, and that was fine, but now I think we should all keep our mouths shut more often. *cue self-righteous look*

I loved this kitty because she whined as much as I wanted to.

Q. What about waking up at 4:30? That’s, like, really early. That’s, like, before the sun comes up.

A. Yeah, I was also really, really worried about this. I love to sleep. It is one of my favorite hobbies, along with eating and sitting around doing nothing. In the end, it was my other favorite aspect of the retreat. Go figure, right? The two things I was most scared of turned out to be my favorite parts. I’m not saying I was happy to get up at 4:30 or that I’m going to do it on a regular basis (OR AT ALL, EVER), but I really loved being awake that early in the morning. Plus, when you’re sleeping on a board, waking up at 4:30 isn’t that hard.

Q. WTF do you mean, sleeping on a board?

A.  I slept on a board. Here is a picture:

It was a board. I am, for once, not exaggerating, although Thai beds are almost as hard as boards, anyway (no joke, what is UP with Thai beds?!). We had a “straw” (plastic) mat and a blanket, which I folded in fourths, then put my other blanket and even my towel down to try to get more comfortable. For a pillow, I stuffed some clothes in a cloth bag and that approximated most Thai pillows I’ve used, anyway. (Thailand, let me introduce you to these things called pillow-top mattresses and non-lumpy pillows. They’ll change your life.)

By the end of the week, I almost didn’t mind it. And I figured out why we were sleeping on boards: One of the chants talked about not sleeping or sitting on luxurious things. No worries there.


Q. What was the hardest part?

A.  Not speaking was fine, waking up at 4:30 was fine…so that’s it, right? The rest was easy!

Yeah…not really. For me, being physically uncomfortable was the most straining. I never felt clean, I was sweaty and smelly all the time (no a/c, of course, and not even fans in the dorms), I was hungry all the time, and I didn’t even have a mirror to see what I looked like (which I’m sure was terrible). This was not me.

To bathe: Take a bowl of cold water, dump over head and body. Curse violently (and silently). Feel bad about that. Vow to do better. Soap up. Say hi to the toad living in the drain. Ponder whether or not toads care about naked women. Decide probably not. Repeat.

At the same time, I realize all of that probably taught me the most valuable lesson I learned there. I don’t like to be physically uncomfortable. I do not go camping because I prize indoor plumbing and decent bedding above most other things in life. But…but…I began to appreciate the fact that I could do things that make me uncomfortable and actually be happy about it. I could be a different me and still feel like me.

I might even try camping at some point.

Also: No Internet about drove me to the point of insanity. I didn’t miss my cell phone at all, but no Google? SOMETIMES I HAVE QUESTIONS THAT NEED TO BE GOOGLED. SOMETIMES I NEED TO KNOW THOMAS EDISON’S BIRTHDAY, LIKE, NOW. I also missed my laptop beyond the point of reason, which made me feel kind of pathetic.

I love you forever, MacBook.

Q. Ok, but you went to do meditation. How was the meditation?

A. I was lucky that I found a meditation posture that worked for me on Day 2, so my knees didn’t hurt at all and back pain was kept to a minimum, but otherwise, it was rough! We were practicing concentration meditation, which is where you are supposed to focus on your in-breath and out-breath and let all other thoughts go. Try doing that for several hours a day. Try doing it for 10 minutes, even. You’ll find that your mind doesn’t want to let all other thoughts go, that it clings to those other thoughts like you will never have another one in your life, like you’re falling off a cliff and must hold tight to that thought about your childhood best friend who you haven’t thought about in 10 years or you will literally die.

It’s good times.

Here is a physical representation of my thoughts during meditation time:

You can see that I devoted approximately 2% of my time to meditation and breathing and that I devoted approximately 35% of my time to what I’m just generally calling Lustful Thoughts. I also ruminated obsessively about two people for very different reasons, until I was so bored with them that I didn’t want to think about them ever again.

That took almost five full days.

Right. Five full days of thinking the same things over and over and over. And over. Oh–and over.

And over.

By the evening of Day 5, I had burned out on most things I’d been thinking about, so I could focus on actually meditating. The evening of Day 5 and most of Day 6 were great days, meditation-wise. Hooray!

Q. What was it like in your brain?

A. Like this:

Me: Dooodooo…clearing my mind…breathe in…breathe out…breathe in…

Mind: Hey, remember that time you were really mean to your sister when you were 7? You’re a terrible person.

Me: Um. What.

Mind: Ooooohhh, never mind…I want to have an elaborate fantasy involving that one person.

Me: Oh, okay!

Mind: Wait, remember that time you were really awful to your ex-boyfriend? You’re such a bitch. And you’re really gross and smelly right now. No wonder you’re single.

Me: Wow. Where did that come from? That’s not very ni—

Mind: Do you think it’s been 30 minutes?

Me: Yes. Over 30 minutes. It’s been, like, an hour. They must have forgotten to ring the bell.

Mind: It’s totally been over 30 minutes. Why haven’t they rung the bell? You should peek at the clock.

Me: Bad idea. But it’s definitely been more than 30 minutes. I bet they’ll ring the bell right now…

Mind: No bell. It’s been about an hour and a half now. Peek!


Mind: Now I’m going to sing the chorus of that one song on repeat. Just the chorus, because that’s all I can remember. It’s my favorite!

Me: I hate you.

Conclusion: You do not want to be in my brain.

Sorry, Sis!

Q. Did you have any big revelations or epiphanies?

A. My biggest, most disturbing revelation came on Day 4. From my notes, word for word:


Epiphany, indeed.

I am pleased to announce that I believe my swallowing has returned to normal volume, but at one point I was convinced that my deglutition (I looked that up!) was going to be abnormal for the rest of my life, and I would never get a date, ever again (or I could just stay in Asia forever—oh, snap!), and nobody would ever want to have dinner or drinks with me because I was a MONSTER. Every time I swallowed, it would actually disturb my meditation and I would be all annoyed, like, ‘WTF, BODY?!’ And then I’d feel bad because I was sure the people around me hated me and my ridiculously loud swallowing.

The mind does weird things, what can I say?

Q. Did you break any rules?

A. Yeah, I read every time we had a break, and rarely anything about Buddhism or meditation. I wasn’t the only one…Not that that matters, but it was my choice to take the silence pretty seriously and have some give on reading.

Q. What day was the hardest? Easiest?

A. Easiest was Day 1, by far. It was so easy that I had a false sense of security. Day 2 was awful. In the afternoon, I was actually in tears while walking around the garden. At one point I thought, “Maybe I’ll get stung by a bee! I have terrible reactions and I bet I couldn’t meditate after that. Or maybe a scorpion will sting me! They’d have to send me home!” Then I laughed at myself for being ridiculous and felt a smidgen better.

Also, somebody got stung by a scorpion and she got shot up with morphine at the hospital and was back the next morning, so my plan wouldn’t have worked, anyway. Curses!

Q. Are you different now?

A. No, I’m not different. I’m not enlightened. I have lots of opinions and always will. I still prefer creamy peanut butter to chunky, and I will tell you that if you ask (and, clearly, even if you don’t ask). I have strong beliefs about cheese (stinky), pizza (chewy crust, good cheese), sparkling wine (dry dry dry), public transportation etiquette (let people get OFF THE TRAIN FIRST before you try to get on!), and pretty much everything else (just ask!).

However, I do think I’ve been able to roll with the punches more since I started meditating a few months back, and I’ve felt more flexible and willing to take things as they come. I’ve been able to go through stressful situations and come out calm, and I’m not even panicked about what I’m going to be doing in the future. All of that is pretty unlike me.

Still, for the most part, over here it’s all Megan, all the time. 


I don’t want to be somebody else. I like me. I’m good company.

Even with the incessant droning in my head.

AHAHAHAHA! My friend Greg said this reminded him of me. I would be offended if it weren't so spot on!

Final Score: 

Megan: 1  Herself: 1

Can’t really get away from yourself, no matter how much you want to…


Filed under Awesome, Special Challenge, Thailand, Trips

Eating ALL the chips in Myanmar!

When I visited Burma/Myanmar, I knew I had to get some potato chips. The major obstacle here was that Burma has no 7-11’s.

I’m going to let that sink in for a second.

Where are you supposed to get junk food if there are no 7-11’s?

I finally bought some chips off a guy selling them from a basket in a bus station and after much thought, I came to a conclusion that I think could change Myanmar’s foreign policy:

If Myanmar is ever going to get serious about making it in the developed world, they are really going to have to do something about the junk food situation, because it is abysmal. Developed countries have good junk food options.

Thank you. No, I did not take any foreign policy classes–I know you’re shocked!–I just tell it like it is.


Notice that the name of these is “Oishi”, which means “delicious” in Japanese. That name is totally ironic, because these were the opposite of delicious (disgusting). Very thin and incredibly greasy, yet not crispy, they tasted like old fry oil.

They were so bad, in fact, that I gave up my attempt to eat ALL the chips in Myanmar after this one bag.

In any case, fresh samosas from the street made up for any fried food cravings I had.

But, seriously, Myanmar, if you need a junk food consultant, you know where to find me…




Filed under Food, Trips

Challenge: Seeing ALL the Temples of Bagan ( in Burma)

As you are reading this, I am sitting in a silent meditation retreat, probably going out of my mind (silently). I’m writing this on Monday morning, from the beach in Koh Samui, trying to soak up every last bit of my regular, input-laden life that I can. This includes stuffing my face with Oreos and coffee while frantically trying to read to the end of the internets. That’s possible in an hour, right?!

I guess I’ll find out.

I realize it’s only a week and I’m being totally melodramatic, but I’m scared! Anyway, I’ll let you know how it goes when I get out. I imagine it’s going to be like–Megan vs. Herself: The World’s Most Boring Smackdown Ever.

Anyway, I recently spent a week in Burma and while I don’t have time to write much about it, I’m going to post some pictures here of my time in Bagan. This is an area that used to be (hundreds of years ago) hustling and bustling with activity. Now it’s farmland, abandoned temples, and touts trying to sell you sand paintings.

Still, biking around in the fields and climbing up to the top of 12th century temples to watch the sunrise is not something I can make fun of. It was definitely one of the highlights of my time in SE Asia.

Hello! Where come from? You buy sand painting?

I am being supremely lazy, so if you want to know more about Bagan, go to Wikipedia.

Some temples of Bagan.

Overview of some temples.

Some details of the temples.

We voluntarily woke up at 5 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. to bike out to see a sunrise. It was so peaceful; just us, the farmers, and their oxen. I’d go back in a second.

Final Score: 

Bagan: 1  Sarah, Melanie, Megan: 0


p.s. Please be kind in the comments. I’m not going to turn them off while I’m gone. :)


Filed under Awesome, Living Abroad, Trips