Same Same, But Different

For years Kyra and I have talked about traveling internationally together.  And as this blog has become more about our “unlisted buckets” than the actual items on our bucket list, it seems only appropriate to reflect on the fruition of our longtime plan and adventure to Thailand.

Exactly three weeks ago today, Kyra and I met up in the Dubai airport; Kyra coming from Houston, me from Johannesburg (more on that later). After another flight, we arrived in Bangkok where we stayed for three days, touring temples, buying ridiculously inexpensive clothes and jewelry, visiting Thai spas and meeting/becoming celebrities.

Having become somewhat, though never entirely, acclimated to the Thai culture, we made our way to Koh Samui to meet up with our lovely Contiki Tour group. Aside: We highly recommend Contiki if you are looking for a fun, easy way to travel and meet like-minded-20-something-year-olds from all over the world. Keep reading for more details.

With our group we then spent the next nine days “island hopping” via death wish ferry between Koh Tao, Koh Phanang and our starting place, Koh Samui.

Here are some of our highlights in no particular order:

1. Snorkeling off of Koh Tao. We spent the entire afternoon on a boat, so naturally it was a pretty good day. The excursion started and ended on fairly scary notes– i.e. the discovery of the complete lack of ambulances on Thai islands and experiencing a monsoon whilst at sea. But we quickly learned that any type of death related fear while in Thailaind can be calmed by a few Orange Breezers, marine life and the belting of Titanic/Celine’s “Near Far Wherever You Are.”

2. Touring of the Grand Palace and Temples in Bangkok. On our last full day in Bangkok we decided to take a less shopping-oriented day trip and visit the historic Buddhist temples in Bangkok. We took a canal tour through the city (another boat, we should have known it was going to be a good day) and also were driven by a very kind cabbie named Tanapon to the Grand Palace and several of the popular temples. The design and structure of these buildings was astonishingly ornate. I described it like Versailles x 10 in Asia. We couldn’t believe that the buildings were made by hand so many years ago. This was also the day that we discovered that Kyra was a celebrity in Thailand. At the temples no less that 20 people tried to take their picture with my tall, blonde and beautiful best friend.

3. Off Roading Trip in Koh Samui. On our first day with the Contiki Tour, the majority of the group went on a day trip to hold monkeys, RIDE ELEPHANTS, swim in waterfalls and see a few lookout points on the island. Pretty great day all in all, but probably our favorite part was the fact that we took off-road jeeps everywhere, driven by some crazy (and I can hostly say that they were crazy) Thai men. One had an afro bigger than mine and laughed like an evil monkey. He was so fun, though. From that first afternoon on the islands, it became clear that there were very few, if any, laws. On this day the lawlessness worked in our advantage because we were allowed to ride atop our jeeps while we traveled up and down the mountains. There was a whole lot of screaming going on, but it was a blast.

4. Farwell Paint Party. I mean who doesn’t love a good blacklight party? Be honest.

5. The Contiki Experience/ Our Sappy Story. Our trip truly would not have been the same without the people we met along the way. Our awesome Australian guide Jeenah, the crazy Irish gang, our new Scottish besties Rachel and Jenny and the 21 other international friends made the trip worthwhile.  We now feel confident in saying that we have close friends from all over the world that are willing to “share a bucket” or “ring the bell” at a moments notice. It was so great to get to learn about different cultures, people, upbringings, view points and of course, accents. By the end of the nine days we were like a family and it was hard to say goodbye!

In Thailand, vendors in the market have popularized the saying “same same, but different.” The phrase is basically used to defend knock-off or cheap brands by convincing shoppers that their products are the same as the real thing… but different. This saying is now used on all kinds of neon tank tops and t-shirts sported by island party-goers and we learned can be easily woven into conversation when on the islands.

Having had a week to reflect upon the trip, I realize that our experience in Thailand and with our Contiki  family exemplified this saying quite nicely. Each one of us was different in many ways, each bringing a different life experience to the trip. But we were also the same in the sense that we were all young adults, wanting to explore the world a little. Like I said this is sappy and I am definitely not a traveling expert, but the thing I learned most from my trips was that, yes, there are so many different types of people out there, with different lives, beliefs, passions, etc. But in the end we aren’t all that different, we are kind of the same. Most of us just want to live our lives in the fullest and happiest way we can.

This trip added to the full and happy summer that Kyra and I are leading. Thanks for reading! Check back for a post about my Africa trip and visit to the Abita Brewery next week!

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Magpie was good. Mardi Gras was better.

Can you spy Magpie?

Happy Valentines from your Galentines

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“Maybe if I use my eggs to prop up my bacon-hearts it will look more like it did on Pinterest,” I thought to myself.

Just wanted to wish all of you a very happy Valentine’s Day!

I hope each one of you gets to spend it with someone you love, whether that be your significant other, your family, your room-mates, your dog, Bob Costas… the list goes on.

Because the truth of the matter is that there are a whole lot of awesome people out there worth loving (yay!), and even though this day is kind of silly/trite/commercialized, it can remind us of this life affirming fact.

We Cabana-ites were lucky enough to share a V-Day breakfast this morning, with pink pancakes and bacon-hearts, which turned out nothing like the ones on that lie-of-a-website Pinterest, but I mean it was bacon so whatever.

Later today we will be making the road-trip to Houston where we will spend time with two of our most consuming loves: the Jone’s Family and Torchy’s.

And to top it off on this cavity-inducing post, here is a pic of my Granddad with a Valentine’s card from his wife of 51-years, the infamous Grammy! They make me “Happy Happy Happy.”

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Sneaux Daze

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Whenever we were considering what activities to include in our bucket list during the oppressively hot month of  August, Kyra and I had one rule.

1. It has to be something that we can/will feasibly do

Naturally, the idea of seeing snow at the ever-tropical Cabana was not something that fit into that category, nor was  it something we could control.

But as I said last week, just because something isn’t listed, doesn’t mean it’s not bucket-worthy.

While, those of you experiencing Polar Vortex Janus (Ohhh my gassssh) are likely incredulous, if not offended, by the fact that we consider this thin layer of white stuff “snow,” please remember that we feel the same way when you talk about “the heat.”

With that said, please enjoy these delightful pictures of Cabana and Iza, while we bask in the last few hours of our snow days (aka catch up on homework yolo).

**And for any former-athlete-readers, please feel free to let me know when in my life it will no longer be socially acceptable to wear my purple sweats, and how do you suggest I cope with this. Thx. **

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Thanks for the pics, Rainman

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Bucket o’ Bread

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In order to appear less like a couple, Kyra and I joined up with our five fellow senior ladies to bask in our last few days/weeks of true caloric freedom, checking off another bucket lister at The Little Village.

The main attraction: BREAD.

And MORE BREAD.

We also had some entrees in there somewhere, but as I told Kyra before heading downto(w)n, it’s hard to remember anything else on the menu because… bread.

This braided decadency of dough, topped with parmesan cheese crumbles and roasted garlic is what a carb-lover’s dreams are made of.

Seriously, Kyra dreamed about it.

Thanks to a great group of senior Tigirls for for a fun evening. I loaf you all.

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P.S. Alternative titles for this post consisted of “Bread Babes” and/or “Boobs and Bread.” Take that as you wish.

P.P.S. Everyone should google “bread puns” as soon as humanly possible. HI-larious.

P.P. S. S. Parker.

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The Unlisted Buckets

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In my short time as a bucket list expert I have noticed something:

There are multitudes of bucket-list-worthy moments in life. Many of which are not included in our list.

Bucket lists are a great way to showcase and hopefully experience all of the cool things one wants to do before __blank__ (the end of the year, the end of college, the end of your  life (eek)).  But what about those not-so-hip things that you/me/we are inevitably going to do before said __blank__–the ones that happen even if they are not bullet points on a prophetic list?  Are those not equally, if not more, important, exciting and noteworthy? And if so, is it wrong to overlook them in my blog dedicated to the pursuits of our senior year? Aren’t they worth celebrating?

Nope.

JK. These are rhetorical questions. Obvi my answer is yes; yes I do think small victories and foreseeable achievements are worth celebrating, that’s why I am writing this post.

This weekend marked the senior class’s last home meet, our senior meet. While it was  far less emotional than I expected, there was definitely a celebratory feeling that afternoon. Well…after we completed our full load of events of course.

We weren’t necessarily  celebrating any phenomenal swims that day, even though there were plenty, but the fact that we made it through all four years and are reaching the end of “the process.” In many ways it was a glorified participation award. But in a sport like swimming, especially in the college environment,  participating is a feat to be celebrated. Forging functional relationships with all the weirdos who chose to swim for LSU is something to be celebrated. Being a member of a team for fours year and working every day to improve it and yourself is definitely something to be celebrated, no matter what the end results might be.

No, attending our senior meet was not on our bucket list. Jumping off the 10 meter platform didn’t even make the cut. It was simply something we assumed we would get around to, like other students might view their last college final or last greek social function. It was not an event at the beginning of this year that we thought “oh that will be so cool, we have to do that,” but provided that we didn’t drown or give up on ourselves (another feat to be celebrated) it would happen. And I’m glad it did.

I’m proud of each and every one of us for making it to this point– for completing our senior meet, for finishing our last circuit, for graduating (!), even for not getting kicked out of the student section during football season!

There have been a lot of “lasts” this year and more to come. Our bucket list will continue to serve as a means to live our remaining time in Baton Rouge to the fullest, while remembering that without the unlisted buckets there wouldn’t have been a bucket list in the first place.

More hilarious pictures of people jumping off the platform, aqui

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A good week

T’was a good week.

Skating on the River and The House of Blues Gospel Brunch have now been checked off the bucket list with much satisfaction.

 Brunch- delish. Music- awesome.  Skating- pure adolescent fun.

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Fiyah

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Though building a fire wasn’t on our formally written bucket list, we went ahead and made the executive decision to add it to our list of to-dos.

Having lived in Cabana for nearly three years now, we formed a loving bond with our fire place. It adds a significant level of charm to the living room, and the mantle above it serves as a great holding place for some of our most prized possessions, such as our flamingo beanie babies, cutest-couple trophies, an authentic Mexican tequila vase and framed photos in which everyone is touching and/or looking frighteningly ugly.

However, in those three years we have yet to ever USE the Cabana fire place.

But last night’s freeze lit a fire under us, and we decided today was the day to get those duralogs a burnin’.

I have to say it was a pretty simple feat. Cabana still stands and no one has died from methane poisoning .  But I have to give most of the credit to Papa Brett for starting the fire, dealing with the gas, opening the chimney, giving us the wood, being a cool dad and wearing my favorite camel hair jacket of his ( on Hump Day! How appropriate).

So, yeah, basically we did nothing other than enjoy the fire with our adorable pup Iza…

Nevertheless, tonight’s inaugural fire was the perfect way to celebrate the first freeze and the mere 41 days, 1 hour and 51 minutes until Christmas.

And now introducing… my first ever GIF! Written in my first ever HTML! Woot!

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Seen and Heard at Zeeland Street Market

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Gravy.

“There hasn’t been one bite that I haven’t loved.”

“All of my favorite things are on one plate.”

” So much meat!!!”

“Wow. Just. Wow.”

“Can I have some of your butter?”

So yeah… Our Zeeland lunch was amazing.

Kyra ordered the brisket plate and I had Momma’s pot roast.

Obviously we were quite satisfied with our authentic, southern, home-cooked, DELICIOUS meals.

It was nice to change it up a little bit and eat lunch at one of our favorite breakfast stops in the best neighborhood in BR.

I can’t say which menu I prefer, lunch or breakfast.  Plus I just heard that they are introducing to-go dinners for those of us who cant get enough of the Z.

So I guess this means we’ll just have to start eating there for every meal of the every day…

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2-4-1 in MidTown

Let me preface this post with a fact: We live in the best part of Baton Rouge by far.

That little quadrangle between Perkins, Government, Acadian… and Perkins again (?) is just overflowing with unique things to do, and I’m super happy that this blog is forcing us to explore our neighborhood a little more.

In the past two weeks Kyra and I have enjoyed a disgusting amount of school work, but also two of our bucket list adventures! Both were located in the MidTown area, and both experiences were great successes.

Here’s a little tidbit about each of our adventures:

Jay’s Way

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Jay would have been proud of us.

Wooh BB-Q!

This past Saturday, Kyra, two of our teammates, and I got in with the locals at Jay’s BB-Q on Government Street. Having lived in Baton Rouge my whole life, I grew up eating turkey sandwiches and mozzarella sticks before ballet class (I was such a healthy child) at my family’s favorite hole in the wall barbecue place. But in the 3 years I have been at LSU, and the 2 that I have lived in MidTown, I had yet to share this little secret with my friends. Saturday I finally got that chance, and Jay did not disappoint.

On the menu for our table were giant poyboys with perfectly-thin sliced turkey, curly-qs, the last helping of mac-and-cheese, BEANS, and that perfect barbecue sauce– Jay’s way, on the side.

It was simple, quick, and plain ole’ good.

“It” Girls

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This night is going to be hard to top

Last Friday Kyra and I attended the most artsy and couple-y event we have probably gone to and it was just GREAT. September 27th marked the final installment of the Baton Rouge Gallery’s summer program Movie’s and Music on the Lawn. From May- September The Gallery aired silent films on an outdoor screen and set the films to a score preformed live by a local band. With our blankets packed, Kyra and I ventured to the lawn located in City Park off of Perkins Road, not knowing what to expect from the event…

Well that’s not 100 percent true. We were expecting to watch/be forced to watch that horrifying clown movie “It” and probably leave halfway through just so we could say we checked it off out bucket list. Thankfully we quickly found out that the “It” being shown was the 1927 romantic comedy starring Clara Bow and her hilarious friend Monty. I would like to say that I was embarrassed after I realized I was being a total doofus in front all of those hipsters who had to listen to me rant about clowns, but I wasn’t. I was too relieved.

After our initial fears were settled, we had  the best time watching the movie under the perfect pre-fall weather we were lucky to encounter that night. The free popcorn and gelato cart were obviously a plus as well.

Also, mad props to anyone who brought his or her significant other to this event. It was all so sweet and romantic. You would have earned major points in my book.

One thing that I took away from the movie was that the “It Girl,” Betty/ Clara Bow did not meet many of the standards we hold for It Girls of today. A few weeks before seeing the movie, I had actually read this article in Elle about It Girls. I learned that this movie actually popularized the phrase and it was quite the coincidence to see it shown a few weeks later… especially after all that clown mix up. Anyway, in the film Betty/Bow was deemed an “It Girl,” she possessed “it” or as the film described, “that quality possessed by some which draws all others with its magnetic force.”

Everyone wants to be an “it girl,” to some extent. But what we saw in this movie was that Betty/Bow didn’t really have “it” all together. She was kind of a maniac actually… But what I’m getting at here is that even though she was an “it girl,” she wasn’t the idealized, constantly cool, and elegant lady. She was a normal, working, funny, strange girl who was a good friend to her roommate and liked to climb on anchors in the middle of the ocean… “It” just got me thinking about “It.” There really isn’t a clear definition what it means to “draw others” or to be “it.” I think everyone has a little bit of “it” in them in someway. And everyone is an “it girl” to someone.

Me and my “It Girl” have been having the best time with this bucket list. We’ll keep exploring and reporting, you keep reading 🙂

P.S. Monty

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