Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Trading ↔ Spaces

I have finally switched to my second host family! Of course I will miss my first host family because they were super nice and helped me a ton but my new place is so cool! I am not actually living with my host parents but in a dorm like place across the street! My second host parents own a preschool and some of the staff live in little apartment things at the school and I have one all to myself! I've only been here 4 days but I love it already! I missed having my own bathroom! And I get to be way more independent here. I can go places around town or even to Bangkok by myself! (Yes, I am always careful and safe.) I get the perks of being an adult with freedom and space with the perks of being a kid because I have people to take care of me still!
The secretary of the school is like the mom of everyone here. She cooks us all dinner, takes me to school, and makes sure I have everything I need! She's basically my host mom. Then there's the teachers who live here and they're all very friendly! Even though the youngest teacher is 26 I can still talk with them and they keep me entertained! One of the teachers has a 2 year old son who won't come near me and waits until I leave a room before entering. It's so cute but I have made it my mission to make him like me!
Yesterday I went to Bangkok by myself for the first time to hang out with another RYE named Emily. For the most part it was amazing! Being the teen girls that we are, we started by shopping where I found a super cute dress! Next went to the Art and Culture museum and got a charcoal drawing together. Then we stopped by a beautiful park with tons of flowers and a lake with a fountain! From there we went to check out one of the temples in Bangkok but it was closed so we could only look at the outside (which was of course gorgeous). By that time we had done a lot of walking and felt that it was necessary to go get thai foot massages! Completely necessary! Our final stop was at a super tall hotel where we wanted to go to the top and look at the sky view but it was only for guests. It was a crazy day overall and so very very fun! We also took every type of transportation! Buses, the Sky Train, taxis, a tuk tuk, and numerous motorcycles!

Since everyone where I live is Buddist, there's no Christmas celebration. I was very sad to find out that there is school on Christmas! Of course I won't be going because they have midterms and I want to celebrate Christmas but all my friends will be busy studying! So Emily and I made plans to go to a Christmas dinner with a bunch of other foreigners in Bangkok and spend the night at her house! Hopefully it will be great!
It's so hard to believe that Christmas is already here! Before I know it I'm going to be scheduling my flight home and I am nowhere near ready for that! I swear I just got here! So many things are happening and I just want to do it all!

In case I don't post until after Christmas, MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!   I love you all!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Feeling Happy :D

Hard to believe it's been a month since I last updated! I haven't really been busy just haven't done much. But today was just a truly great day so I thought I'd share it with you all!
I went to Bangkok today with my host parents and host cousins to visit my host aunt who is in the hospital with Cancer. She is so amazing! Even with being sick in the hospital, she still smiles, makes jokes, and makes everyone in the room feel happy to be around her! After that we went to visit one of the big temples in Bangkok and I got to see a monk-in-training become a monk! I got to talk with some funny people who were there to help celebrate and eat some delicious pastries! Overall very fun! I also got to spend some quality time with my 10 year old cousin who was very shy at first but quickly warmed up to me. When we got home, my host dad asked if I wanted to go swimming and of course I wanted to! I got to swim around for an hour just relaxing which felt awesome! It was the first real physical activity I've done in weeks (I have seriously been so lazy)! After showering I went to eat dinner and found that my host dad got cheesy hot dogs and chocolate milk! In such a short time he has got me figured out haha. It was totally the perfect meal to end my day and I just feel very happy!

In other news, school is good and I'm having fun. Second semester started last month and I've officially been placed in a class, grade 11 class 1. Most of the subjects are boring like math, science, and history but all my friends are in this class so I wouldn't want to switch. Every weekend I've been doing something, whether it's shopping in Bangkok or Saraburi, going to a wedding, or hanging out with my friends!
Last Friday was Father's Day/The King's Birthday so I had no school! Unfortunately I had to get up at 4:30am so we could go to Pattaya. We went to a family memorial sight where we gave offerings to their ancestors then ate all the food used in the offering (it was a lot of food). After that We went to this super fun place called Ripley's Believe It or Not! I got to see some strange artifacts, walk through a very realistic wax museum (I was fooled more than once thinking something was real),  and go through a later maze! It was so fun and cool to see everything!
Soon I'll be switching host families. I'm sad to leave this family which I've gotten so comfortable with but I'm also very excited to get to know a new family! I promise to tell you all about them!
I miss everyone so much but not to worry, I'm having fantastically amazing time here!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Hard to believe I've only been here three months! I feel like too much has happened for it to be such a short time! I've already gone to two other countries besides Thailand!! I just can't believe how amazing it is here and I am so thankful that I get to be an exchange student and go on all these adventures!
So last weekend I went with a large group of strangers (and my host uncle) on a trip to Myanmar! It was not what I was expecting at all! We spent three days at a temple and when we weren't at that temple we were visiting a different temple. It was a very interesting adventure. While I learned a lot about Buddhism, how it works and what they do, its not something I'd volunteer for again. We spent three days doing prayers while sitting in uncomfortable positions and giving offerings such as money and food to the monks. They told me that we were doing a ritual for the monks who have apparently been in the temple for three months praying during the monsoon season.
Since it was my birthday, they decided I should be the one to give the monks the big gift of 1 million baht! Its a huge honor and is supposed to bring me good luck in my next life. It was also cool when a temple full of people sang me happy birthday and I turned red as a tomato! They thought I very amusing.
As far as my 17th birthday, it was very sweet. Since I was in Myanmar on my actual birthday, my host family took me out to diner the night before I left and surprised me with an ice cream cake when we got home! It was so nice! Then on Monday, my friends gave me a chocolate cake and sang me happy birthday! Of course being the foreigner who everybody knows, everyone who saw me told me happy birthday! People here are just so sweet and it made me feel so loved! Finally to top it all off, I received a birthday package from home filled with my favorite candies! I was super happy and my friends loved the sour patch kids I brought to school! They all thought the candy was covered in sugar and had a fun surprise when it turned out to be sour! Haha!
In general, I am having a great time! I am spending time with my thai besties and with the other exchange students. It's always great when we're together because we can really understand each other! My thai is getting better everyday! I even surprised my friends the other day when I said a full sentence in thai correctly! I can't wait to see what I get to do next!

Monday, October 27, 2014

My trip to "Malaysia"

Exactly one week ago I got home from my trip south. It was a rotary trip with my club and my friend Danielle's club. We went island hoping stopping at numerous beaches for sight seeing, swimming, and even snorkeling! It was so fun and everything was absolutely beautiful! They originally told me we would be going on a trip to Malaysia, so I assumed the whole trip would be there. Turns out we were only spending one day in Malaysia. It was of course beautiful but we mostly went to museums and did tours which were in thai. My favorite part of the trip was after the day of island hopping in southern Thailand when we arrived at an island called Koh Lipé! The resort we stayed at was right on the beach, which is where Danielle and I spent most our time. And the beds felt amazing after sleeping on a bus the night before to get to the south!
Of course, after spending so much time in the sunny south on a boat and in the water, I came home with a fantastic sunburn. I think it was the perfect shade of lobster red! Though now it has turned into a pretty nice tan! When I told my friends here that I got a tan they looked at me like I was crazy because to them, I'm still incredibly pale.
After the trip, I was so tired that I could have slept for days! Unfortunately, they had other plans! In the week since I've been home, I've gone shopping in Bangkok twice, to language camp with the other exchange students, hung out at my friend Lek's house, and today went to the opening of my third host family's 7 eleven! And if all this hasn't been enough, I'm leaving for Mayanmar in 3 days! I can't wait to see what it's like in yet another country!

This weeks high light was going to language camp on Sunday. I missed the first two classes because I was going on trip and I'll be missing the last one for the same reason, so I was really happy to get to go! We didn't really learn and thai that we didn't already know but we spent hours talking about everything! It was so great to have everyone together finally! I can't wait until we're all together angain because we all understand each other so well! We also got to make Loi Gratongs, which are small floats decorated with flowers, for the festival next week!
There are just so many fun things going on here! Hard to believe it hasn't even been three months!

Monday, October 13, 2014

10 Days of Fun and Friends

I have been so busy this last week! Going on trips and having visitors non stop for 10 days! I guess I should start from the beginning so you all can understand just how crazy it's been!
It started two fridays ago on the 3rd. It was five minutes before I left for school that morning when the house phone rang and it was for ME! I mean, who in thailand would be calling my house here? It was my host cousin, Bird, the same person who took me to Kowyai. She asked me if I wanted to go on another trip so, of course, I said yes. She told me to go pack my bag for the weekend and that she would be picking me up in an hour to take me to another city and see another exchange student! That was all the information I got! So I packed and told my host mom that I wasn't going to school but was instead going away for the weekend! Bird came and got me and we were off!
Now what happens when you put six people into a car made for five, add four dogs, and drive at 80mph on a very bumpy road for many hours? You get one very car sick girl named Jen who is sneezing due to her allergy to dogs. The car ride was a nightmare and I was more than happy to get out when they said we had arrived in Lopburi. Next I went with a rotary member who drove me to a birthday party that his rotary club was throwing for their president. This was where I met the other exchange student named Danielle. Turns out that she had no idea I was coming to stay at her house for the weekend.
We bonded immediately due to the fact that we understood each other completely and could actually have a real conversation. The weekend passed rather fast. The birthday party was a bit crazy with loud music and some rather "exotic" dancers. We decided to leave the party a bit early. We stayed up talking way too late! The next day we went bowling with her rotary club in Bangkok and met up with another student named Israel. It was so fun even though I was a terrible bowler! We also got to spend one night at her family's second home just us and we had a total slumber party with movies, a ton of pillows, and junk food!
On Sunday night her host dad told us that Danielle would becoming to my house for a week and we were going back the next day! Since I still had school for another week, we went to school on Monday and Tuesday. Monday was rather boring because they were doing set up for tuesday. Tuesday we got to dress up in traditional thai dresses and walk in the parade. It was so cool to see myself in the thai costume. After the parade we watched a couple soccer games and cheered! We didn't go to school the rest of the week though. We were way too tired and used Wednesday to catch up on sleep.

We figured we could relax the rest of the week and just have fun hanging out! But on thursday we find out that we are leaving on another trip the fallowing day! So we spent all of Thursday making sure we are ready for our trip to the south!
Friday comes and we are off to Hua Hin! It is a great tourist town 3 hours south of Bangkok! We did lots of swimming though mostly in the giant pool because the ocean had jellyfish! Though we did find a cocoanut at the beach!
We stayed at the Sheraton resort! It was gorgeous and had a karaoke bar that we went to on our first night! On Saturday we went with a group of people into town. In this group where a bunch of rotary members from Australia! It was fun to talk to other english speakers!! We went shopping at the mall and got massages! The oil massage was waayyy less painful than the thai massage I got last time! On Sunday we went back home, well, back to my house anyway! Danielle and I spent the night watching the new movies we bought at the mall!

Since we brought the cocoanut we found back with us, we figured we should open it. After a few failed attempts, the housekeeper brought out a big knife and opened it for us! I think it was out of pity for our terrible failure at trying to open it by beating it on the ground! Then it was time for Danielle to go back to her house in Lopburi. It was a great 10 days especially since I had someone who knew exactly what I was going through and we could compare our experiences!

Next up I have two days of rest before I'm off again! I'm going to Koh Lipe (an island in southern Thailand) and Malaysia for five days! Can't wait to tell you all about it!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Pattaya and My week off!

A couple weeks ago I went on a field trip with my school to Pattaya! It was so much fun! First of all the bus was great and was different than school buses in America! There was music blasting out of 16 speakers and a bunch of colored lights flashing! Students where dancing and singing, myself included! It was pretty much a party bus! The first stop was the Pattaya Floating Market! We had lunch and spent some time looking at cloths in the shops. It was such a huge market, I wish I had more time to look aroung but we had other places to go. The next stop was at a theatre.

While waiting to go to the show, I go to ride on an elephant with my friend Poi! Elephants are surprisingly uncomfortable to sit on! Then we went into the theatre where we watching a show about thai history and culture told through dance. It was beautiful and included fire, running water, and elephants! After the show we got back on the buses to head home. On the way home we stopped at a huge snack store! After that stop, we were ready for the 4 hour ride back.

This past week was finals week at my school so I didn't have to go. I though I would be stuck at home with nothing to do. Wow, I was so wrong!
I got to go shopping in Bangkok on Monday with a couple of girls. We had fun shopping together and they invited me to go with them to Kowyai with them the next day. I didn't know what Kowyai was but said yes. Turns out Kowyai is this awesome hotel that looks like a castle from the outside! Everything was so beautiful and I got my own hotel room! After settling in at the hotel we went shopping at this little market that looked like it was from medieval Europe. After shopping we stopped by the zoo! There were some really cool bird that I had never seen before and a lovely white tiger that splashed me with water! Next we went to get thai massages. I don't know if I liked it or not. The massage itself was kind of painful but I felt amazing afterward! To end out great day, we all went to dinner at The Chocolate Factory. The food tasted fantastic! And the chocolate cake was to die for! After all this I was ready to go back to my hotel room and sleep.
On wednesday we packed up and left Kowyai. On the way home we stopped at a cute market for breakfast and at an ice cream shop with fresh, homemade ice cream! After this fun and busy trip it was nice to have a relaxing day at home just reading and watching tv. On friday I went to a friend's house for a sleep over. We ate pizza and watched movies just like any sleepover in America!
I also made an American meal for my family. They loved the french toast and cheesy scrambled eggs, though the oatmeal with apples was not a hit. I think next time I'll make a dessert for them. Maybe apple pie?
 My thai has been improving and I am starting to get used to the heat but the humidity is killer! I've been having so much fun with my friends and family here! I love them all!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Festival, Elephants, and a Party!!

So far my time here has been very fun and exciting with new experiences and lots of friends. But this weekend takes the cake! I have just had the best weekend of my time here with tons of fun friday through monday!

Friday! Since it was friday it was automatically a good day but what made it better was getting to spend time with my friends after school. I played in a badminton tournament with three of my friends who live near by. I didn't do great but it was so much fun (and exhausting) to play for 2 hours. Then my friends Beer and Lek invited me to go to the moon festival with them. Beer drove us there on her motorcycle which while fun is still terrifying! I got to eat thai fair food and play games!

Saturday! After staying up late the night before it felt great to sleep in. When I got up I found that my sisters were gone so I spent the day mostly relaxing and doing some art homework which didn't really feel like work! In the afternoon some family came to visit and my host uncle showed me how to cook some thai food! I made two of the dishes that we ate for dinner that night and everyone liked them! My sisters came home late in the evening having gone on a school trip. They brought me a purse which I happen to have the matching wallet for! Then to end the night I got to Skype with my older sister Samantha and her room mate Kaycie! It was so great to talk with them and a big congratulations to Kaycie on the engagement!

Sunday! As usual I had no idea about the plans for the day but it was such a great surprise! We all got in the car in the morning (I've learned to just go with it) drove for about 2 hours. We went to see elephants! I got to see an elephant performance with dancing, walking on two legs, and other cool tricks, plus I got to feed them! The best part thug, was when I got to ride on an elephant with my sister Ice! It was amazing to be sitting on top of the giant animal while seeing the beautiful city I was in! After the elephants we went to lunch and ice cream and finally shopping! I got a super cute t-shirt with an elephant on it!

Monday! Even though it meant the start of the school week, I rather enjoy monday because all my classes are music or dance! It was also my friend Beer's birthday! She invited me to her house for her birthday party, so after school I went with her and Poi. The party was great! Most of my friends from school were there and we spent the evening eating amazing thai food, dancing, and singing terribly! It turns out that they think I'm a good dancer and it was the most fun I've had yet!

I can't wait to see what come up next! I love being in Thailand!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

OMG! One whole month!

Hard to believe it's already been a month! Sorry this is so long but there been a lot happening! I've settled into a good routine with school and friends and stuff. I'm still playing lots of badminton, 5 days a week. Though there has been some heavy rain this week so we can't play for as long. When it rains here it goes from sunny and fine to downpour in seconds with thunder and lightning!
There is a street fair a couple blocks from me that started on Friday. I got to play games, look at some cool thai art, and I finally ate a bug! It was a grilled caterpillar that tasted fine but still grossed me out! Every one was doing double takes when they saw me. Some people even stopped and stared because I look so different! I also ran into the Mexican exchange student who had just arrived a couple days ago. We talked for a few minutes but he doesn't speak much english and I don't speak spanish so it was very basic.
School has been great! I have figured out my schedule and decided which classes I want to go to and which I don't. Sometimes if I don't like my next subject I'll just stay with my class or go to the library. I really like my four dance classes and my art classes. On Wednesday, 5 out of 7 of my classes are art! I'm currently working on a painting of American culture and my drawing skills are improving a ton! And I have been doing great in English class! :) I am usually speaking to the class or helping different groups with pronunciation and grammar. It's kind of fun to teach them! My thai lessons are really helping me. I can now communicate what I doing or want or how I'm feeling and I sometimes can understand and answer people's questions! Even after 3 weeks at school people are still treating me like a star. Everyone I pass says hi and students (and sometimes even teachers) ask to take pictures with me! The girls in my culture class on thus days love doing my hair because it's so different than everyone else's and I love what they do with it!
From August to September there is a sports celebration. My school is split into four teams and I am on the green team. Every thursday there are competitions! Last week was tug-o-war and I competed with the other girls on my team. We lost but it was still fun! This week there was water balloon racing, piñata smashing, and this race where a stick it hung from your waist and it's used to move an orange across the field. I got to do the piñata competition which was great!
Let me just take a moment to tell you that the food here is absolutely amazing! When I get home I am going to hate American food! I am loving all the flavors and variety! I am even starting to like the spice when it's not burning my mouth to death!
Now that I can communicate better my relationship with me host parents is improving. We can have some basic conversations and make small talk! I am no longer confused all the time just most of the time! I love my sisters! They are so helpful and fun! I love playing games, watching movies, and talking with them. And they share their cloths with me which make them the best!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Orientation and other stuff

I have been having such a great time and staying busy! On friday my school was hosting an event called Get Ready for ASEAN also known as english camp. Of course they insisted I participate! There were five schools including mine with about 30 students from each school and I found out about 20 minutes before the event began that I would be giving the opening speech since I knew the best english. So I quickly prepared a short speech with the help of my english teacher and got up in front of about 150 students to speak. After that we were split into teams with students from each school to compete in challenges. Since they were all english challenges my team did very well! I wasn't able to go to day 2 because of Rotary orientation so I don't know who won but at the end of day one my team was in the lead!
On Sunday we drove to Bangkok so I could go to inbound orientation and my sister Ice could go to rebound orientation (she just got back from Brazil). It was great to meet all the other students in my district though I didn't get to meet the boy who will be in the same city as me because the 2 Mexican students don't arrive until wednesday. All the students speak english so the meetings were all in english which made it very easy to understand. We learned about Thai culture, Rotary rules, and some Thai words. My host district only does exchanges with 6 countries so there are a lot of American students (12) and France has the second most number of students (4)! We all became fast friends and I am already planing a shopping trip with an American and French student!
I have been making lots of friends at school as well. My friend Lek stays at her grandparents house on the weekends which is across from mine so we play badminton almost every day she's here. And my friend Boss goes to his Aunt's house on Monday-Wednesday after school which is next to mine and we also play badminton. So I will be very good at badminton when I get home!Plus everyone at school wants to be friends with the American!
I am now taking private thai lessons every day after school. I just had my first one today and my teacher showed me all 44 of the consonants (which I knew most of) and the 16 main vowels. Tomorrow I will be tested on them so I have been studying like crazy! I hope these lessons will help me become fluent!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Science Day

The past few days have been rather relaxed. I now have my official school schedule which includes fun things like thai dancing, thai music, sword dancing (not with real swords...yet), and english (I like this class)! There are also some harder ones where I understand nothing like biology, thai culture, and advanced thai language but I'll get there! My weekend was also very easy, filled with reading and learning/practicing my thai. 
At school today it was science day! And science day is super fun! I didn't have to go to any classes today (not that today's schedule was hard with 2 music classes, 2 dance classes, and 1 english class)! I spent all day with my friends in the auditorium where there where booths set up by different classes with science activities and food made using science. We ate popsicle and candy made by science and wrote using lemon juice and fire. Then there was a fashion show with students showing off clothes they made from recycled materials! They were all great and some stood out as amazing from the rest (there are pictures on Facebook)! After lunch the drama students put on a play that I think was about a boy and a girl being friends and 15 years later getting married. It was only a half hour long and I didn't know what they were saying but it was fun to watch! 
Everyone here is so friendly and helpful. At school everyone I pass says hi to me and so many people ask to take my picture. I have had random students just walk up, say my name, and take my picture when I look up! And teachers want to take pictures with me too! It's kind of funny! Most of the people in my classes try to help me learn new thai words and my thai is really improving! And I cannot express enough how much I am loving the thai food and exotic fruits! It's all so good, except when it's too spicy like the jalapeño sauce I tried!
One thing I find odd about school is the dogs. There are stray dogs all over the place, while they are usually docile and avoid students, it makes me nervous when they come near me. It also make me sad to see so many uncared for stray dogs! I've noticed that some of the students give the dogs treats, some dogs will event do tricks which is cute to watch! But it's just so weird for me to see a ton of dogs walking around school with me the only one starring! 
This coming weekend is inbound orientation and I can't wait to meet all the other exchange students in my district! More on that later!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

First Day of School

So after being in Thailand for 5 days, I want to school for the first time today! And compared to my school at home, the Nongkhae Sorakitpittaya School is humongous! I only had part of my uniform, the skirt and shoes, so I stood out even more than I already would have. From the first moment I arrived, everyone was starring and giggling and saying "hello" as best they could. In the office they were trying to figure out where to put me and I think they were trying to ask me questions but I didn't understand a word they said except grade. They eventually decided something and put me in a class of 23 other students. The teacher had me stand in front of the class and introduce myself as best I could in thai. Then I took a seat behind a nice boy who immediately turned around and said "hi! You can call me Top" and suddenly everyone was telling me their names. A girl named Beer (I think her name is very funny) who speaks english came to sit next to me and she was a huge help all day. With the help of Top and Beer I was able to navigate the school and learn most of the names of the people in my class.
In thai schools you stay with the same people all day so I will get to know these people very well throughout the year. Even when we went to lunch we stayed together as a class and they showed me how the cafeteria works. Their school food is waaayyyyy better than school food in America! And there are so many options! Plus there is a snack store in building 2 that we can go to between classes.
i missed the first one or two classes while we were figuring out stuff in the office. But the first subject I went into was Chemistry. Even though I didn't have a clue what the teacher was saying I was able to understand what they were learning about since I already took Chemistry. Apparently the Chemistry teacher is very funny since everyone was laughing! Then we went to English class which I did very well in! We learned about global warming in english and I was able to help my group understand what the papers said. Then was thai culture which would have been a great help to me had I understood anything! Beer tried to explain a bit but I had no idea. This class seemed to go on the longest! Then was lunch! Yummy! After lunch was math which I also did well in because 1. math is universal and 2. It was Algebra II which I already did.  After math we were supposed to have art but no teacher showed up and we talked for that whole class. Instead of going to biology with my class I was called to the English Center so that they could help me figure out a schedule that would be more beneficial to me.
It was decided that I should do art, thai dancing, thai culture and english with my class, and thai language with the little kids. And next semester I will learn to play the piano! I wonder how that will go? Most of my teachers don't speak english and are nervous about me being in their class but I think it will be okay! I just hope that I still get to spend time with the friends I made today!
Also, tomorrow, I have to stand in front of the whole school and introduce myself. The english teacher will translate for me but I am super nervous. I mean this is a huge school with many students! I hope I don't do anything embarrassing!
Wish me luck!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Mother's Day

Today is Mother's Day/ the Queen's birthday. To celebrate we went to a place called the Challenger in Bangkok. It was basically a giant indoor farmers market with local and foreign things. We did a lot of shopping. Clothes, shoes, purses, and great food! Tong and I bought the same pants without knowing it until we got home! I also got to see some cool things like silkworms making silk and a woman making the clothes she was selling. While we were looking at food I was sampling things and didn't realize that I was dipping a cracker in jalapeño sauce! That was a very HOT surprise! But I also tried this great candy that was super sweet and yummy!
We also went to Grandmother's house to honor her by bowing to her and giving her special flowers.
Then when it got dark there was a fireworks show right outside the house! It was so beautiful! They do a great job of celebrating mothers here!
I can't wait to start school! Just have to wait for my uniform and then I can go!
I'm having a wonderful time in Thailand! :D

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Ghost Festival

Me helping make food :)
So yesterday was the Ghost Festival. The day that the spirits of the dead can come to earth and visit the living. It's celebrated with the whole family so I got to meet aunts, uncles, and so many little cousins I lost count. To honor the death they make tons of food, more than even Thanksgiving, burn paper money and clothing, and each person lights three incense sticks for them. Also, the food was arranged so that each dish looked very colorful and beautiful.

Of course, after the dead had been honored, the food had to be eaten. I was never not full yesterday. I think I gained a few pounds but it was all so good. Except when I tried the fish that was so spicy I was sweating and red faced!
In the afternoon I got to go see the rest of what my host parents jobs are. They not only have the crocodile farm but have rice patties, banana trees, and orange trees. It was all very pretty. And I learned how to say banana and orange!
My sister Ice has been giving me 6 words each day for me to learn and it's going very well. So far I've been able to remember the first 12. And on Wednesday I'm starting school! So hopefully I'll learn thai even faster.

Friday, August 8, 2014

The First Day :)

Day 1. The day to relax, unpack, and get settled in right? No. My day started at 8am when I got to try a squat toilet and Thai shower which was thankfully cold. BTW it is very warm  here but the killer part is the humidity! My lounges get stronger with every breath!
For breakfast my dad and sisters took me out, and where do they take me? KFC! It was great and they had some different things than the KFC in America and most of them where very sweet or very spicy. Then we went grocery shopping because they wanted to know what kind of food I like. But I didn't recognized hardly anything there and had Tong and Ice pick out foods for me to try! They also got me books to help me learn thai which was super sweet!
Back at the house I tried to help bring bags in but they insisted that they would do it and told me to go change into pants and a t-shirt for our next stop! Of course I didn't bring long pants so I borrowed some from Ice and it felt instantly 10° hotter!
Next we went to the crocodile farm where I got to see crocodiles so big I thought they where fake and babies that I just wanted to hold and pet.

Then we went to their school for the mother's day assembly and wow do they know how to do mothers day! There are mothers day flags all over the place, pictures of the queen, and at the assembly they had a speech and thai dancing performance. It was soo cool!

Our final stop was the mall! All day they kept asking if I was hungry and I finally said yes so they took me to a Japanese restaurant for lunch. It was delicious! Then we went to the biggest store there and started to shop. For most of this shopping trip I had no idea what was happening. They where going in every direction, grabbing a coffer mug, bathrobe and slippers, trash can, and a basket. All the while they were pointing to colors and asking my to say them in thai. I found out that they got all this stuff for me and my room. It was so nice! Then we went clothes shopping and I found some things (a dress, long pants, and 2 shirts). When I went to pay I found that my host dad already did and when I told him it wasn't necessary he said that I am his daughter now and he pays for his daughters! It was the sweetest thing I've ever heard! My host family is the best!
Home again we had dinner which was very good even though I don't know what it was. And Tong and I watched Harry Potter! By this time I was exhausted and had no trouble going to sleep!
Overall, great first day!!

Take Off!

Yesterday was a very long day for me. I left my house at 9:42am on Wednesday for SeaTac. There I met 4 other girls going to Thailand and together we flew for 11 hours to South Korea! This flight was okay for the most part. I got a window seat which was great but the guy sitting next to me drank 7 beers (yes I was counting) and 2 cups of wine before passing out for many hours making it impossible to get to the lavatory! And he spilt some of his 6th can of beer on my backpack! Was not thrilled at that. But other than that I got to watch 3 great movies, play games, and eat some surprisingly good food!
Once we got to South Korea it was smooth sailing. We met the other 7 students going to Bangkok and I found out that 3 of them are in my rotary district! :) I also got some cool pins to put on my blazer! On this second flight I got the aisle seat and mostly slept and ate ice cream!
In Bangkok we had an adventure trying to find customs because all the signs where in Thai and no one knew how to read them. Eventually we found it and every one made it through quick and easy! My group looked a bit odd after getting our bags because there where 11 students in matching blazers with carts full of large suitcases. I quickly found my host sisters since they where waving a big sign with my picture and shouting my name! It was so great and then the pictures started. Pictures of me with my family, rotarians, other students, and some people I didn't know.
I eventually left with my family and was so tired I didn't event realize they were driving on the left! As soon as I got home they showed me to my room and I zonked out at 1am on Friday!

Me and my sisters Tong (left) and Ice (right). They gave me flowers and this thing that goes around my neck.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Going Away Party

3 Days until I leave for Thailand!

Had a great time today hanging out and talking with my friends one more time before I leave on August 6th. I won't be seeing any of them for the next 11 months! I got to eat great all-American foods: pumpkin pie, chocolate chip cookies, potato chips, mac and cheese, Oreos, and mashed potatoes, mmmm! I have some amazing people in my life and I will miss them all so much! Thank you to everyone who came! :D

On another note, I've been talking with my first host family for the last week. I'm going to have twin host sisters the same age as me! And my host parents are crocodile farmers which I find super cool and a little scary. I hope I get to pet a crocodile! I just got my plane tickets as well; I'll be flying from Seattle to Seoul, South Korea where I'll meet up with most of the other exchange students from America going to Thailand and we'll fly together to Bangkok. I am so excited to get there and meet everyone!

I'll see everyone again when I get back and I want to know everything I missed!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Blazers, Pins, and Trampolines

21 Days until I leave for Thailand! So excited!

Today I had a great time with some other U.S. exchange students making pins and eating junk food. It got a little crazy when Grace tumbled through the trampoline net and roll to the ground. It was hilarious and her face was priceless when she got back up! We all wish we had it on video :)
Here is the before picture of our blazers. Hopefully they will be full of pins and memories when we get home!