Friday, December 23, 2011

Sawadeeka Bprae Taet Thai

Has it been 4 months already? A few weeks ago I felt ready to pack up and go home to my family. I was homesick- in need of a hug from my grandmother, hungry for bagels and pizza and New York City’s merciless winter air. With only a few hours until I am finally home though, I cannot believe it’s already time to say goodbye.

I am currently sitting in the airport in Korea, waiting for the 14 -hour flight that will take me home to my family. I'm excited, I really am. There is so much to look forward to- Christmas, my last semester in college and my mom and brothers living only an hour away from me in New Jersey! They moved to New Jersey from Ecuador the day after I left for Thailand. My heart fills up with joy when I think about it but a big part of me is not ready to leave. I feel like in Thailand, there is still so much left to explore, so much more to learn and even more to reflect on.

These past four months, I've learned and loved so much. In the classroom, I've had the opportunity to develop opinions about topics that before this experience, I knew nothing about. Not only that, so much of what I learned was reinforced through excursions and opportunities to directly connect with the people and places we read about in our textbooks or heard about through lectures. I am thankful for this unique learning experience and all of the people that have opened themselves up to share incredible stories of devotion, struggle and survival. Despite moments of discomfort and confusion, these past four months have been the happiest months of my life full of adventures, beautiful people and eye-opening experiences.

Saying goodbye has never been easy for me. I do not want to lose the meaningful connections I've made with the people, the culture, this beautiful country. But the connections have been made and for that, I am so incredibly thankful. I don't mean to overuse the word "beautiful" but that is just what this experience has been- absolutely stunning in every possible way.

Below, I’ve included some of my last-minute Thailand adventures. Thailand, thank you for your warmth, your smiles, your huge heart. Di chan rak kun ka maak maak!

Ya pronto llego Nueva York.

Flight of the Gibbon

I won a raffle at Payap International Day and got to the zip line through the the Thai rainforest.

Playing with tigers on my friend Loretta's birthday.

I've developed a love for Thai pop music, haha. My friends and I went to see Palmy, a famous Thai singer in Chiang Mai last week. We danced all night to lyrics we didn't really understand and it was so much fun!

Loretta and I joined some of our Thai friends on their annual winter break trip to Pai. It was the first time Loretta and I got the chance to get around on a motor bike.

Man made ferris wheel!

My roommate Lookpla and I

Saying Goodbye
Thai and Southeast Asian Studies Program Fall 2011.
And finally the person that was always there to shine up everybody's day, Jayje!


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