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Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2011


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Even though we left Koh Mak just a few dyas ago, it already feels like an eternity away. Each day hauls us further along on our journey and closer to our final destination, which we arrived at today, Bangkok. As our remaining time in Thailand flies by we have begun to shift our focus towards transference – the act of transferring the knowledge and insight we have gained during our trip and integrating it in our life at home.

Over the past week, we have reflected upon our individual journeys that brought us to Thailand, our journey together through Thailand, and the inevitable reality of our upcoming journey away from Thailand. Whether we want it to or not, our trip here will end. To others, the only evidence our trip had actually transpired will be the souvenirs and photos we bring back. Within ourselves, it seems we’ll just have the distant memories to cling to.

However, as I look into myself, I notice changes. Changes in my being, my presence. These characteristics may have been there all along, only I was just too ignorant, too consumed with the chaos of my everyday life to actually look for them. Perhaps it takes five and a half weeks in the ‘bubble’ of my new family here – away from life at home- to even begin to notice myself and learn. Perhaps it takes a lot longer, even a lifetime to become acquainted with yourself. Some grow old, never even knowing who they are, having never looked past their preferences, desires, and outward composure – characteristics I used to feel defined a person.

The time I’ve spend in Thailand has certainly changed my perspective on life and how I want to interact with others. I feel ready to actually LISTEN to what others have to say, instead of just interjecting with my own stories as they come to mind. I feel ready to consider the impact of what others have to say, instead of just arriving at my own conclusions without considering their opinion too. I feel ready to truly appreciate those around me, and their influence on my life – and all they do for me – especially my family and friends.

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Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2011

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Looking Forward

Jillian Katz,Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2011

Description

Even though we left Koh Mak just a few dyas ago, it already feels like an eternity away. Each day hauls us further along on our journey and closer to our final destination, which we arrived at today, Bangkok. As our remaining time in Thailand flies by we have begun to shift our focus towards […]

Posted On

08/5/11

Author

Jillian Katz

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We left the idyllic island of Koh Mak this morning for our final destination in Thailand, Bangkok. For me, it's almost relieving to be back in a big city, after living my whole life in New York City I was beginning to miss the fast pace of a real metropolitan area. On our last full day in Koh Mak, which also happened to be the only sunny day, we did an exercise where we had to choose an emotion/state of being that we had developed in the past 5 weeks that we would want to bring back with us and incorporate into our daily lives at home. We had to sculpt a partner into that concept, mine being generosity. I've noticed that over my time in Thailand I've been changing in so many different ways, including a change in my perception of what generosity is. My Karen host family in Huay Hee took me in for a week and let me sleep on the only mattress that they owned. They cooked every meal for me and treated me with the most respect of anyone I've ever encountered. My 4 and 8 year old brothers would offer me their candy even if it meant that they wouldn't get any. Thai people have put me before themselves in any and every situation. In turn, I have become far more generous myself, whether I'm lending 100 baht to a friend of giving my host mother my headlamp without a second thought. I pledged to the group that I would bring this new sense of generosity back with me home. We each made a list of 3 changes we will make, announced them one by one to the group, and jumped into the pool at the hotel next door to ours. My promises were to: 1. volunteer instead of donating 2. buy food for a homeless person instead of waiting for them to beg me for money 3. help my little brother with his homework. These are all completely plausible changes that will enhance my life at home, I'll bring some of the spirit of Greng Jai home with me.
On a lighter note, today we took a 50 minute ferry from Koh Mak to Trat, where we got on a van that drove us to Bangkok. After drinking way too many fluids combined with my relatively weak bladder, I made the group stop at least 6 times during our ride to BKK.On the freeway entering Bangkok, there are no rest stops or gas stations for a couple miles. I ended up not being able to hold it any longer, I was desperate. I was sitting in the far back of the van, and was almost reduced to tears I had to go so badly. In a combined effort of students and instructors, we constructed a makeshift toilet of a chicken lays potato chip bag encased by 2 clear plastic bags. Attached is a picture I have been peer pressured into sharing,
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Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2011

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Looking Forward

Miriam Zlotnick,Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2011

Description

We left the idyllic island of Koh Mak this morning for our final destination in Thailand, Bangkok. For me, it’s almost relieving to be back in a big city, after living my whole life in New York City I was beginning to miss the fast pace of a real metropolitan area. On our last full […]

Posted On

08/4/11

Author

Miriam Zlotnick

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After spending 5 weeks in Thailand I feel like i have learned so much, and when i go home i don't want to forget anything. One thing that i really want to take with me would be the generosity that i see in thailand. When we were in the village i felt the love and generosity, they opened their homes and cooked for us and made us feel welcome. So when i go home i want to incorperate generosity into my everyday life. we all came up with 3 ways to incorperate something from thailand back into our lives.I plan to help and give back to my community, be more patient with people and to share more. these are all things that i hope to bring back with me from thailand along with everything ive learned over the past weeks.

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Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2011

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Looking Forward

Emma Frankel,Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2011

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After spending 5 weeks in Thailand I feel like i have learned so much, and when i go home i don’t want to forget anything. One thing that i really want to take with me would be the generosity that i see in thailand. When we were in the village i felt the love and […]

Posted On

08/3/11

Author

Emma Frankel

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Acceptance.

Less than one week and I'm already at home. And what I'm taking with me is acceptance.

It's not going to be easy... and while I'm busy accepting maybe the world won't accept me. But I will accept that.

At home, I intend to have 20 pcitures ready to show anyone at any time when 'summer' or 'what has been up lately' come up.

At home, I'm going to practice active listening. I'll lend an ear even when others won't theirs. I'll listen to stories at home like I've learned to listen to stories here. I won't take anything at face value and I'll be ready to ask questions: more engaged and more aware of the life around me.

At home, I'll improve the relationships I have with my family, in particular the relationship I have with my father. It's been a hard year at home but I'm ready to move forward into resolution.

It's going to be harder than posting a yak yak on the Dragons site, and I'd be lying if I said I was ready... but at least I'm prepared.

I don't want to leave yet. The anticipation increases but my eagerness dwindles.

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Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2011

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Moving Forward

Dayana Morales,Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2011

Description

Acceptance. Less than one week and I’m already at home. And what I’m taking with me is acceptance. It’s not going to be easy… and while I’m busy accepting maybe the world won’t accept me. But I will accept that. At home, I intend to have 20 pcitures ready to show anyone at any time […]

Posted On

08/3/11

Author

Dayana Morales

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As the group sat down in a circle to discuss the hard reality of easing back into our lives at home, together we established that we've changed. Coming back home, I hope to bring some of these changes with me. In Thailand, despite how hectic and activity packed the last 5 weeks have been, I feel that I've finally enabled myself to take life one step at a time and just chill out. Sometimes it's hard to remember to take life one step at a time and just breathe when so much is going on around you and to remind yourself that each exerience you have and moment that goes by will never happen exactly the same again. When I come home I have pledged to myself to take three steps to make sure that I can truly live in the moment each day and with each experience.

1) Not be too hard on myself or others.

2) Remember not to dwell on the past or get nervous for the future.

3) Live in the moment and not overthink everything.

I hope that with the support of my group members and my own drive, I'm able to apply these valuble methods of living upon my arrival in America.

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Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2011

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Moving Foward

Alizah Simon,Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2011

Description

As the group sat down in a circle to discuss the hard reality of easing back into our lives at home, together we established that we’ve changed. Coming back home, I hope to bring some of these changes with me. In Thailand, despite how hectic and activity packed the last 5 weeks have been, I […]

Posted On

08/3/11

Author

Alizah Simon

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After long days of logistical planing for the begining of our expedition phase we boarded a night bus bound for Bangkok. As we said goodbye to Khun Mae and climbed aboard a double decker coach bus Thai travel culture came to life. In the words of Pi-Pui “On a night bus you sleep and when you aren’t sleeping you eat.” Snacking as we have all learned is a very large part of Thai culture, any problem can be fixed with a Kahnom (snack)! As we all slept the night bus rolled into its meal stop at one AM where seven hungry Thais gobbled up some spicy food before hopping back on the bus. Us Frangs (foreigners) slept right through it!

When we arrived we set on a search with Pi-Pui to book another bus to Trat our one night lay-over to renew visas before we head out to a relaxing few days on Koh Mak! Visa renewing at the Thai-Cambodian border was an experience like no other. Street vendors with fake everything lined each side of the border and people chilled out a little too close on motorcycles as we filled out our forms. The Cambodian side was a little sketcher then we would have liked. We were happy to see the Thai letters and Mangosteens welcome us back home on the other side. Walking through no man’s land was fun as we can truly say we have been no where!

To finish off a long and interesting day we headed to the Trat night market hoping that Lonely Planets “don’t miss” was more on target then the river view hotel in Mae Saring! Happy to say that it was by far the best market food in Thailand thus far! Ely fell in love with the spring roll sauce almost as much as Jessie did with Soy milk at the Temple stay! We are happy to say that after what should be an interesting search for a ride to the pier tomorrow morning, we can say good-bye to our leader roles and enjoy the sand and the waves!

Jessie & Ely

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Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2011

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Sukhotthai to Trat!

Elyana Kadish & Jessica Ackerman,Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2011

Description

After long days of logistical planing for the begining of our expedition phase we boarded a night bus bound for Bangkok. As we said goodbye to Khun Mae and climbed aboard a double decker coach bus Thai travel culture came to life. In the words of Pi-Pui “On a night bus you sleep and when […]

Posted On

07/28/11

Author

Elyana Kadish & Jessica Ackerman

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Our group has recently lrelocated to Southern Thailand. We took an 8 hour nightbus from Sukkothai to Bangkok and then a 4 hour van drive to Trat. The final destination for this module is Koh Mak which is close to the Cambodian border. Speaking of the Cambodian border, we crossed over it today so we could get an extra 15 days in Thailand.

The reason of the title, " The Expedition Phase", is because during this module the students get to plan what we are doing with barely any help from the instructors. So far things have gone smoothly. We got all the way to Trat and tomorrow we are traveling to Koh Mak. Hopefully there won't be many problems. Though we didn't really want to stay in Trat, it was a good idea. There is an amazing night market here which has the most variety of food by far. I recommend everyone who comes to Thailand to at least stop her if they are near the Southern Cambodian border.

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Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2011

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The Expedition Phase

Cherylann Mucciolo,Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2011

Description

Our group has recently lrelocated to Southern Thailand. We took an 8 hour nightbus from Sukkothai to Bangkok and then a 4 hour van drive to Trat. The final destination for this module is Koh Mak which is close to the Cambodian border. Speaking of the Cambodian border, we crossed over it today so we […]

Posted On

07/28/11

Author

Cherylann Mucciolo

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Today marks one month since we all came together at the Hacienda, eager to head to the airport and embark on our journey to the land of smiles.

And quite a journey it has been! Already four modules down, and our expedition phase beginning. We've been to urban Chiang Mai, quiet Buay Hui Hee, revolutionary Mae Sot, and the historical Sukhothai. We've stayed in homes and we've stayed in temples. Now, we're booking our own guest houses and hailing our own song taos. We're in charge of the budget and we're the ones leading the meetings.

As the I-Team takes a back seat, the group containter begins to expand. It's been a struggle to say the least; some take charge while others take the defensive. But our group is awesome and we keep it moving.

After a single night in the border town of Trat, having (barely) renewed our Visas and hanging out at the market, we head further south to the island of Ko Mak.

Our visas weren't easy to get, but the Thai group made it out in one piece and is ready for white sandy beaches, crystal clear water, and coconut drinks. In Ko Mak, we will begin our transformation into who and what we intend on bringing home.

The end is near.

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Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2011

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A hint of Cambodia and the journey south

Dayana Morales,Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2011

Description

Today marks one month since we all came together at the Hacienda, eager to head to the airport and embark on our journey to the land of smiles. And quite a journey it has been! Already four modules down, and our expedition phase beginning. We’ve been to urban Chiang Mai, quiet Buay Hui Hee, revolutionary […]

Posted On

07/28/11

Author

Dayana Morales

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    [post_content] => We went to Cambodia today. It was pretty exciting to walk a hundred meters into the country, stamp our visas, and walk back out. Except Ben forgot to actually get them stamped so wewent in and out of Cambodia for no purpose because heran back over the border by himselfwith all our passports after the rest of us were back in Thailand.We're in Trat tonight and tomorrow were going to an island for a few days of beach. The night market here is awesome and has great food. Not too much longer on the trip before we arrive back in LA with great tans and lots of souvenirs. 
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Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2011

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Expedition

Montana Tucker,Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2011

Description

We went to Cambodia today. It was pretty exciting to walk a hundred meters into the country, stamp our visas, and walk back out. Except Ben forgot to actually get them stamped so wewent in and out of Cambodia for no purpose because heran back over the border by himselfwith all our passports after the […]

Posted On

07/28/11

Author

Montana Tucker

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Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2011

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Sukhothai-BKK-Trat-Cambodia-And Back

Miriam Zlotnick and Emma Frankel,Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Summer 2011

Description

We are currently in Trat, a town on the Thai-Cambodian border, preparing to depart for a 5 day beach retreat on the beautiful island of Koh Mak. Today we renewed our visas by crossing the border into Cambodia (a new country to cross of our list for both of us). In the wake of our […]

Posted On

07/28/11

Author

Miriam Zlotnick and Emma Frankel

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