Well friends, I guess I’m in Thailand now.

After a thirteen hour flight to Tokyo and an eight hour layover in the Bangkok airport, I arrived into Chiang Mai on the morning of February 6th. We were met by the lovely Pi Pookie (an ISDSI staff member), who shuttled us to a guest house for the evening, by way of one of the red truck taxis that seem to be quite common here (according to the Lonely Planet books, they are organized by the mafia, hmm?).

My first day in Chiang Mai was perfect. I walked around with my friend Stephanie for a few hours, exploring city’s parks and observing the “Flower Day” festivities. The warmth and humidity were a welcomed shock to our Michigan-familiar bodies. At some point, Stephanie decided to head back to the guest house for a shower, but I decided to explore a bit more. Using the map we were given, I made my way to a restaurant that looked interesting and purchased myself some green tea soy ice cream. I slowly ate in on my way back to the guest house.

It wasn’t long until I finished the ice cream. It also wasn’t much longer until I realized I actualy didn’t know where our guest house was. In a typical directionally-challenged style that is all too often expected of me (and most of the time, fulfilled), I managed to get completely lost. Not wanting to surrender my pride, I reassured myself that I would be able to find my way back. For over three hours I walked and rewalked the circumfrance of a rather large area (about half of the city), trying to identify familiar buildings and signs (which were becoming more familiar as I revisited them over and over).

Eventually I gave in and borrowed a woman’s phone. I called Pi Pookie to ask for the address of the guesthouse and took one of the red truck taxis back. It was a little bit of a comfort to hear that Stephanie also got lost, hahah. I fell asleep last night completely exhausted, and I could still feel the sun inside of my skin. It was a wonderful day, maybe exactly what I was hoping for.

Tomorrow, my host parents will take me to the department store to buy a school uniform and a cell phone. Classes start on Monday, and I’m really looking forward to learning a bit of Thai.

I hope you all are well.

Peace, Reb.

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There are two days left of my interim class, twelve days left in the Grand Rapids, MI.

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This weekend has two purposes: to attend wakeup weekend events and to hand tie my quilt together.

Yesterday evening was another pleasant potluck (this time with SCL, see the “compassionate living blog,” to the left). To contribute, I prepared some homemade tortellinis. The pasta was with sundried tomato pesto, and the filling was with beans and spinach. They turned out alright, perhaps a little bit mushier than the picture in the recipe, but still adequately delicious (I think).

After reconsidering food choices over the past few years, it is interesting to recognize that in Thailand, I will once again reincorporate the presence of meat into my daily diet. I feel okay about shift, for relational and cultural purpose, but attending one of my last vegan potlucks with this realization in mind also got me thinking >>>

I am thoroughly excited about new experiences. But even in that, as I prepare to go, I am reminded of how thankful I am for the community of friends I have here in G-R. They’re quite thoughtful and engaged, they have pushed me to reconsider the way in which I live, and I place a lot of value in the places and relationships I occupy here at school. Perhaps it took me a long time to acknowledge this fact, to recognize how much I like living in Western Michigan. But, I surely do. And it’s nice.

Okay, next I’m off to a panel discussion about animal issues, race, and gender. Whoowee. Should be splendid.

Peace, Reb

p.s. Blogging is incredibly awkward, forgive me as I try to become more comfortable with the idea. Ughh.

hello, my feathered and furried friends.

I have two full weeks before I journey out of the states. Recently, time is spent communing with friends, rechecking the list of necessary items, working as much as time allows, tying up loose ends, and coordinating the details of my life.

On February 4th, I will venture towards Chiang Mai. There, in northern Thailand, I will be studying Ecology and International Development through the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute (or “ISDSI”). Coursework will include topics such as Thai Language and Culture, Political Ecology and Forests, Human Rights and the Environment, and Coastal Ecology and Culture. Studying will be by way of foot and kayak (one of our courses is on the Yom, one of the last undamned rivers in Thailand).

The opportunity to gain some experiential education regarding the areas I’ve grown increasingly passionate about is truly exciting. Feel free to follow along as I reflect on my time there, and experiences that follow.

Until then, I’ll just set my hands to sluggishly completing my first quilt (part of the course I’ve been taking throughout January).

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Peace, Reb.

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