These past couple weeks have been crazy full of field trips, vacation planning, and preparation for my upcoming midterm exams next week. In the midst of this craziness, I was experiencing the worst of my culture shock and homesickness. I am thankful to say that I've gotten past the worst of it and all thanks to the support system I have both near and far. I even got a visit from my aunt that lives in Hong Kong, who flew in for a weekend. She let me show her around the city the way I know best, wandering aimlessly. We ended up going to the Mueang Mai Market to buy some fruit, and I got to share my favorite foods with her (mango sticky rice and khao soi.) Most importantly, I got to experience the comfort of home from half-way across the world, through the hugs of someone I love so dearly.
The first of my field trips was to the Northern Study Center in Maerim to look at applications of sustainable agriculture we have been learning about. It was an eye-opening experience to see cultural differences in an agricultural setting. Getting out of the classroom was a refreshing change of pace.
My next field trip was to a village to the west of the mountains called Mae Cham. Our objective was to observe the tourism programming currently in place so that we can eventually create a new strategy to bring in more income.
After a couple hour trek west in our van, we got to hop in the bed of pick-up trucks to finish the journey.
The following weekend, I had a field trip to a farmer's market. It is held by Chiang Mai University Agriculture Faculty every Saturday morning, and aims to teach community members and farmers how to grow crops sustainable without using chemicals. There were many delicious goodies as well as organic health products.
This past weekend, I was at a Meditation Center with 50 of my classmates practicing mindfulness and learning about what that means. Two full days of meditation, lectures, and a night of sleeping on a hard wooden floor added up to a draining experience. As much as I didn't enjoy having my weekend filled for me, it was a weekend that added a new perspective to my experience in Thailand. An experience that captures a large part of culture here, being a Buddhist country, and one that I wouldn't get back home.
Since my last post, I also have gone to the Bua Tong Sticky Waterfalls. It is called the "sticky" waterfall because it is not slippery like most waterfalls. The minerals that cover the rocks of this waterfall makes it sort of spongey and makes it possible to climb up and down.
In the next couple weeks I am looking forward to travelling to the island of Koh Tao in southern Thailand, Siem Reap in Cambodia, and to Hong Kong to visit my aunt. Many adventures have been experienced and many more to come.