Spain, Malaysia, & Cambodia, June – July 2015

(pictures coming soon!)

 

From mid-June to mid-July I went on a multi-country trip:

SPAIN:
I went first to Madrid, Spain, where I presented my very own first authored publication, “Understanding Students’ Use of Code Switching in a Learning by Teaching Technology” at the 2015 conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education.  I was quite nervous to present, but I got through it and received some good questions as a result.  While I didn’t have much time to tour around the city, I did manage to go on a walking tour to see some of the more famous places around Madrid, as well as understand the history of the area. After just a week in Madrid, I flew to…

MALAYSIA:
 I spent a few days here. This was an ideal location for a few reasons:

  1. It was a close location to my next trip to Cambodia
  2. It provided some good downtime between Spain and Cambodia
  3. My boyfriend’s family lives there

I was able to get some really good food and drink (teh halia, amirite?) while I rested up for the next part of my trip in …

CAMBODIA:
I spent two weeks here as a lecturer – I was at Mean Chey University in Sisophon, Banteay Meanchey Province for two weeks to teach English and present on Research Methodology to the faculty and students. I was on the outskirts of Sisophon, so I was in a very rural part of the country. Everyone was so friendly and kind, even if they were surprised to see a white person in such a remote area. I felt like I saw real parts of Cambodia, something I don’t think I would see if I was in a large city. However, it was the hottest climate I’ve ever been in!

I also got to try Cambodian varieties of durian (a very mild variety, in my opinion!) and balut (they call it pong tia koon or ពងទាកូន). Cambodian balut is served with a tiny egg stand and a tiny spoon. After Cambodia, I again flew back to Malaysia and spent two days there to rest.

BONUS COUNTRY: ICELAND
No trip is complete without some unexpected happenings. On my way to the US from Malaysia, I was taking the “over Europe” route instead of the “over the Pacific Ocean” route. My first flight was delayed enough that I was going to miss all of my following flights. I had one rescheduled successfully, but I didn’t make the other 3 flights. Because of that, I got new tickets and ended up in Iceland for the night.  I only stayed in the airport, though, since I arrived at 2am and everything was closed. In total, it took me 55 hours to fly from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Pittsburgh.

OBSERVATIONS:

  • In each country, I saw some d/Deaf, and found that some of them used some ASL-like signs, but most did not. I saw most of them from afar and did not get to interact with them.
  • Being in a predominantly Catholic country (Spain) -> predominantly Muslim country (Malaysia) -> predominantly Buddhist country (Cambodia) in the span of a month was really cool to experience.
  • My jetlag flying home was horrid. I was so disoriented that on quite a few flights I slept through either takeoff or landing!
  • After scooting around to 5 different time zones, currencies, and languages in a month, my brain broke. I got lost in exchange rates and extreme language confusion. In one embarrassing instance I tried to speak Khmer, but Spanish came out!