“Gun Pah Pan” aka February in Thai

** Written 2/8/16: still having upload problems

So a lot of differences happened last week that made January disappear before my eyes. Gordon flew in on the 28th of January, and is now gone, safe back home in Sunny San Diego. Honestly, him coming refreshed my perspectives about life in Thailand and even made me consider a longer term with how comfortable and happy I feel here. We’ll see.

The 1st day of February: We got impromptuly picked up by my host teacher P’Yu, and went to her home town Thung Saliam. We went to pick up her car because she graciously lent me her car for the week Gordon was here. She is the real MVP! I also gave her daughter Mexican candy… Let’s just say her “liking it” was an under-statement.

Driving in Thailand: Gordon took the wheel first. I was use to it, being in the passenger seat… or the American drivers seat without a wheel. When he said, “I really don’t think I could have done this if we hadn’t driven with your Thai father for so many hours.” whoa! I know it’s different here in Thailand, but I’m use to it! With that after our stop to the zoo it was my turn to drive.

The Zoo:

Sukhothai City:

Tuesday was a “DL” (Down low) day where we chilled until the evening where we drove an hour to Phitsanulok to have dinner a movie! My second movie in Thailand, The Finest Hours.

20160202_162241

Wednesday came and I taught the 1st out of the 2 classes for the week. My M6 (Seniors) had Onet prep (an exit exam) all week therefore I didn’t miss class at all when Gordon was here. Which was GREAT! We then went to a cute coffee shop with 2 of my students and 3 of my co-workers. Stuffing 7 people in a small car and all.

After it cooled Gordon finally got to see my province’s main attraction: Sukhothai Historical Park. I think I’ve been here 4 times now… It’s always fun regardless.

On Thursday I taught my 2nd and last class of the week and then waited until the evening to celebrate my Thai Father’s Birthday! It’s funny how him and my dad were born on the same week. 20160204_204742

On Father Birthday notes: SHOUT OUT TO MY DAD! He turned half a century on Jan. 31st!

20150710_121905

We got to visit Edie and get Mango Sticky Rice! 20160205_113817

The LAST DAY…: Was a mess. Not emotionally. Well, a little. Not the point. I don’t know how it happened we were under the impression Gordon was going to fly out at 6am… why I don’t know his itinerary clearly says 9:50am… so we were under the impression if he took a night bus he wouldn’t get to Bangkok with enough time to get to the airport to check in. So we booked his ticket for 1:30pm, 7 hrs less that what we thought we had. So I booked a second ticket and went with him, and then after an hour in Bangkok bussed back 7hrs home and said goodbye. Poor him, had to wait from 11pm-9:50am! Sorry Gordon!

20160205_222938

After Gordon Left:

Went to an Orange Farm: YES, those are oranges and not limes!

Sunday Fun-day Exploration in Uthai Thani:                                                                       Wat Tha Sung-

Tom Yum: A sweet and sour soup served on over a fiery coal 20160207_133116

Wat Tham Khao Wong- (These pictures do not give justice to the Wat itself. I can’t upload anymore photos for some weird reason)

Khao Wong Cave-

Ban Rai- the truck is a sugar cane truck and VERY dangerous they make traffic slow and cause many accidents unfortunately

That’s 20/77 provinces in 4 months! I still have 8 more so we’ll see how far I can go within Amazing Thailand.

Bai la na ka,                                                                                                                        Elaine<3

 

 

Advertisements

A Little Difference Makes the Time go Faster

They say time flies when you’re having fun but I think it flies when times are different. Certainly this last week was very different from my new norm.

1st: It got COLD! When I say cold I mean cold for a native Southern Californian. All of my students were in jackets and even blankets. 15 degrees C = 59 degrees F. That was in the day, therefore getting even colder in the evening.

2nd: It was raining. HARD. At first I thought “It’ll stop.” Nope. It didn’t. It got harder and harder for longer and rained straight for 2 days about.

3rd: I took a flight to Bangkok mid week to meet up with an old friend. I waited for 8 hours at the Suvarnabhumi airport but it was well worth it because that old friend is Gordon! le boyfren.

20160128_082237

Since He’s Been Here:

We stayed at an awesome hostel named “Rest Dot.” Super clean and friendly family owners.

He’s not been so good with being a new ‘farang’ (foreigner) in Thailand but he’s getting better

.20160128_083621

Good old fashioned breakfast.

We traveled through boat.

Went to the Nonthaburi Pier Market.

The Grand Palace: where I had to rent out a nifty shirt since my shawl was too see through and Gordon had to buy ‘elepants’ since he was in shorts.

Wat Arun: Temple of Dawn, unfortunately under construction, but fortunately we were blessed by a monk who was there and tied yarn around our wrists for good luck. Also we contemplated the fact of updating the temple and whether it was taking away or adding to the temple. We went with adding to the temple because that means it is still an active temple and not something old you just go and take pictures by.

We went to an Indian Restaurant. -Initially for food but the end result was for ambiance since we are able to find better Indian food in San Diego.

Flew to CHIANG RAI! I had personally never been here before and I was done with my duty as a tour guide for 2 days because my Thai father went out of his way to pick us up and take us around. 20160130_071509

In CHIANG RAI!: 

Stop one: Flower Garden festival going until Valentines day. Suay Mak!

White Temple or ‘Wat Rung Khun’: a contemporary artist’s take on a Buddhist Temple. It’s beautiful and still growing. It is only built upon donations since the owner and creator, Ajan (Professor) Chalermchai Kositpipat, did not want anyone else’s influences upon his art work. He sounds very dedicated and passionate according to the pamphlet they offer, also it has the most beautiful toilets in the world (my belief).

Singha Park: A green tea park with a beautiful view and other activities we didn’t really look into.
f18365952

Wat Hyua Pla Kang: A new Chinese temple that is very beautiful and still in the works.

Wat Phra Kaew- Temple of the Emerald Buddha: f19504640

Chiang Rai Night Bazar (Little & Small):

Doi Mae Salong- Tea and temples:

Mae Fah Luang Garden- Where the King’s mom changed and renovated the lives of the Hmong hill tribe people:

Dinner at Kwan Phayo (Phayo Lake):

This was actually written on the 2nd, but downloading & adding photos was a real problem this week. I’d be a liar if I told you these were all the good photos that give these places justice, I’m just done with “this” more like last week in terms of photo uploading. Also I’m trying to figure out how to use this Nikon D5300 properly and see how to make the files smaller so I don’t take a week uploading my photos to my blog. 20160128_082357

Wish me luck with technology,                                                                                       Elaine<3

 

 

 

 

 

Filtered in Thailand

Last week I wrote a lie. I filtered myself and what was really in my heart and mind. I said, “Regardless I’m dealing and happy.” Last week I was not happy. Last week I was troubled. I was stressed. I was hurt. Now yes, thank goodness good laughs and Fulbright family have healed a needing soul; but from the 16th to the 20th I was fogged with negativity from my own thoughts and the Thai world around me.

First I hit a stump having to leave a fun planned English Camp early. I was really sad. My one time to not feel filtered and be my true American self was cut to 12 hours rather than the approximate 2 days I had planned. Going home to loneliness and my own head was worse. I could have; should have, picked up a book, colored, played my Ukulele ANYTHING. Instead I sulked. Not literally crying, I just felt lifeless. I had to remind myself that this has happened in America and it happens when I feel listless. Which I have been with all my classes canceled.20160119_102753_HDR

Next, during dinner on Sunday I was told that some Thai teachers were teasing my Thai father and ‘mad’ that he “takes the foreign teachers out to travel and eat TOO much because now they are FAT UGLY”  I’ve been luckily warned that this would happen. That being called fat in Thailand is common and not really meant to be harsh the way people in America understand it. Example: one day you’re SUAY (beautiful in Thai) and the next you’re FAT.                                                         Well this was the first time I heard it. I expected it but ugly. That hit harder because I have had to stop wearing makeup and wear my glasses because I have a stye on my eyelid. I was very nervous to show up like this to work. I felt embarrassed of how I looked because in Thailand looks mean A LOT. I have come a long way to noticing, realizing and appreciating my natural beauty. Back home all summer long make up rarely touched my face and I still felt fabulous. In Thailand I feel as if I have spiraled 6 years back to my self conscious high school self. ALSO this meant that Thai teachers were gossiping behind my back, an aspect that is sour memory reminding me of home and the battles of living in a small town.  ***Note: I’m good now and yes I know I’m pretty and not fat, it just sucked at the time.

To top it off there is drama in the office two days later. The day after I write in my journal that ‘tomorrow will be a better day I have the choice to make it better’  Well not quite. What seemed like foreign teachers vs. Thai teachers and stress about contracts, misunderstandings and he said/ she saids. I was done. I felt like a Looney Toons mountain that was beautiful and full of life and then ends up falling lifeless because it was a prop the whole time.

I am the sand that moves with the ocean back and forth through high and low tide. In other words I feel what others feel and move with the energy of the atmosphere. The office was hostile. Luckily bad events heal with time and I was able to talk to some Thai teachers in order to find understanding.

The Now It’s Better Part:

I stopped being filtered. Stopping myself from being who I am is a toll on me mentally and physically.

I went to an English Language English Seminar about Communicative Language Teaching! I refreshed my mind on what I learned during my TEFL/TESL certificate and was able to be a student again! We were broken up to teams and my team won 1st place! This really gave me some teaching motivation and ideas to use for next semester.

I was able to see Fulbright fam. After the seminar I was dropped off at Daniel’s school where other Fulbrighter’s were holding an English camp and had a good Saturday night with good food, drinks, and laughs.

Next up: Starting a new lesson, A Reunion, finding an internship,Bangkok, Chiang Rai

Wish me luck with my new lesson!                                                                           Elaine ❤

Day 116

** I found this gem in my 6/01 classroom when there was NO class and I was uniformed BUT…it definitely felt good 🙂

My students we’re preparing for their academic day so I got to take a couple of pictures of all their creations. If there is one thing Thai students are amazing at is arts and crafts.

Weekend English Camp at Phu Hin Rongkla National Park, Phitsanulok!1452743336542

Woke up Friday morning and didn’t go to school in order to travel for the camp the next day. 2&1/2 hr bus ride to Phitsanulok and met up with a fellow ETA, Daniel. It was cool because I was able to see his class and see his set up. I really liked it you could tell the students knew what was coming. This is actually the 4th school that I’ve visited that isn’t mine, it’s fun to see the differences throughout all the schools. 20160115_124518

After his classes were done we hopped on a bus for the national park … about 2 hours standing on a bus… yup my feet hurt.20160115_173306

Reunited with Ia, Mimi, Thomas, Dee, & Daniel.20160115_204700

We ate and prepared a Thai song to sing along with a skit for the students the next day. We were EXCITED!

We took a group photo that I failed to ask for, and got “unfortunate news.” We’re all joking around and ready to hear ‘the plan.’ The plan was not what we expected. P’ Mae (Ia’s host teacher in charge of the whole show) tells us she had unfortunate news and that English Camp was CANCELLED. umm what? Turns out the students were driving in the rain and the car slid and they got into an accident. I got a chill down my spine; waiting for a number of deaths, luckily everyone survived just injured.                                                                                                                           Now what?

We packed up and did Sunday’s plan: go see pretty places in Phetchabun. Wat Pha Sorn Keaw. I had been here before in November, TWO months ago already. Since then the museum has changed, but the Buddha has probably only gotten whiter. Going to a place for a second time made me think about localizing. What is it to be a local? I believe it takes 4 years to call oneself a local of any place. Then again seeing something for a second time in a foreign place, made me feel a bit of a Thailand local. I know that’s not the case, but it was a slightly cool feeling.

After Daniel and I were dropped off and took a bus back home.

As if that wasn’t enough travel for me, later that night I was invited for dinner… all the way in Uttaradit! 1 hr and a half away. Ahiii. But I couldn’t say no, I didn’t want to say no. It was cool because after we went to this festival/ market that the government throws in each province to help those locals. Pretty much whatever the festival makes the locals get to keep because it’s a lot of donations. I really like how Thailand supports one another, and that is greatly seen everywhere.

I have been here for 116 days. Maybe 114 because of my flight delay in the beginning. Better yet, 116 days I flew out of San Diego, California. Trust me I’m not counting I just conveniently found that my countdown app had saved my countdown to fly out and has now been counting up the days since I left. I will admit the honeymoon stage is over. I’m trying to find things to keep me going, it’s easy and hard altogether. If some responsibilities/ workouts are hard to keep up with in America, it’s much harder over here. Regardless I’m dealing and happy. What’s really helpful is knowing that nothing would make me as happy and keep me on my toes as being here in Thailand. (:

Best from the teacher’s desk,                                                                                     Elaine ❤

Breaking the Habbit

A rather late post but some unpreventable factors happened:                                                                                                                  -MAJOR ‘I’m going to die’ back pain                                                        -Domino effect after factor 1

Teaching from the 4th to the 14th: What is ‘To teach?’ I wouldn’t know, 85% of my classes have been canceled for midterms or preparation for Teachers Sports Day or Academic Day. How am I coping? -Thou shalt not give up or lose motivation due to unstoppable factors

What I really want to talk about: Social Media                                                                   Coming from a person who is abroad, away from friends, family and day to day updates; it’s great. The exception is that I’m not only THAT person. I’m a person who wants to engage in the Thai culture, ask people from Thailand deep questions, or play charades to get their answers. I want to even forget factors from home so when I go back I can think, “WOW I almost forgot about this?! How did I live without it?!”

Those are wants, what has actually happened since coming to Thailand is me limiting my social media to Facebook, Instagram, Skype and Line (like Whatsapp). I pretty much swapped snapchat for Line and only use Skype with one person. I also vowed to only post pictures on my blog and Instagram (which could be shared to FB). October, I was doing great. Always having Fulbrighters I needed to get to know amongst me really helped.

Moving into the real deal in Sawankhalok, Thailand: I was still pretty disconnected. I had to get adjusted, meet new people, and go out and explore. That was November through early December.

Late December: I downloaded Snapchat. I started my two finger scroll on my Mac Book mouse pad. Scrolling through people with families on Christmas. Pressing a button to watch friends take shots in celebration with other friends for 10 seconds, images of Mexican food…

Two weeks later: I’m searching for my friend to send them a message. Not on Facebook. Not on Instagram. I messaged them on Snapchat. “Where are you!?!” They reply, “I don’t want to worry you but I was feeling depressed, the doctor told me to delete all of my social media.” A whirlwind hit my brain. I realized I myself was feeling low; not a homesick low, just a general low from seeing other people do things I use to enjoy. Not jealous nor negative- a general low. I even recognized the feeling because it happened back home too.

Why I can’t let go even if I WANT TO                                                                                 Snapchat: it’s the only way to communicate with that one friend and two little brothers Instagram: I just uninstalled it. -Little victories                                                                         Facebook: I know I could get rid of Facebook and just keep Messenger for communication’s sake BUT… ~It’s my news source since I follow: CNN, NBC, Today, BBC ect.// ~Girls Love Travel: A new Facebook group I’ve followed that actually gives good advice on places to go and things to see/ do all over the world and has already helped// ~The people I’ve met in Thailand. I’ve added them, ALL OF THEM and they add pictures of me. I want those pictures for memories. It’s the only way to save them. Therefore I’ll keep it, but limit my time doing the two finger scroll.

One Last Note on Social Media in Thailand                                                                      It is everywhere. Students are ADDICTED. Probably high schoolers everywhere, but for some reason, it’s more intense here. There are apps to make their skin more white, and cheeks rosy in pictures. But, that’s unfair to the students because the adults are as addicted or worse. They take a picture for everything. I’ve even been told, “take a photo and send it to me so I can check in,” as the person was driving. I found it entertaining at first, and still do. The only disheartening moments are when we’re all at a large table with a lot of delicious, amazing looking food, and I look up waiting to meet eyes with someone to give them the, “Let’s dig in,” face but everyone is looking down at their phones. Then when I’m about to dig in they all scream, “Wait!” before I put the spoon into the home-styled dish because they want to post a photo of the food on Facebook. To these moments all I can say is, “Go with it and just make that selfie face ;D”

Can’t wait for this weekend where I will help lead my first English Camp!

Live in the moment,                                                                                                                 Elaine ❤

 

Hello 2016 or Should I Say 2559

This past week flew. I expected it to, but it REALLY flew one day it’s 2015, the next it’s 2559. Crazy.

Monday’s highlight: During my evening jog, I saw my host teacher and waved. She rolled down the window and said, “Get in we’re going to eat.” (I might as well have been called Cady …Mean Girls reference anyone?) I replied, “Like this? I smell, no it’s okay.” Nope. I was sweaty but on my way to dinner. I love these moments I only find myself having in Thailand.20151228_184827

Next day I found no students in my classes and everyone was very SABAI. P’Buddy (my P I go get coffee with) asked if I was free. I sure was. We drove 20 minutes out, almost to where the next Fulbrighter was and I was getting a little nervous. We never leave more than 5 minutes past the school. We end up at a silverware factory/ store. Oh okay. We were going to look at some cool Thai culture and jewelry. Well I walked out of the store with some beautiful earrings that was apparently my Christmas gift. I also got to play dress up.

Wednesday came along and I was suppose to help MC the Christmas show on the 30th… Awesome!… Not so much. I did my opening duty and ran off to the office. The students at the assembly didn’t understand me, why was I even there? I felt like a monkey. I was also asked to tutor another student…I cracked. My two groups I have now were by choice, this one felt like too much. What made it worse was I couldn’t say no. One of the administrators was helping the other Thai teacher do charades to get her point across. ***This is the reality of being abroad. Very amazing and fun but also overwhelming.*** All was good after a 30 minute cool down. After I finished my MC-ing joined students for some karaoke and lunch. I also got a panda and M&Ms from the late Xmas santa 🙂

NEW YEARS ROAD TRIP:                                                                                         Start time: 12/31/15 12:30pm              End time: 1/3/16 11:55pm         Sawankhalok, Sukhothai to Khon Kaen (5 hrs 30 min.)                               Khon Kaen to Kalasin Bus Terminal [Pick up Ia] (1 hr 8 min.)                     Kalasin Bus Terminal to Ban Maha Chai, Kalasin (1 hr)                                         Ban Maha Chai, Kalasin to Sirindhorn Museum (55 min.)                             Sirindhorn (Dinosaur) Museum to Buri Ram (3 hrs 26 min.)                               Buri Ram to Prasat Muang Tam (1 hr 5 min.)                                                             Prasat Muang Tam to Mahasarakham University [dropoff Ia] (3 hrs 14 min) Mahasarakham University  to Sawankhalok, Sukhothai (6 hrs 33mins) Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 3.28.43 PM22 hrs and 33 mins in the car. Which means 1,566km aka 973mi.

Events:                                                                                                                                 -Fireworks and Countdown @ Khon Kaen

-Phra Mahathat Kaen Nakhon (Temple- 9 story chedi)

-My Thai Fathers high School students reunion party

-Farm in Kalasin

-Dirindhorn (Dinosaur) Museum

-Buri Ram /-Imobile stadium

-Phnom Rung:Khmer architecture site, aged over a thousand years old.Built on an extinct volcano, it was originally a Hindu religious site and later became a Buddhist one.

-Prasat Muang Tam: Shiva was mostly worshiped here

-Khao Kradong Volcano Forest (Many stairs, precisely 297 Naga raj steps)

Oh and to explain 2559, that is the year in Thailand. Thailand’s calendar follows the Thai solar calendar, Suriyakhati and now follows the Buddha Era. Luckily enough for me, they also understand 2016.

Happy New Year!                                                                                                         Elaine ❤

 

Feliz Navidad en Sukhothai, Thailandia

As you can imagine this past week was a little different for me in Thailand. Pulled between wanting to feel Christmas joy when I was actually feeling 90 degree F weather.

This past Monday I settled on being the Grinch, like my school since they were giving Midterms on Christmas! I figured I’d just say bye bye to the  X-mas spirit this year and act as if were any Thailand day. By the end of Monday I was an emotional mess. I not only wanted but NEEDED Christmas! I love Christmas, I love giving, I love being Santa’s helper, wrapping gifts, receiving gifts, going to Church, all in all the joys of Christmas.

Here is proof of Midterms … on xmas eve and day… @ least my grading is done and my students did pretty good!

The next morning I talked to the parentals and le boy fren and probably worried them all sick with my negativity and overwhelming emotions. (Thank you for always being there!) Little did they know that talking to them helped me out of another rut. Tuesday morning I decided to put on my santa hat and be the most cheerful Christmas elf Sawankhalok had ever seen. I biked with the santa hat, taught with the santa hat, ate with the santa hat from the 22nd- the 25th of December.

As for my schedule, everything was the same. I taught and tutored as planned, but I was observed by Fulbright on Tuesday. I was under the impression my classes were canceled until the morning of. I was of course nervous. Luckily they observed my 6/01 aka English honors class and had only compliments with few suggestions. Really it was mostly nice to have old company from P’Kee who I feel really comfortable with from the Fulbright Staff. 20151222_155204

On Wednesday I got another great idea: GIVE GIFTS! Sounds silly, and like a lot of $$. Well I budgeted really well this last month and had a little extra to give about 22 gifts. It was yet another factor that helped me get over my Christmas-less hump. I loved it. By the 24th I felt as if not being with loved ones for Christmas wasn’t bad at all. I conquered Christmas in Thailand and felt amazing. I also got to teach my students Feliz Navidad. A very easy Spanish-English Christmas song that is always a good time in Mexican Family Christmas parties.

By the end of the 24th I gave the first batch of gifts. P’Buddy, I could tell thought I was silly because he knew I knew he could care less of gift receiving and Christmas, but giving gifts was entirely for me. As for Sue and the girls they were much more excited and surprised. Sue having husband in America and having lived there for many years felt embarrassed for not having anything ready for me. She continuously had her eldest grand daughter ask me how much everything was. All I could say was: Mai Bpen Rai! (No Worries!) I also told them my Christmas plans which were finalized that evening too -Take a bus ride and crash Edie’s Family’s Christmas! -I saw Sue take a note but didn’t think too much of it.

Christmas Day:                                                                                                              I woke up early and was so excited! I got ready, and made sure my Santa Hat looked extra snazzy. I got to school at 7:30am (normally 8am like all the other Thai teachers) and went desk to desk placing nicely wrapped gifts. It was a lot of fun. Exciting when they’d smile and say thank you, but also a tad bit disheartening when they’d look at the gift and smile like, ‘Silly, don’t you know I don’t care about Christmas, nor this lame gift.’ Of course they said thank you but I could read their expressions pretty well. Oh well; again, IT WAS FOR ME! Like a child’s first birthday party, it’s for the parents never the baby -off topic but you get my point.

Also pictured is P’Buddy who took me out to coffee, my first cheesecake I liked, and my Christmas lunch-.56cents

I got to Skype with my mom,aunt and uncle for an hour while I was at work. Skyping with my mom is a very normal every other dayish event, as for my aunt and uncle, I hadn’t seen them in a while and didn’t think I would until I returned. It was nice and as if I was at the dinner table with them like old times.Screen Shot 2015-12-25 at 11.04.40 AM

It was time to go to the bus station to head north to Si Satchanalai. There I found Sue. She looked at me with relief. “Aliza, I went to your house and the school and couldn’t find you. Here, Merry Christmas” OMG OMG OMG! A GIFT! I got to open a gift! I was excited because I expected absolutely nothing. After she sat and waited for the bus with me and shared pictures of her husband.

EDIE! After my little Christmas town fun I was at Edie’s town. I met her and her sister then her father and mother. The Wilson’s. They were a really awesome bunch and even if I was nervous of intruding in their family time, they made me feel a part of their family the entire time I was there. To celebrate we went to one of Edie’s P’s houses, had dinner, good photos, good laughs, karaoke, a Christmas tree, puppies, and tamarind picking. Such an awesome Thai Christmas.

Once we got back to the hotel they said they were giving gifts. -BUT BUT BUT… Maybe I should go outside- The gift exchange was fast but nice and to my surprise Santa visited me in Thailand too! With a nice stuffed stocking filled with Michigan mints (so delicious!), socks, and a Coach key chain. Truly blessed to have had the opportunity to meet Edie’s Family they were so much fun. Now I have to visit Michigan.20151225_205937

The day after Christmas was spent at the Si Satchanalai Historical Park. Featured are: The Wilsons, bikes, and minor heat exhaustion.

This week was great and Navidad was the best possible turnout Thailand could have given me.

Feliz Navidad, Prospero Año y Felicidad!                                                                   Elaine ❤

 

 

A Blissful Weekend in Chiang Mai

First of all a weekend is not enough to see and experience everything Chiang Mai has to offer, especially when you’re driving 10 hours in total to get to and fro.

Saturday December 12th:                                                                                           Get picked up at 9am and make our way to Wat Phra That Lampang Luang in Lampang. We also got to take photos with Lampang’s trade mark: horse drawn carriages.

After we got lunch and had amazing Kao Soi. *Note if you ever come to Thailand and try this dish, it’s better in the Northern provinces. Really delicious.

Mini drive by at a ceramics shop:

After we made a quick pit stop at Lampang’s ‘Thai Elephant Conservation Center.’ We didn’t ride any elephants, and I don’t think I would either since I am knowledgable of the fact that it hurts their hips in the long haul. I’d rather just hug their trunks.

After watching the elephant show and feeding the elephants our next stop was finally Chiang Mai.20151212_122220_HDR

First stop was the Umbrella Making Center in San Kamphaeng, Chiang Mai. It was really interesting and awesome to see how much hard work and detail go into these types of umbrellas. Also how fast they get it done. These people are talented!

It was time to head for dinner because traffic would make it so that it was time for dinner… Chiang Mai traffic is BAD. I would say it’s worse than Bangkok just because there is no transportation system to avoid it here; yet.

Dinner was served at Galae Restaurant. Ambience 10/10, Music choice 10/10, View 10/10, Price $$$, Taste: 3&1/2 out of 5. Would come again? YES! I absolutely loved this place. It reminded me of my nana a lot! She loved flowers! It was also romantic, which then made me miss someone. All of a sudden I’m home sick missing everything and everyone. Oh well, it was a beautiful place though, that’s for sure.

Next was ice cream at “Ice Love You.” Clever. It’s popular for having vegan ice cream. Sorry for sounding ignorant but I didn’t think Thailand would have vegan anything. I’m not vegan and mostly went for my friend who suggested it from California. Regardless it was tasty and worth trying 9 flavors of ice cream. We shared okay!?

Once we were stuffed we slowly made our way to Wualai Road, a famous and busy Saturday night Market.

Finally we were exhausted from the long day and went to one of Poh’s ex students house to sleep. It was a quiet place out in the country in Mae Taeng. At night it was a little scary, but when we woke up it was beautiful. I felt as if all my possible problems were millions of miles away. He also provided breakfast in the morning. Very hospitable person.

After breakfast the next day we drove 2 and a half hours South-east to Doi Inthanon: the highest peak of Thailand. There was A LOT of picture taking.

Lunch and a long road back was followed. Even if I was so exhausted I enjoyed the trip over all and on the ride back I saw MILLIONS of stars. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many stars with my bare eyes. It was amazing.

As for the Monday – Friday, the 14th-18th. I taught synonyms of feelings. Some students had previous knowledge others didn’t. It was a fun week acting out all of the emotions and having students come up and act with me to help them understand without using any Thai. The most successful part is I can hear them improving and learning the terms. It was a very “Happy Teacher” moment.