It’s crazy to think that just a few short weeks ago we were all together riding around in vans through Chiang Mai. On arrival day, you stepped out of the airport humming with excitement in your blue shirts, taking in your first sights of Thailand.
Your first full day was a whirlwind, packed with a city tour, museum and temple visits, and ending with preparing yourselves for your first day of service, which was the very next day! You jumped into teaching like naturals, working well as groups and creating long-lasting, loving bonds with your students. We did not have a full week of service, but instead you had the opportunity to participate in ceremonies at your service sites that celebrated the King’s birthday and the beginning of Buddhist Lent. You ended your service with English Camp, where you designed creative, fun English-language games, and tearful goodbyes with your students who had followed you around and played with you everyday. They asked for your Instagram names one more time before they chased you to your vans and waved as you drove off.
After service was over, you embraced the “adventure” part of Global Leadership Adventures. We hiked through a forest garden and learned about sustainability in an indigenous Hmong village. We went to Wat Phra That, the Golden Temple on the Mountain, and ate Khao Soi at Doi Pui, after which we bunked down in a coffee shop while a storm raged around us. We trekked through mud, broke or lost several pairs of shoes, all to play with a baby elephant and splash around with the elephants in the river. We also crafted like pros: painting our own umbrellas, making our own pottery, and painting wooden dolls and making bags in the style of the Tai Lue people. It’s hard to believe that on top of all that you zipped and climbed through the jungle and received incredibly relaxing Thai massages!
Departures at the airport were bittersweet, but you all made plans to see each other again, so you knew that “goodbye” wasn’t really goodbye. The friendships that you made during your two weeks in Chiang Mai are invaluable, much like your experiences in Thailand.
Kathy, International Director