Florence's beauty really surprised me. When we booked Florence as part of our Italy adventure, I just pictured nice museums and buying some leather. The place we booked through Air BnB was right down the street from the Duomo, and when I first caught a glimpse of it I was amazed! It took up a whole street and was so beautiful. That definitely isn't where the beauty ended in Florence either. Each street was unique with the narrow side walks, little shops and cool architecture. The leather markets were awesome (I bought a red purse from a guy with Harry Potter glasses holding a Chihuahua) if you like the hustle that is, which my husband gets a kick out of. We also had the best shawarma from a little hole in the wall place. Overall, Florence was fabulous.
My husband and I left for Paris and Italy at the end of February. This city was captivating. The culture, buildings, the food...... oh the food. Definitely the best creme brûlée we've ever had. Not to mention the tartiflette and duck. We also spent the day at Disneyland, couldn't ask for more! We love you Paris.
Da Lat is so much different from other places in Vietnam, you'd think you were somewhere in Europe at times. It was beautiful. It's the Flower capital of Vietnam as well, so there were flowers everywhere (loved it).
We visited a coffee plantation and had vietnamese coffee, SO delicious.
We visited a silk factory in Da Lat which was really interesting. First they start with silk worm cocoons, then immerse them in boiling water which separates the silk and then they unravel them with machines before the strands are dyed. Incredible!
The Crazy House in Da Lat is just that, a mismatch of crazy rooms and artifacts put together in a great and fun way. You can stay overnight in the Crazy House or just come for a visit and walk around to observe.
My husband and I went to Thailand in January with a wonderful group of people to visit Agape Children's Home in Mae Sot Thailand. The first few days were in Bangkok at the YWAM base, then we headed to Mae Sot. The orphanage hadn't seen volunteers for two years and they were extremely excited to see us.
Pastor Winai, his family and a few volunteers run the orphanage on very little and do their best with what they have. Most of the children are Burmese refugees. Some stay at the Orphanage permanently who don't have families while others go home in the evenings or once a week to their parents. They can't permanently live with their parents because they are out looking for work. We were overwhelmed and encouraged by the pure faith that runs Agape Children's Home.
During our visit the pastor took us to meet the Htee Tha Naco Hill tribe Village that live about 6 hours away from Mae Sot. This trip included 4 hours of off roading into the jungle, which was quite an exciting experience on it's own. Meeting the Hill tribe people was such a privilege as they don't generally see people outside of the tribe. We were greeted with incredible hospitality. Luckily we had a few interpreters (The Pastor and his son) so we were able to communicate with them and get to know them. What a blessing that was. Here are some photos of our experiences :) If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask!
Behind the YWAM base in Bangkok:
Walking in Bangkok
Street meat :)
At the local market
Riding the canals
Tuk Tuk Ride
On the way up to the top of the golden mount
Arriving at the Orphanage :)
Beautiful children. They were a little shy at first but it didn't take long before they were all smiles and hugs
This little guys name was Iphone. He loves watermelon but hates pants.
This is called Manna Rice, it's the primary food they eat at the orphanage. It's a protein substance mixed with rice that they usually eat with cabbage and tomato.
Food storage area
The kids had very few toys, including some deflated basketballs and tires. We all pitched in a bit and revamped their toy supply. The kids were very excited :)
Teaching the kids how to properly dispose of garbage and clean up the grounds
We were able to hire some locals that needed work to come and fix the pastors roof before monsoon season comes again
Water reservoirs and laundry area behind the main building
Headed to the Hill tribe
This lovely woman invited us into her home and gave us all a snack while we were waiting to switch from the Van to a 4X4 before the off roading began.
We arrived at the Hill Tribe late at night, so we were very excited for the morning so we could see our beautiful surroundings.
They were making breakfast for us in the morning over the open fire pit in their "kitchen". It was amazing to see how they cook and live. They are such hospitable and loving people, I just wanted to hug each and every one of them.
They had built a beautiful Church and we were fortunate to be able to share in fellowship with them
Our awesome group with some of our new friends! The shoulder bags we are all wearing were gifts from the congregation. They are traditional among Burmese people, as most of the tribe are from Burma. It was a very touching gesture, it brought me to tears.
Our amazing hosts that brought us into their homes and treated us like family. What beautiful people.
On our way back to the Orphanage
We have built a long lasting relationship with the Pastor and everyone at Agape and will continue to help support them. If you would like to volunteer or get involved in some way, please let me know!