Saturday, January 11, 2014

Post #4 by Katelyn

On Thursday we had a wonderful visit to Chiang Rai's Rajabpat University. We each got paired up with a buddy from the university for the day. This was a fun yet challenging experience because my buddy spoke very little English, and I don't speak any Thai. But despite our communication barrier we were able to bond and have fun day together! I was very thankful for my Thai dictionary, I was at least able to find short phrases to say or questions to ask her. One thing I learned is the Thai language is very difficult. If you say the tone of a word wrong it can completely change the meaning! I tried reading a few words from the dictionary, and couple times she just laughed at me, pretty sure I said something I didn't mean to! I just decided to point from then on :) This experience really challenged me, but also taught me that I am very capable of making a connection with someone even if we don't speak the same language. Smiling and pointing are very effective :) 

We first rode on her scooter to the black house. (As a side note, I really want a scooter  when I get home!) This was a very interesting temple, full of huge snake skin laid across a long table, throne looking chairs made of horns and very dark. It was much different then any of the other temples we have visited. I even got to touch a real python! I have definitely been stepping out of my comfort zone on this trip and doing things I never thought I would. I can say, this trip has challenged me to become comfortable being uncomfortable. 

After the visit to the black house, we went to the flower festival. This was the most beautiful place with rows and rows of fresh flowers. Everything for Lillie's to tulips and more. Walking through the gardens the smell of all the varieties of flowers was very refreshing. I think I could have spent all day there! We then went to visit the famous white temple. The architecture and paintings took my breath away! My favorite part of this visit was being able to buy a metal decorative piece that guests can write a message on and hang up. I wrote one in memory of a good friend who passed away a year ago, it means so much to me that this will be apart of the white temple forever! 

Later that night we had a delicious meal prepared by the culinary students. We also got to see and hear traditional Thai dances and music. To wrap up the evening we all release lanterns in to the sky. It was beautiful to watch them all float into the dark night sky together. As Cathy put it, the formation of all the lanterns together was a true symbol of the connection we had made with the students at Rajabpat University. I will remember this day and my new friend forever!

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