Tag Archives: traveling couple

Pretty City

Budapest Video

~B~

Here is a brief video showing off some of our time in Budapest, Hungary. It seems that in Europe (Cyprus, Serbia, Hungary) we focused a lot more on taking pictures and follow/spin videos than taking other video. There were quite a few of these (follow and spin videos) from these countries which I did not find until after I made those video or did not include for some reason. Therefore, despite the fact that we spent a substantial amount of time in each of these locations, we just don’t have a ton of video footage. As per normal I also had to get rid of all the videos that were just too shaky, bad angles, too short, etc. which is typically well over half of them. The video does show many of the top touristy spots, though.

Bcharre

Lebanon Travel Videos

~B~

I tried making a Lebanon travel video but it didn’t feel right so I made the Bcharre and Beirut videos separate. I did not add music to these videos because 1) they are short and 2) it’s always a struggle so I just avoided spending the time on it this time. The videos can also only be monetized (not that we make more than a penny like every few months) if they don’t have copyrighted music so there’s that too. I used the original sound (mostly) for the Bcharre video and no sound for the Beirut video. I would have used sound but I didn’t decide that was a good idea until I began making the Bcharre video (I made the Beirut one first). The Beirut video is also very shaky, practically hurts my head, but we didn’t have much stable footage (you should see how much I don’t include at all each time- we need to use tripods more) and I can’t stabilize video which has been sped up. Kyle recently told me I could pre-render and add stabilization, but I am not completely thrilled with the stabilization tools anyway. Even if I tell them only stabilize- don’t stabilize and crop- they still often do crop! Well, whatever. I’ll work on it. Here are the videos for now.

Additionally, you may remember that the last specific-area video I did was in SE Asia (Bali, Kl, plus bits of others combined) so sequentially Sri Lanka should be next, but Kyle claimed it long ago. I’m sure he’ll do it eventually. The next videos will be Cyprus, Belgrade, and Budapest.

Scene from Weligama

Monthly Roundup 16: June 2016

Summary
SUMMARY- kitty

I experimented with a different way of writing the summary to give you a better idea of the month but then it turned out to be VERY long (not unlike last month’s summary) but if I think it was too long for the monthly roundup, than it was too long for the monthly roundup. I’m just going to let the rest of the roundup summarize June for us. Despite how long it remains, I am actually leaving out lots of interesting experiences because I would like the roundup to be just a little more readable. I am also going to link to our Liebster award here because that was fun and exciting for us!

Where We’ve Been this Month (Pic credit: Kyle) 
Map of the Month

3 days Ja-Ela, Sri Lanka
14 days Weligama, Sri Lanka
1 day Negambo, Sri Lanka
1 day transit/the Colombo Airport/Dubai Airport/Beirut Airport
3 days Bcharre, Lebanon
2 days Beirut, Lebanon
6 days Dhoros, Cyprus

Distance Traveled by:
WHEREWEVEBEEN Weligama

Plane: 3503 miles
Train: 193 miles
Bus: 134 miles
Motorbike: 225+ miles

Highlights
HIGHLIGHTS-- Bcharre

1. Cyprus! We are now housesitting 7 cats in Cyprus! The house is lovely and so are the cats. So far we’ve gone to the beach, checked out Paphos a little bit, including their Archaeological Park, and explored our current town in the foothills of the Troodos mountains.
2. Yala Safari. We went on our first safari this month in Yala National Park, Sri Lanka. We saw elephants, water buffalo, a sloth bear, a sleeping leopard, and more.
3. Surfing. While he found it exhausting, Kyle had a fun time surfing in Weligama and did pretty well!
4. Exploring in Sri Lanka. We really enjoyed walking along the coast and up various little streets in Weligama. We also had fun exploring some of the south (such as Galle and Mirissa) by motorbike.
5. Exploring in Lebanon. In Bcharre we walked through the Cedars of God, explored the Qadisha Grotto, and wandered through the town. In Beirut we checked out Nijmeh Square and a little bit of the area in which our Airbnb was located (Achrafieh).
5. Privacy and Accommodation. In our place in Weligama we were somewhat separate (though in the same house) from the living space of the owners which was nice. In Negambo, Bcharre, and Beirut, we had the entire places to ourselves (and the place in Bcharre was nice.) Now we have a big beautiful house to ourselves in Cyprus.
6. Friendly Hosts. We really got to know our first Airbnb host (and his daughter) in Sri Lanka. We had discussions on topics such as politics, religion, film, and even freemasonry over local food and beer. Our second host was also welcoming and generous and our third was nice. Both of our hosts in Lebanon were also very generous with both of them offering us warm welcomes and food.
7. Carpet/rugs. In Bcharre, the living room had a carpet. Well actually, a huge soft rug. I know I judged Kyle before for complaining about dirty feet and it did not bother me at all for a while but after months of places in Asia which does not seem to know about carpet and is full of hard dirty floors, I was so happy to walk, sit and lay on the very soft carpet in Bcharre. There are also some nice rugs here in Cyprus.
8. Hot Water! We didn’t have it at all in Sri Lanka until our last place but have had it everywhere since! It’s been a long time since we’ve been able to get hot water reliably and it’s quite nice!
9. Food. We had some pretty good Indian food in Ja-Ela and Negambo and some delicious food in Lebanon. We finally got access to cheese in both of these places. We were able to cook with paneer while in Ja-Ela (though we didn’t have access to an equipped kitchen in Weligama- which was most of our time in Sri Lanka.) When we couldn’t find the restaurant we were looking for the first night in Lebanon, we went to the store and bought some yoghurt and hummus to have with the bread and cheese our host gave us and it was soo good, as was the meal we tried out the next day (fried cheese rolls and garlic yoghurt soaked fried eggplant.) And now in Cyprus we have a full equipped kitchen! First time on our travels. I am talking a full stove, oven, microwave, etc. Ovens are rare/pretty much non-existent in Asia so this is a pretty big deal.
10. Did I mention we are watching 7 kitties??

Lowlights
LOWLIGHTS- dirt on soap in the bathroom

1. Getting pick-pocketed in Sri Lanka. Kyle had his wallet stolen out of his pocket on the train from Weligama to Colombo Fort. This was annoying in many ways. Because of the whole thing throwing time off, we had to take a tuk tuk which was more expensive and then our Airbnb host was not at the proper location to pick us up. Kyle also had to cancel his cards to things which were on autopay and we lost some cash. Luckily most of our cash was stored elsewhere. It must be commonplace there, though because on our original ride from Fort to Weligama, the only other foreign couple on the train (I think they were British) had all of their things (bags, wallet, phone, etc.) stolen.
2. Road Hazards in Sri Lanka. While out motorbiking one day, we/Kyle hit a pig. We escaped pretty much unscathed but it’s certainly still a lowlight. I cannot comment on the state of the pig, partly because I never actually saw it. The important thing is that we are fine. Anyway, though, while the roads themselves are actually in good condition in Sri Lanka, we found them to be the most hazardous between the drivers who drink, the drivers who think think they can drive on any side of the road and constantly switch between them- especially the big buses, and all of the stray animals and wildlife. I chose to not drive the motorbike myself and would rather not ride one there again, at least in the south- perhaps conditions are better in Kandy. We might not have used the bike at all had the alternatives for transportation (taxis/tuk tuks) not been considerably more for some of the distances we were traveling. I can’t deny that a motorbike is a fun way to see the beauty of the country and it was, but it was also stressful and perhaps it should not be done much in places like Sri Lanka. Though I must say I think anyone on the road there is not safe, no matter the type of vehicle.
3. My pains. Skip if you think talking about this is TMI because I go on a bit. Anyway, each of these could be a lowlight of their own but I will just throw them all together.
The worst pain was in my upper abdomen (above the belly button and to the left). Towards the end of Sri Lanka I started getting some pains in my upper back which interrupted my sleep. This area on my back was also extremely painful to touch for just a little while. I think I may have somehow injured it with the backpack. I am not sure. Then the pains started getting quite bad in the front/all the way around in the day (after like 2 nights). I especially noticed it when lying down and after eating. The pain was the worst on the plane ride to Dubai and then Beirut and also the bus ride to Bcharre and caused me to feel quite ill. It has slowly been subsiding. I think it was a very mild form of pancreatitis because symptoms match up best but sometimes I think it could be my kidneys. It is pretty much clearing up now, but still gives me a little pain either at times. I am trying to avoid sweets/alcohol/coffee in case it is the pancreas but am not very good at avoiding sweets. I have also gotten other abdominal pains but that is just normal for me.
The next pain is my gums. They have really only bothered me a few days but I do worry that one of my wisdom teeth may not be coming in correctly. There is one that has been coming up and is doing just fine and rarely gives me pain but it appears a new one is trying to come in and the gums in that area became little swollen for a couple days. There is plenty of space in that area and it hasn’t bothered me at all the last few days, though.
My knee. I have hit my knee several times. My knees have a tendency to hurt all on their own but I knocked one pretty hard into the bed trying to use the bathroom in the middle of the night and could not sit/squat/bend it for days and now I have hit my knee a few times on the table in Cyprus.
Head. I don’t get them as often as I used to but I had a few pretty bad headaches this month.
Now, back to my toes. While my right toe is now perfectly fine, I am now sometimes experiencing pain in my left big toe. It is nowhere near as bad as the pain in my right toe was for some time and even goes away entirely at times but can sometimes be a nuisance.
4. Sunburns, Allergies, Mosquitos and other bugs. We have enough lowlights than I can combine lots of them. We got light sunburns a few times this month (yes we used sunscreen) and I had allergies to varying degrees just about everywhere. I got over 100 mosquito bites at our place in Ja-Ela. That was not fun. Spiders and ants were both abundant in all but our last place in Sri Lanka. I would put up my leg to shave it in the shower, oh look there is a spider next to my foot. I would look up at the shower, oh look there is one on the shower head which is just above my head. Oh look there are five on that wall. Oh look there is one on the door handle to leave the bathroom. I am sure you get the point. It’s all fine. At least we had a mosquito net at our second place and also the spiders eat mosquitos. The most annoying thing was spending over an hour getting all the ants off and out of my lap top in Ja-Ela. I don’t know why they liked it but it was so annoying dealing with that and trying to figure out where to keep it.
5. Power and Internet. Neither of these are reliable in Sri Lanka. It made it harder to work, hotter, etc. One time my mom said she got worried because she didn’t see me on Facebook messenger for 16 hours. LOL.
6. Enduring the Heat/No A/C. It wasn’t such a big deal and we knew before we came but we didn’t have A/C during most of our stay in Sri Lanka. There were fans and they mostly sufficed. The other super annoying thing was that I had to wear pants in the Colombo area (Ja-Ela, at Fort, etc.) While every other tourist (of which there were few) I saw in that area was definitely wearing shorts/short skirts/rompers, etc. I tried once and got such terribly dirty looks from everyone that I felt I had to wear pants even in the heat. I actually was still not pleased with many of the looks I got when I dressed according to their standards but I think they were not as bad. I may write a ranting post about this later because I have some opinions on the matter. In Weligama I chose to wear shorter things some of the time and it did not seem to be such a problem. I think it was more acceptable because we were by the beach.
7. Various things about Sri Lanka. First of all, and I suppose this is my own fault, I stupidly thought the country was a little more developed/modern. When I say “developed” I am referring to how we tend to think about the word as westerners. Anyway, it was, by our standards, the least developed country we have been to so far (including Indonesia). Additionally, while our hosts were hospitable and nice and we met some other kind strangers, Sri Lanka is most certainly where people made us feel most uncomfortable. Pretty much the second we arrived I was ready to hop on a plane somewhere else. I tried to convince Kyle that we should just get a new flight to Eastern Europe and skip the rest of Sri Lanka and Lebanon but he reminded me that not only did we have flights purchased but our next flight was Emirates. Dang it. It really made me wish that we hadn’t gotten all of our tickets in advance but it was necessary because of the housesit. The last thing we didn’t like (aside from other things mentioned- like the way people drove and the bugs) was most of the food in the south. The one good thing about the Colombo area was that it had some good Indian food. We can’t say the same of the south (or at least we didn’t find it). The food was fine, if you were in the mood for it. We were rarely in the mood for it. It also did not seem very varied. Honestly, even their watermelon was somehow not very good! I thought the roti and the daal were decent but not memorable. Because we did not have a full kitchen, this meant for food we would have our breakfast (I could write a bit about this but won’t, at least here), wait as long as we could but before it got dark and go to a more western place (meaning it had other options- like pasta, pizza, etc.), eat a meal there, and then snack the rest of the night on chocolate bars, fruit, and peanut butter. The western places were a bit more expensive so we could only have one meal at them per day. We could have just sucked it up and eaten Sri Lankan food which was very cheap but we just weren’t that fond of it. As much as it sounds like it Sri Lanka was not all bad. In the end we did have some great experiences there (see some of the highlights). I also might have enjoyed it more had I been more prepared and had we gone at a time I felt like going to the country. Also, probably if we had more money to spend there.
8. Activity Planning and Stress. Calling Kyle out a little. I made 3 economically similar-in-terms-of- flights-routes from Bangkok To Cyprus (necessary because of our housesit). I was happy with 2 of them. I had anxiety about one of the plans- I was concerned about the internet in Indonesia and Sri Lanka (for work) among a few other things, I was fearful about the idea of going to Lebanon- but it was the plan Kyle wanted. We both threw fits about getting our plans but he did a better job. Or perhaps he is just immune to mine.  He said he would plan the activities for every location after this point (we were in Bangkok). I was rather tired of doing all the activity planning for us at this point. I mean, I like it, but I had been doing it for about 6 months at this time and it really takes away from my time for, you know, actually doing work. I very much wanted to take a break so while I did not want to do that plan, I agreed.
Now, once we began on his route I found that at times, Kyle’s idea of activity planning can be searching the name of the city, seeing the first couple things that pop up and then wandering around and hoping both that he/we eventually stumble upon these things and that they happen to be open at whatever time we arrive. And here is a spoiler: sometimes we never even find the activities he plans (though we may end up seeing something we wouldn’t have otherwise which is nice) and other times he chooses to go somewhere on the only day an activity is closed and it is a long walk there! Of course this meant I did not get my route, had to move often, and in the end still had to have a large hand in most of the activity-planning, aside from finding him jobs which leaves very little time for myself!! I will give him credit for his successful days of planning, including our Temple route in Bangkok and some activities in Yogyakarta. He did contribute some, but not in the way he originally agreed. Needless to say, I will not be taking any more of his bargains and I intend to make all of the travel decisions for the rest of the year (with Kyle’s approval). It is not that things did not work out fine, it is that I had to deal with more anxiety/stress and work than I would have preferred.
9. Airbnbs Canceling on Us. First an Airbnb in Beirut cancelled on us. Then our Airbnb in Bcharre was removed from the website. I told Kyle, this is a sign! We are not meant to go! And started showing him the most affordable alternatives. Instead, he thought it would be best to book 2 new ones. Well one of these almost had to cancel on us too! It all worked out but I have to say it was stressful because I did not want to get stuck having to find a random hotel there considering both safety issues and the fact that Lebanon was the most expensive country we had visited at this point (Cyprus is probably comparable).
10. People taking our window seats! On our flight from Dubai to Beirut we noticed that as we walked down the isles there were a number of arguments going on related to people taking seats. Well, when we arrived to our seats, there was a woman sitting in Kyle’s window seat. Then, on our flight from Beirut to Larnaca, there was a man in mine. I tried talking loudly about how angry I was that he was in my seat but it did no good. I made Kyle sit by him. It would have been a very nice scenic view had I had my proper seat.
Honorable mentions: stepping on cow poop, losing hairbands, mold covering all of our bags in Weligama, the Colombo place smelled a little bit like paint, the bus to did not bring us to our Airbnb, I was feeling sick when arrived in Cyprus, and more.

Weird/Interesting:
WEIRDINTERESTING- wall in Beirut

I won’t elaborate on most of them, but here are some of the random things we encountered/experienced this month.
1. A Surprise. Someone accidentally shoveled concrete into the bathroom window while I was peeing.
2. Just don’t offer it, then. A man on the train to Weligama repeatedly offered me his seat on the train only to stand and constantly sigh and act tired until I offered it back to him.
3. Engagement. Our host in Weligama told Kyle one night that he would be getting engaged the next day. The next day some of his family came over. When we asked where his fiance was he said she would be down from somewhere in a few months. We couldn’t find much information on the internet about how the whole thing works. They offered us some cake.
4. Doorbells. At our place in Bcharre, there were buttons for the doorbell just about everywhere. I got a little irritated a couple times because Kyle enjoys pressing every button and trying every switch he sees and here a lot of things made the doorbell ring. I have strayed away from such behavior ever since I got shocked in Hanoi looking for the wifi router. I, myself did accidentally pressed a doorbell button a couple times, though (one was near the bathroom light switch and appeared as though it could have been the light switch.)
5. Maybe all that time in Asia rubbed off on us? Someone in Lebanon asked if we were from Japan. When we said no, they asked if we were from the UK. Closer.
6. A Trend. At first we thought this was a random occurrence, but now we have noticed it a few times. At at least a couple of the airports we’ve been to we have seen large groups of Chinese people doing last minute packing. It usually looks as though they did just a little too much last-minute shopping and are trying to do some re-arranging. In Sri Lanka they pretty much covered the floor area around us with their suitcases. It was really more entertaining than bothersome.
7. Men Wearing Skirts Sarongs. Somewhat interesting as a westerner. Many of the men in Sri Lanka (and we also noticed this rather often in Indonesia- particularly on Java) seem to wear sarongs as casual clothing.
8. Cows. Everywhere. I mean, that’s pretty much all there is to it. We saw cows everywhere in Sri Lanka. At the beach, near the houses, and just wandering the streets.
9. Cats Eating Things. Our first Airbnb host in Sri Lanka seemed devastated when Kyle told him his cat brought in and ate a squirrel (I told him he shouldn’t have told him!). Kyle has also seen one of the cats in Cyprus bring in a bird (which upset him- I didn’t see it happen) and a dragonfly. Did you know that cats are actually responsible for the extinction of multiple species and sometimes catch endangered creatures? I will just note that it is really one reason (among many) to keep cats indoors, or at least get them fixed so they do not produce more kitties which depend on food outside. Now, it is healthy for them to have meat but you can also feed it to them.
Now, keeping a cat indoors is not always very reasonable or possible and we acknowledge this as well. The cats at our current place originate as feral cats, the house has a more open style, and there are seven of them. The house in Sri Lanka was also pretty open and it was necessary to keep doors and windows open to let in a breeze. It is good and helpful that these kitties are being offered food and shelter and probably do less hunting because of it. All of these cats (and the one in Sri Lanka) are also fixed which helps keep down the feral population. They also probably get more exercise than the average house cat and may help prevent snakes from getting in (though I do worry about the kitties getting hurt too!)
10. American Politics. People are talking about it everywhere. You will actually find some interesting variation in preference among international people because they don’t feel the need to stick to a party. For example, our host in Ja-Ela loves Reagan, Bush Sr, and Hillary Clinton, hates Bush Jr., and doesn’t like Trump. Our host in Beirut said he thought Trump was funny. I won’t write more in case we decide to do a post on this topic.

Firsts
FIRSTS- safari

First time getting pickpocketed
First time filing police report
Our first time in a country US department advises against
First motorbike accident/First time hitting a pig
First time with no A/C since traveling
Kyle’s first time in Europe
Kyle’s first time in the Mediterranean
First time negotiating a lower Airbnb price

Budget
BUDGET- seen in Weligama

It was yet another slightly more costly month (or is this just standard now?) at $1944.41. It’s really because all of the constant moving, though. Take away our transportation costs and the total would have been $1281. (Also note: we actually did pay for the plane tickets and most of the Airbnb costs a previous month so that second number is actually a little closer to describing what we actually spent this month). Anyway, when we were in Korea we were actually able to get by on about $850/month which was nice and only about $50 of that was spent on transportation per month. The benefits of both house-sitting and staying in one place (as well as staying in cheap places- look at our roundups from Vietnam/Malaysia) certainly have their benefits.
Accommodation: This was a somewhat interesting month for accommodation. We had our most expensive nightly stay and our cheapest (tied with one or two others). We spent one night at the airport/airports so we didn’t book anything that day/night and also spent the last week of the month housesitting. All costs listed include the added Airbnb fees. We started off the month in the place we ended it in May- Ja-Ela (2 nights at $20/night), then moved to Weligama (14 nights at $10.92/night- it was $10 before fees), headed back up to the Colombo area where we had found a nice place to ourselves for $15 for the night, stayed at the airport the next day (free), made it to Bcharre ($37 a night for 3 nights), then to Beirut ($27/night for 2 nights) and finally, spent the last week of June in Cyprus (free).
Now, when we initially looked at Lebanon, I thought it was on the expensive side and it was (for us), but we did find a place in Bcharre for $20/night and a place in Beirut for somewhere around $23/night. It was more than we usually pay but it would be for a short time and we would be housesitting for the last week which would help balance costs. Because they both cancelled (see lowlights) I was thinking it seemed a bit financially (aside from the other reasons) unreasonable for us to go there because at this point we had trouble finding anything below $50/night. I had recently been talking about the idea of negotiating with Airbnbs for prices in the future and Kyle decided this was a good time. He managed to make a compromise with one of our hosts. I have to say, while we couldn’t have afforded it, once we arrived we decided it was definitely worth it’s original price, if not more. Anyway, so the total amount we spent on accommodation for the month was $374. It definitely helped that our place in Weligama was affordable (which was one of many factors which led us there) and that we spent 1 week of the month house-sitting.
Food: We spent a total of $411 on food this month. That is exactly the same as last month. We were not able too cook for about half the month and also had a couple more expensive meals out but were also provided with some food for free: breakfast in Ja-Ela and Weligama, various foods in Lebanon, and a few meals in Cyprus.
Transportation: We spent $663 on transportation for the month (also nearly exactly the same as last month) which was made up of $331 ($165/person) for the flight from Colombo to Beirut (with a layover in Dubai), $167 for the flight from Beirut to Larnaca, $110 on taxis and tuk tuks, $6.41 on 3 train rides for 2, $12.30 on a couple days of renting a motorbike, $18.60 on bus rides, and $17.84 on gas. While we won’t have any flights, taxis, etc. during our time in Cyprus, we will still have to be careful because gas here is expensive.
Activity: A large percentage of our activity total comes from our safari. It was a big activity which we discussed a great deal before deciding yes. I will discuss more reasons for our choice once I/we write about the safari but we think it was worth it. Other activities we did this month (which cost money) included renting a surf board in Sri Lanka, visiting the Cedars of God, going to the Kadisha Grotto, and visiting the Archaeological Park in Paphos. The total cost was $101.46
Miscellaneous: This was a pretty big section this month. We lost money when Kyle was pickpocketed, spent some money on gifts (Father’s Day, parent’s bdays, etc.- though used a little bit of a gift card which I’m not counting), bought more postcard credits, bought a new pair of sunglasses (mine flew away- the replacement was about $6), needed more ibuprofen, paid for new paint for the motorbike we rented which got a little scratched (also something like $6), had a small fee for storage for our packs in the train station when we were walking around in Colombo, were charged a fee for the re-issuing one of Kyle’s stolen cards, etc. The total was $217.84.
Regular Expenses: $171 for Kyle’s car insurance, Creative Cloud subscription, Google Drive Storage, Netflix, Storage back home, etc.
Fees: $6.11 for ATM fees (we only used the ATM once) and transaction fees for the cards.

Work
Work in Liban

Kyle: My work this month has not gone as well as I’d hoped. It was actually my worst month ever for income. My large animation project has dragged on a bit longer than intended (though I am happy to say it is nearing completion and should be delivered this upcoming month) and thus no payment from that client. I did manage to complete two projects: a band logo and a t-shirt design. Unfortunately, that is all that I got paid for this month. Other clients have been an issue. One did not like the design I provided and has requested a redraw which has left me at a creative dead-end, but thankfully is not time sensitive. One client has been dragging me along, asking for redesign, after redesign but providing no feedback aside from providing me the Oprah logo and saying they like that – 7 designs in and I’ve told them they need to provide actual feedback before I do anything more for them. Another client has gotten busy themselves and has kept me in limbo for nearly a month after I provided them an initial animation that they didn’t quite like – I’ve sent in storyboards for a new idea but have yet to receive feedback on that. One potential client that did not work out, brought me through an extensive interview process, and then asked that I “audition” by creating a 15 second lip-synch animation and create a character from scratch – I politely declined as the “audition” would have required over 40 hours of work, been unpaid, and still not guaranteed the job that did not pay a large amount to begin with. And a final potential client has brought me through a long interview process, but has not yet gotten back to me after an initial design consult. So this month has for me, been a lot of work that has resulted in pretty much nothing – quite aggravating to say the least.
Briana: Thankfully, my own work/projects went alright this month (but always could have been much better) but I think it’s also worth mentioning that Kyle took a break from work for a week and a half and I only semi- took part in this break. Kyle planned for a “vacation” in Lebanon because our time there would be limited (and we thought we wouldn’t have internet), but between our time prior being so busy and then not really being able to work the first few days in Cyprus, this got extended. He also really needs a full set up to work for his drawing pad, laptop, etc. whereas I just need my lap and wifi (and not even always) so I can work more easily at places like the airport (which I did for 10 hrs). Kyle also contributed a lot more to the blog, putting up all of his own posts. Also, it was very hard to work this month between the power outages, dealing with various problems (like the wallet), being consumed with the Orlando tragedy (where we went to college), etc. I did try to relax a little as well in Lebanon, if you can call it that (and really out of necessity from exhaustion) but still did work.

Health and Fitness
HEALTHANDFITNESS- candy bars

I mentioned my various pains in the lowlights so I’ll just mention nutrition and activity.
Nutrition: Particularly in Weligama, we did not eat the best. We did have a fair bit of tea and fruit, but by the end I was almost getting tired of sugar. Yes, me! I almost have to wonder if the poor diet is at all responsible for some of my abdominal pains. We could get small chocolate bars for about $0.20 and regular-sized ones for about $0.68 so we tended to stock up on those as meal supplements (along with fruit). The meals we did have out were fairly decent but not as well-rounded as when we cook for ourselves. I often found myself getting meals like the toast and fries which doesn’t provide a whole lot of nutritional value. We finally got dairy in Lebanon and took our fair share of it in the form of yoghurt and cheese. We are not sure if the yoghurt in Lebanon was really delicious or if we were just in dire need of some of the nutrients in it but we could not stop eating it! Now that we are in Cyprus and have a full kitchen and place to ourselves we’re able to eat a more rounded diet.
Activity: We did get quite a bit of activity! We did a lot of walking/hiking carrying all of our stuff (2 large backpacks, 2 medium packs/bags, a ukulele, sometimes food bags, etc.) and even more without it. We walked a couple miles (there and back) to get food and look at the coast (the restaurants were pretty much on the beach) pretty much every day in Weligama in addition to all the walking we did exploring the town (and others). We walked/hiked over 20km (total) during our few days in Bcharre and also did a fair bit of walking in Beirut. So far we’ve only done a little bit of walking/exploring in Cyprus but we plan to do more.

Media Consumed
MEDIACONSUMED- at the beach

Tv shows/movies/podcasts: Because the internet is limited in Sri Lanka (I’ll elaborate on this in a later post) and because we were busy outdoors during most of our time in Lebanon (and the internet was also not perfectly reliable), we were not really able to watch any shows. We did watch two episodes of the John Oliver show (Kyle particularly wanted to and at least 1 of these occasions was in Cyprus) and listened to 1 podcast episode.
Books: We both read Sandstorm in my Heart (a fairly short read) by Faith Mortimer on the Kindle. We are housesitting for her so we had to try out one of her books! We started with the free one but may try out some more books of her’s as well. She writes in a few genres including mystery, psychological thriller, and romance. In addition to this, Kyle finished up The Time Machine and I finished The Secret Garden (both on the Kindle). I also just got started on another book.

See you next month!

END- colorful stairs in Beirut

Our First International Housesit

~K + B~

A few months under a year ago, we were sitting in our recently packed up apartment in San Jose, Kyle having been laid off and starting to get into freelancing, but really we were trying to figure out what to do when we were confirmed for our first international housesit. We really wanted to go abroad and had considered teaching english but when we got this housesit in Korea we were very grateful. We had cared for the pets and houses of friends, family, and friends of family in the past, but this felt a lot more significant. It would be 3 months in country we had never been to with 2 dogs and a turtle we hadn’t met. 

When we arrived in October of last year, we felt very lucky. Our transition to South Korea was easier than we thought and we loved the town, having our own place (it had been a long time, despite being a couple and married) and just being somewhere new. We had done a lot of research about Korea before we moved to California because we were considering teaching English even long before this and had gotten very excited over the years about the idea of going there at all. While we did local hikes and outings in the beautiful bay area which we really enjoyed, we really had no ability to travel further because of our work and finances up until this point. Though we didn’t know what would be next at the time, this housesit was really the kickstart to our travels and a big enabler for us. It was a wonderful starting place and so far, as a result of the country and our experiences there, Korea is probably our favorite place so far. It’s funny because now when we run into any sort of potential problem, one of our first thoughts is, let’s go back to Korea. Even though we were only there a few months, it’s almost like a new second home. The country is cheaper than the US, and in some ways more modern as well. It’s also beautiful and interesting with lots of different things to do. I (Briana- we both wrote this article) love that it has seasons. 

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Our travels may seem like just vacationing around the globe, and to an extent that is something we’d like to accomplish (who wouldn’t?) But don’t be fooled, we work quite a lot. Aside from maintaining an income through freelancing (our work), our stay in South Korea was a bit of work too (like snuggling with dogs hehe, just kidding, there is a little more to it than that.) 

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While we now often use AirBNB, and it certainly offers a different type of experience, our preferred method of stay is through House Sitting. It is exactly what it sounds like – we watch someone’s house while they are away. Often times, there are pets that need to be watched and taken care of in the mean time too (though not always). So the trade-off is we take care of the house and pets in exchange for “free” room and board. Our preferences for this method are pretty obvious: free rent, a private home with use of facilities, and some nice animals to spend time with. I think it’s good for house-owners too because usually it costs a bit of money to pay someone to come and feed their pets and give them walks and even then, they don’t get the same amount of attention that they would from a house-sitter. If you are curious, the site we used to find this house sit is called Trusted Housesitters. If you sign up with this link, you can get a 20% discount joining. 

Our first international house sit was in Songtan, South Korea – roughly an hour and half south of Seoul by train.

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We took care of a small apartment, two dogs: Oliver and Muffin, and a turtle named Shelly. Oliver and Muffin were pretty lovable dogs, very easy to want to pet and play with, and Oliver especially was full of energy. Of course, they each had their own personalities and demands, and could get quite jealous of each other. Solution: keep them in your lap. Sometimes we would each take one but there were also times that one would get in Kyle’s lap and then the other one would also demand his lap so they would sit on top of each other. They could get a little distracting at times from work, but it’s hard to complain too much with a nice warm dog in your lap to keep you company. 

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The dogs also, of course, demanded a walk three times a day, and considering that Oliver was a very energetic dachshund, he needed a thorough walk, and he loved the snow which meant a little extra care bundling up for the walks.

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Sometimes, the dogs would get dirty so a bath would be needed but Oliver especially did quite well with the baths. 

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Oliver was also  shameless with food, though, so we had to be careful about him pulling against his harness and grabbing literally everything off the street while we took him for a walk. And if we went out for a long day excursion, we could unfortunately expect to come home to an accident on the floor to clean up. We used potty pads, but sometimes they.. missed a little. 

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But we did enjoy them sleeping with us and providing a little extra warmth through the cold nights. Oliver enjoyed burrowing under the covers while muffin enjoyed laying next to us or by our feet. And also, the company of dogs can always bring you joy.  Both dogs required eye drops, which was not as big a chore as I expected, but still something to consider.

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Oliver also liked to keep our feet warm when we were standing or sitting.

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Shelley was pretty easy to care for though (and pretty to look at), she just needed to have food when she was in the water every other day, a light cleaning of the tank, and making sure it was warm. Unfortunately her platform kept falling in the water, so we had to fix that constantly, but other than that she was easy. We also researched her kind more (Chinese Golden Threat Turtle) and learned a little more about turtles in the process. We tried feeding her foods that turtles like such as lettuce and grapes but she rejected them all in preference of her dry turtle food. We thought about adding a little more decoration to her tank but often forgot to look when we were out and weren’t sure what would be okay. 

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The apartment, while small, also required maintenance – like any residence – and it certainly opened our eyes to living as a local in Korea. Humidity is high in Korea, and the Ondol heating system doesn’t dry out the air the way heating units in the US do, so we had to open windows to allow moisture and clean the windows as needed. Mold can be a problem in Korea, so we had to really stay on top of our game to make sure that everything was kept clean. Plus Oliver sheds a bit. In general, we felt highly motivated to keep everything in order, both because it was our first house-sit through this website, and also simply because someone had entrusted all of us in our care and allowed us to stay there. 

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And of course, we had to learn to live with all the little things that go with living in a different country. The bathroom was a little chilly in the winter – so we opted to take the occasional baths in a tub in the kitchen, adding a little boiling water to heat the water just right.

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With only a washing machine and no dryer, we had to hang dry laundry throughout the apartment. Personally I (Briana) don’t mind this at all and have a little more experience with it but hang drying was a pretty new phenomenon to Kyle (even though they do it in most of the world it seems). 

The Ondol (heating system) broke once while we were there, resulting in us living a couple very cold days while we got it fixed. Luckily the landlord did bring a small space heater that helped in the meantime. Overall, not a big deal though it would have been moreso later in the winter.  A light went out in the bathroom, so I/Kyle spent an afternoon figuring out where to buy a spare light and then installing it. The keypad that serves as the door-lock started running out of batteries and acting up, which required a quick fix from us as well.

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The kitchen required some innovative thinking for preparing full meals in a timely manner. Not to mention, we had to figure out how to make do with available food ingredients from the grocer down the street. That was actually pretty fun as we were able to try out some new foods and explore a foreign grocery store (though there were plenty of familiar items). 

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While we certainly ran into a few hiccups here and there, it was truly an amazing experience, and the work we put in to maintain the apartment and pets was totally worth it for the opportunity to see and live in Korea as a local. We had plenty of upsides: close proximity to several parks, ready access to the Metro system, and even got to experience snow during the holidays.

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We enjoyed our house sit, and though we were ready to experience a new place (and warmth at the time), we certainly miss our time house sitting in Songtan and those little furballs (and turtle). Staying here and watching them made Korea feel almost like a new second home to us.

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And in a little over 2 months we will have another international housesit: Cyprus with 7 cats!! We’re pretty excited.

The Pink Cathedral

~K~

During our time in Ho Chi Minh, we made a quick stop by the Tan Dinh Church, also known as the Pink Cathedral. You can find the church situated at 289 Hai Ba Trung street, in District 3 of Ho Chi Minh City.

The Pink Cathedral

The church was constructed in the 1880s during the French colonial period and features architecture in the Roman style. It belongs to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of HCM so it would make sense. While not originally pink, the church underwent renovations in 1957 and was painted a salmon pink outside, and a strawberries and cream pink inside.

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Tan Dinh Church is the second largest church in Ho Chi Minh (only behind the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica in District 1).

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When we visited, we were not able to take a tour inside the facility to see the main hall. However, we could see inside just a little bit from the gated doors. We would have liked to go inside as it also featured the nice pink color but we enjoyed walking around the grounds.

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It probably would have been neat to experience a service there but we likely wouldn’t have been able to understand the language, anyway.The surrounding grounds, while not particularly expansive, are well decorated and feature multiple stelles and statues depicting various angels, the Virgin Mary, Disciples, and Jesus. We found a few people catching an afternoon nap here as well. It appeared that people were preparing some stands for Tet, which was a few days away.

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Happy Tet

Link

~B~

Summary of January 2016:
Chillin by the pool

This is the first real, detailed round-up, and the first month of the new year since we just combined the first 10 months. We spent the first week of the month finishing our housesit in South Korea. The week was mostly spent sending a few things home, making sure everything was in order, repacking, and working, with a couple outings including a trip to a Korean bath house. While we greatly enjoyed our time there, we were also ready to go somewhere warm.
Next, we headed to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia where Kyle had an interview with an animation studio. The job did not work out but we stayed in the country/city for 3 weeks. The KL area is very international and pretty modern. It reminded me of Florida, maybe Orlando (unfortunately, including the not so great things like traffic, bad drivers, and the lack of decent public transportation). We had access to many more of the types of things we are used to from back home, though (like affordable candy).
After our 3 weeks there, we made our way to our next destination: Vietnam. This was the first decision we made since the others were at least partially decided for us. We were really debating between Thailand and Vietnam and could go to either for the same price (minus the Visa fees for Vietnam) but ultimately decided this was our next destination. Neither our transportation to Malaysia, nor that to Vietnam went smoothly, but we did make it in one piece with all of our things. After arriving in Vietnam, we really felt like we were in Asia.

Where We’ve Been this month:

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1 week in Songtan (with visits to Seoul) / South Korea / Housesit with some little doggies (well, one of them is a little chubby) and a turtle
3 weeks in Petaling Jaya (with trips to Kuala Lumpur) / Malaysia / Airbnb
5 days in Ho Chi Minh City / Vietnam / Airbnb

Distance traveled by airplane: 5,615km, or around 3500 miles.

Number of Times Briana got Food Poisoning: 2 (4 total on the travels)

Highlights:
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1. Our Seoul City Wall hike, while tiring for me because I was sick, was a great last outing in Korea. It incorporates hiking, views, history, and culture.
2. The Malls in Malaysia. They are fantastic! They are all over the place and have tons of cheap (and expensive) food options from all over the world and are (mostly) very classy. Kuala Lumpur has a couple of the largest malls in the world. Article to come. Also a highlight, I got a piece of cheesecake at one of these malls.
3. The Infinity Pools (and other pools) at our Airbnb. There were 4 pool areas at this place and they were all resort-style looking and we had a great time taking advantage of our access to them. It cost us around $13/night but I can’t imagine how much it would have cost in the US. Also a nice thing when we got to Malaysia: being able to put toilet paper in the toilet again!
4.Various outings in Malaysia: The Batu Caves were really neat! I found it so interesting and learned about science, culture, history, etc. I even got a shot of a monkey with an ice cream cone! The Bird Park was a really nice outing. It was really cool how many peacocks we got to see walking about and we had interactions with parrots and saw all kinds of other birds. The same day as the bird park, we visited the National Mosque which was a surprisingly really neat activity. I am not saying I did not think it would be neat because I planned for us to do it but I enjoyed putting on the purple robe (which I did not know was a part of the visit until we got there) and walking around. The views were fantastic and the grounds were interesting and pretty. Malaysia is a Muslim country so I think it is a good experience to have there.
5. Some of the architecture in Kuala Lumpur was really interesting!
6. Some of the food in Malaysia. For me, especially the Thai food. Yum!
7. It only cost me about $3 to develop my film!! I can live with that!
8. Great sunset views both at our place in Malaysia and in Vietnam.
9. Surprise, a place to ourselves again: We thought we would be staying with a couple for our first Airbnb in Vietnam but it was actually a studio apartment which was great!
10. All the new fruit we had the opportunity to try upon arriving in Vietnam including dragonfruit and various types of apples.

Lowlights:
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1. I had a pretty bad cold our last week in Korea. Luckily a cheap medicine from the 7/11 helped me in clearing that up.
2. The plane ride, when I was recovering from my cold involved me being shaking, having a headache, and throwing up in a plastic bag I had reserved for carrying extra clothes. I had Quiznos at the airport (it was one of the only vegetarian options and I was desperately wanting a sandwich) so I assume something must have been wrong with my sandwich. It was not a fun flight and this was also not my first time getting sick from food in Korea.
3. Once we arrived in Malaysia, our taxi driver did not know how to find out Airbnb and drove around for a long time calling various people which concerned us, but eventually he dropped us off in the complex which we came to find was quite large. We also realized that we had no way to contact our host and he was clearly no where in sight. It was past midnight at this point so we had sort of resolved to just sleeping outside but after about twenty minutes our host came out. Luckily, we just happened to be dropped off in front of his building (and there are many buildings).
4. Not being able to cook. At first, Malaysia seemed great for food but after a while this was not true. The primary reason for this was because so little was within walking distance and we did not have the ability to cook, especially after our host’s mom arrived. We tried to make baked potatoes once and she got angry that we got the sponge dirty cleaning afterwards. We were only able to cook two other times during our 3 weeks there: once before she was there, and once when she was away and our host told us to go for it before she came back.
5. Speaking of, I got sick again. The one meal Kyle made me (aside from potatoes a couple times) left me up all night with a headache and throwing up. Now, I have always thought that this was food poisoning though Kyle tells me there must be a diarrhea element to it. In this case I guess that foods must just trigger migraines for me because this never seems to accompany what I always think is food poisoning, though I still think it is just my version of it. I think Kyle forgot to peel the carrots and that was the root of my sickness.
6. Tired of using taxis: While we are happy Uber exists, we got pretty tired of having to rely on the service. We often faced difficulties with it, drivers who couldn’t find us or canceled, drivers who would take twenty minutes to get there, issues with the actual app, etc. At least we didn’t get scammed by a taxi, though. Uber sort of protects you from that aside from generally being already cheaper. When we went to the airport though we found we had to wait nearly an hour for any drivers to even be available, though and fares were up. This is probably because this is a second job for most people so they don’t drive until after work.
7. The trip from Malaysia to Vietnam. *sigh* I will make this a few points. We arrived at the airport (with the Uber driver dropping us off a bit farther than I would have preferred from the doors but whatever we just said fine) and looked around for a while and could not find Air Asia. We dropped our stuff off and Kyle sat with it while I looked more. We were already running a little behind schedule because we had to wait so long for a driver to be available. I could not find Air Asia. I let Kyle have a turn and he told me that Air Asia is a part of Malaysia Airlines. I said, “No it is not.” He said, “Yes, it is.” Someone told him. Well whatever, I just followed him to the line where we waited for a while while people in front of us were doing up dog carriers and things and finally we get up there and guess what? It is not a part of Malaysia Airlines. Well, great. Now we look around more and someone else directs us somewhere else. Eventually, we discover that the KL airport has two locations and we are at the wrong one. It is the same airport, just different sections. So now we must find the shuttle (which costs money! Though it is like $0.50 but still!! who does that??) to the other part of the airport. We have to wait for a while for the next shuttle to come which we realize is simply part of regular transportation because they actually don’t have a shuttle for their own airport. We bide our time complaining about the airport and various things about Malaysia and make our way to the other one (KLIA 2) where we face more issues.
8. Once we arrived to KLIA 2, we could not find our flight listed anywhere. There was only one section for Air Asia and it was for domestic flights. We wandered around before asking someone and they told us to go to the far end (some number). Well that directed us to the Air Asia domestic flight area. So I go back and tell them this and they say it is just all combined now. Well that is convenient that you label is domestic flights and only list domestic flights yet our international flight is also there.They need to get their s*** together. We proceeded to wait in a line that appeared to be short but took quite a while.
Next we come to the next just ridiculous thing about the airport. You know how you normally go through security and then you are free to eat and go find your terminal and wander, etc. Well that is not the case here. They have a bunch of different security things dividing each section. So basically you leave everything you would want to check out once you go into security. And if you went into the wrong area accidentally because you read it as 5 instead of 15 well then you would be going through security in and then out and then in the correct one. We were starving and had access to barely any food at this point. We also then had to go through another checkpoint to get to the waiting area for our flight. And then we had to sit here because we couldn’t leave and there was no bathroom down there! Jeez. Also, the air tickets and passports get checked like four times more on the way to the plane. I mean I guess that is good security but is it really necessary? All it does is make me worry as to the reasons they think that is necessary. I complained a bit loudly about it and they skipped me (just me) on a couple of them, though. “Just go.” LOL.
9. When our taxi driver dropped us off at the Airbnb in Vietnam, we were not sure we were at the right place. He just dropped us off in a general area and said it is here and we hoped it was right. On another note, he didn’t have to use a GPS or call anyone which was nice. Finally a taxi driver who actually knows geography the area he works in, what a concept (at least it would have been in Malaysia). Well we were carrying lots of packs in a country we had never been before, and had to navigate our way down various alleyways the car wouldn’t have fit down to eventually find the correct building. No one was there when we arrived but luckily there were some neighbors who knew why we were there and helped us out. I guess this could be a highlight or a lowlight. I have trouble calling it a highlight, though.
10. Realizing the grocery store was quite a walk from our first Airbnb. If you forget something, well, oh well.

Firsts:
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Us:
First Airbnb stay!
First Uber ride in a foreign country.
First time in SE Asia.
First visit to a Mosque
(We also finished the first international housesit).
Briana:
First time in an infinity pool.
First time wearing a hijab.
First time drinking out of a coconut.
Kyle:
First (actual) animation studio interview.
First international interview.

Budget:
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So normally, I lovee doing the budget every month. Not this month. I kept putting it off and when I did go to do it, it took longer than everrr. This is partly because I was dealing with a big mix of cards, cash, and (the big one) currency. We spent dollars, ringgit, won, and dong. Not everything added up just perfectly but, you know what, whatever. This was a good month for us earnings-wise, because we did earn a little bit more than we spent. Sadly, that is an achievement for us. (Don’t worry, we don’t have any credit card debt or anything like that, just cannot save every month.) We spent around $1340 total for this month for both of us. While we were in California, our earnings pretty much matched our spendings. If you only considered Kyle’s income, it would have been negative most months but if you combine our incomes, it tended to even out with some months earning more and some months spending more (particularly near the end). Rent and utilities took up about 75 percent of Kyle’s paycheck and he was the one with the larger paycheck so we didn’t have a ton left for other things. Yet, here we are, barely making the cost of rent and utilities there, and being able to travel to 3 different countries in a month, drink at cafes (~$1), visit restaurants (sometimes as low as $2), go to museums (as low as $1 for both) etc. Wow! Our dollar really stretches far.
Accommodation: We did not have any rent to pay in Korea because we were house-sitting which was nice. We had already paid for our first two weeks of staying in Malaysia in December ($209) but we paid $95 for extending our stay 1 week. We may do a country breakdown later in regards to budgets/finances. We paid for our first two weeks in Vietnam this month ($157) but only five days of the two weeks were in January. Thus if you count simply the cost for us to stay where we did this month, our “rent” was $360 for the month (of course that is with a week of staying for free in Korea). If you look instead at what we paid this month on accommodation (what goes into the monthly budget), it was $252. If you factor in our storage from back home ($85) these numbers would be $445 and $337. We were lucky to not have to pay for accommodation when we were in Florida and Korea but this month that changed. If you compare these numbers to renting in the US, they are quite low, especially if you add in utilities which we have not had to pay while traveling. No electric, water, gas, etc. so pretty good deal.
Food: We spent $66 on food and drinks our last week in Korea which is including one last outing for Kyle at the meat buffet. In Malaysia we spent $68 on groceries (including buying water because the tap water isn’t drinkable). This was mostly snack foods since we couldn’t really cook. We spent $209 on food and drink out during our 3 weeks there. Eating out this much was a really new concept for us. It was definitely nice but we did wish we were closer to our favorite places and for the ability to cook. In Vietnam we spent $48 in groceries and $26 on food and drink out. This was for a total of $417. Not bad for too people but this is kind of bad because it is not that dissimilar to the amount we spend in the US on food per month (less, but not so much less) and the food is way cheaper here.
Transportation (in cities): We spent $5 on transportation our last week in Korea. In Malaysia, we spent $130 on Uber and taxis. Yikes! That is a lot! Some of the rides were as low as $3 but they really add up I guess. We walked as much as we could, but like we said, it was not easy to get around Petaling Jaya and KL and we did not have access to much within walking distance. Our taxis from the airport to Airbnb and back were the most expensive because the airport was quite far. In fact, they cost a similar amount to our air tickets which I found for around $20 before all of the fees and baggage costs. We spent $9 on a taxi in Vietnam. Total: $144 In comparing this to the amount of gas we would spend in the month in the US, it is hard to say. It depended on where we were, how much we were going out, if we did any big outings, how far work was, how much gas was, etc. but it is not an unreasonable amount for two people to spend on gas in a month. It is much more than we were spending on transportation in Korea, though. I miss Korea.
Transportation (between cities): Our plane tickets from Malaysia to Vietnam were $75 after fees and baggage fees. Air Asia was running a promo and we snatched up those tickets.
Business/Work Expenses: $35 (Google Drive storage and Creative Cloud)
Entertainment/Activities: $8 for Netflix, $34 for outings in Malaysia (including the cat cafe, museum, and bird park), $1.35 for a museum in Vietnam for a total of $44 on having fun!
Visa and Entrance Fees: $60 for the visa on arrival (ordered online) and $50 for the stamping fees ($25 each). Total: $110. One of the reasons we were actually looking at doing Vietnam over Thailand was because of the Visa process. It is far easier for Thailand. What?? What I mean is, we wanted to visit both but decided to get the more expensive and complicated one out of the way first. It is free to enter Thailand for 30 days. We did choose to stay for 3 months as opposed to one which made it a little bit more but they had also lowered the prices a bit in effort to boost tourism. Plus we had actually been thinking of going to Vietnam after South Korea before Kyle got a job interview in Malaysia.
ATM Fees: $2 in Korea, $10 in Malaysia and $5 in Vietnam for a total of $17 (so high and sad! I really wish the no fees card I had applied for went through before we left).
Miscellaneous: $161 (sending 3 packages home, 11 months of birth control, cold medicine, water on the plane, getting film developed, renting a leg cover at the caves buying bowls and cups to use in Vietnam, putting a small bit of into my not-so-well funded IRA (since we were positive this month), small amounts of foreign currency we saved/didn’t get a chance to use, credits to possibly send post-cards, and more.) Kyle did not have any car insurance to pay this month because of USAA giving money to its customers or something like that.

Work:
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We had pretty much given up on the idea of Kyle being paid this month for one project he had been pretty much finished with for months and we had been expecting to be completed in November and then December and, what do you know, still not finished. The person supplying the work went on vacation, then the actual client went on vacation, then they got back to him telling him two minor changes but then take two weeks to even give him the information he needs to make the change and then took as long to give feedback and provide what was needed for the other change. Quite annoying. As another project began to come to a close, the person was suddenly, constantly “out of town” and unable to give feedback regularly. It is coming slowly, though and contact with neither had stopped.
We did get Kyle started on a new project and client/potential work-doler-outer who is nice and we hope he can continue to get some work from him. He also had a small project up finishing up a t-shirt design for someone’s family reunion and also got a downpayment for an animation project he will probably be working on for several months and a 3d model he is working on.
I continued on with my writing. One of my clients said they will not need anything else until May but a different one added a new weekly writing assignment for me.

Health and Fitness:
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Nutrition: Unfortunately we were not able to cook much in Malaysia (where we spent the majority of the month) but luckily a lot of the food there is relatively healthy. It certainly wasn’t perfect since we were limited in our options. There were a few days I had several peanut butter sandwiches, ice cream, and breadsticks, and that was pretty much it. So that is not the healthiest.
Physical Fitness: In Korea we continued to be active by walking (walking the dogs, walking to metro stations, walking around, etc.) but in Malaysia we did not walk quite as much. We did swim a little bit, though. We certainly got a workout each time we had to carry our packs around too.
Mental Health: We were quite happy in Korea and quite enthralled initially in Malaysia though several things started to wear on as and become a little annoying like the lack of ability to cook, lack of public transportation, etc. VIetnam was new, different, and exciting when we arrived.

Media Consumed:
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I decided this would be a potential section to add because I already record it. I am not a person who can easily sit and watch television as I have many things I want to accomplish and it does not feel productive. I think if I felt like I had accomplished a lot in a day I might like to watch a movie but these days I rarely feel that way. I do like something going in the background while I am sitting and doing work or other things, though, especially if it is something tedious, and I feel okay about doing things like knitting or yoga while watching tv. I am also a strong believer that people need to be conscious of what they consume (tv, food, music, everything). It is actually does affect you and I think you should not consume things mindlessly. Yes, we all do it occasionally but it is important to be mindful. Maybe I will write an article about it. I don’t understand how most people seem to really not care but I guess I don’t know how to take off my sociologist/social scientist glasses. We didn’t watch much this month but the months following this will probably see more media consumption. We used Netflix to watch these shows.
Television Shows: 1.5 seasons
Jessica Jones: Season 1   I   13 episodes   I   45-55min per episode   I   Review: There were maybe some minor details I did not like all that much but overall I think this is a good show. I normally prefer funny things and have never previously considered myself a Marvel fan but I liked this show. I am always on the lookout for new shows with strong female leads.   I   Watched while working
Last Man Standing: Part of Season 4   I   10 episodes I   21 min per episode   I   Review: We like it, the show is pretty entertaining. I am a fan of pretty much anything that makes me laugh that doesn’t strongly violate my morals.   I   Typically watched while cooking and eating dinner.
Avatar the Last Airbender: 1 episode   I   21 minutes   I   Review: This is Kyle’s show. He really likes it. It is growing on me a little.   I   I think this was also put on during cooking/a meal.
Movies: 0
Books: 0 [Yes, this is a little bit sad. We were glad to have been able to read a few books in Korea because the woman we house-sat for said we could read some of her books (plus Kyle read one on the Kindle) but we did not read any during the month of January.]
Total time: 14.7 hours, or about 28 minutes/day except that there were many days with no tv, and some days. obviously longer than 30 minutes. For Kyle, it was less because he did not watch Jessica Jones.

Random thing we missed this month:
Briana: Mexican food. I want a burrito! (And to see my purritos).
Kyle: A kitchen (not that random)

Still trying to figure out what all should go into our round-ups, but I think that is good for now!