The sound of my morning alarm signified the start of the day that we all dreaded: the day we go back to Hong Kong.
Today was a rather busy day. Waking up at 5:30 in the morning was something I definitely hope I’d never experience again. After embodying the alarm clock and barging into others’ rooms, we found ourselves once again on the Karaoke Tuk-Tuk, which overhyped what was essentially a green tuk-tuk with a made-in-China Bluetooth speaker.
Shortly after arriving at the monk’s monkastery, the sound of a big “snort” directed us towards the location of a gigantic buddhist pig, as well as four monks dressed in orange walking towards us. They came over and we gave them some rice, afterwards, they gave us a blessing. Later, our good friend Hong Lee introduced us to the lives of buddhist monks in Cambodia.
After our long overdue breakfast, we went back to our room to change into more comfy clothing and chilled. Most of us took a nap and packed our bags for the airport.
Under the immense heat, we visited our last temple of the trip, Banteay Kdei. It was a short visit which consisted of a small trek to the end of the temple and back. Next up was a dance, we all performed an Apsara dance as well as Go-Go Wonderful under the shade of a tree. Afterwards, us guys performed an entertaining rendition of I Want it that Way by the Backstreet Boys.
The most important time of the day was a time where we stood in a circle and reflected on our experiences over the past week. We shared what we thought rocked the most, what would stick with us after the trip, and give a compliment to one other person. This time allowed us to really appreciate one another and thank other people for the work they’ve done over the week. We felt that this gave us the opportunity to compliment other people that we don’t know, which could allow us to better know each other.
The trip to the airport was our last tuk-tuk ride and after a picture with the Karaoke driver, tears were shed as we said our goodbyes to our heroes in green and went to say goodbye to our tour guides. Saying goodbye to our tour guides was one of the most difficult things to do, especially when our entire group bonded over the service and the explorations.
The tour guides were such a core part of what made our CAS experience so wonderful, insightful, enlightening, and most importantly, enjoyable. As Ms. Colarossi said, these guides didn’t need to put so much effort into making this trip fun, they weren’t obligated to devote themselves so much, to be so enthusiastic.
Yet they did, and it was because they put more than what was expected from them that made this trip an experience we could never forget. This was why it was so heart-wrenching to say goodbye to them, but I made up for my lack of meaningful verbal language with a lot of hugs and photos.
This week was a long week, but it sure was meaningful. We learnt that the qualities of being a good human aren’t just being smart in school, it was about respecting others, devoting your time to help others. It isn’t just about you and those around you, but it’s about proactively going out there, to offer your assistance to those who really need it. Not some school project who’s due date we neglected but helping others where they really need it, be it a house, or fundamental English.
This trip was an eye-opening experience that taught us to pay more attention to the world around us, to not shelter ourselves in this cocoon where we are safe when others need our help. This trip taught us how to appreciate the things we are given, and not ask for more when we don’t need more.
This trip was absolutely unforgettable. We would like to thank all of the people that helped make this CAS trip possible: the teachers, the tour guides, the tuk-tuk drivers, HUSK, and finally, the students!
This trip taught us how to be human, and in that sense, taught us the best lesson possible.
Thomas and Clarence