Eliot, Outbound to Thailand

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September 5, 2017

It has been a little less than a month here in Thailand, and what can I say but WOW! It feels like almost a year already, I have already learned so much and have grown as a person I couldn’t be happier. But, let me start at the beginning. Getting on the plane, the moment when I left my parents, I left my comfort zone. That moment was one if not the hardest moments of my life. On the plane, I slept most of the time. After all it was a 25-hour flight, but when I wasn’t sleeping I was thinking about my friends and family I left behind, until I got to Thailand, the moment I arrived I was confused. My parents took off my phone number so I couldn’t call them for help (which in my opinion was a good thing), all I knew was I had to meet them after I got off my flight, and if I couldn’t find them to meet them at the Starbucks on the second floor. The issue was that I didn’t know where my bags were, if the Starbucks was on the second floor before immigration or af ter immigration, I didn’t know if I had all the right paper work. So, I asked someone and they said the Starbucks is on the other side of immigration, so that is where I went. The person hardly spoke English, so I didn’t even know if he knew what I was asking. The line for immigration was 1 hour long which doesn’t seem like a long time, but trust me with a heavy computer bag and an 11-hour jet lag it is a long time. Finally, I got up to the front and gave the guy my passport, he said something in Thai and I just stood there and then he stamped my passport and nodded his head. So, I got my bags and luckily the people who picked me up were right there, the next day I flew to Nakkon Si Tammarat, with another exchange student named Elliot (which by the way I’m good friends with), and we got a huge welcome.

That is just one of my many adventures, and I just got to Thailand. I have done so many new things, like go to a waterfall and catch a fish in my shirt, I am very proud of that because my host sister named Mui said no one could. I have fed some monkeys bananas, I have eaten so much that I thought I would never be hungry again, I have gone to a beach right next to a mountain, which is one of the most beautiful sights ever. I have also made a ton of new friends and every day I fall in love with Thai culture more and more.

My host family is everything I could have asked for and more, I call my host dad Pa, and my host mom Me, I have 2 host sisters. My host sister’s names are Mui and Lin. Then also living near us is my host uncles and aunts, as well as grandparents.

School is fun, it is the largest school I have ever been in consisting of 2,900 students, but they all seem to love to call my name and wave hi. I don’t mind it though, it is sort of funny how everyone always wants to talk to you, it is like just because you are from a different country you are popular. I do have a lot of friends that help me learn Thai. If I had one thing that I should have done it is learn a lot more Thai. I was under the impression that once you are in a country you just wake up one day and know the language. It isn’t like that, you have to put in the work, it doesn’t matter where you are if you don’t try to learn you won’t. I am placed in a scenario where I have to learn, my host dad and mom don’t speak any English, and my host sisters are away in other countries right now. So, I had to learn to communicate, also my friends speak very little English so I just always try to speak Thai. Trust me there are some days my brain hurts , and others where I will think a sentence in English but use Thai words without knowing. I am putting in the work now, but I wish I put more work in before coming here.

All in all, I am doing great. I do miss my family and friends and I have had to face that fact many times. But I try not to think of them and only on the positives in Thailand, of course there are some things I don’t like here but that is nothing more than my ignorance of living in a different culture. Such as I don’t like picking out bones from my food, but that is because I never had to before. I love the people, they are so nice and always smiling, and I can’t wait to be here for 9 more months. I live in the middle of a ton of nature far from the city, and Thailand has the most beautiful nature I have ever seen. Sometimes I catch myself taking that for granted, but then I look around and ask myself if I was in Florida and I saw this what would I say and the answer is always the same. Thailand is beautiful both culturally and physically, and I would never ask to have my exchange in another country.