Time Capsule Letter
We hope that you all are enjoying the school year so far!
It seems both like yesterday and a lifetime ago that we were in Chiang Mai together,
playing in the mud with elephants, eating mango in the morning, looking out at the river
during sunset, and running from class to class at school. It’s hard to believe we did so
much in just 2 weeks- we went ziplining and whitewater rafting, explored temples,
shopped at markets, and still had time for a couple afternoons at the pool. It was a
whirlwind and an eternity at the same time. It was tiring, but very worth it.
A big part of our trip, of course, was our time teaching. Just as the kids learned from
you, we know you also learned a lot from the experience, and we are sure it’s
translating into so many things you do back home. You were dedicated to your
teaching, and it showed. We’re sure that the kids you taught still sometimes think back
on that week fondly, as we hope you are as well. We hope they’re studying English with
some increased enthusiasm, and are looking forward to the next time they can practice
speaking with foreigners. Maybe some kids in p6 are still practicing “physiotherapist”!
Remember making our group OMG? We said that we wanted to take a little bit of time
out of every day to stop, and be grateful. We planned on recording specific things we
were grateful for every day, and to occasionally share with each other some things that
we were thinking about. Have you been doing it? If not, start today. It only takes a
couple minutes, and we all know how important it was and is to all of us.
Also remember what your personal OMGs were, and all of the things you wanted to
take back home with you from GLA. We talked about how improving ourselves means
being better towards others. Let GLA know how this is all going, we would love to hear
We wanted to thank you all again for making your session such a great trip. Your
kindness to each other, thoughtfulness during all of our activities, and positivity made it
an amazing experience for all of us.
We hope that the memories are still fresh, that you’re still talking with your friends, and
that the skills and knowledge you gained are proving useful to you.
All the very best,
Serena and the Chiang Mai team
Wednesday July 3, 2019
We are finally (and nearly) all together at our Chiang Mai home-away-from-home, Tianna, for the next two weeks. Still waiting for a few more to complete our group tomorrow, then we’ll all be ready for the Thailand adventures to come!
Thursday July 4, 2019
The group is finally whole! We all woke up in beautiful Tianna this morning and admired the little pineapples growing all around the grounds. After some breakfast on the river, we were ready to learn about the history of Thailand, Thai culture, and practice the Thai language. We then ventured into the city to try out a buffet of Thai cuisine and take a tour of two beautiful and significant temples in downtown Chiang Mai. Afterwards, we headed 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. Delicious!
Friday July 5, 2019
Sawadee-ka from Thailand!
After a restful sleep, the group was ready for another fun and informative day in Chiang Mai! We started with a delicious breakfast at Tianna. We then met with our teacher Todd, who introduced us to what we would be teaching starting Monday, as well as different techniques for effectively teaching them. Then, after a quick change into our “school attire”, we were ready to take a visit to the school and meet the kids for the first time! During our brief trip to the school, we were able to visit a few classrooms and meet the cute kids which left us in awe. Once we left, we headed to the market.
This particular market is called the Warorot market and it is the oldest market in Chiang Mai. While we were here we were able to try many different thai snacks, and the brave ones of the group tried some fried worms! Yes you read that right… worms. To wash that down we enjoyed a series of new and exotic fruits such as lychee, and durian, among others .As our day progressed, we then headed back to our home base and had a bit of time to ourselves. Some enjoyed the pool while others stayed in the comfort of their air conditioned rooms. To finish our day off, we came back home to Tianna and participated in our first leadership activity.
While engaging in this activity we watched a series of TED talks and other videos which discussed the different aspects of leadership. All in all, today was a great day which pushed people to step outside of their comfort zones in trying new foods, as well as engage the students in a more insightful conversation during our leadership activity.
Written by Leaders of the Day: Ria and Reyna
Saturday July 6, 2019
Sa-wat-dii-ka from Thailand! Even though there were again gray skies, that didn’t bother us since we filled our day with brightly colored crafts. We spent the morning at Borsang, an umbrella making center. We quickly found ourselves enchanted by the vibrant colors and intricate patterns painted on the umbrellas that decorated the whole area. It didn’t take us long to realize that our own umbrellas would not look quite like those, but we encouraged one another and ended up with a flock of beautiful and unique mini sun umbrellas. Some of us shopped, some of us got our phone cases painted, and many of us did both. We then enjoyed a tasty lunch at a rainforest cafe-like restaurant. Saying there were many animal statues would be an understatement.
There was a pond in the back surrounded by lush vegetation where we had the opportunity to take many pictures. From lunch, we visited the Tai Lue ethnic group, a group of people that now reside in Chiang Mai, but were originally from southern China. We spent hours there, all of us getting lost in the excitement and authenticity we saw and experienced with these fascinating people. They showed us a model of the houses they live in. Then, we learned about how they do every step of the weaving practice, from turning cotton with their seeds, to turning cotton balls into rolls of fluffy cotton, to turning that into string, to finally weaving the strings together to make breathtaking textiles.
The Tai Lue women taught us a folk song, which we sang and danced to many times over. They fed us their traditional treats, including butterfly pea juice which we saw shift from vibrant blue to neon purple. After our refreshments, the Tai Lue women taught us the traditional method of copying designs, which we used to transfer patterns onto bags for ourselves. Our final craft project involved long palm leaves that we had trouble manipulating into the woven pattern, but we eventually all got it, and we walked out of the Tai Lue village with our own hand woven fans. We returned to Tianna for a quiet afternoon, a game, dinner, and mentor groups. We need a lot of sleep for zip lining tomorrow, so good night! (Good morning to those of you reading this from the US!)
Your formally knighted by a green glitter stick leaders of the day,
Cecilia & Kya
Sunday July 7, 2019
We woke up to another beautiful day at Tianna. Before breakfast we had our daily chow circle, where we play a game or do an energizer before breakfast. We had another delicious breakfast by the river. After breakfast we learned some more Thai words. After our Thai words of the day we boarded the bus for a ride up into the forest. We got our gear and headed up the mountain to start our zip lining experience. There was a total of 35 different zip lines among other ropes course features.
We spent the morning zip lining through the forest. We had a great lunch at the zip lining place before heading back to Tianna. On our way back we stopped at 7/11 to pick up some Thai snacks. We started planning for our Monday morning teaching. Followed by dinner at Tianna. We ended the night with leadership activities then headed to bed for the night.
Written by Leaders of the Day:
Emma & Abbie
Monday July 8, 2019
This morning we had an early start to prepare for our first day of teaching. Breakfast was delicious as always. Next, we headed back to the school, eager to see the kids again. They gave us a warm welcome by running up to our bus with big smiles. We experienced their morning routine before filing into our designated classrooms. Though each class came with its own challenges, we worked very efficiently and critically in our groups to problem-solve. After a cafeteria lunch, we participated in recess, where we got to know the kids in a more relaxed environment. We said our goodbyes for the day before heading back to the bus for a surprise pitstop to a coffee shop before our monk chat.
At the monk chat, we had the privilege of conversing with a Buddhist monk and learning about his lifestyle and monks in general. This opportunity created a new mindset for most of us who had false preconceived notions about this way of life. After a lesson on meditation and mindfulness with the monk, we admired the beautiful architecture of the Wat Suan Dok temple.
We met back up at Tianna to practice for our performance for the cultural exchange tomorrow. After working up a sweat learning the dance moves to Footloose, we replenished with an American feast. We then continued watching the TED Talk from last night’s leadership group to spark an engaging conversation about stereotypes in culture and how to see past the “cover of someone’s book.” But there was still much work to be done in preparation for our day tomorrow at school, so we capped our eventful day with some new lesson plans. We look forward to showcasing our dancing skills at the cultural exchange, and we’ll be sure to take lots of pictures!
Lucy & Casey
Tuesday July 9, 2019
Hey there everybody, greetings from Thailand!!!
Here’s a quick recap of the day. At chow circle we tried to wake ourselves up with a fun game of freeze dance. After becoming only a little less groggy, we walked over to the Tianna Garden Resort restaurant for breakfast. We rode our buses over to the school and taught more English to young Thai kids. Once again, we were baffled by their knowledge. We had a lunch of rice and chicken with the students. From there, we went to the cultural exchange with students our age at the Chiang Mai Christian Highschool.
We were greeted very graciously with necklaces made of flowers. Three young girls did a traditional dance for us. We all put on our brave faces and went to the front and danced to a Footloose song. After enjoying a Thai snack, we were paired with a student who showed us around a museum and temple. The Thai students were able to practice their English and we were able to learn about Chiang Mai history. I think it’s safe to say we all really connected with the Thai highschoolers. After we enjoyed ice cream with our new friends it was time to say goodbye. We then enjoyed some free time at home base before supper.
Some of us worked on our lesson plans for teaching tomorrow while others relaxed. We had chow circle once again before dinner where we enjoyed Thai food. Next up was mentor group. Today in mentor group, we learned about cultural norms and why we should keep an open mind to them because what’s normal is different in all places. Lasty, we had a bit more time for lesson planning, thinking of ideas for English Camp on Friday, and any other things we needed to do before bed. Goodnight all!
From leaders of the day: Aryn and Victoria 🙂
Wednesday July 10, 2019
Sa-wat-dii-ka from Thailand!
Today we woke up for an early breakfast and then we took off for another amazing day of teaching! We taught topics ranging from colors, to directions, to occupations, and more. Teaching definitely tired us out, but we enjoyed every minute. After teaching for 3 hours we ventured to a really fun and fresh art museum, but this was not your traditional art museum. It was full of illusions and interactive paintings so we could take pictures of one another and make it look like we were really in the various scenes. (When you see pictures of us rowing through the canals of Italy on a gondola or being eaten by an alligator, that didn’t really happen. Hard to believe, I know).
After that, we went to get a traditional Thai massage. The hour went by in what felt like a minute, and we all came out thoroughly relaxed and refreshed. We had a “surprise” dinner of fries, nachos, onion rings, pizza, and chunks of feta cheese. Right outside of the restaurant was an expansive market, filled with elephant pants, elephant jewelry, and personally engraved rice necklaces. We returned to Tianna to plan our lessons for our final day of regular teaching tomorrow.
Au revoir! Adios! Sa-wat-dii-ka!
Your elephant-pant-loving (even when they rip) leaders of the day,
Cecilia & Venice
Thursday July 11, 2019
Good morning everyone!!
We were off to an amazing start this early morning at 7:30 am. Though we were tired, we still enjoyed our last day of teaching the students. Todays lessons included foods, vehicles, classroom objects, and many more. As always the kids were excited to see us and some of us were even lucky enough to be sent off with a couple of handmade gifts.
After the school day was over we headed over to The Chiang Mai Muay Thai gym. It had been an exhausting experience, but we all learned new techniques as the instructors taught us. Some of us bought some Muay Thai shorts to bring back home. After a day full of activities we headed back to the household in which we enjoyed some much needed rest and relaxation. We split into our two mentor groups before heading over to dinner. Next we sprinted through the rain in order to eat some delicious pork spring rolls and local fruits.
Finally, as the night came to a close we prepared for tomorrow’s day of English Camp. Stay tuned to hear about all of our festivities with the children during tomorrow’s activities.
Kya and Ria
Friday July 12, 2019
Today, we started breakfast early. All of the us then finished preparing for English Camp. English Camp consisted of all of the Thai students learning English through games. We set up 4 stations that demonstrated different English topics. For example, numbers, directions, colors, sight words, shapes, body parts, etc. English Camp was very exciting and educational to both Thai students and us. Afterwards, we rewarded ourselves with coffee, tea, and cake. We all are excited to go white water rafting tomorrow!
Written by: Eleni
Saturday July 13, 2019
Hey everyone, it’s your leaders of the day checking back in with a new blog update. Today we were able to sleep in and headed down for breakfast a little later then usual. Once we finished everyone loaded into their vans and we made our way to our white water rafting adventure. Although the water levels were a bit low, we still hit a few rapids and were able to enjoy the scenery a bit more.
After we finished our 8km journey we ate lunch on the river. We were able to watch elephants and water buffalo bathe in the river. On our way home, we were surprised with a visit to 7 Eleven where we picked up some of our favorite snacks. After some downtime we celebrated our friend, Keke’s, birthday with strawberry cake and a pool party.
After dinner, we concluded our night with a discussion on elephant sanctuaries by representing different organizations. In the end, we came to a conclusion on how elephant sanctuaries could be improved. Then, it was time to hit the hay, for we have a long day ahead of us tomorrow.
Sending love from Thailand,
Reyna and Aryn
Whitewater Rafting Photo Folder
Click here to visit the whitewater rafting photo folder for this session. This link is expires July 20, 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:
Hi Everyone! We started another beautiful day at Tianna, with a delicious breakfast. We hit the road to go see the temple Doi Suthep, it was absolutely breathtaking, we enjoyed a great view of Chiang Mai from above. Next we headed to the Hmong village in the mountains above Chiang Mai. We ate lunch there and walked around the area which included a garden and looked at a museum of the Hmong Hill Tribe.
We had some snacks at a cafe above the village where we enjoyed beautiful views and some treats. We had one of our mentor groups while enjoying the gorgeous view. Next we visited a market in downtown Chiang Mai, we enjoyed dinner at the market, where we got to pick our own dinner, and do some more shopping. After the market we headed back to Tianna for our final leadership activity, we are all headed to bed after a long day of awesome experiences.
Written by Leaders of the Day:
Abbie and Victoria
Monday July 15, 2019
Today was our last full day in Chiang Mai and we certainly made the most of it! We started our day spending time with elephants at a sanctuary outside of the city. At the sanctuary, we fed the elephants, learned how to make medicine balls for them, and helped to bathe them. This perfect last day concluded with a beautiful dinner at an outdoor restaurant on the waterfront, a stroll down memory lane with a slide show of our pictures from the 3-D museum, and a karaoke dance party! Tomorrow we will say farewell (for now) to one another and to Thailand as we prepare to make our journey back home…