Friday, December 30, 2011

Dec 22- Ancient Angkor

We had a 0415 wake up today and got on our tuk-tuk at 0500 to head out to Angkor Wat. This was our first look at the world's largest archaeological site and world's largest religious monument:

It was spectacular! As the sun moved and the faces of the towers were illuminated it got even more impressive. We made our way to the inner sanctuaries and viewed the incredible architecture and bas-reliefs.

These are some of the devatas of Angkor Wat.

It's incredible how free you are to walk among these ruins.  Nothing is off limits. No places are roped off.

This is the Ryan Buddha

I was just stunned to be walking right into my art history books.
Every inch of these miles of temples is covered in beautiful carvings, masterful stonework, and carefully placed statues. These bas-reliefs- telling stories of war, giving glory to the kings, and sharing mythology- were my personal favorites.

 When you're walking around these ancient monuments, it's easy to forget that they are still living, holy places for many people, including these monks.

Paying respects to Vishnu. These temples are rooted in Hindu tradition, but were modified to fit Buddhist beliefs. Most people in Cambodia practice a unique form of  Buddhism with Hindu elements and hints of animism.

Our next destination of the day was Angkor Thom. At the center of Angkor Thom (and symbolically the Universe) lies the enchanting Bayon- an incredible jumble of multi-faced temples.

This is Bross, our tuk-tuk driver entering the gate to Angkor Thom. You can hire a personal driver for about $8/day to take you anywhere you want to go, drop you off, wait for you, then take you wherever else you want to go.

   The towers of the Bayon.
This was Ryan's favorite temple.
One of the many multi-faced towers.
Ryan, Corinna, and our good
friend Jayavarman XIII.

Our last stops for the day were the Elephant Terrace and the Leper King Terrace. These were ceremonial platforms for cremations of nobility and such.
Elephants of the appropriately named Elephant Terrace

Wonderful carvings. Many of these were discovered in a 'secret' hall discovered very recently.

Ryan paying his respects to the mysterious Leper King.

Ryan paying his respects to the local monkeys.

They look all sweet and cuddly but they are mean! This one thanked Ryan for the banana by hissing and swatting.

After a long day of temple-hopping, we retreated to our room for showers, stopped in at the blind masseuse' for $5 hour-long massages, enjoyed some cocktails and dinner and plan to retire early so we can do it all over again tomorrow!

Dec 21- We've Arrived in Cambodia!

Well, we made it here safe and sound! The plane ride was LONG. Ryan enjoyed a Japanese beer and a sleeping pill for dinner...

The public bus station in Bankok was a little rough. The border crossing was HECTIC. But our room here in Siem Reap is LOVELY.
We arrived to complimentary drinks and got hour long massages from blind masseuses. Then we took a six hour nap- recovery was needed! After that we explored the town a bit, did a little shopping, had some lovely Khmer food for dinner, and are headed to bed.

We've arranged for a tuk-tuk (little cart pulled by moto-bike) to the temples to the see the sunset in the morning. We're very excited!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Engagement Photos

Click here to view photos of the ring and our Nerdtastik! engagement photo shoot in the library.

Once Upon a Time

Our Story from our Wedding Website

How We Met

How We Met
We attended the same high school but never managed to notice each other. This might have been because one of us was a senior while the other was a freshman (not saying which). Our paths crossed again 11 years later in Columbia, MO at a bookstore. Fittingly, it was the travel section we were both perusing and we exchanged niceties (each thinking the other looked familiar). That might have been that. But aaaahhhh facebook. That wonderful re-connector of people everywhere. A friend request shortly followed and late night talks of books we shared an interest in on Virtual Bookshelf ensued. We quickly found that we had much in common -- a love of travel, books, good food, blues music, similar worldviews, etc. Soon we were both spending quite a bit of time online trying to find out every detail about each other.

Our First Date

After weeks of online chats, Corinna asked Ryan on a first date. A reply quickly followed and they agreed to meet at Sake Sushi Bar at 5 on the 28th of January.
And Corinna was 40 minutes late to their first date. So Ryan can never get mad at her for running late because he knew what he was getting himself into from the start.
After dinner we attended a chamber orchestra concert. Our first kiss followed at the end of the date in a poorly lit, dirty alley outside of Ryan's apartment. Romantic.

Falling in Love

Falling in Love
We've been inseparable ever since. Ryan regaled Corinna with tales of Mongolian emperors and Chinese misadventures. Corinna actually enjoyed it. Well, most of it. And the more we talked and shared, the more we fell for each other. Pretty quickly we both knew we didn't want to be without each other.
We've tested our relationship with travel (we have very differing philosophies on tent placement and itineraries), physical trial (we didn't kill each other during the most arduous last 4 downhill miles of a 15 mile hike you could ever imagine) children (we took my sister's 3 kids for a month!), family (we won't get into the specifics, but of course we don't mean you), and time & space (it's been a year and a half now and we continue to grow closer and further entwine our lives).
We were talking seriously about marriage and family and taking care of each other in old age since nearly the beginning. It was always so obvious and easy for both of us. We are excited to know that we are going to be together for the rest of our lives and share all of the ups and downs that will entail. Together, we are truly the happiest we have ever been.