Friday July 19, 2019
After many hours spent on planes and in airports all across the globe, the whole group has finally arrived in Chiang Mai! Tomorrow the adventure really begins, so we’re off to bed early to get some rest before the busy and exciting days to come!
Saturday July 20, 2019
We all woke up in beautiful Tianna this morning and enjoyed some breakfast on the river. Then we began orientation where we learned about the history of Thailand, Thai culture, and practiced the Thai language. We also began discussing the purpose and layout of our service project, teaching in two Thai schools! By lunch time we were ready to help ourselves to an enormous buffet of Thai dishes, and then toured two beautiful and significant temples in downtown Chiang Mai. Afterwards, we ventured to the fresh market to buy some ingredients to make our own Thai supper at cooking class where we prepared spring rolls, tom kha soup, pad thai, and mango with sticky rice. Yum!
Sunday July 21, 2019
We started our day off with Chow Circle in the communal area before we headed over to breakfast at homebase (Tianna).
After breakfast we had school prep with Mr. Todd when he taught us how to teach english to the Thai kids since we will be in the classrooms soon. After our morning lesson we had lunch at homebase again with delicious pad thai, egg noodle, rice noodle, and other Thai dishes. Then we loaded onto our buses and visited the schools for the first time before teaching with students tomorrow. After visiting both schools we headed to the local market where we tried a lot of Thai snacks.
We also were able to buy several varieties of Thai souvenirs (and gifts for friends and family!). We then headed back to homebase where we planned for the following days at school. Dinner was served by Panne (local staff) and the chefs for the GLA students. After dinner we separated into our mentor groups and journaled. Now we are winding down and heading to bed. We are learning a lot about appreciating what we have at home and appreciating what we are learning about now!
Written by Leaders of the Day: Tasha and Ashley
Monday July 22, 2019
Sawa-dii-ka! Today, we had an early rise for our first day of teaching! After a wonderful breakfast, we packed the vans to head to schools. Warmly greeted by the students with big smiles and waves, we were excited to get our day started with a bit of first day jitters. After our first rotation of classes, we adjusted our lesson plans to what best suited our students. After three one-hour classes, we had an amazing meal provided by the school’s staff. One of the highlights of our first day of school experience was recess. We were able to sign their notebooks, play soccer, and create secret handshakes with the kids.
Afterward, we headed straight to downtown Chiang Mai to participate in our first Muay Thai experience! Muay Thai is a form of boxing practiced all around Thailand. We all were able to confidently step in the ring and work with the instructors on our punches, kicks, and swings. After working up the best sweat yet, we thanked the instructors for their time and headed to home base excited for our next Tianna meal! At the end of the evening, we were able to reflect on what this trip is all about: leadership. We discussed in small groups about the meaning of leadership and were able to discover ourselves on its spectrum. We had another great day and are excited to see what tomorrow has in store.
Leaders of the Day,
Brielle B. and Alexa V.
Tuesday July 23, 2019
Today was our second day teaching at the schools. We were greeted by new and old faces as we arrived, increasing our excitement to begin day two. As we met with the three grade groups, we truly understood how teaching is not only rewarding and fun, but stressful as well as tiring. Although teaching has been a great way to interact and meet the students, recess after lunch has been the most exciting and memorable.
After recess, we said our goodbyes to the students and we headed over to a Wat Suan Dok for our first ever Monk Chat. The purpose behind the Monk Chat would allow us to get inside information from someone who knows the life of a monk best – an actual monk at the temple. Here, we were informed about his personal story, his idea of Buddhist values, and his keys to a happy life. At the end of his presentation, we had the opportunity to ask him our questions about his story, monkhood, and Buddhism. With the help of our local staff, we were able to gather all of the information we were hoping for.
After taking a picture with the monk, we were able to explore the grounds surrounding the temple, and learn more about its history. Tonight, we were treated to American style food, allowing us to connect with a piece of home. Following our meal, we enjoyed another leadership activity, focused on personal values. After a great discussion, our night came to a close by selecting a song for our upcoming cultural exchange; we decided on Don’t Stop Believin’! As another great day has come to an end, we cannot wait to get some sleep and enjoy tomorrow’s next adventures.
Leaders of the Day,
Bella P. and Matthew T.
Wednesday July 24, 2019
This was our third day of teaching the primary school students. We got to know the students more and were able to connect with them and form a stronger bond than before. The students were kind with sharing their umbrellas as it began to rain during recess! It was wonderful to see how much passion and drive they had towards learning English. As the school day drew to an end and we realized that we would only have one more teaching day left with the kids; we’ve started to understand that the kids had made a big impact on our lives and we would really miss them.
After school, we took a trip to the 3D Museum where we got to take photos that created the illusions of being in a scene. We had a scavenger hunt to find the perfect picture! We shared funny photos to each other which brought a lot of laughter and an overall sense of community. When we got back to the home base some of us meditated after dinner with one of our mentors. Then we practiced our performance for the cultural exchange (we were great!). We are all excited to meet the Thai students our age tomorrow at the cultural exchange. 🙂
Leaders of the Day,
Sofia M. and Lucy K.
Thursday July 25, 2019
Today was our fourth and final day of teaching at the primary schools. After the conclusion of the school day, we played with the kids we taught for one final time. On our way to the cultural exchange at a local high school, we prepared our presentation for the students. When we arrived, we were pleasantly surprised by a wonderfully prepared traditional Thai dance and two Thai tongue twisters that stumped us all!
We then cooked a traditional Thai dessert, bananas with coconut milk, and made a horse toy made of banana leaves and natural fiber. Students from the high school then led us on a tour of the school where some students purchased goods from the school markets and others played soccer on the fields.
After the tour, we exchanged information with many of the students and took a group photo before heading back to Tianna. This experience was the first time that we were able to interact with Thai students our age. When we arrived back at Tianna, we prepared for English Camp and joined back together for a leadership activity to end the night. We all look forward to playing with and teaching the kids tomorrow for, sadly, the last time.
Leaders of the Day,
Kylan T. and Lauren W.
Friday July 26, 2019
Hello from Thailand! Today was the last day of teaching the children, we ended with a full-day activity called English Camp. It was filled with fun activities, yummy food, some tears, and memorable experiences. The children were so wonderful and all of us loved spending the week with them. Over the week we taught them numbers, colors, hobbies, family, animals, food and vehicles, so it was fun to review it all today and wrap up a special week.
After the English Camp we were surprised with an American meal, the first American food that we’ve had since we’ve been here! It included pizza, fries, salad, onion rings, chips & guac, and some garlic bread. The highlight of the night was going to the Night Bazaar. It was a great opportunity for getting gifts and souvenirs to take home with us. The markets are a great way for us to speak some of the Thai we have been learning while in Thailand and practice our bargaining skills;)
We learned so much from teaching the kids this week and we are so excited to see what this next week brings us!
Written by the leaders of the day:
Amelia S. & Nichole M.
Saturday July 27, 2019
Hello all, today we had a calm, relaxing river float… KIDDING! After numerous raft flips, collisions with boulders, and a few “abandoned ships” – we all live to tell the story. Our raft guides were amazing and made us feel extremely safe regardless of rain and rapids, we even caught a glimpse of a mother and baby elephant crossing the river in the wild. We concluded with an excellent lunch with a riverside view and a pit-stop at 7/11 to fulfill all of our sugar-filled dreams.
Once back at Tianna, we enjoyed some free time and bonding with our friends. We also had insightful mentor meetings where we were able to reflect on the past few wild days spent in Thailand. After dinner, we talked as a group about our vision for elephants and their well-being in the near future. Now thats a day worth RIDING about!
Leaders of the Day,
Emma R. & Trisha V.
Sunday July 28, 2019
Today started bright and early at 7:30am, a refreshing difference from the 6:30 of school days past. After a full breakfast we set out for the day, beginning our day in Tai Lue village, the learning center for the Tai Lue people who immigrated from southern China to Thailand over 600 years ago. There we toured an original Tai Lue home, learned how to make a traditional Tai Lue snack (rice crackers), painted handmade wooden dolls in the workshop of a native Tai lue artisan, and partook in Tai Lue food and songs.
After this we took a trip across the city to a umbrella making factory where we painted our own umbrellas and learned about how umbrellas are made by hand. From there we headed to the Sunday night walking street, and experienced authentic Thai street style food. Lastly we finished our night off back at the home base after a long day where we met with our mentor groups and had very needed conversations about the long day we experienced. We are looking forward to tomorrow, and will all be in bed early tonight.
Leaders of the Day
Abby and Cari
Monday July 29, 2019
Today, we visited the elephant sanctuary where we got a chance to get up close and personal with the elephants! We played with them, swam with them, and fed them! It was such an amazing experience, from feeding them banana and watermelon to having water fights. There even was one baby elephant, Charlie. He was very playful and loved to chase people around and nudge into them. There was lots of mud, laughs, and great memories that will last a lifetime. Then later in the night we all watched a really interesting Thai movie. Today was definitely worth the wait
Written by Leaders of the day,
Brayden and Ava
Tuesday July 30, 2019
This morning’s 8:00 am breakfast was a gracious break from previously earlier mornings. After we filled our tummies at breakfast, we learned some new Thai words and hopped into the vans. We headed up a winding road to Doi Pui Village. There we trekked to a museum to learn more about the tribes inhabiting Northern Thailand and took pictures in the gorgeous mountainside garden nearby.
At the top of the garden we had a well-deserved coffee break overlooking the mountains! On the way down we shopped and spent our remaining baht on souvenirs and snacks. We took a lunch break at a small restaurant near the bottom of the market before getting in the vans to our next adventure. After a 10 minute drive we arrived at the base of the Doi Suthep. To get to the top we climbed 306 steps, but it was all worth it once we met the gorgeous golden temple on the mountaintop. Our amazing Thai staff gave us a tour of the temple and its history. From one side of the temple we could see all of Chiang Mai and the surrounding mountains. What a view!!
After MANY pictures we said goodbye to Doi Suthep and descended the 306 steps. Our next stop was a Thai massage where we met our masseuses and had an hour of relaxation that ended with a cup of tea and a little snack. Once we got back to home base we ate a celebratory dinner for one of our mentors’ birthday. We wrapped up our day with a leadership activity focused on goals after the trip and a karaoke session followed. We can’t believe this trip is about to come to an end, we are so pumped for our zip lining excursion tomorrow!
Leaders of the Day,
Zoe and Jade
REMINDER: Whitewater Rafting Photo Folder
Click here to visit the whitewater rafting photo folder for this session. This link expires August 3rd, however, if you click the blue “download” button on the folder, you can download the entire folder in a zip file.
The button to download option will appear like this once you arrive at the photo folder:
We spent our last full day zip lining through the jungle! The weather was damp and misty, perfect for a tree top tour. Afterwards, we had a delicious lunch and headed back to Tianna for a circle of appreciation. We then boarded the buses to celebrate our final evening with a dinner boat cruise down the river.
After dinner we watched a slideshow of the 3-D museum photo winners and showcased our group talents with a final talent show. We headed to bed with tummies and hearts full. Tomorrow we will part ways (for now) and begin our journeys home.