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Email: Frequently Asked Questions from Lauren and Kristen


Date: Sunday, 29 February 2004 20:30 PST
Subject: Frequently Asked Questions from Lauren and Kristen

Hello Everyone:

We have now been home for a little over four weeks. We were able to move back into our house within a few days of getting home and have spent almost all our free time getting things put away and making minor repairs. The girls made a smooth transition back to school, and, except for a science project that Kristen is almost finished with, are all caught up with their studies.

Even though we are already back in the daily routine, we are continually reminded of our trip. For example, we just received a box of excess clothes and schoolwork that we sent from Australia on 11 December. Opening the box and going through it brought back some of the memories of the trip.

Lauren and Kristen have gone through all the questions that were sent and answered them. That file is attached. It is in a .txt format, which can be read by any word processor, notepad or wordpad. I hope you enjoy their responses. These questions will be the basis for a presentation that we have been asked to do in May at their school.

I am also working on a website that will contain all the emails and pictures that we sent, in addition to other pictures and information from the trip. We ended up taking over 2600 pictures, so it is taking some time to wade through all of them. I hope to be finished with the website in the next two to four weeks and will send another email with the URL then.

Hope this note finds everyone doing well!

Take Care,

———————————- Attached File ————————————————-

1. What was your favorite food?
Lauren: ostrich
Kristen: ostrich

2. Do you have a new favorite food?
See above

3. Did you like the food?
Lauren: pretty much
Kristen: yes, except for India

4. What was your least favorite food?
Lauren: Dosas in India
Kristen: Chipatis in India

5. What was the strangest thing you ate?
Lauren: Kangaroo was pretty strange
Kristen: Paneer, but I liked it

6. What fast food did you eat?
Lauren: KFC, Burger King (Hungry Jack in Australia), Dairy Queen, Starbucks
Kristen: Wimpy’s and McDonalds

Washing Clothes
1. How did you wash clothes, especially in Africa?
Lauren: In the bathtub or sink with soap that we bought
Kristen: I helped sometimes

1. Why were the places picked that you went to?
Lauren: Educational purposes. Some places, like Australia, we wanted to go to.
Kristen: Mom and Dad picked them. Lauren wanted to go to Paris.

2. What was your favorite place? Why?
Lauren: I liked Australia, especially Brisbane, Sydney, Adelaide and Darwin. I liked
Botswana and Etosha. I also liked Zanzibar. I liked Sikkim and Jodhpur in India. I
liked all of Thailand, especially the Siam Center (large shopping center) in Bangkok.
Kristen: I liked Mumbai because of Bhargot. I liked Brisbane and Adelaide. I liked seeing
James in Sydney (a boy in her class that moved to Australia while we were gone).

3. What was your least favorite place? Why?
Lauren: Jaipur in India. Don’t go there. The beggars were awful and there was a lot of
corruption. The Amber Fort was hard. Coober Pedy because it is a small town. Small
towns scare me because they are in the middle of nowhere.
Kristen: Coober Pedy in Australia. I didn’t like sleeping underground.

4. What were some of the most interesting experiences that you had?
Lauren: The whole trip was an interesting experience.
Kristen: Indian guys flirting with me.

5. What did you like most about the countries that you visited?
Lauren: I pretty much liked the food in all the countries.
Kristen: I liked the Taj Mahal in India.

6. Would you consider visiting places again? Perhaps with your own family once you are
Lauren: Yes. Africa, Australia, Thailand.

Kristen: Yes. Australia and Thailand.

7. Did you go everywhere that you wanted?
Lauren: Yes.
Kristen: Yes.

8. What was the most beautiful place you went?
Lauren: Brunei. It was very green.
Kristen: Australia. It had desert and green.

9. What was the scariest thing that you did?
Lauren: Going to India. The Sikkim and Brunei hikes.
Kristen: Riding the elephant [in Thailand] was a little scary.

10. What was the most fun/exciting that you did?
Lauren: Riding the elephant. Going on the safaris in Africa.
Kristen: Riding the camel [in Australia].

11. What animals did you see?
Lauren: You name it, I saw it, from a kangaroo to a jackass penguin.
Kristen: All the native animals to that country.

12. Did you go inside the Taj?
Lauren: No.
Kristen: Mom and I walked around it, but didn’t go in.

13. Was it hard to climb the mountain in Sikkim?
Lauren: Yes. The morning we hiked up to Dzongri Point was hard because it was early and we were tired. We had not eaten breakfast and had zero energy. It was also challenging because it was below freezing, windy, and dark.
Kristen: Even though I didn’t climb the Dzongri Point Mountain, the hike was still hard.

14. Were you surprised by the quality of life in other countries?
Lauren: I was expecting it, but I was still surprised.
Kristen: Yes, especially India.

15. Where was poverty most apparent?
Lauren: India. Also in Cambodia, but not as bad as India.
Kristen: India.

16. Did you see any differences in morals, values and the way people lived their lives?
Lauren: It’s a little hard to judge, but I have a few opinions. First of all, poverty
does lead to dishonesty and lower morals. We were only in India for less than an hour
and our driver had already been asked to pay a bribe. There was also injustice in Cambodia. As you may know, in the mid to late 70’s, the Khmer Rouge took over the country and some of them are still living. There is injustice in Cambodia because these people are not being punished in any way. Also, in Australia there were some billboards and commercials that my Dad thought were shocking.
Kristen: All of the above.

17. Which culture seemed the happiest with its way of life?
Lauren: Thailand had the happiest people. They were joyful and liked to kid. Indians on
the other hand were very serious.
Kristen: The Australian people.

18. If there were differences, were they due to economy, religion, government, etc.?
Lauren: Government in Thailand functioned very well which probably explains the happiness there.
Kristen: Yes, everything above.

19. What customs were strange compared to the US?
Lauren: All the countries were different. The fact that you can’t use your left hand to
eat was weird (it is supposed to be reserved for bathroom use).
Kristen: On the plane to Brunei, they had a Muslim prayer video before we took off.

20. What culture did you identify most with and why?
Lauren: Australia. They have malls and shopping centers.
Kristen: Australia, because it is like home.

1. What religions were you exposed to?
Lauren: Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Catholicism, and others that I can’t remember right now.
Kristen: Same as above

2. What churches have you gone to?
Lauren: We went to a Hindu service and several Buddhist monasteries.
Kristen: Same as above

3. Did you have family devotions?
Lauren: Yes. We tried to have them weekly.
Kristen: Yes.

4. What did it feel like to be in countries without Christianity?
Lauren: It was weird when we saw people worshiping idols and chanting things, etc.
Kristen: Weird.

Miss Most
1. What did you miss the most from CA?
Lauren: My friends.
Kristen: The three Fs: Friends, Family and Food.

2. Did you miss your bed?
Lauren: Yes. A lot of the beds were too hard or too soft.
Kristen: Yes.

3. Have you been homesick?
Lauren: Yes, off and on.
Kristen: Yes, a lot.

4. What food did you miss?
Lauren: Mexican Food, Ribs and Chicken.
Kristen: Hamburgers, Mexican Food.

5. What did you miss the most, family, friend, TV, pizza?
Lauren: All of those.
Kristen: TV.


1. Did you get sick or hurt?
Lauren: I got food poisoning in India and Australia and I had a cough in parts of Africa.
Kristen: I had very few problems.

2. Did you have medicines or first aid?
Lauren: Before we left we had to have four shots. My dads also meet with our doctor and
got some medicines. We also had a first aid kit.
Kristen: Yes, we did.

3. Describe any interesting bathroom experiences that you have had.
Lauren: With the exception of Australia, most of the toilets were eastern. Eastern toilets
are usually not more than a hole in the ground without a toilet seat. My one word definition for using an eastern toilet is “challenging.” There was a really bad eastern toilet in Zambia that we had to pay to use, but I won’t get in to much detail about that.
Kristen: We had unusual ones with squat toilets.

Personal Feelings/Changes
1. How did you feel about taking the trip? Why did you take this trip?
Lauren: At first, I didn’t really care if I went on the trip or stayed home but now I’m
glad I went. We took the trip for education and I went because I had to.
Kristen: Excited, scared, confused when I didn’t know where I was, etc.

2. For your age, was it a good time to take this trip?
Lauren: I think it was a good year for me to take the trip. Next year when I am in 8th
grade I will have to stay in school for most of the year because 8th grade is important.
Kristen: Yes, it would be a little more hectic if we waited another year.

3. Have you been afraid / feared for your safety?
Lauren: I was only seriously afraid once and that was in Agra. I can’t remember any other times I was afraid.
Kristen: Yes, many times.

4. What was it like to be away for so long?
Lauren: It was hard at times and I really missed my friends a lot.
Kristen: Frustrating, and I was homesick a lot.

5. What adjustments did you make to keep up with the aggressive schedule of the trip? Did
you want to rest more?
Lauren: My parents made sure we had a lot of rest stops in our “aggressive schedule”. Some times I wished we could stay in a place longer because I liked it or I needed more rest but not very often.
Kristen: I got used to rushing from place to place and I wanted to rest more at many of
the nice hotels.

6. Did you get closer to your sister or fight?
Lauren: Both, but I think at the end we got closer.
Kristen: Both.

7. Has the trip affected your appreciation of life? When you are back, what will you do
Lauren: I feel a lot more blessed now than I did before I left. I think I will not take
everything for granted like I did before I left, or at least for the first few weeks.
Kristen: Yes. I will appreciate my life more.

8. Did this trip have an impact on your life? Do you feel more mature, less shy, etc.?
Lauren: I think I am less shy now than before I left. I also feel stronger.
Kristen: I felt more grown up and appreciated.

9. What was the most valuable lesson you have learned?
Lauren: I feel more blessed now because of what I have seen.
Kristen: How to deal with touts and beggars.

10. Overall, did you like the trip? Would you do this trip again?
Lauren: I liked it and would do it again.
Kristen: I agree.

11. Do you want to see more of the world? Would you take another four months to do another trip?
Lauren: I definitely want to see more of the world and revisit the places that I liked. I’m
not sure I would want to take another 4-month trip but I will take more 3 to 4 week trips.
Kristen: Yes to the first question and No to the second.

12. Do you think that you will be glad to be home or will it be boring to be back?
Lauren: Boring, but I’ll be glad too.
Kristen: I’ll be glad, but I’ll be happy that I did the trip.

1. What kind of responses did you get when people found out you were an American?
Lauren: They were kind of like “wow” when we told them.
Kristen: They smiled and were polite.

2. Did you see a lot of Americans?
Lauren: Not really.
Kristen: a few everywhere we went but not very many.

3. Did you have a tour guide?
Lauren: Most of the time, No. We did have a guide in Sikkim and on our safari. We also
hired many taxi drivers to take us around and give us a tour.
Kristen: No.

4. Did you make friends who you will stay in contact with?
Lauren: Yes. We meet a new friend on our safari named who we are sending e-mails to. We also meet a Christian named Brian in Zambia that we have kept in touch with.
Kristen: Same as above.

5. What language was spoken in most countries?
Lauren: English (as a second language for most).
Kristen: English.

6. How did you talk to people who speak other languages? Did you always find someone who spoke English in those countries where it was not widely spoken?
Lauren: Usually there was someone who spoke English. Otherwise, we just did “sign language”.
Kristen: Yes.

7. Have you learned any other languages?
Lauren: Not really. I can say a few words in other languages but not many.
Kristen: Little but not full languages.

1. Do you think the trip was a valuable and educational experience?
Lauren: Yes.
Kristen: Yes.

2. Did you keep a journal?
Lauren: Yes.
Kristen: Yes.

3. What did you learn about each place?
Lauren: About its history and culture.
Kristen: We learned about their background and current status.

4. What history did you learn?
Lauren: History of the past and what the country has been through and done.
Kristen: Much about the past.

5. Was it better to do schoolwork in the summer or now?
Lauren: Actually, I liked doing work on the trip better but I’m glad we got some work
done over the summer.
Kristen: The summer was easier.

1. How many time zones did you go through?
Lauren: 14
Kristen: 14

2. Are you tired of planes?
Lauren: Heck, yes! (Answered at the end of an 11 hour and 45 minute flight from Bangkok to Paris).
Kristen: Yes.

3. Did you hear any interesting music?
Lauren: The music in India is interesting and very different. I also thought the music in
Cambodia was different.
Kristen: Yes.

4. Is the metric system better?
Lauren: About the same.
Kristen: No.