Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Day 22: Reasons to be excited in Nepal!

We woke up this morning at 3AM to catch our 8AM flight to Nepal. So, we are just a little bit tired.... I don't know why, but I have the hardest time sleeping on airplanes! I'm trying really hard to get over it because flights is really a good time to catch up on some rest. Let me know if you have any solutions for that one!

We are in the city of Kathmandu which is the capitol of Nepal. After just a few short hours of being here, we've already got a good feel for the people and their culture! Here are a few pictures I got during our walk down the street this evening looking for some good food.

We have two families scheduled to photograph tomorrow. The people here are so beautiful so I'm really excited to spend some time with them! 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Day 20: The Kuala Lumpur adventure begins!

5PM yesterday: Arrival to the airport with zero plans, zero contacts, and zero families to photograph. 

11AM today: 2 hour drive out of the city (using GPS) , 10 passenger van (Steve driving) , 7 E3 team members (hoping and praying to find someone) + local translator (no idea what he's in for). 

1PM: Arrival to the village of Bagansungaibuluh! We randomly found an outdoor restaurant right along a river down a side street in this small village. We stopped to have some lunch and started visiting with the families who ran it. After showing them our  sample book, getting to know them and the children, talking to them about how we were hoping to find some families we could photograph in Malaysia, they told us they were happy to help us out! 

Do you see these kids? They were incredibly cute and EXACTLY what we were looking for. So happy and full of personality. 

 While we took pictures they prepared some amazing food for us! I'm not a fan of seafood at all, but this stuff was so good! I can do shrimp, and this shrimp was yummy. We were very satisfied and I'm pretty sure it tasted even better after knowing the cute family who had prepared it. 

Fatnin was 13 and spoke beautiful english, she was excited for us to be there, loved learning about what we were doing, and also helped to translate! She was so cute, it's so fun getting to know these people with such neat cultures and backgrounds. 
So, a day full of unknowns ended up being one of the best days we have had so far! 
Sometimes having no plans ends up being the best plan. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Day 19: A little bit about the E3 travel team and what we are all about.

From left to right- Carly Jo, Liz, Steve, Denver, Mikki, Todd, and Kristen. This picture was taken in a small town near Phnom Pehn, Cambodia- immediately following our last photo shoot in that location.

So far this trip has been adventurous, scary, humbling, heartbreaking, exciting, exhausting, frustrating, silly, fun, and incredible! We love sharing the experiences we have daily as we meet family after family with such unique stories and lives. We love listening to them tell us about their lives, their cultures, and families. We don't have enough time in the day to document everything that we are experiencing! Honestly, we are up every night until we can't keep our eyes open any longer, organizing, blogging, editing movies, writing in our journals and trying to keep up!

I hope that my blog properly portrays the vision we have to make a difference in the world. This is not about us, this isn't about travel fun or sight seeing, it's about connecting the world, educating children, and helping those who are need. Our pledge it to donate a book for every book we sell.

My hope is that you will find ways in your own lives to use the gifts and talents you have been given to do something that matters. Something that will enlarge, enlighten, and expand. 

Day 19:

Day 20:

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Day 18: Photo of the day. Can't keep my eyes open.

Honestly I'm so exhausted,  I can barely keep my eyes open. We were riding the tuk tuks home and I was trying so hard to stay awake, don't know how I could have been so tired with all the bright lights, honking horns, and dad climbing over me to take pictures. 

But I had to post these pictures! We were out in the country a little ways away from the city Phnom Phen in Cambodia. We drove down a long dirt road for probably 15 minutes and we were lucky it hadn't rained today because if it had it would have been too muddy for us to go down. The neighborhood was full of kids once again just playing and having fun. The home we were having our photo shoot in was pretty small so I took the chance to explore a little bit on my own. Good idea Carly!

Is he not adorable? I wanted to take him home with me. His parents owned a cute little shop and lived right there in it. Most families who have stores actually live there as well, usually it's just one room for the store and they have little beds in the back. I can't imagine what that would be like, to live with so little and in really rough circumstances. 
But they were happy and that's all that matters. 

Day 18: Picture of the day.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Day 17: Love in Cambodia.

During our photo shoot I ran downstairs to take pictures of the neighborhood and the street. Cambodia is such a beautiful place! I was in LOVE with these three girls. They stood here for me and loved having their pictures taken. I couldn't help but stop and think about their lives, their families, what they like to do for fun, their favorite foods. Oh how I wish we had time to get to know more kids! How I also wish I could speak Cambodian so I could have talked and laughed with them... 

I was also in LOVE with this father and his daughter. He was so cute with her and loved making her laugh. It was very obvious that they had such a close relationship and that she looked up to him so much. Their house was little and they didn't have much, but wow they were such a happy family. Honestly I just feel so spoiled! These people live such simple happy lives, and I complain when my sister borrows a shirt or there isn't an extra car for me to use. Talk about a wake up call. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Day 16: Kids, kids, kids. 3 things.

Kids are happy- all of the video footage I took at this small fishing village in Santa Rosa, Philippines was overpowered by the constant laughter in the background. I thought it was hilarious! It was as if these kids had never seen cameras before! As soon as a pressed the red button they were shouting and dancing and doing everything they could to get in front of the camera. Haha it was so great.

Kids live- I'm not sure how many kids in the world live in poverty, but I would guess it would be the majority. I love that they live their lives just as any kid would, whether they have shoes or not, or whether they have a nice home or not. We interviewed Pasco, an 11 year old who lived in this area. The kids nicknamed him Pasco which means christmas, because he's always giving the other kids gifts. When we asked him if he had one wish what would it be he replied, "To help my mom and dad get out of the living situation they are in", we asked, "how will you do that?" His response, "By becoming a policeman."

Kids need- They need to play, they need to be nurtured, they need to be taught, they need to learn of the world around them, and they need to be loved. 

Can't wait to donate books to this school someday! Loved visiting with them and was happy to hear my mom tell one of the teachers that we plan to send them books once they are finished. I LOVED seeing the faces of the teachers when we told them their school
would soon receive these books. Happy happy happy. It makes it all worth it. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Day 15: Hong Kong went so fast! Not enough time!

We went to Hong Kong! It was great!

We only had 2 full days there, not enough time for one of my favorite cities in the world. I love the hustle and bustle NYC feel of the city. I love funny loud Chinese people and double decker busses.

I loved the four families that we had the chance to take photos with while there! Even in little apartments we were able to really capture the kinds of lives that they live there. I love getting to know families! It's teaching me a lot about things that I would like to have in my future home, so I feel selfish at times for gaining and learning so much from all these people that we meet!

I'm excited for these books. With every country it becomes clearer and clearer to me what an incredible impact these books could have on people around the world. It is a simple way to share a basic message of family, love, and unity. There are people that need to know that there are families and people just like them ALL over, and that they are doing their best to live a happy life. And  kids will love learning about kids around the world, who are just like them! Whether they live in Ireland, Mexico, Boston... Philippines, Mongolia, or France.. there are kids everyone!

I just love it!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hong Kong- in and out

We went to Hong Kong! It was great!

We only had 2 full days there, not enough time for one of my favorite cities in the world. I love the hustle and bustle NYC feel of the city. I love funny loud Chinese people and double decker busses.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Day 8: Country drives and Ger homes.

Today was so unreal. You know when you have those experiences when you really don't have words to describe what just happened? This is how I felt all day. We drove about an hour and a half out to the countryside to meet another family that lived in a Ger. The drive was straight out of a movie with rolling hills, herds of sheep, Budda shrines, and windy cold weather. The family had three children and the grandma lived with them as well. Out in front of there home they had many sheep, horses, cows, and goats. We had a BLAST interviewing them as well as taking pictures of them with their beautiful/unique culture.

The whole family

The kids actually stay in the city with a relative all week to go to school and then they come home on the weekends to be with their parents. When interviewing the 13 year old she explained how much she loved living in the countryside, taking care of the animals, and cooking with her mom. About half way through our shoot we got to eat some Khoorshoor (fried dumplings) that the family had prepared. They also gave us some Airag, which is fermented horse milk as well as homemade yogurt. The Khoorshoor were incredible! They tasted a lot similar to an empanada, we all tried the horse milk but none of us could have more than a sip. I've never tasted alcohol before, but to me it tasted like how alcohol smells. 

Mikki, Me, the Grandmother, Kristin, the Mother

This is my good friend Enkhgerel Enkhbold. She lives in Mongolia and went with us everywhere we went to be our translator! Her and I met when we were both serving as missionaries at Temple Square in Salt Lake City. 

We drove back into the city and met Nara, she supports an orphanage/shelter in town. She actually is from Mongolia, lives in Denver, and she travels back and forth quite often. The shelter right now has about 15 teenage boys living there. They call them sewer kids because they actually are taken off of the streets where they live a dirty life and sleep in the sewers. Many of them have parents but were heavily abused or come from homeless families. It was extremely hard to comprehend what they had been through as Nara told us about some of their circumstances, but you could see in their faces that they lived tough lives. As we were getting ready to leave they gathered together and sang the most beautiful song for us. The chorus of the song translated to, "I have no home, no mother to kiss me on the cheek, but I'm so grateful you came into my life, my heavenly father sent you to me, you have made a difference, I'm so grateful". We all were extremely emotional and very grateful for this life changing experience. 

I love Mongolia. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Day 7: 10 things... MONGOLIA

10 WONDERFUL things about Mongolia

1) The families feed you when you enter their home. 

2) Shagai- Sheep or goat bones collected, painted bright colors, and used to play games or for fortune telling. Some families gave me some to take home. 

3) The Ger home- Portable homes made from the wool of flocks of sheep and consist of a circular wooden frame. They cost about 1,000 dollars for a family to build. Decorated so beautifully! 

4) Happy people. 

5) Bright colors. 

6) Candy, homemade cheese, and dumplings. Fan of the candy, not so much of the cheese.. or the dumplings....  

7) Taking your shoes off when you enter a home. 

8) Cute kids in their traditional clothing. 

9) Street food everywhere including mutton on a stick! (Mutton is made of the meat from a Lamb). 

10) Beautiful weather! 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Day 6: Cute cute cute kids!

I LOVED our time working in Japan.

We really felt like we hit the jackpot during day two of our stay. There were quite a few pictures that we needed for E3 Imagines books series that we still hadn't got yet and we were really hoping that we could find them during our time with these two additional families. Well, we got what we wanted! The families were perfect, we couldn't have asked for anything better.

Are they not adorable? We were with this family all morning and afternoon. They had 5 kids and lived in a cute apartment in Tokyo. We had a BLAST filming them. We actually organized and were able to make a trip to Mt. Fuji with this family and got some INCREDIBLE shots! Be sure to check on the E3 Imagine website to see some of those images soon.

This video was taken of the two children in the last family we visited. They were so outgoing! From the moment we met them it was as if they were celebrities; posing for pictures, singing, dancing, doing gymnastics, putting on their traditional clothes, it was so awesome! This song that they sang for us was so cute. We have a better recording but this one was fastest to upload :) Enjoy!

What would you like to know about kids in Japan? 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Day 2 Tokyo, AMAZING

Today was so incredible. We had the best time with two adorable families. I'm practically falling asleep right now but I wanted to at least share a little bit about our day. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Day 3: Tiny cars and noodles

Well, our first shoot day is complete! I'm hoping that the first week is the hardest because WOW it was hard! We have such limited time with each family and have so many pictures that we need to get for all of the books. I loved it though and the families were as sweet as ever.

The houses here are so tiny! Actually, everything is tiny! The people, the cars, the houses, the streets...  I went for a jog this morning and was so impressed with how clean everything is, how in the world does a city of 13 million stay so clean? It's really cool. Oh and little side note, this morning was my first time jogging with my vibram five finger shoes (mostly because I left my tennis shoes at home). But it was great! I almost got lost but then I saw the SevenEleven right near our hotel and I found my way :) 

The families were so great today. I love the simplicity of the life style that they live here. They work hard, raise good families, and live long happy lives. We interviewed the father of the first family and something he said was, "you know, being a father is hard, really really hard. Lot's of pressure to raise a good family. But I know it's worth it , and we are happy, so happy." So conclusion? Hard work leads to happiness. 

Tomorrow we have two more families that we get to spend time with. We are scheduled to leave at 8AM and won't be back until 10PM. Busy busy! I'm so glad that Shiho and Yoshie (our amazing coordinators) have planned everything so well for us. They are so amazing! Mt. Fuji here we come! 

Kindergartners on their way to school, love the pink hats. 
Me and Denver at lunch, yummy chicken curry. 
Crew at lunch.
Japanese fast food, so yummy! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Day 2: Hard work in Japan- ready to go!

Well, we made it to Tokyo! I've never been to Japan before but I'm already loving it! After arriving at the airport we packed our luggage and seven people in to a ten passenger van that we rented, it worked out perfectly. Our hotel is in Shinjyuku, about two hours away from the airport, in the heart of Tokyo. Dad wanted to take some cool pictures on our way during a beautiful sunset. We found some neat fields but quickly ran out of light. I'm used to driving with my dad in foreign places but I almost died again tonight as he maneuvered his way through heavy traffic while taking pictures outside the van. Good thing that Todd was there to yell, STEVE STEVE STEVE, seconds before rear ending another van. By the sound Kirstin's gasp I think she too almost had a heart attach.

Street our hotel is on. 

My dad served his mission here 35 years ago so he was stoked to go find some yummy Japanese food. We are all so exhausted from traveling so hopefully a good nights rest will give us the energy for our first photo shoot tomorrow! I'm so excited to see Yoshie,  she was one of my companions from my mission on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. She is going to be one of our translators!!

Picture of the ladies in our hotel.