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“I have a good word, I go?” Sreynoun asked with anticipation.

It was proof that the game of Hangman was a universal game. No matter what language or country you are in, they will most likely know of the game where if you don’t guess the word, the man gets hanged. Grim, but a great learning game we all seem to have grown up with. They seemed extra excited to play since I was the guest of honor. It was literally three walls and a homemade tin/plastic covering that held up this “classroom”. No walls or windows, just one big entrance where the fourth wall should have been. Almost everything in the classroom, from the pencils to the paper adorning the walls, were donated by outside sources, mostly foreigners they told me.

Even though these kids take schooling in these conditions, they were able to speak to me in English, French and Japanese. It blew my mind. I paid thousands and thousands of dollars to learn these languages in high school and college and these kids seemed more fluent than I would ever be.. While half of the orphans go to public school, the other half stay home and the roles change later on that day. These kids had just come home from school and you would think that the last thing they wanted was to have more schooling. But once the teacher  yelled English lessons were starting, their eyes lit up with excitement.

To them, education wasn’t anything they could take for granted. These kids knew, even at their young age, that education was a precious gift. No matter where or what you are learning, may it be in a shack or at an elite university, these kids taught me that my education was one of the greatest gifts I could have ever asked for.

“Give us a clue to your word Srey,” asked the teacher.

“We should feel everyday,” she answered back laughing.

It only took the two letters for me to figure out what she had written.

J-O-Y.

To all the children I met at the Lighthouse Orphanage in Adoung Village, Cambodia.

Thank you.

A Room Of Knowledge Filled With Death

A classroom is a powerful thing.

A room that basically supports our own existence. Without classrooms we wouldn’t be able to learn about the world; our history; a new language; building a skyscraper; becoming a doctor; the power of music; letters and numbers; the science of life; the art of dance; life, etc.

Without classrooms, we would be nowhere.

It was in a classroom I learned about the Khmer Rouge.

I bet thousands of survivors and surviving legacies of the Khmer Rouge wish those classrooms never existed. If you were educated in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge, you were pretty much guaranteed to die. So here at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Musuem, what was once a place of learning for thousands of students, ironically became a place of torture and death.

Tuol Sleng Door Handle

It’s hard to describe the emotions I felt walking the halls of this former high school,¬† Chao Ponhea Yat. Its impossible not to think you are walking in halls and rooms where thousands of people died. Even when you touch a single door handle you think “How many times was this same handle touched by someone who murdered hundreds of people?”A room where simple Algebra was learned was now a storage for leg and arm shackles that kept prisoners from attempting suicide. In every school you see photographs of students lining the walls engaged in various activities, but here you just see photographs of victims.

Genocide Museum - Portraits

Out of 17,000 estimated prisoners at Tuol Sleng, there were only 12 known survivors. I bet many of those prisoners yearned for the chance to be in a classroom to learn anything they desired, yet it was in a building of knowledge that their chance was taken away.

Tuol Sleng Shackles

And there I was, in the classroom of their deaths, learning more than I could have ever possibly imagined.

A classroom is a powerful thing.

I realized that I stopped posting pictures from my round the world trip.
I should catch up on that.
But editing takes SO LONG.

But I DID re-edit the video of Southeast Asia that I made.
Brian calls it the remix.
Its just a better song.
Not some rock music in the background.

I suggest your rewatch it again so you can get re-jealous that I went to Southeast Asia.

Or rewatch it for the ending only.
The kids singing “You Are My Sunshine” to me will always hold a special place in this black heart.

Anyway, definitely anticipate more posts on places I didn’t blog about.

Have a good weekend peepz!

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Evan and Evy at some tapas place with the best Sangria EVER.

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The cousin made it out often to visit us from the far off place known as Brooklyn.

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If you are nice to the waiter you get free shots. Score.

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Sangria when hungover is best.

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I already forgot the name of the cafe, but it has the best spiked hot chocolate EVAR.

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Seriously. So. Good.

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Russian Tea Room = Overrated

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The Kory Siblings = Overrated

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OMG. Ordered this pizza for Mama Kory’s birthday. Love in my mouth.

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For MY birthday. I want cupcakes too