Jasmin, Outbound to Thailand

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Wow! Okay. Let’s do this, my first journal entry. สวัสดีค่ะ (hello). That was one of the very few phrases/words that I had known when I embarked on my journey over two months ago. Having never left the United States before, I remember stumbling into the airport in Bangkok and being so intrigued by the new sights and sounds like I was told I probably would be. I was not so intrigued by the slightly unpleasant odor however. After a few hours of aimlessly wandering and trying to get some help I was able to locate my host family and really begin my new life. I vividly remember our rather long walk through the airport towards the car. We reached the edge of the airport, the sliding glass doors opened, and all I felt was this unbearable heat that surrounded my entire body within seconds. I did imagine what the heat would feel like beforehand and can honestly say that I greatly underestimated it. I started sweating profusely and my host family taught me my first thing in Thai, ร้อนมาก (it’s very hot). From then to now I’ve experienced and learned so much in such a little time. Within my first day I had the realization of how much food I’d be eating when one of my host sisters and I ate both breakfast and lunch with a five minute break in between. I would not recommend anyone attempt that unless they have a professional/experienced person like my host sister with them. Within four days I had found one of my absolute favorite places in the entire country. Some people from my host family are very serious runners and go to this amazing park about three times a week. I on the other hand do not like running and only go with them because of how beautiful the park is. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t want to be in excruciating pain anywhere else than there though. Within a week I had met the other exchange students and instantly made twenty new friends. Within two weeks I had started school where I met hundreds of new people and learned what it feels like to be a celebrity a little. I actually got about three hundred new Facebook friends and about two hundred new Instagram friends in my first week of school. After about one month of school I still have people all over campus saying “hello” and taking photos. Within one month I learned to read and write Thai. In my opinion I got extremely lucky in that my Rotary district wants to ensure that we learn the language. As a result, I take multiple Thai language classes in school and have Thai tutoring everyday for at least an hour.Now, two (almost three) months in I’m already on my first Rotary trip and about to get on a three and a half hour ferry to go live on an island for a few days. I can’t believe everything I’ve done and how much time has gone by so far. Cramming everything experienced in two months on exchange in these journals is absolutely impossible. This first one is a little hectic and unorganized but hopefully my next one is better.