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    [post_date] => 2008-06-13 00:00:00
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Hey,

I'm Monique and I think I'm the last to sign up for trip. I'm from Hampden Maine, go to Hampden Academy, and I'm 16. ( read someone else is from Maine too!) I'm play soccer, tennis, ski, and a little snowboarding. I love languages although I don't know any thai but hope to learn lots! I had a thai exchange studen last year and cannot wait to see her beautiful homeland. I'm very excited to meet and get to travel with you guys!

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Thailand, Summer 2008

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A little about myself

Monique Kelmenson,Thailand, Summer 2008

Description

Hey, I’m Monique and I think I’m the last to sign up for trip. I’m from Hampden Maine, go to Hampden Academy, and I’m 16. ( read someone else is from Maine too!) I’m play soccer, tennis, ski, and a little snowboarding. I love languages although I don’t know any thai but hope to learn […]

Posted On

06/13/08

Author

Monique Kelmenson

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    [post_date] => 2008-06-12 00:00:00
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Sorry, just a clarifying question:

What is the difference between a back-back, day-pack, and a duffel bag?

I see that luggage/ suitcase, is not part of the requirements. We are not supposed to bring a suitcase, right?

"Everything should fit in your back pack"? EVERYTHING!?

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Thailand, Summer 2008

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Sorry, some omer questions

Kevin Vasquez,Thailand, Summer 2008

Description

Sorry, just a clarifying question: What is the difference between a back-back, day-pack, and a duffel bag? I see that luggage/ suitcase, is not part of the requirements. We are not supposed to bring a suitcase, right? "Everything should fit in your back pack"? EVERYTHING!?

Posted On

06/12/08

Author

Kevin Vasquez

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    [post_date] => 2008-06-10 00:00:00
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Here at Malden we're nearing the last days of school... 7 to be exact, and today is the first day of my countdown to Thailand... 18 days to go, is my count. But as it gets closer I'm getting kinda nervous.

1) I feel like I am not doing enough to prepare! I'm exercising, reading most of the selected reading pink book, and doing some language study. How much language should I be studying?Should I pack absolutely no shorts?Ifyou could narrow it down, what are the thingswe'll most likelyneed thatI'll forget?!
2) A little bit about the program itself: I'm being assigned all of my summer work now and for some, Internet is required. What should I tell my teachers? Will I be able to do the work?

Well, thank you for your time!
And, even thoughI seem nervous, and... said I was nervous. I'm not stressing out!
And, for each ounce of nervousness I'm two times as excited!

Thanks again for your time!
~Kevin Vasquez

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Thailand, Summer 2008

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Just a few questions

Kevin Vasquez,Thailand, Summer 2008

Description

Here at Malden we’re nearing the last days of school… 7 to be exact, and today is the first day of my countdown to Thailand… 18 days to go, is my count. But as it gets closer I’m getting kinda nervous. 1) I feel like I am not doing enough to prepare! I’m exercising, reading […]

Posted On

06/10/08

Author

Kevin Vasquez

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Hello, Dear Fellow Thai Traveler:


Sawaddee Ka! Greetings from Colorado . I'm sure that this letter will find you in a place similar to my own: tying up loose ends, imagining what summer will be like, my mind filling up with questions and spending as much time as possible with friends and family.


Together we are about to embark on an incredible journey. We all have different backgrounds, we come from different states, and have had different experiences. However, somehow this summer a group of strangers will come together to share an amazing adventure. This same group of strangers will become friends sharing many days and nights together, telling stories, laughing together, accepting challenges and perhaps making a few mistakes along the way.


My Thai journey began several years ago as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I had just finished my Bachelors Degree at the University of Northern Colorado , in Communication and Elementary Education when I left. I lived in the north of Thailand for three years in a small village, where I was a teacher. After finishing my extended service and traveling much of Asia, I returned to Thailand to help train a new Peace Corps group about Thailand. I helped the other volunteers in what volunteer life is like in Thailand. I helped set up home-stays, arranged school visits, taught Thai culture and helped the other volunteers in anyway I could. After training two groups I returned to the states to teach and share the experience I have had.


While I was sitting in the Peace Corps Office getting ready to begin the adventure of returning to the United States, one of my trainers from when I began my PC experience wondered into the office. He had come to say "Hello" to the people in the office. He was leading a Dragonscourse at the time and when he saw me and asked what my next step was he noticed my hesitation. I really wanted to stay in Thailand for many reasons but was being pulled back to the States as well. He sugested that when I retrun I apply to Dragons...that was 5summers ago! I am really looking forward to my 6th.


When I am not traveling, I am a 5th grade teacher, and yes, all my students can speak simple Thai. I teach in a small farming community in Colorado called Gilcrest. I am also a Middle School Cross Country Coach, Girls High School Swimming Coach and a Track Coach.


This summer will be a challenge. However, the challenges that you are about to face will remain with you for your lives. After this summer, you will return with fond memories, great stories and amazing pictures. I can remember being nervous, a million questions running through my mind and not having an answer to one of them. Constantly thinking about projects that I want to do and how I will get them done. Thinking about language, worried that I will offend someone by accident, worrying about home-stay, and thinking, “How is that going to work? I know three phrases in Thai andam I going to communicate with my family?" In the end, though,I remember cooking with my family, sharing pictures of family and friends from home and laughing together with the people in my village (usually at oneof my silly mistakes), playing UNO with everyone and communicating no matter how little English or Thai was spoken. The challenges in the end will be your finest accomplishments.


Hopefully Derek, Virada or I will get a chance to communicate with you before we meet in L.A. I would be happy to answer any questions that you have, whether it is about what to bring or what to leave behind. Feel free to call or e-mail me with any questions or concerns - or even just to chat. I am excited to meet you and begin our journey together.


See you in Los Angeles!

Mandy Hammond

(970) 217-9846 (cell)

mandaynnhammond@yahoo.com

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Thailand, Summer 2008

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Sawaddee Ka

Mandy Hammond,Thailand, Summer 2008

Description

Hello, Dear Fellow Thai Traveler: Sawaddee Ka! Greetings from Colorado . I’m sure that this letter will find you in a place similar to my own: tying up loose ends, imagining what summer will be like, my mind filling up with questions and spending as much time as possible with friends and family. Together we […]

Posted On

05/30/08

Author

Mandy Hammond

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hey everybody,

my name is Zach Hodges, and I live in Northern New Jersey. I am turning 16 in November which definitely makes me the youngest student on the trip. A little bit about me: Basketball is a big part of my life, i play everyday. I'm also a big fan of eating (Thai food is the greatest.) I was going to say contact me on facebook, but i guess we were told otherwise in an extremely insightful post from folks in the Dragons offices.

I am so excited for this trip, and meeting everybody in LA.

peace

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Thailand, Summer 2008

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whats up everybody

Zach Hodges,Thailand, Summer 2008

Description

hey everybody, my name is Zach Hodges, and I live in Northern New Jersey. I am turning 16 in November which definitely makes me the youngest student on the trip. A little bit about me: Basketball is a big part of my life, i play everyday. I’m also a big fan of eating (Thai food […]

Posted On

05/25/08

Author

Zach Hodges

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    [post_content] => Hey, this is well overdue. Just wanted to say hi. I'm Sam, I'm 16, and I live in Rockport on the coast of Maine. I'm really looking forward to meeting all of you in L.A. See you soon.
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Thailand, Summer 2008

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Hey!

Sam Fernald,Thailand, Summer 2008

Description

Hey, this is well overdue. Just wanted to say hi. I’m Sam, I’m 16, and I live in Rockport on the coast of Maine. I’m really looking forward to meeting all of you in L.A. See you soon.

Posted On

05/24/08

Author

Sam Fernald

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Dear Dragons,

Wa ngai ja?! That’s Thai for “What’s up?” My name is Virada (pronounced “Veer-da”), and I’ll be one of the instructors along with Mandy and Derek for this summer’s Thailand program. I’m getting excited reading all of your Yak Yaks, and I can’t wait to meet you all in June.

A little bit about my background… I am Thai-American, born and raised in San Francisco. When I was five, my mom forced me to go to Thai summer school at my local Thai Temple in Berkeley. As much as I hated it at the time, I am able to speak, read and write Thai. Yes, I grew up, came to my senses and learned to appreciate it. I started enjoying the Temple in high school when I returned by choice and began studying traditional Thai dance. Similar to you, I spent my high school summers in Thailand - but for family visits and two performance tours for Thai-American youth. In recent years, I also have taught English and led community service projects in Northeastern Thailand. By some twist of fate, I am still involved with my Thai Temple and Cultural Center twenty years after those early summers when my mom ignored my tantrums and pleas begging her not to send me to Thai school. I still dance, but also volunteer with our fundraising, outreach and website (www.tccsfbayarea.org). Only my parents moved to the U.S., and the rest of my family still lives in Thailand, so I guess the Thai temple took their place. I can’t live with them or without them.

I had a burning desire to go to college on the East Coast, so I went to Smith College in Massachusetts and received my bachelor’s degree in sociology. I have experience coordinating community service programs serving immigrant communities in San Francisco, but these programs also allowed me to work in youth development, so I also provided workshops for high school students on college, job and career preparation. I am currently pursuing my interest in filmmaking. In addition to making a few short documentaries, this spring I had the opportunity to work on an independent feature film, and my new favorite hobby is screenwriting. We’ll probably get the chance to watch some Thai films that will both entertain and provide you with some insights into Thai culture and history. I also love to cook, write and sing karaoke! I hope we will do some of each during our program.

Thai culture has become one of the greatest assets in my life, and I am so excited at the chance to share it with others. Growing up in two cultures and understanding their similarities and differences has been the best tool for me in defining myself – my own beliefs and values. For this summer, I invite you to think about the greatest assets and tools in your own lives. Are they your culture? Your sports team? Your creativity? Your friends and family? Because while we’re in Thailand and away from home, we’ll be relying on our strengths to get the most out of the new setting, out of the experience and out of each other.

Anyways, between now and when we meet, I would love to hear from all of you! What are you excited about? What are you nervous about? I want to know what you personally want to get out of the program, so please feel free to post your goals and expectations in addition your concerns and questions.

See you in LA!

~Virada
(or P’Khop - just to get all the laughs out now, my Thai nickname means ‘frog.’)

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Thailand, Summer 2008

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Greetings!

Virada Chatikul,Thailand, Summer 2008

Description

Dear Dragons, Wa ngai ja?! That’s Thai for “What’s up?” My name is Virada (pronounced “Veer-da”), and I’ll be one of the instructors along with Mandy and Derek for this summer’s Thailand program. I’m getting excited reading all of your Yak Yaks, and I can’t wait to meet you all in June. A little bit […]

Posted On

05/14/08

Author

Virada Chatikul

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    [post_content] => Hi, my names Edward, I'm 17 and from Philadelphia. I am really excited to be going to thailand. i have done a NOLS course in Wyoming but that is going to be nothing like Thailand. At least I'll be ready for the backpacking part. Cant wait
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Thailand, Summer 2008

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About me

Edward Rivera,Thailand, Summer 2008

Description

Hi, my names Edward, I’m 17 and from Philadelphia. I am really excited to be going to thailand. i have done a NOLS course in Wyoming but that is going to be nothing like Thailand. At least I’ll be ready for the backpacking part. Cant wait

Posted On

05/13/08

Author

Edward Rivera

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    [post_content] => Well I was reviewing the packing list and I was wondering what type of bathing suit is appropriate to wear? And i was also curious as to what type of fabrics are good to bring as for shirts or skirts? Like could we bring cotton t-shirts to hike in?
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Thailand, Summer 2008

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packing list

Inge Sullivan,Thailand, Summer 2008

Description

Well I was reviewing the packing list and I was wondering what type of bathing suit is appropriate to wear? And i was also curious as to what type of fabrics are good to bring as for shirts or skirts? Like could we bring cotton t-shirts to hike in?

Posted On

05/6/08

Author

Inge Sullivan

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Hello everyone! Sorry for the delay in introduction - I've been a little overwhelmed with a dance performance at my school. My name is Gabrielle, butyou're welcome tocall me Gabby. I'm almost 16 (on May 22), so I guess that makes me the youngest. I live in Washington DC, which I must say, is the best place to grow up. Also, like I said before, I dance. Mostly ballet, but I'm starting to get into modern. And recently I've started kayaking - lots of fun!

I'm actually taking a Geography class right now; and we happen to be studying South East Asia. It's awesome to be able tostudy something in school and then think about how I can apply the information during out trip.Needless to say, I'm extremelyexcited, and Ican't wait to meet all of you in person!

Oh, and I was wondering if anyone could recommend a book from the reading list.

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Thailand, Summer 2008

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Hello.

Gabrielle Newell,Thailand, Summer 2008

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Hello everyone! Sorry for the delay in introduction – I’ve been a little overwhelmed with a dance performance at my school. My name is Gabrielle, butyou’re welcome tocall me Gabby. I’m almost 16 (on May 22), so I guess that makes me the youngest. I live in Washington DC, which I must say, is the […]

Posted On

05/6/08

Author

Gabrielle Newell

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