When things here are written in English, 99.9% of the time, it doesn’t make much sense. And it gets me every time. I think this is similar to how Westerners wear Chinese characters because they “look cool”, even though they don’t make a lick of sense.
I think I’m going to make this a weekly thing.
Since there’s no way I’ll be able to post every single thing on this blog, it will most likely be just pictures or highlights, such as the following.
I arrived in Thailand on Friday. The following Tuesday we packed our bags again to travel about an hour out of Chiang Mai to stay in the village of Baan Mae Bon for 4 nights. I don’t even know how to explain this experience, because everything was so new and different and awesome in it’s own way. I could go on and on. But I won’t. Basically, to sum it all up, there was lots of longan/lemyai (local fruit that they grew, seriously, I’ve had enough to last me a lifetime), amazing, hospitable, generous people, and breathtaking sights. Leaving was so unexpectedly sad.
My host family was great! Mom, Dad, and their son, Name. They spoke little English, but luckily I was rooming with one of the Thai roommates, so she was able to do a lot of translating. I said, hello, goodbye, very delicious!, thank you, and I’m full. Along with a lot of smiling and pitiful attempts at gesturing. But it didn’t seem to matter, it was lovely. AND THE FOOD. GOOD LORD. Amazing. Best food ever. Mom, Dad, you two would be so proud, I wasn’t picky and ate everything. BECAUSE IT WAS DELICOUS. Seriously, I could dedicate a whole blog to just Thai food in general. Anyways, I digress.
We visited two waterfalls, one was a VERY long, unexpected hike away, but pretty worth it, the second was UNREAL. It’s known at “Sticky Falls” because it is made of limestone so you literally stick to the rock and can climb up and down the waterfall. It was so much fun.
There was also a lot of activites regarding temples. We went to some Buddhist services, visited an amazing temple known as the 19 Pinnacles Pagoda, and on the last day, we had a beautiful party where some of the local girls performed a dance for us, the villagers blessed us for a life of happiness, and lastly, FRENCH FRIES. It was hilarious to be eating french fries and ketchup in an ornate Buddhist temple, but it happened.
Oh, and we planted rice too. LOLZ.
The whole experience really reminded me of what a beautiful place I am in. I keep living life normally, but then those little moments happen when you realize that you are just in a whole different world, and you just remember to slow down and take it all in. I’m really loving this place.
As I’m sitting here trying to recount my first week, it just seems like a total blur, I did so much! Talk about really throwing yourself into a new culture. I arrived in Chiang Mai at 11:00 PM after about 24 hours of travel and I was so exhausted I couldn’t wait to actually sleep while laying down, and not craning my neck in an airplane seat. Our roommates picked us up and got us a taxi to UniLoft, our apartment complex. After an okay nights sleep (super jet lagged), we were up and at em to go shopping for uniforms, typical dorm stuff, and food!
I will admit that those first few days were definitely a struggle. I was tired, dehydrated, and I just wanted to eat a cheeseburger and sleep forever. But after orientation, and as soon as my traveller’s weariness wore off, the fogginess cleared and I realized that I was IN Thailand, and it is truly amazing.
Welcome to my study abroad blog! I’m Hannah, a junior at Roger Williams University currently studying abroad at Chiang Mai University in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I made this blog out of sheer excitement a few weeks before I left, but as soon as I got here, I found that I rarely had much time to even start posting. So here I am, finally writing my first post after being in Thailand for just about 2 weeks now. But feels like it’s been a lot longer…in a good way!
To start, I guess I’ll give a few reasons as to why I chose Thailand (I have been getting asked A LOT, mainly by the Thai students):
-This was the only program at my school that incorporated service learning (I’m an anthro/soc major)
-I looked at the pamphlet and thought, “wow, Thailand, never thought about that, let’s try it!”
In all seriousness though, I had plans of studying abroad in Australia ever since my freshman year of high school, but when it came down to it, I decided to really step outside of my comfort zone. My philosophy was that: if I’m going to throw myself in a totally different culture, it would be nice to give it some structure (i.e. school). I’ll get to Australia, hopefully I’ll get around to backpacking around Europe, and maybe I’ll eventually go visit my best friend who’s living in South Africa at the moment. But for now, this is my adventure. And as my anthropology professor says, I seek to “make the strange familiar, and the familiar strange.”
Sah wah dee ka! (hello/goodbye in Thai)