2016: A Review

We started our around the world adventure!

–Traveled through Central America

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–Went to Disneyworld (first time!) for my milestone birthday and it was magical

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–Lived in Japan for a month during Spring sakura season which was on my bucket list (plus owl cafes and bunny island!)

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–Did a road trip throughout America to see the great national parks and natural wonders

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–Took my most successful star pictures in these remote dark spots

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–Finally made it to Canada, Banff is amazingly pristine

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–Ate some of the most diverse and best food ever in Chicago

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–Hiked and camped in Norway

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–Lived in Finland when the sun never set

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–Spent the perfect summer in Denmark and met my Bf’s family there

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–Got to experience my first Yayoi Kusama light installation

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–Had my preconceived notions about China altered

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–Went to our first Michelin star restaurant for dim sum and it was great, of course
(there will be a separate blog post about this with pictures)

–Traveled around SE Asia and finally got to visit Vietnam with my longtime friend

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–Temples, food, and shopping in Thailand, finalllly

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–Spent our first Christmas together!

Hit up 16 countries in 2016 and really got to experience life in each one

Lot’s of big things planned for 2017 – Can’t wait 🙂

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Thailand Observations

1. Superstitious and many rules to follow. For example — If you are in the royal court or anywhere deemed so, never question the authenticity of anything (at least not loud enough for anyone to hear). They will open a hearing right then and there… if you have no proof to back up your statements you will be punished with 15 years in prison.

2. Temples everywhere, Buddhists everywhere

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3. The reverence I saw for the King whom had just passed away… whew. Billboards, marquees, shrines, were every few feet on the highway. In every hotel, mall, shop, etc… a place of mourning had been set up. He had ruled for 70 years but they had elected him to godlike status. (I even saw him on their atms)

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4. Although there are technically more mopeds in Bangkok than HCM, the traffic system actually works. Red lights mean stop…

5. Bangkok traffic… bad is an understatement

6. If you go to their markets (where they sell cheap clothing and knockoff items) be aware that your are not allowed to try anything on beforehand, even if it would be an easy item, like a jacket to slip on. I’m not sure if this is because of the humidity that makes the skin sticky or because the items on the hanger do not match the photos attached to the front. Thus they will not be the same quality or fit properly.. is my guess.

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Denmark Observations

1. Rye bread, rye bread, rye bread.

2. Smorgasborg is the style of eating, for lunch and dinner.

3. Everyone speaks English

4.No gum options. There is mint and licorice… No Juicy Fruit, Hubba Bubba, Trident…

5. Licorice everything. To my dismay.
Drinks. Chocolate. Gummy candy. Ice cream. Gum.

6. Markets seem unorganized, boxes on shelves because it is not unpacked any further.

7. There’s also not many spices. Teeny tiny bottles, but salt and pepper are only used.

8. Eveything is expensive.

9. No mountains

9. The Danish accent speaking English is a mix of someone telling a sarcastic joke and an evil villain.

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Finland Observations

1. Ladders on all of the homes, coming out of every window but only going halfway to the ground. These are fire escapes. The ladders going to the roof are for winter when maintenance people need to get up there to clear the snow off!

2. Amazing berries. Cherries are extra good here, but they also have a lot of blueberry flavored items, juice/yogurt/ice cream that are exciting because I don’t see enough done with that fruit in the States.

3. Books are really expensive. Not sure why.

4. Much bigger markets than Norway and Denmark. Lots of different milk options and spices. Yay!

5. ALL families have a trampoline in the yard for kids. No understatement here.

6. Reindeer and bear ? meat is sold for consumption.

7. Most people here speak about 4 languages. They learn Finnish, Swedish, and English, and can choose and elective language usually German, French or Russian.

8. Finland apparently has the more lakes than any other country (188,000) and I have yet to see one.

9. Not much cereal to choose from, but the ones they do have are really good! I’ve already found many favorites–

10. Lots of dog walking. More than I’ve ever noticed anywhere else in the world. Not many have a yard, but everyone has dogs. Mix breeding isn’t allowed in Finland, but one can go to any of the neighboring countries and bring one back!

11. The wild animals here in Helsinki include gigantic hares and hedgehogs. Up North there are reindeer and bears.

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