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Saturday July 21, 2018
Sawasdii-kha from Thailand!
We all landed safely and are on our first excursions out into the city of Chiang Mai today.
Sunday July 22, 2018
Today we had our first outing into Chiang Mai. We explored a museum dedicated to the history of the city and then learned more about Buddhism after visiting Chiang Mai’s oldest temple, Wat Chiang Man. After visiting the temple, we returned back to our beautiful home base for our lesson in teaching English to non-native speakers, and then we jumped into lesson planning for our first day at school tomorrow. We can’t wait!
Monday July 23, 2018
Today was our first day of teaching the students here in the beautiful city of Chiang Mai! All of us prepared lesson plans the night prior and today we put them to the test- many of us had very diverse teaching styles which gave the Thai students different approaches to learning. The kids were eager and happy to learn and constantly smiled.
Proceeding the school day, we headed over to a Muay Thai gym where we underwent a very rigorous training session. We rotated through three different stations that focused on agility, precision, and quickness. Despite our pain, we all enjoyed the experience!
After a very smelly car ride, we arrived at home base and anticipated a swimming test, but due to Thailand’s rainy season, only a select few of us were able to undergo the “trial.”
Following the draining activities of the day, we all promptly crashed in our rooms. Some of us crashed a little too hard and slept through the beginning of dinner causing the early birds to wait. After dinner, we grouped up in the meeting space to discuss our lesson planss for the next day. As a community, we also came up with a definitive list of agreements of how we should treat one another.
We’re ready to take on the day tomorrow!
Tuesday July 24, 2018
Today is our second school-day and we got to know our students even better! The kids were adorable! Some of us got to play fun Thai games at recess. Now that the kids are closer with us, they are even more friendly and won’t stop hugging us! They had a hard time saying goodbye to us even though we’ll still see them tomorrow.
After school, we all got together for the Monk Chat. We got to ask the monk many questions and we learned all about Buddhism. Prior to the Monk Chat, we all thought it would be a much different experience. We learned that the monk had a good sense of humor and joked around a lot with us. He was very kind and made us feel very comfortable asking any type of questions. He told us a lot of personal stories which helped us relate to him more. Some of the students who were more familiar to the culture had a different experience than the ones who did not. Nevertheless, the students who were familiar with the philosophy of Buddhism still got a new perspective on the subject. The students who were new to the culture, learned more about the origins of it.
Once the Monk Chat was finished, we all felt more enlightened and excited to move forward in life with the knowledge that we received.
-Leaders of the day: Leela Cullity and Jennifer Nguyen
Wednesday July 25, 2018
Sawasdee-krap from Thailand!
Despite the gloomy weather, the GLA team had a very productive day. It was our last day of teaching individual grades, but tomorrow we are putting together an English Camp full of fun, educational games for the kids at Baan San Kayom School and Baan Ta Luk School.
After school ended today, our groups met up at the Art Paradise 3D Museum, where optical illusions covered the entirety of each wall. We participated in a scavenger hunt throughout the museum, taking photos with giant cats, giraffes, and even underwater!
Later , out taste buds were delighted by scrumptious Thai delicacies that we prepared and cooked ourselves. It was a truly eye-opening experience to encounter another culture’s food first hand. We all loved the food, and some of us struggled with the spice. All in all, it was wonderful!
Stay tuned for more posts!
Thursday July 26, 2018
Today was our last day working with the Thai children. It was bittersweet leaving the kids but many new adventures await us. We hope they enjoyed our lessons as much as we did! The schools had closing ceremonies and gifted us some fun souvenirs, including cups and flowers. After an hour of downtime, we headed into town for a western styled dinner. The smells and flavors of pizza and french fries reminded us of home. Accompanied by our very full bellies, we headed into the night bazaar, a street market filled with various unique items to purchase. We went home with bags filled with keychains, clothes, soaps, wooden toys, and much more. After a quick evening game of “Splat!”, we headed to bed excited for the adventure that awaits us tomorrow!
Leaders of they day,
Hanna Malec and Maddy Hays
Friday July 27, 2018
Today was filled with the outdoors and adventure! We learned about the indigenous Hmong population by visiting one of their villages and seeing their farming lifestyle. We also learned about the art of umbrella making and got to paint some ourselves.
The Hmong village was high up in the mountains and we reached it after a beautiful car ride. Once we got there, we took a hike through one of the farms in the area guided by a village elder. He told us that the forest that surrounded us, which was his garden, was completely edible. After the hike, we tried our hand at batik, the art of creating designs on fabric with wax. Then we have some traditional Thai food along with traditional Hmong food prepared with ingredients from the forest around us.
After the hike, we headed to an umbrella making factory. We got to paint fun designs on our very own umbrellas.
After painting our umbrellas, we made a pit stop at a local 7/11 and picked up some fun Thai snacks and candy.
Overall, it was a fun and exciting day, even though we’re kissing our kids.
Leaders of the day: Savannah and Leela
Saturday July 28, 2018
After a tiresome night, we hopped in the vans and headed to Doi Suthep. The bumpy ride left some feeling nauseous, but we managed to climb over 300 crowded steps up the temple. We were blessed by a monk who provided a gift of holy string bracelet; we proceeded to have our fortunes told by means of shaking a holy cup until a numerical stick fell out. Afterwards we departed on another bumpy ride to the Hmong village of Doi Pui where we had the opportunity to shop, see gardens, and get some ice cream and coffee. Despite the rain, the views were breathtaking and it made for many great photos. We then took a sleepy drive to the Saturday Night Walking Street where we underwent a time trial to buy as much as we could with what little Baht we had left. We then headed home and proceeded to have a rather heated debate about the content of our student cultural exchange on Wednesday. Despite some disagreements we were able to come to agree on a “History of American Dance” performance. Stay tuned to see if we actually stick with it. Good night peeps/parents.
Leaders of the Day: Parker and Olivia
Sunday July 29, 2018
Hi GLA parents. Today was a fun-filled day of elephants, elephants, and elephants. To start off, we fed the elephants a scrumptious treat of bananas. After that, we trekked down a slippery mud trail for lunch and then rest of our activities. A few of our shoes broke along the way, but we proceeded to fix them in innovative ways. After lunch we used our strength to mash up the elephant’s medicine, then prepared for our mud bath. The mud was sticky but we were able to wash it off and splash at each other in the river. Then we headed home and made a pit stop at 7/11. For dinner, we enjoyed a western meal that we were all waiting for. Thanks for following the blog. Stay tuned for more!
– Aastha and Olivia
Monday July 30, 2018
We woke up nice and early, to the pleasant surprise of delicious pancakes! We then traveled to a cultural village to learn about the indigenous Tai Lue people. They speak a different dialect than the Thai people of Chiang Mai. Before we entered they blessed us with water to clear the bad spirits and welcome us to their home. When we entered they gave us bracelets to wish us happiness and luck. They taught us how to paint a wooden doll and produce textiles. Next we visited the locals and they taught us how to make rice cracker desert (which was very tricky).
Around noon we had a traditional Tai Lue meal including: grilled egg omelet, rice crackers, Tai Lue pad thai, and spicy sticky rice. While eating, we listened to authentic Tai Lue music and singing! Then some of our own group performed “Riptide” for the Tai Lue people. Lastly we made stencil bags and wrote goodbye notes.
We returned back to home base for well deserved free time. We ended our night discussing and practicing our dance moves for the cultural exchange happening on Wednesday!
– Aliyeh and Caroline
Tuesday July 31, 2018
This morning we woke up to an amazing breakfast from our home base staff. We needed the fuel for a fun day of ziplining. Then it was off to the vans, and an hour later we arrived at Eagle Track Zip-Lining. We conquered our fears with 35 platforms of adventure and teamwork, ending it all with a 40 meter drop! After an exhausting adventure in the jungle we were off for relaxation. What relaxation you might ask? A Thai massage! At the end of the amazing day we came back to Tianna and practiced our performance for the cultural exchange tomorrow.
– Leaders of the day: Kaitlyn and Hanna
Wednesday August 1, 2018
Curious about our activities for today? Well, keep reading, folks! You’re in for a good one!
We began our day bright and early at 7:30 to visit a Thai pottery workshop. We learned about the different clays used in certain pieces, how each piece is polished, and got to watch & experience firsthand the amount of effort it takes to create one pot! We circled around in two groups, each one following the instructions of a professional potter. After about an hour, we all finished with our own unique pots, made with heart and soul 🙂
Once we left our pots to dry, we headed out to lunch at a community mall area where we were met with some familiar fast food brands, such as McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, KFC, and Dairy Queen. I suppose you could say we were craving a little bit, seeing that most of us visited each food stop.
After a hearty (and greasy) lunch, we drove to a Thai high school to do a cultural exchange. We arrived to see many friendly and excited faces. The students there performed a traditional music piece for us and in return, we performed a dance piece! Twice! It was a cool experience being able to see a part of their culture while sharing a part of ours. In addition to that, the students had two stations set up for us; one taught us how to play the musical instruments used in their performance and the other had us write out our names both in Thai and Lanna (traditional Northern Thai language). We also had the opportunity to play some sports with the students! It was an incredibly fun and tiring day!
I hope tomorrow is just as good, maybe even better 🙂
But that’s it for today! Thanks for reading! See you later!
-Charlene and Leela
Hello and sawasdee-ka from Thailand!
Today was our last full day together. We kicked it off by heading to a local market when we got to try different fruits and candies local to Thailand and Southeast Asia. We tried jack fruit, mango sticky rice, bamboo worms, and most divisive of all: durian. We either hated it or we loved it, and it was a pretty even split! After trying all of the great foods, we were given time to walk around a do our last little bits of souvenir shopping. Some of us ended up with fish slippers!
After visiting the local market, we headed to a Tesco Lotus where we had our last opportunity to stock up on Thai snacks before we set out tomorrow. After lunch, we headed back to home base to relax, start packing, and get ready for our farewell dinner.
We went to a restaurant on the Ping River for our final dinner in Thailand. We had all of our favorites: spring rolls, chicken wings, and pad Thai. After we finished dinner, we headed back to home base one last time in the vans to have our farewell party. We viewed our photos from the scavenger hunt and then sang the night away karaoke-style.
Eventually, we headed back to our rooms to finish packing and start saying our goodbyes. It’s a bittersweet feeling to know we’re leaving Thailand, but we know we’ll be back again.