Enjoy! Making this video definitely made me very nostalgic of the times in Thailand! I can’t believe a month has already gone by…
I have never been a good writer when it comes to being expressive or descriptive of what my idea is deeply about. I am a people person, I love to talk to people rather than write down my thoughts. When I write I feel so limited, but when I talk my words just comes out so freely. Trying to reflect back on this wonderful opportunity of being a part of this program, I really can not put the words to explain my feelings. Sad? Happy? Amazed? Those words do not even do justice to expressing my feelings.
We have visited so many places in Thailand. Sometimes I would wonder, “Why in the hell are we here and what does this have to do with anything?” Acharan Cathy and Acharan Linda gave us the experience but the connection between each of the experience is one that we would have to do ourselves. The processing each of the experience and the personal connection is what makes our stay in Thailand much more meaningful to each of us. I would be lying if I say it was a easy process. I am still iffy about some experiences but of those experiences that I processed, it is as fireworks is going off in my mind.
One particular experience was very emotional one for me. Visiting the Chaing Dao was a life changing one. The moment I walked into the auditorium and seeing those wonderful kids sitting, tears started coming down. I was so happy to see such young, bright, and beautiful students. Though they did not have much, each one of them is fighting hard for their education. Some of which leaves their family at a young age and dorm at the school. My tears wouldn’t stop as we visited individual classrooms. Some of these students seem to be five or six years old and yet they are so strong willed.
In the van Acharan Linda asked me how the visit was for me and I couldn’t answer because my voice started cracking. I will now answer that question. It was one of the most inspiring thing that I have ever experience in my life. I realized how privileged I am as an American and really take for granted that privilege. I need to slow down in life and appreciate the little things in life. These student inspires me to be a better person and try my hardest to reach my dreams because if someone like these students can rise up from close to nothing, why can’t I. I have all that I have and if I can’t reach my dreams, then I have taken my life for granted.
I am back in Thailand as an adult and as a tourist. I have more money to spend. My goals that I posted in the first blog was going to different places, eat different foods and compare my experiences of Thailand as a ‘refugee child’ to my experiences as an ‘adult tourist’ and learn from them. Now that am free to do as I wish, I bought a huge quantity of clothes as well as gifts. To others it might seem like I spent so much and impulsively. So, why do I spent so much?
Twelve years ago when I was still a child living inside a refugee camp in Thailand, I’ve never once in my life have more than 15 baht (about $0.45) in my hands. Most of the times when I go to school, my parents would give me 10 baht (about $0.30) to spend. Everyday, I will use five to seven baht for my lunch and I would use the left over money for snacks. Sometimes, I would buy rice paddy with banana inside to eat on the way to school. Sometimes after lunch, I would get a pancake in the shape of a turtle for 1 baht. Sometimes, I tried not to spend all of the money my parents gave me so they don’t have to get me more money the next day.
I’ve never wore a pair of shoes worth more than 10 baht (about $0.30). Yes, the more expensive the shoes are the prettier they are. I’ve always resisted it when my parents offer to buy me a prettier pair of shoe and declined their offer although I wanted a pair of nice shoes to match my friends. I was eight years old at the time and I was not too young to know that my parents are struggling to make money and to keep foods on the table for their six children. There were many times that my family of eight shared two pack of noodles. We would make it with a lot of water and mixed the noodle soup with rice and eat it. Most of the times, my dad would only eat a little so that his children will have enough. My dad would eat the left over foods on our plates when we are done. I am aware of this, every time he gave me a piece of meat or more noodles, I would purposely not finish it and pretended that I am full so he will have a little bit more to eat later. This was my life in Thailand from the day I was born until I was ten years old. I’ve never regret any of it but learned to appreciated how much my parents love us.
Now I have more than 15 baht (about $0.45) in my hands, I have thousands of baht to spend and have spent thousands already. I am spending to make up for all the things that I’ve never had. Still, I have no regrets for what I spent my money for.