Abbey, outbound to Thailand

Intro: I don’t know how to begin this report because I have done so many amazing things so far in Thailand that it is indescribable. When I arrived in Thailand I got to go see the biggest temple in all of Thailand in Nakhon Pathom (my province), go to the ZOO to take a picture with an elephant, and celebrate a truly special holiday that I wish it became more important in America, Mother’s Day. Oh Yeah! I should probably start off saying my name is Abbey. I am from Florida in America. I am living in Thailand for ten months as an exchange student in Nakhon Pathom province in Don Tum.

Daily Stuff: The house I am staying at is really cool and very big. I leave from my house and walk to school around 7:30a.m. Monday through Friday. It is very difficult for me to eat in the morning just because in America I was always too lazy to make myself breakfast before. It is even more difficult because I feel like I am eating dinner for breakfast like how some people eat pizza for breakfast. Blaaaahhhh!!! But I am getting use to it, and eating good amounts unlike the first week that I was in Thailand I ate very lightly. My host family was so worried because I ate very small amounts of food, but no they just eat a lot!!!!!

School and Friends: I never thought I would fit in the shoes of a celebrity, but at my school I truly feel like a superstar. Everyday students say Hello to me, shake my hand, or want a picture with me. As you can see my school has never had an exchange student and almost all the students in my school has never seen a foreigner except on TV. One time this girl screamed my name, hugged me, and walked away. Then there are some students who try to make fun of me or call me a farang (white foreigner) even though they know my name, but I just ignore that silliness because it is too small to make a big deal out of it.

Also at school, a lot of the students ask me if someone is handsome or beautiful. I tell the girls they are beautiful, but when it comes to guys I tell them I have no clue. Ok! There was this one time where I called a guy beautiful because in my mind he truly was. Also, everyone always wants me to sing a song even though I am really bad at it, but I just sing badly in the end to get it over with!!

Oh my gosh!!! I love my classmates. I am really close to a lot of them and I like that I can be myself around them and have fun. My friends and I always stay after school playing volleyball, ping pong, or that sport that I forgot the name to, but it is this little ball that you try to keep up in the air, but you can only use your head and feet. One time I played it, I kicked the ball, and I ended up kicking myself in the face. Spectacular!

Every Wednesday, after school I go to the market with my friends and buy sweets. I love to buy Nam Dang Soda! It is very delicious. Also, one time at school, I was sitting in my physics class and the teacher was looking at the boredom swirling all over my face (usually in classes that I don’t understand I study Thai writing) and he said I could draw on the walls. I got really confused like you want me to draw on the school walls even though I am not an artist, and he said yes, so I used my creativity and drew a bunch of really random things. I think I quoted from Finding Nemo, “Fish are friends not food,” on one of them. It was awesome!

A lot of my friends at school are really overprotective when it comes to me, which shows they care so I don’t mind. My friends walk home with me every day and won’t let me walk alone during school. I always have to be guided. Also, they always buy me things even though I have money which makes me feel bad in the end. They also fan me if it looks like I am really hot from the sun, but I tell them I am ok. It is very HOT in Thailand though!!! My friends look after me a lot, but I love them!!!! Also, there is this one guy at my school. He is in the middle school part of my school, and he really really likes me. He is so adorable because he is so small and cute. One day he gave me this key chain with a little doll with Thailand written on it. Awwww He is just so adorable!!! Also, one of my friends at school braids my hair every day and she is amazing at it. She has mastered the sacred art of braiding!!!! My friend in America needs to become her disciple!!!!!

Neat fact! When it rains in Thailand, it really rains hard. My school always ends up flooding. It is hilarious and cool at the same time, because all the students are soaking wet and dragging themselves through the flooded road to the school while my friends and I just stay in the buildings and play ping pong.

Stuff: I had my first inbound orientation at Hua Hin (where I first used a squat toilet; it is not as bad as you think) which was really fun because I got to meet all the other exchange students from around the world along with very beautiful scenery. These past couple of days I went to a temple and saw monks, the Palace in Nakhon Pathom, and the Floating Market in Ampowa. The coolest part to Ampowa was seeing all the fireflies light up the trees. There were thousands of them. It looked like Christmas with a tinge of hot weather.

Sport Day: My school had Sport Day these past three days which was so much fun. I finally got to play volleyball competitively which rocked and I got to play a game with the volleyball teachers against their students which was fun. I also got to dress up in a Thai traditional outfit and walk in a parade with the tallest pair of high heels I have ever worn in my life which was extremely painful, but still rocked since I got to dance at the front of the parade. I also got to see my friends do Chokaye (Tug of War) which apparently my school is known for.

One of my friends is really really athletic!!! She competed in basketball, soccer, tug of war, volleyball, running, and who knows what else. She gave me one of her first place medals which I love her for, but my volleyball team got a second place medal, so I got a medal with my own endurance and strength. Ha! Also, Sport Day was so much fun that I just had to even it out with a really bad sunburn that is really painful, but hope fully it will go away soon!!!!

My Understanding So Far: Something I am really grateful for in America is health insurance. Sometimes it is really sad to see others who are not in the best conditions. One time I went to the market with my host sister and it was really crowded, and there was this lady dragging herself on the ground to get to her destination. Also, when I went to the Floating Market, there was many blind people singing to get money. They have to work so hard every day to keep themselves going, and it just makes me really sad to see something like that, but it helps me to realize more things that I am grateful for and build maturity. Also there are many stray cats and dogs. I am an animal lover and when I see these dogs not in good conditions it also makes me really sad.

Note For Future Outbounds: It is ok to make culture mistakes. Everyone will understand that you didn’t know. The only reason I am saying this is because one time I was at a temple and one of the monks was greeting me with my YEO. He was holding his hand out like he wanted me to shake it like the students at my school do, so I was about to shake his hand when my YEO quickly pulled me back. I was so confused and kept saying sorry in Thai and bowing over and over again, but apparently monks are not supposed to touch women. I was so scared I thought I was going to have a heart attack, but the monk understood that I didn’t know and was laughing at me. So it was all good. Hahaha!

Finale: My time in Thailand has truly been amazing so far. I already can’t imagine leaving my friends when the time comes. Luckily I haven’t gotten homesick yet, and I hope it stays that way!!! I didn’t even tell you guys how I said a speech in Thai in front of 1,000 students at my school (Kongthong Wittaya) which no one understood! Hahahaha!!!!!

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