Mid-Semester Update

by Emma Endicott October. 06, 2016 2259 views

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.

We had some pretty great views on the way.

When we got to the village, we were greeted by many smiling faces. We then were welcomed with a traditional ceremony and blessing. Here we are pictured with yarn wrapped around our heads, as a part of the ceremony, all touching the center platter with two cooked chickens and bananas on it.

After a delicious lunch, we got hands-on experience with the way they make their income; cotton fiber art. We got to try the whole process from carding the cotton to spinning and weaving. Here I am at the loom (my legs were a little long to fit comfortably haha.)

Trying my hand at spinning. Definitely not very successful, but the ladies were very kind with their words of encouragement!

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.

This has been one of my favorite adventures so far. I had a blast climbing up and down the waterfall and enjoying such an amazing natural phenomenon.

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.

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There are 3 comments , add yours!
Ram Ya 4 years, 11 months ago

Wow, what a journey you are having.
This is the first time I am hearing of a sticky waterfall that you can climb up and down!

When I was in Thailand, everybody told me to go to Chiang Mai but my schedule couldn't afford it. I hope to return one day to the rural Thailand to experience their culture.

How long are you in Thailand for? Are you studying there?

4 years, 11 months ago Edited
Emma Endicott Replied to Ram Ya 4 years, 11 months ago

I am studying here until December. I highly recommend visiting Chiang Mai if you get a chance. Lots to do and easy access to cultural experiences nearby.

4 years, 11 months ago Edited
Ram Ya Replied to Emma Endicott 4 years, 11 months ago

Thanks, Emma. I look forward to visiting someday soon :)
If you have a chance please also visit the city of Ayutthaya. It was so amazing and so different from Bangkok. I loved its ancient ruins and how well some of it is preserved.

4 years, 11 months ago Edited
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