Brandon Francis
2013-14 Outbound to Thailand

Hometown: Ponte Vedra Beacb, Florida
School: Ponte Vedra High School
Sponsor: District 6970, Florida
Host:The Rotary Club of Khok Sa Med Chun

Brandon's Bio

สวัสดีครับผมชื่อแบรนดอนฟรานซิสครับ (sawadee krap phom chue Brandon Francis krap) That was a lot of work putting that sentence together! Anyways as you probably guessed my name is Brandon Francis and those with smart inference skills by me writing in ไทย know that I am going to Thailand next year for foreign exchange. Let me first start off and say that I am extremely nervous about this trip. First of all Thai is nothing close to Japanese, Korean Chinese, Spanish, or Latin, or any languages I have a familiar background. Second I know absolutely nothing about Thailand or its customs. I guess the statement that “we aren’t afraid of the dark but what’s lurking in It.” is true. However this makes me more excited for this trip because it is something new that has not been experienced. Now for a little information about me… (What to say????)! I guess I’ll start with my name which is Brandon Nicholas Astor Francis, I am 17 years old, go to Ponte Vedra High School, I’m in 11th grade, live in Ponte Vedra Beach grew up in Montclair New Jersey and have a family of four: my mother, and two dogs, Yuki and Kisaki, and I. Another interesting tidbit is I am Jamerican (Jamaican + American). I haven’t travelled outside the country recently but I have travelled to Jamaica Mexico, Barbados, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England, so travel isn’t really that new to me. I don’t really have a favorite hobby these days, I’d like to say I’m a jack-of-all trades, I dabble into a bit of everything; even though I suck at some things and am better in others. However, I really enjoying drawing, listening to music (K-pop), doing martial arts and SPONTANEOUS DANCING. My favorite classes I am currently enrolled in are Chinese, Art, and Calculus. My aspirations in the future consist of going to Cornell University and majoring in Architecture, becoming a polyglot and residing in a foreign country. Now this isn’t all of me but a brief compilation of information I find interesting about myself. I am looking forward to writing again in the near future in Thailand, but for know…. พบกันใหม (phob gan mai) See You Later

Brandon's Journals

September 2, 2013

Well, let me just say that my first week in Thailand has been very hectic and fattening (food galore!) I left last Monday morning to board on a flight to take me to the other side of the world and arrived there after 2 days’ worth of travel. That was an experience alone. From my baggage getting lost, to me not being able to meet up and contact anyone, made my travels a little frightening and scary but it all worked out. For the past couple of days I have been eating lots of food because when Thai people have a get-together, the meals are HUGE. Not only are the meals are HUGE but my family loves to give me more food every time I finish my plate. (I’m getting fatter just by talking about it.) But so far I am totally enjoying my experience in Thailand. (Although, I’m not looking forward to the homesick stage of my journey, I hope it comes quick because I don’t want it to be near the end of my exchange.) For more frequent updates you can follow my vlogs on YouTube.com @ http://www.youtube.com/user/bleu1995/videos.

November 28, 2013

สวัสดีครับทุกคน. เขาใจไหม? I bet you didn’t understand that.  Well Howdy folks! So here marks the end of my third month in Thailand and the beginning of the Holiday season and the home sickness is beginning to kick in. (Oh boy!) On the topic of holidays, it’s the most difficult thing to do to try and think of the things you need to do in both countries like making my packages early because it takes about two weeks for packages from Had Yai, Thailand to go all the way to Jacksonville, Florida. (Currently wrapping presents and making cards.

So I guess I’ll start from the beginning of the month. (It’s so hard to remember everything I’ve done so I have to look into my picture and video folders. 5555+) After just looking through my picture the first major thing that happened this month was my really good exchange student friend from Belgium, recently just moved host families and I was helping her getting used, the change. JUST KIDDING! It was more like my friend totally adapting the situation like a good exchange student should. BTW I don’t know if I mentioned this but her house is HUGE complete with a pool and everything! (See picture.) Personal pools are very rare in Thailand, the equivalent of finding a needle in a haystack.

My second adventure was traveling to Pattani and Yala to visit a temple for an offering service and to visit a waterfall. I remember at first I was a bit confused why we were going to a temple, (welcome to the life of an exchange student) and why so many people were dressed really nicely standing in front of the temple, holding these flower sculpture made out of money, and not moving anywhere. Then unexpectedly music started playing and then I spotted through the crowd some ladies begin to dance, doing intricate motions with their hands and moving their feet to the beat. The crowed began moving forward following the dancers and the musicians into the temple. I was very confused, and as I turned to ask my host parents what was going on but they had disappeared into the crowd. So like usual, the exchange student ends up following the crowd and doesn’t have a freaking clue if the crowd is going to end up doing something ridiculous. So I managed to find my parents after ent ering this hall like building carpeted and chair lined up in rows, I managed to get from them that this was a ceremony to give offerings to the temple, and they raised a whopping 2 million baht (HOLY COW!) Anywho after the ceremony at the temple, my family tavelled to the next province over so we could go PLAY IN WATERFALL WHICH WAS TREMENDOUS AMOUNTS OF FUN; even though we couldn’t go the way to the top of it. (My host mom didn’t want to go all the way to the top.)

Loy….Loy…Kratong, Loy…Loy….Kratong. An annual holiday the Thais celebrate on the 12th month of the Buddhist calendar on the day of the full moon, Usually in November. I have a love-hate relationship with this particular holiday because when making the Kratong it kept falling apart, and my kratong’s fire blew out…well everyone’s did. It was windy (Talk about patience being tested.) But one aspect I love about this holiday brings the family together. (As you can see in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoPkLpnWA8g this video.)

Well that’s all for now. It’s 1:30 in the morning and I really need to go to sleep so บ้ายๆ. Also i have a youtube channel which I try to update daily. if you want to keep up with me that's the best way.