Social anxiety and feminism vs. free food

Compared to how I used to be, I think I’ve become quite an antisocial person over the past year. Of course, that partially comes with age but I’m not really all that old so for that reason, I decided last week that I’d change my increasingly anti-social ways. I managed to make myself feel guilty about how much I love not going out, and that guilt pushed me to decide to go out to a free beach club dinner with a group of women.  In retrospect, mistakes were made which clearly need to be documented on this blog.

Mistake number one was made when I decided that free food trumps social anxiety. As soon as I decided to go, the dinner showed me what a social recluse and weirdo I can be at times  [insert sweaty armpits and awkward handshakes]. That’s probably made pretty obvious as I sit here writing a blog post about my experience leaving my house (HAHA). But hey, leaving my house got me a free 3-course meal right? The restaurant even boasted decent vegetarian options, so it was kind of a no-brainer that I had to do it. All I had to do for my free meal was wear a “little black dress.” Mistake number two was when I decided that free food trumped feminism. I was subjecting myself to something which goes against what i’d like to believe are my feminist principles. Whatever though, it’s hard to turn down a free 3 course meal and a chance to try to somewhat redeem myself socially.

The host of this event was an aging Italian man whose jokes were just tip toeing the line of sexism the entire night, but, did I mention it was a free meal? If someone were to write a story about my life the title would be “Woman puts up with sexist and misogynistic behavior for free food and drinks.” Just kidding that wouldn’t be the title but close enough.

So I attended this free food event and won my meal by wearing my little black dress. I tried with all my might to go against the grain as much as could. My little black dress was high necked, long sleeved, and went down past my knees and was probably more suitable for a funeral than a sexy girl event. Take that, that man, or….. umm whoever i’m trying to stick it to by looking as unsexy as I can.

I guess the purpose of this free meal was to promote the newly opened beach venue that it took place at. The prize for the girl in the sexiest little black dress was a bottle of champagne which served it’s purpose of getting us all really fired up . The price of champagne in Thailand is exorbitant. This little event/competition has been running for a few weeks now and we were told that the winner was determined by the host based on who he thought looked the sexiest in their dress (usually the tiniest dress). I think this may have been a little family un-friendly so they changed up the rules and decided to go the more um…intellectual route you could say.

So, he [the host] handed us small pieces of paper and asked us in 20 words or less (groan) to write why we deserved to win the free bottle of champagne prize (double groan). I decided that i’d be nice and oblige the man because he was about to feed me.

I again tried to go against the grain, as much I love champagne and as fired up as free things get me, there was no way I wanted to stand up in front of a group of sexy and scantily clad women and accept my shining champagne bottle award. I played with the idea of writing “I don’t want to win, please don’t pick me,” but then I thought, “No, don’t do that, maybe it will back fire.” So I went with something a little less out there and said “I won’t share the champagne with my friends if I win.” That answer was nice and rude so it was a sure loss for me. Thank the sweet heavens above his favorite choices of the winner were entries such as…..

“I’ve got a tiny black dress and longggg legs so pick me”

“I’m the best looking one here and i’m a princess, who doesn’t want to pamper a princess”

“Just look at me, i’m the most beautiful”

“I want to win, I want to win, I need to win, I win”

the list goes on.

My submission was clearly sub standard compared to these gems and thank goodness for that.  I can just imagine my champagne bottle acceptance speech now “Um hi everyone, thanks for being here tonight. I bought this dress for my future as the most boring woman in the world so it really means a lot to me that my submission about not sharing was able to beat out the, “I have really long legs” entry. I will cherish this bottle and um…um *bursts into tears for dramatic effect.”

Or something along those lines. Shame I wasn’t able to win this one. Alas, there is always next week as this lovely new restaurant bar club conglomerate thing has decided that this a weekly tradition.

This event just set me on the path for over analyze-ation of myself and everyone around me. I’ve been preaching lately (to my journal) about how much I hate that people base everything on looks when *cue cliche saying* really it’s what’s inside that counts. It’s actually a scary thought. I’m going to end this one here because I feel i’m about to waffle on even more.

Thanks for reading

Oh yeah, P.S. – the food was super good

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Mountain top camping

Life in Koh Samui is endlessly surprising and entertaining. Just when I think i’ve done it all, a new opportunity comes up and shows me that there is so much more to do and see on this island than I think. Just a few days ago my boyfriend asked me if I wanted to go camping on a mountain on a Thursday night. After considering it for 5 seconds I enthusiastically accepted the offer. Not knowing which mountain we’d be heading to I packed up my bag (aka my tent, a flash light, and whatever was in my purse) and set off to meet up with the group going camping.

IMG_5552One of the nice things about Koh Samui is that because it is a relatively small place, it’s easy to get to know people quickly. As the island is a major tourist destination, that most of the people living here work in some sort of business that has to do with tourism. Knowing different people in the tourism industry meant that we were able to ride up the mountain in a huge truck used for the island “safaris”and we were able to camp literally at the top of the mountain on someone’s private property.

For our camping trip we didn’t end up leaving to get up to the mountain until the sun had already gone down so the drive up there was interesting to say the least. My friend and I decided we’d take the opportunity to ride on the top of the truck for part of the ride which felt like a roller coaster that you had to constantly dodge trees on. It was an amazing ride though non the less. I managed not to throw up which made it all that much better. IMG_5568

The night spent up there was fantastic as we spent our time cooking on the BBQ, chatting, and drinking some beers. The best part about being up there though was the amazing view. You could see almost a 360 of the entire island (there were some trees in the way of that complete 360 view). When you live on an island it is easy to quickly get used to everything the island has to offer and you tend to forget how big the place really is. Seeing everything from way up there really put into perspective how big Koh Samui is and made me appreciate it even more.

After staying awake for a good amount of the night we decided that it was time to retire to our tents as we all had to work by 9am the next day. Sleeping in a tent as you probably know is not the most comfortable thing to do but it’s all made worth it when you get to wake up on the top of the mountain and look out over seemingly the entire Gulf of Thailand.

The specific place where we went and camped has just opened a restaurant at the very top by the name of 360 Jungle Route Koh Samui. I highly recommend this place as a great stop the next you are in Koh Samui as it is highly unlikely you’re going to get to see the view up there in many other places. If you’re lucky enough maybe they will even let you pitch a tent and spend the night so you can wake up in paradise. Thank you for reading! IMG_5572

First arriving in Cambodia – a look back in the past

When I initially arrived in Cambodia in the first week of January 2014, I immediately started writing down my experiences. I’ve included below an excerpt from my writing at that time which will show the culture shock I was experiencing. It will also detail a lot of observations I was making for my first time being in Asia as an American.

Written circa January 2014:

“Being in South East Asia has been dazzling so far. I’ve only been here for a week and a half and all of my 5 senses have experienced a plethora of new sensations.

Everything looks different: foggy, colorful, dark, smiley, cute, hilarious, naked, dangerous, and shocking.

Everything smells different: fishy, delicious, cheap, rancid, raw, fresh, comforting.

Everything sounds different: loud, foreign, peaceful, exciting, bouncy, over-worked, fast.

Everything feels different: silky, slimy, hot & sticky, bumpy, rough, worked over.

Everything tastes different: greasy, fishy, fresh, succulent, sour, unknown.

Now obviously all of these adjectives do not describe one thing but hopefully anyone reading this understands the point I am trying to make. Phnom Penh is an interesting city. It is so busy and crowded and full of life. We are staying in a hotel here in a part of town that isn’t particularly nice but that is ok because we get a ride to and from school every day. I am staying on the top floor of our hotel and my view out of the window is a nice big sewer. Sometimes I see children walking through it and picking trash out, and once unfortunately there was a kid washing some piece of clothing in it. It is truly amazing how different life can be just 7 floors up.

70% of the people in Cambodia live on less than $1 a day which is pretty unbelievable in my opinion. There is a large amount of poverty here but from what I can see the people are generally happy. For the most part people are smiling and friendly and they share everything with each other. It seems that most people look out for each other because most people are all in the same situation.

I mentioned previously that we get rides to and from school each day. We ride to school in tuk-tuks. A tuk-tuk is a carriage that is attached to a moped. It can comfortably fit about 5 people in it. Almost everyone in this city gets around by a moto (moped). There are thousands and thousands of mopeds crowding the streets at all times. In America we would probably put about 2 people on a moped max to go a short distance right? In Cambodia people put as many people and as much stuff as they can on their mopeds. Things I’ve seen on mopeds: entire 5 person families, two men and two gutted full grown pigs, naked babies with no helmets, boxes stacked 10 ft in the air, a few people and about 10 dead chickens, a moped carrying a 15 ft trailer with people and tools riding in it. The list goes on and on. It really is quite a sight to see.”

For me it is quite interesting to look back on what I previously wrote and see how much has changed. How many of these things have become a normal part of life now, and how I now view the world in a different way. I urge everyone to get the experience of spending time in a country that is significantly different than your home country. You will be amazed at how much your perspective on life and world will change.

More to come on Cambodia….

Thank you for reading