Abbey, outbound to Thailand

Here are some things I have done so far: I got to go to Tiger Temple and pet a tiger. I got to go to Saiyoknoi Falls and walk across a bridge with a very beautiful view of the river. I also got to experience yoga in Thailand, and it was very difficult in the end. I also got to go to one of the biggest birthday parties I have ever been to in my life for one single Rotarian (If only I can have a birthday party like the one I went to). I got to go exercise at the beautiful Mahidol University with my second host family. I got to experience a retirement ceremony at school for one of my teachers. I got to take the English Exam at my school. I got to go to Ratchaburi, go inside an incredibly beautiful cave, and see tons of bats soar through the sky. I got to go to Mae Klong, Samut Songkhram, and Don Hoi Lod. I got to go on a field trip with my class to learn about economics which was surprisingly really fun. I got to teach little kids English and go to a mall Japanese themed. I also got to go to Siam in Bangkok which was a very amazing and a very indescribable experience.

Sports/Friends: So pretty much every day I have been going to school to hang out with my friends (even though midterm break has started). Each day is different from spending so many hours to playing Ping-Pong to running and doing exercise. I also get to watch my friends play Tug-of-War which is very cool. I really wanted to play the sport at the beginning, but everyone made a big deal that my hands would hurt. Many Thais want to have white, pale skin, so since I’m white my hands will hurt, but that is just the culture. They say I can play now, but I am so embarrassed that I still have to think about it. Also, I get to play Muey Thai with my friends and volleyball which is fun. I also got to go eat out with my friends at my favorite restaurant, Steak Nathimp. I eat here literally all the time that the people who work there remember me.

Literally hanging out with my friends has been the best part of my exchange so far. From playing pranks on each other to taking tons of photos yelling “Capture!!!”I remember the times my friends and I walked home throwing ice at each other to riding home at night with them in the back of a truck while they sing very loudly. My friends are crazy, but I love them. I also love going to the market every Wednesdays with my friends and buying Nam Dang Soda (very delicious). Something that I have noticed is that my friends have known each other for a long time because middle school and high school are connected here in Thailand, so they are always in the same classes. I have only met my friends in August and there is a little language barrier, but I am already so close to them and they accept me into their lives just like that. This makes me feel very special for having met such wonderful people. They take care of me and hang out with me and really include me in everything they are doing. It just makes me really happy that I have such awesome friends that I can count on for anything.

Cultural Mistakes: For exchange students coming to Thailand, you are bound to make culture mistakes. You would be the greatest exchange student of all time in Thailand if you only made so little, but as for me I make culture mistakes constantly. I have waded while holding shoes in my hands towards teachers so many times that I have to apologize for forgetting. I almost shook hands with a monk and had to apologize for not knowing. I have kicked a coin, and had to apologize because it is respectful since the king is on it. I have worn improper clothing to a funeral, and many more things, but if you apologize and learn from your mistakes. People will understand because you didn’t know.

Exchange is a learning process. No one said it would be perfect, but the key to not letting these culture mistakes ruin your exchange or make you feel bad ( because I am a sensitive person) is just to apologize and build off of them. Also some things that have gotten hard for me, and my get hard for future exchange students is the word “Farang”. Being different looking and everything really makes you stand out so a lot of the students who I don’t know at my school like to make fun of me by shouting “Farang” at me either walking past me or behind my back, and say other things as well. I don’t like it, but I learned to ignore it by talking with people about how I feel. I also got really good friends who stick up for me if they see it to.

So for those students who you just don’t know but like to hurt your feelings. They are not important. Don’t let them ruin your exchange because people will stick up for you if you just take the effort to talk to someone. Now some people are going to try to be funny, but not in an insulting way, you just learn how to joke back and everyone becomes buddy buddy, but believe me some people just take it to far like this one guy kept yelling at me “Very good.”, “Your Beautiful”, “I love you” while I was playing volleyball with my friends. Believe me it was so embarrassing and I kept giving him weird looks, but he just thinks he’s being funny when in reality he is totally creeping me out. That fact alone makes me not really care because I found it funny that he was pretty much making a fool out of himself. Go with the flow, speak out if you're upset, and just don’t let the simple things get to you and you will have a blast on your exchange.

I love Thailand and I am glad that I didn’t get any other country.

To see my home page and some photos click HERE