After seven-teen hours of travel, our group of eight have made it to the magical country of Thailand. Its unbelievable to think after weeks of preparing mentally for this trip it has finally become a reality. After arriving in the city of Chiang Mai we find ourselves at our first hostel jet-lagged yet excited. We go over some of the basic rules and regulations of the trip and then go out for our first Thai meal. We get to know each other and eat our delicious Pad Thai and fried rice. We try to say thank you to the chef without much confidence and pay less than 2 dollars for each meal. With the exchange rate we are able to buy “milk tea” or Thai iced tea all day for less than a couple dollars. We are still working on trying to say simple Thai words, we are slowly progressing and trying not to call anyone a ladyboy when we say “sorry”.
Yesterday our group meandered down to the park to talk about cultural respect and play some frisbee. We talked about how most people come to these beautiful places and not even give half the respect it deserves, something that is so prevalent in American culture. We tend to ask how this will benefit us or how much fun we will have without noticing that this is somebody’s land, somebody’s home and somebody’s culture that we are interfering with.
Our group has shared fun playing games like shuttle cock, cards, and frisbee as well as random ice breakers, we have began to get to know each other pretty well. We seem to be a group that flows nicely together. Today has been the first day we have been exploring Chiang Mai without our leaders, our group has been divided into two teams, each has the same set of requirements to meet on a scavenger hunt the winning team will be rewarded with a prize.
South East Asia! It has been an excited time meeting everyone and specially the other students who I’m going to be living for the next three months. The last couple of days have been absolutely memorable, our cohort has established a great sense of community and friendships. The weather though! It’s very humid, hot, and every morning the cry of a bird as the waking call. I’m still adapting to the time zone, and haven’t suffered any bad health issues, which is awesome! The community here is unbelievable friendly, the culture, everyone is welcoming, the food is specially great and there’s incredibly a lot of place to buy food. Since I got here I’ve been waking up before 7, early in morning to go on a daily jogs. It’s great time to explore the neighborhood and see the great views. I have though been chased by dogs when I go into these run, I’ve been more aware lately, don’t want to get bitten.
Furthermore the stories of the Thailand citizens living is what has impacted the most. The people here want there best for their family and children, and many have little business to have an income. Next week we start our homestay and Thai Classes, Can’t wait for those. I can’t describe that intense moment I’m living right now, it’s unbelievable.
-Cooper Rode, Taylor Little and Martin Farias