Hey it’s Madison! And this is my all-time favorite place (so far) – the Pacific Ocean.
~ AVOID EXPECTATIONS ~
Orientation at the Wat Temple was my first significant experience with Thai culture, and wow, was it already an eye-opening experience! I had the image of an ornate temple in my head prior to arrival, and while we were approaching I believe everyone in our car made a comment on the odd rural location. I was extremely taken back when I discovered it was more-so a large house that didn’t fit my conception of a traditional Buddhist Temple whatsoever. Right then and there I decided expectations only limit open-mindedness and should, from this point on, be avoided in order to immerse myself completely in this unique learning experience. Once inside, the presence of the monk filled the room with this nobility that seemed to pull out my innermost respect. I was transfixed by his words, even though I had no clue what he was saying. I’m so intrigued by their religion and have done some reading on it, so listening to him and the translator was a highlight for me. I also really enjoyed the short meditation session we had. I don’t know if it was the environment or if I was just tired, but I was so relaxed and at peace after that. I can’t forget to mention how warm and welcoming I noticed the Thai’s were to us, and how thankful I am for that delicious meal they prepared for us!
My learning goal is to ~BE CONSTANTLY LEARNING~ throughout our expedition around Thailand. I want to learn from the people, the environment, and this reliant and respected relationship between them. In particular, I’m personally excited to learn as much as I can absorb about the Mekong River, due to my interests in water quality and public health. Another goal of mine is to get to know and make friends with my fellow travelers! I’m looking forward to this wild journey!! Just have to get through finals………