post #2-challenging myself

I’ve always wanted to go zip lining but I’m kind of afraid of heights. But being here in Thailand, I knew I was going to have to take advantage of every opportunity I was given. Driving up the mountain all I could think about was that I was going to be zipping through those trees. I didn’t really know what to expect until we walked to the first station.  After seeing Danny jump off the platform,  I started getting really nervous. Just hanging from a harness and zipping tree to tree, was terrify to me.  When it was my turn,  I said a little prayer in my head and stepped off the platform.  I made it to the other side alive and had the biggest adrenaline rush.

We went through a few more stations and I was loving it, until we got to the vertical drop. All I could hear in front of me was screams and then I finally got close enough to see what I was about to do. The man hooked me up to the rope and I looked at him and  said,  “So, I just step off and fall?” I was so scared, but I closed my eyes for a few seconds and stepped right off. I made it to the bottom with even more excitement than the first station.

The next station that terrified me was where they hooked you up by your back,  like superman.  It was one of the longest lines and it was pretty high up there.  The thing that scared me was that I would have nothing to hang on to.  But I had to do it just like the rest of the group, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  As I turned in the air,  I saw the most beautiful site.  I can’t even explain that view, it was breathtaking.

I’m learning so much about myself on this trip. I’ve had to challenge my fears,  my beliefs,  and my way of thinking. Zip lining is just one example so far that I’ve challenged my fears.  I know if I had that opportunity back home I’d probably still do it,  but having the whole group getting to experience it together made it such a memorable experience.

Thai Time!

After being in Thailand for about one and a half weeks, I am starting to enjoy and get the groove of “Thai time.” This basically means instead of trying to control my time, I go with the flow of time. Back in Minnesota, I remember how I always watched the time constantly in order to not be late. However, in Thailand, although I am mindful of the time, I do not feel rushed to always be on time. 
Me and a Thai Elder

In addition, experiencing Thailand itself has helped me see a better perspective of myself and my Hmong culture. For instance, elderly care. Like the Thai people, Hmong adults also take care of their parents when they age. Although we do not have a law that enforces this norm on us, we are expected to take care of our elderly parents by the Hmong community. This got me thinking: what other similarities do I share with the Thai people?

I guess it’s hard to say and predict what other similarities I may have with the Thai people. However, one thing is for sure, I am definitely enjoying and learning much about Thailand. 

Blog #3- Tom Lonergan

A little over one week after arriving in Thailand, I feel like I’ve been here for a month. I’ve experienced so much and the group of students here are a great time to be around. I feel more open to people and able to make connections that I felt that I couldn’t before.
 New Years was a crazy fun night. The sight of lanterns filling the night sky over the bustling city is a sight I will never forget. Leading the pack of students through the crowded market with my head well above the average pedestrian made me feel uniquely useful. I did nothing to influence my height, but being able to put it to use as a leader is a great feeling. I couldn’t think of anywhere else I would have rather spent the holiday.
 Zip lining through the jungle on new years day was incredible. The crazy van ride through the windy mountain roads with the driver blaring his horn around every corner scar
ed me more than the ziplining itself. The views of the jungle while flying through the air passed by so quickly, but left a lasting image of what a beautiful place Thailand really is.

New Years in Chiang Mai

We have now been in Chiang Mai for a few days now and we are starting to get comfortable it seems. We are starting to figure out where things are and how to get to them. People in Thailand seem so nice and respectful which is pretty cool to see. The other day our taxi driver stopped in the market and bought us pork rinds just for riding with him.

We went out with with everyone New Years eve and we met people from all over the world. People from Canada, U.S., Australia, everyone was here for a different reason but we were all connected by a common bond. Thailand connects people in a way I’ve never seen before and it’s one of the cooler things I’ve been apart of.

New Years in Thailand: blog 2

My 2014 New Years in Thailand was my second out of the states but by far the most memorable of my life to date.  There is a sense of renewal in the air.  One that cannot be fully grasped by words.  But since I feel I should try, the best way I can describe it is a sense that nothing in your past matters as long as you make the best of yourself and your world in the coming year.  Letting a lantern go into the starry night sky, as is Thai tradition, although it sounds silly, was one of the most freeing moments of my life.  It is as if you are watching a year of your life drift casually into your memory while simultaneously reminding you to live forever in the moment.  The wave of excitement and renewal within the group and the city of Chiang Mai was undeniable as we walked into the night market, wide eyed and ready for wherever the night took us.

Thai Food and Sleeping Habits

The Thai food here is absolutely delicious! Besides the small cautions of water quality and freshness, definitely what I was look forward to for taste. One thing that I noticed about the food was that the portions were smaller than those in the States. Comparing the container of the take out of the food stands here to Panda Express at school, Panda is about twice as big. It is understandable since it is cheaper, but I did feel the food had something to do with my odd sleeping habits.

After the cooking class, one theory was since the food is usually made with fresh veggies and meat here and smaller portions, my body digests it better and faster. In addition, I especially love to drink and eat the coconuts here too, thus makes me wake up in the middle of the night to do my business more often than normal. Another thought was because of the small portions, I feel that I should eat a lot, and some times I eat more than normal. The after effect is food coma, so I sleep earlier, wake up early, and then get tired throughout the day and take more naps than I usually do.

Never the less, these “theories” don’t keep me away from the yummy food and juicy coconuts!! Maybe I just need time to adapt to the food, or maybe its not even the food.. Hrrrmmm….

Blog #2 – Sunday Market

My first experience at the Sunday market was some thing i will never forget. It’s like the Hmong New Year but crazier. There were a lot of people, food, and souvenirs. As I was shopping for souvenirs, I met a few of the Hmong vendors there. It was so much more easier to communicate with them than English as some did not understand it. It was also easier to bargain. Although the vendors said they would lower the price because I was Hmong, I still felt bad bargaining with them because its their way of life. I only got a few things for my nieces. The one thing I am looking forward to get in Thailand is a Thai outfit as it will be my first. The food there were amazing.

Giving Alms to the Monks

This specific activity became really important and eye opening for me, I found it very interesting how the people give actual food for the monks to live on instead of money. I think giving the food really shifted this experience for me because when I give money for charity it takes a piece of the importance away because I am not sure where the money is going but in this case there was food and I was sure of where it was going and it made much more sacred.

Monk Chat


Being able to interact and engage with a monk (K.K.) at the Monk Chat was both eye-opening and uplifting. When K.K. mentioned that monks only concentrate on their present being and not their past or future, I was amazed. The idea behind this as K.K. mentioned is to decrease one’s suffering. This did not make sense to me at first. I remember thinking to myself, “If anything, I would be suffering more if I did not focus some of my energy on my past and future.” However, when K.K. elaborated on how failure of a future plan brings self-shame and desperation/wants creates self-greed, I understood why concentrating on my present would mean less suffering. 

Zip Lining with Friends at the Jungle

 When I think about what K.K. said, I realized how time oriented and futuristic I am when I am in the present moment. I always think and wonder how my actions today will contribute to tomorrow. By thinking of such questions, I believe I miss out on living in the present. Therefore, although being futuristic is a part of me, I must also learn to live in the present like zip lining with friends!