New Year, New Adventures!

Welcome back! I hope you all had an amazing holiday break (and did get some kind of break!).

I FINISHED my NaNoWriMo project and am in the editing stage. I am super excited about this novel, a book set in Japan, and hope I’ll be able to share more soon. In the meantime, I got my ARCs for Containment and they… are… BEAUTIFUL! I seriously can’t believe how much I love this book cover.

I mean, look at that. Gorgeous!

I don’t have a lot more writing news this month, but I did spend ten days traveling through southeast Asia, and I have some photos and news to share.

A cute looking monkey in Cambodia

After a quick jaunt to Singapore, our first stop was Cambodia. As we toured a temple, I suddenly realized that a troop of monkeys had arrived and was making themselves at home. Now, many of you know that my goal in life is to meet a monkey and become friends with it.

This was not that monkey.

I respect wildlife, and I knew not to get too close to Mr Monkey, but I did want to get a picture with him. I figured the opposite side of this pool, which was about a meter wide, would give him sufficient space to feel comfortable.

I was wrong.

The second I approached, the monkey flew into a rage and lunged at me, screaming at the top of its lungs. I ran away — quickly — and the monkey resumed stomping around the temple. Later a lady showed up with packaged fruit for the monkey, and when she gave another package to a different monkey, Mr Monkey up there chased his friend away, picked up the fruit, and took both packages off for himself. So maybe he’s just a jerk.

Cambodia was a lot of fun, but we were only there for a short time before heading to Thailand.

A view along the river in Bangkok

We spent two days near Bangkok and mostly hit the major tourist sites, as this was my husband’s first trip out of North America (well, not counting the fact that we moved to Japan!) and we wanted to see the big things. I’d been to some of these places before, but it was a long time ago and also I was pretty sick at the time, so it was nice to see things like the Temple of the Emerald Buddha with clear eyes.

A corner of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha

I took this picture at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (who is in fact jade, not emerald). The entire temple is a stunning monument to the Thai aesthetic, with gold and tiles and intricate architecture. I think on some level that’s what I like so much about this picture: you have this one very plain stone image of the Buddha in the midst of all the gold and glamour.

Through the temple window

From Bangkok we headed to Ko Samui, the beautiful resort island full of beaches and temples. This is a picture through the window of a temple full of more amazing Thai architecture. There are a lot of stray cats and dogs in Thailand, and one thing that’s kind of fun is that since it’s cooler in the temples, sometimes dogs just stroll in and sit in front of the Buddha, looking like they’re deep in prayer.

Although many of the stray animals looked injured, which was really sad, we did stumble across a women’s bathroom that doubled as a cat sanctuary. I didn’t take pictures because I was in a state of shock. Sure, there were a few cats outside, but there are cats everywhere. But then when I came in, the meowing became… loud. There were eighteen photos on the wall, each cat with its own name and backstory. There were cats on the windowsill, cats in the sinks. I opened a toilet stall and the cat drinking from the toilet hissed at me. It was, all in all, a rather interesting experience.

Another shot of the temple on Ko Samui

This is another picture of the temple. As you can see, I got totally hooked on the flashy colorful pants you can buy everywhere in Thailand. They are seriously the best: cheap, cool, colorful, and comfortable. What more can you ask for in a hot humid climate?

A temple in the pouring rain

We finished our trip with a few days in Singapore. We absolutely loved Singapore. It’s an incredible city: green, clean, safe, beautiful, and with a million things to do. (Also with a million dollars in fines and potential caning if you break the laws, so… careful!)

We did so much here: visited Sentosa Island, checked out Little India, went on a night safari where we met monkeys who DIDN’T want to hurt me, and just generally ate some of the best food we’d ever had in our life. Then we spent six hours at the Singapore Changi Airport. That might sound awful, but I can confirm that Singapore deserves its reputation for the world’s best airport. From the free movie theatre to the abundant internet access points to the slide you can take instead of stairs, that airport is incredible.

Ready for my first day of school!

Better still, it had a Harry Potter theme running. There were all sorts of Harry Potter themed areas set up. We even got to try on robes in Diagon Alley. I have a few more photos of the trip, including the Whomping Willow and more monkeys, that I’ll send out in my newsletter, so if you’re interested in that, be sure to sign up!

And that’s it for this month! Please keep your eye out for more news about Containment — there are only a few short months until it will be in stores! And if you liked this post, please remember to share!