Letting our wishes fly-Chaing Rai

This was a day I had been anticipating for a while. We were going to be spending the entire day with students at the university. I had heard great things about his day in the past and couldn’t wait to meet the students. When we arrived they seems as eager as us, and i presume nervous like us as well. For them today was a day they would have to utilize their English speaking skills a lot due to all of us having around a 5 word vocabulary of Thai words. The students were great, friendly, talkative and very welcoming. When we loaded onto the bus we each took a seat and they were instructed to take a seat next to an American student. My new friends name was Nan, we chatted the whole tour and laughed about our humorous tour guide Gio(her fellow classmate/friend). Gio was a wonderful guide with lots of jokes and spoke fabulous English. We late had a tour around campus on the students motorbikes, I was so amused by the site a group of 20 bikes crusing campus. I laughed and thought to myself how I felt like I was in a biker gang.
As we toured the campus and walked around I recall the students saying they were tired, however to us it sounded like thied so we corrected them and they all laughed and said words like that would be easier with a native English speaker. Through out the day when they were working on their English they asked questions, they loved the help, and we didn’t mind. It was a great learning experience we were learning from each other.
As the day continued with our new friends, we all were laughing making jokes, taking pictures making strong new friendships. I loved the connection that was going on, and could feel that we had a different kind of relationship with our new friends. Coming from different cultures and speaking different languages but yet we were connecting with them and getting close.
The sun began to set, and the dinner and festivites that they had planned for us were being set up. It looked gorgeous, they were providing us with a native Thai dinner. There was so much food, and they gave us everything, and the students stood behind us making sure we tried it all. Candles were lit around us, we sat on the carpet outside beneath the moon and stars and enjoyed food which most of us had never tried. We sat talking with our friends, and they laughed as Casey C and I tried the food and they saw our facial expression reacting to the spice. The settingof the dinner was gorgeous, music was played, dances were performed and we later got to dance. They had us come ontothe stage stand in a circle as they showed us traditional dances, it was very humorous to them as we tried to adapt to the style of dance.
After dancing the lanterns were brought on stage. The lanterns are lit on fire, and you let them go into the night sky relieving you of stress and carrying your wish toward the night sky. As I looked around everyone looked so happy, and slowly the lanterns filled with smoke. Nan was my partner and we lit our lantern together, let it fill and we then made out wishes stood up to let it go and away it floated into the starry night sky. The scene was remarkable slowly the lanterns filled the sky and everyone watched as their wishes were carried away. I thought to myself how lucky I was to be here in this place, with all the wonderful people. Everyone was so kind, caring, fun; new friendships were made. The feeling I felt is unexplainable, I wish I could go back to that night, the feeling of tranquility and serenity and knowing that I was right where I was meant to be. I enjoyed that moment so very much, and thought about the amazing day I had, it was unbelievable. I was so happy to be in Chiang Rai and with the students, in fact I wish we had been there longer. I will never forget that night, and just like their professor said to us when he closed the ceremony “I hope you all have made new friendships, stay in touch and will never forget this night and think back on it through out your life”. That is exactly how I felt, and what I want to happen, I will never forget that night.

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