Friday the 18th July 2014
Today is the day that sixteen students and four teachers are forced to depart Cambodia, as the trip of a lifetime is over. The trip has been an emotional rollercoaster filled with amazing times of happiness and serious lows of sadness. On our last day in Cambodia everyone was upset as the eleven NFO kids and one cook, had to leave after staying with us for a week in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Everyone woke up to have breakfast and spend the last time with the kids. Final words were spoken before they were on the bus and had to leave. Everyone was crying and sadness was in the air, as the bonds made with the kids were ripped apart.
After all the tears, we took the yellow submarine and our personal tuk tuk to a pagoda that was home of a reclining Buddha that told a simple story of its purpose. We then went to the main Buddhist headquarters in the country, where international meetings are held and the country's best Buddhist library is. Lynne explained that the head of the Buddhist Religion in Australia had also come to Siem Reap to study. We also went to the Old Markets next door to buy pepper and whatever else we could squeeze into our suitcases. I couldn't fit anything (like most people) but I still bought a few more things. We spent about two hours walking around in the three complexes and then we were all back on the bus and the tuk tuk, back to the hotel. We had about an hour and a half to get ready to leave for the airport. Everyone had a shower and did the final packing. Everyone's mood was still melancholy as the emotions of leaving were a constant source of sadness.
We crammed into the yellow submarine and our tuk tuk and headed to the airport. Siem Reap Airport was small and we spent along time checking our bags in. Once we made it to the terminal we realised that our plane was delayed for an hour. Panic mode now settled as we realised we might not make our flight to Perth, because of the time delay. We ate away our feelings, as there was a Dairy Queen in the airport. We all relaxed for a while and then it was time to go. We all got onto the plane for a short two-hour plane ride. Most people just went to sleep.
When we arrived at Kuala Lumpur, it was a mad rush to see if we would make it, luckily at the gate off the plane there was a man with a piece of paper saying MH 127, which was our plane number. We followed him until our terminal and we all got on the plane. Everyone was so relived to be on the plane and thankful that Malaysia was able to delay the plane for us. We spent some time playing multiplayer games on the plane, until everyone was basically asleep. The food on the flight was not on point, but everyone just ate it anyway. Lynne gave a speech to thank the staff on the Malaysia flight for coming into work after the devastating news of the plane being shot down over the Ukraine/ Russia boarder.
It was a long eight-hour flight, but everyone was excited to see their family. Once the flight had finished we all made sure how declaration papers were complete, but most of us were waved through without having to be inspected. The next nightmare was to see if all our bags had made it on the plane, thankfully they all were and we just had to line up to finally see our family. Hugs were everywhere after not seeing our families for two weeks. Everyone was thanking the teachers for their hard work and having to put up with sixteen kids for two weeks.
Overall the holiday was really a trip to remember. The amount of amazing opportunities we were able to have, was really something to thank Lynne for. It was the most amazing two weeks of our lives. The fact that we were all able to benefit someone else's lives by teaching them English and giving them our donations was an amazing achievement. We are all grateful for the time we spent with the NFO kids, getting to know them and their stories, was both sad and exciting. To see how happy they all were despite their circumstances was really enlightening. Being able to learn about Buddhist culture also helped to understand why everyone in Cambodia really appreciated even the tiny things in life. Everyone would agree the trip enabled us to put our own lives in perspective, and to make sure we really do appreciate everything that we have in our lives and to truly cherish our education. The emotional experiences really brought everyone together and by the end of a trip we were all one big family. We are all planning a reunion tour after year twelve.