Photo of the Week
Laos 4-week
Photo Title


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    [post_date] => 2014-07-28 22:25:14
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    [post_content] => Sabaidii everyone!

We are about to board our flight to Hong Kong. The students are in a spectacular headspace and enjoying every minute of the vistas from the airport and getting to stretch their legs a little before the flight. We had a beautiful ceremony last night sharing our appreciation for each other, and we are blown away by how connected and loving the group has become over these past 4-weeks. They have grown by leaps and bounds into confident and competent travelers and will certainly go far in all their future adventures, wherever the winds may take them.

Thanks for all the support!

See you soon,

Team Lao
    [post_title] => On our way home!
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Laos 4-week

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On our way home!

Team Lao,Laos 4-week

Description

Sabaidii everyone! We are about to board our flight to Hong Kong. The students are in a spectacular headspace and enjoying every minute of the vistas from the airport and getting to stretch their legs a little before the flight. We had a beautiful ceremony last night sharing our appreciation for each other, and we […]

Posted On

07/28/14

Author

Team Lao

Category

Laos 4-week

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    [post_date] => 2014-07-25 14:17:49
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    [post_content] => Dear Laos Students & Families,

 

This weekend marks the end of our Laos summer program and students will soon be boarding their planes and return home to share their tales of adventure with each of you.  We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival!

 

Below is a reminder of the return group flight information for your reference.  Starting on Saturday, 7/26, should you need any assistance during student travel days (outside of normal office hours), please call our Admin cell phone for assistance: 303-921-6078, or email: update@wheretherebedragons.com. During office hours (M-F, 9:00am-5:00pm M.S.T.) please continue to use our parent line at:800-982-9203 ext. 130.

 Returning Flight: 

July 28th, 2014 

Depart: Laos TBD

Arrive: Bangkok (BKK) TBD

July 29th, 2014 

Cathay Pacific #708

Depart: Bangkok (BKK) 9:20am

Arrive: Hong Kong (HKG) 1:15pm

July 29th, 2014 

Cathay Pacific #882

Depart: Hong Kong (HKG) 4:25pm

Arrive: Los Angeles (LAX) 2:35pm

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Laos 4-week

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Laos Return Flight Reminder

Eva Vanek,Laos 4-week

Description

Dear Laos Students & Families,   This weekend marks the end of our Laos summer program and students will soon be boarding their planes and return home to share their tales of adventure with each of you.  We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival!   Below is a reminder of the return group flight information […]

Posted On

07/25/14

Author

Eva Vanek

Category

Laos 4-week

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    [post_date] => 2014-07-24 17:08:25
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The rice planting season is coming to a close and the people have begun to settle into a leisurely state of mind. It is that time of the year. The island of our homestay,Don Don, is devoid of tuk tuks and sounds of industry; insteadyou hear the sounds of crickets chirping, children playing, and old women talking.. just breathing in the fresh, humid air of the day. Come ha mong dton laang (5 pm) and all the kids are outside by the soccer field. TIME FOR SPORT. Boys of all ages play soccer, girls play badminton, small children watch with excitement and is, the "falang" try (and succeed) to find our place within it all. At once we see ourselves laughing and playing with the locals. Such a fun and simple time. [post_title] => So simple [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => simple-2 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2014-07-24 17:08:25 [post_modified_gmt] => 2014-07-24 23:08:25 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=106715 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 30 [name] => Picture of the Week [slug] => picture-of-the-week [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 30 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 483 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 1 [cat_ID] => 30 [category_count] => 483 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Picture of the Week [category_nicename] => picture-of-the-week [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/picture-of-the-week/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 175 [name] => Laos 4-week [slug] => laos-4-week [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 175 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 254 [count] => 74 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 8.1 [cat_ID] => 175 [category_count] => 74 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Laos 4-week [category_nicename] => laos-4-week [category_parent] => 254 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2014/laos-4-week/ ) ) [category_links] => Picture of the Week, Laos 4-week )
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So simple

Nairobi Jeanniton,Picture of the Week, Laos 4-week

Description

The rice planting season is coming to a close and the people have begun to settle into a leisurely state of mind. It is that time of the year. The island of our homestay,Don Don, is devoid of tuk tuks and sounds of industry; insteadyou hear the sounds of crickets chirping, children playing, and old women […]

Posted On

07/24/14

Author

Nairobi Jeanniton

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    [post_date] => 2014-07-24 17:08:00
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    [post_content] => The fact that the earth is so diverse fascinates me.  Back in the States, there are two types of people: workoholics and wasters.  Though very different, they both have one thing in common: They both have a big problem.  I do admit, I am a workoholic.  I am always busy and have a full plate; I have hardly any time to myself.  I did not fully realize that I had this problem until I found out the other side of the world.  In Laos, there is no rush.  People do not have a problem, neither with work nor with wasting away their lives, thus creating a third type of person I have encountered: sloths.  I love these people and how they just live in the moment.  This is what makes the whole world diverse.  It's why I love the world, especially my own personal experiences on this trip.  It's literally one giant jump up the air.  The past two weeks have been the thrust of the jump, and right now I am at the pause -- the climax.  Right now it is just time to slow down.  Unfortunately, come a few days, gravity will bring me down.  The rush will consume me all over again, followed by the disappointing finish: the landing.  Having to be surrounded --not that I hate home-- by the United States of Workoholics all over again, and I would inevitably join the others.

If I want to get one thing out of this trip, it's how to enjoy myself without falling behind.  Yes, I do sports and have a job I love doing, but it's not enough.  I have read two books so far this summer, and I love reading.  Yesterday morning I meditated with one of the instructors, Somsanid (my apologies if I misspelled it), and I had never felt that great in forever.  My experiences with this trip so far made me question this.  I just hope that I can find a way to continue these along with my daily rush...

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Laos 4-week

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Jump

Jez Bigornia,Laos 4-week

Description

The fact that the earth is so diverse fascinates me.  Back in the States, there are two types of people: workoholics and wasters.  Though very different, they both have one thing in common: They both have a big problem.  I do admit, I am a workoholic.  I am always busy and have a full plate; […]

Posted On

07/24/14

Author

Jez Bigornia

Category

Laos 4-week

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    [post_date] => 2014-07-20 22:16:34
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[post_title] => phtos [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => phtos [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-02-02 13:00:34 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-02 20:00:34 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=106331 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 30 [name] => Picture of the Week [slug] => picture-of-the-week [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 30 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 483 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 1 [cat_ID] => 30 [category_count] => 483 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Picture of the Week [category_nicename] => picture-of-the-week [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/picture-of-the-week/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 175 [name] => Laos 4-week [slug] => laos-4-week [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 175 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 254 [count] => 74 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 8.1 [cat_ID] => 175 [category_count] => 74 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Laos 4-week [category_nicename] => laos-4-week [category_parent] => 254 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2014/laos-4-week/ ) ) [category_links] => Picture of the Week, Laos 4-week )
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phtos

Garner McAshan,Picture of the Week, Laos 4-week

Description

Posted On

07/20/14

Author

Garner McAshan

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    [post_date] => 2014-07-20 22:13:18
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-07-21 04:13:18
    [post_content] => On this day, we traveled to a temple in which we took part in an offering ceremony. Post ceremony we took the time to contemplate emotions or feelings we wanted to cast away. We each grabbed a stone and cast it into the water. My stone held hesitations and fears. I found it amazing that I could feel so lighthearted after throwing a rock into water. The experience was a mental one, my mind found peace. It is amazing what the mind has the ability to change.

P.S. The view was absolutely incredible.

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View post

Finding Peace

Nairobi Jeanniton,Picture of the Week, Laos 4-week

Description

On this day, we traveled to a temple in which we took part in an offering ceremony. Post ceremony we took the time to contemplate emotions or feelings we wanted to cast away. We each grabbed a stone and cast it into the water. My stone held hesitations and fears. I found it amazing that […]

Posted On

07/20/14

Author

Nairobi Jeanniton

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2014-07-20 22:12:47
    [post_date_gmt] => 2014-07-21 04:12:47
    [post_content] => It is the excitement of a small child before a fair, the nerves of a runner before a race, thousands of questions that fill ones mind, and a small, very small amount of fright. It is anticipation. This trip has been a constant ride of anticipation and it will continue to be until the plane ride home. Before I even left home I was anticipating the adventure to come. I was excited, happy, nervous but most of all I was feeling adventurous.

I believe adventure and anticipation come hand in hand. Adventure takes a lot of anticipation and when searching for an adventure or while on an adventure one is always anticipating the next thing. Our adventure in Laos has brought me many new types of anticipation. I anticipate the smells in a market, the taste of new food, the feeling of rain on my skin, the giggles on a bus ride, and the happiness caused by learning what will happen next. Today I am anticipating the adventure of home stays.

Today we will take a boat across the Mekong to a small island. Upon reaching this little jewel in the middle of the Mekong we will walk through green rice patties until we reach a school, there we will meet with the village chief. There we will also meet the local family that will be our own for five days. We will cook with our host mothers, help work in the rice patties, maybe fish with our host fathers and we will relax and enjoy the Lao pace of life. I am looking forward to learning the Lao while taking part in five day long game of charades, played to overcome a language barrier. I am anticipating a home away from home and I can't wait to meet my host family.

best,

Alex

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Laos 4-week

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Anticipation

Alexandria Chastenet,Laos 4-week

Description

It is the excitement of a small child before a fair, the nerves of a runner before a race, thousands of questions that fill ones mind, and a small, very small amount of fright. It is anticipation. This trip has been a constant ride of anticipation and it will continue to be until the plane […]

Posted On

07/20/14

Author

Alexandria Chastenet

Category

Laos 4-week

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    [post_date] => 2014-07-20 22:11:46
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    [post_content] => Unknown: adjective
1) Not known; not within the range of one's knowledge, experience,or understanding; strange; unfamiliar.
2)Not discovered, explored, identified, or ascertained.

One of the key concepts of any Dragons course is to explore the unknown, both physically and metaphorically. Whether its pushing through jungles, mountains or desert, or experiencing exotic culture, food and language, at the end of any Dragons course, what is unknown shrinks a little for each individual.

Our 4 weeks in Laos are no different. Just yesterday, we had to cut our way through the jungle because the normal path was unpassable due to the swollen river. We forged rivers, climbed over fallen trees, slowly but surely making our way to the goal, a beautiful, stunning waterfull. As it has rained for the past four days here, the river flowing down the waterfull and continuing beneath was full and fast. But the river that we crossed multiple times as we criss crossed our way up the mountain paled in comparison to the waterfall. Once we had reached it, we sat for 10 minutes on the rocks in what Justin called “One of the most intense sit spots Dragons has ever done”. With rain pouring down from above, and mist blasting our faces from all directions as the rocks beneath the waterfall smashed the river into millions of droplets, we sat and thought. What I realized, is that even though tourists come to this waterfall often enough, it still feels unexplored. Even though it is not, and I have seen waterfalls before, the intensity of the conditions and the pure force of what I was observing made it new and untouched. In addition, it made me want to find more places in the world that are still “pure nature”.

However, exploring the unknown does not just mean traveling to places that are physically untouched, it means experiencing things that you have never before. This applies perfectly to the next stage in our journey, the homestay. We will be in a family that we have never met before, that do not speak the same language as us, and live a life completely different from our own. Yet against all odds, by the end we will have had and incredible experience.

This, perhaps, exemplifies the Dragons experience even better than the trek, as it is completely and utterly unknown to all of us, in varying ways. Some have never lived anywhere but a city. Some have never been away from technology and the internet for this amount of time. Some have never lived without a schedule governing their day. Regardless of previous experience, none of us have ever been on an island in the middle of the Mekong River, cooking and gardening and fishing with families that we will be a part of for 5 days.

But that is where we will be, pushing into the unknown. And at the end of our time with Dragons, what is unknown to us will be a little smaller.
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Laos 4-week

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Into the Unknown

Ethan McCollister,Laos 4-week

Description

Unknown: adjective 1) Not known; not within the range of one’s knowledge, experience,or understanding; strange; unfamiliar. 2)Not discovered, explored, identified, or ascertained. One of the key concepts of any Dragons course is to explore the unknown, both physically and metaphorically. Whether its pushing through jungles, mountains or desert, or experiencing exotic culture, food and language, […]

Posted On

07/20/14

Author

Ethan McCollister

Category

Laos 4-week

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    [post_date] => 2014-07-18 12:58:02
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Saibai Dee from Central Lao! Family and friends following the Mekong with Team Lao. The following is an updated itinerary for the remaining 10 days of our summer course. We are settled into Thakek, Somsanid's hometown, and are excited to explore this spectacular mountainous region and move into the home-stay phase of our course on an island in the Mekong. Tomorrow morning we are heading to Na Hin, a biodiversity heritage site in the mountains for two days of wilderness expedition! Jungles, trekking, boats, caves, waterfalls, oh my! We will return to Thakek on Sunday night in time to meet our homestay families on Don Island starting Monday morning. 19 July: Nahin to Kong Lor cave!! Hidden deep in the karst mountains on central Laos, not far from the Ho Chi Minh Trail, we'll travel by boat through a subterranean river system, known as Kon Lor. We'll explore cavernous hollows, spectacular stalactites and stalagmites, and bizarre creatures of calcium-carbonate stones. After exiting the cave by boat, we'll return to Nahin to rest for the night. 20-July: Nahin Trek to the Twin Waterfalls deep in a National Park where we'll swim in the picturesque lagoon and have a very bucolic picnic (sticky rice and jungle fruits)...crossing our fingers that the monsoon rains turn in for a lunchtime siesta! Later we'll have a Laos language lesson at the waterfall in preparation for our homestays. Afterward we return to the tiny town of Thakek for a family dinner. 21 July: Don Dohn Island Begin homestay on Don Island. After meeting with host families mid-morning, we'll have a Welcoming Ceremony at the village primary school near the Catholic Church with chief and host families. An exciting time for everyone to greet and settle in! 22 July: Don Dohn Island Our first full day waking up in new homes! We will have breakfast with our families then head over to meet the instructors for a Laos language class and a workshop on identity & ethnicity in Laos. Afternoons are spent getting to know our families more and learning about the rhythms of the island. 23 July: Don Dohn Island Today we continue our study of Laos language and attend a workshop on rice & Laos agriculture. We then get to try our hands at helping our families in their fields. We learn what it takes to plant rice with local farmers. A labor intensive process that requires a lot of skill! 24 July: Don Dohn Island Today we take a day trip to visit to Nam Theun II Dam. We will watch a documentary at Information Center and discuss hydro-electricity, relocation, and Laos current development plan for the Mekong tributaries. We return to our island home in the evening to have dinner with our families. 25 July: Don Dohn Island Laos language classes, family time, school visits, fishing, and more. Life along the Mekong has a different pace and today we will continue finding our own rhythms with our families and finishing our ISP projects. 26 July: Don Dohn Island Saying goodbye to our incredible new families and friends we are invited to a traditional Basi ceremony in celebration of the new connections that we have made! In the afternoon we will settle into village outside Thakek and for transference. 27 July: Outside Thakek Transference: A culmination of the course, group bonding, and transitioning back into life at home. 28 July: Outside Thakek Final Ceremony. We'll bid farewell to Laos in the morning and take a bus across the border to Nakhon Phanom, Thailand. Nok Air flight from Nakhon Phanom to Bangkok around noon. After settling into our hotel near Suvarnabhumi Airport, we'll take the afternoon to explore Bangkok. Finally, we'll pack up and have a big ole family dinner! 29 July Hugs, farewells, and our flights home. In gratitude to everyone who made this experience possible. [post_title] => Itinerary [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => closed [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => itinerary-19 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-02-02 13:18:39 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-02-02 20:18:39 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://wheretherebedragons.com/?p=106109 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 175 [name] => Laos 4-week [slug] => laos-4-week [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 175 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 254 [count] => 74 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 8.1 [cat_ID] => 175 [category_count] => 74 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Laos 4-week [category_nicename] => laos-4-week [category_parent] => 254 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2014/laos-4-week/ ) ) [category_links] => Laos 4-week )
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Itinerary

Hillary Sites,Laos 4-week

Description

Saibai Dee from Central Lao! Family and friends following the Mekong with Team Lao. The following is an updated itinerary for the remaining 10 days of our summer course. We are settled into Thakek, Somsanid’s hometown, and are excited to explore this spectacular mountainous region and move into the home-stay phase of our course on […]

Posted On

07/18/14

Author

Hillary Sites

Category

Laos 4-week

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    [post_content] => -Team Laos Group Yak-

Peace: Step-by-Step

Today we did a walking meditation around That Mueang Gao: closing our eyes, feeling the warm tiles under our bare feet. There was a cool sunset breeze, birds chirping, puddles of monsoon rains, the Mekong churning and bubbling...deceptively languid.

Energy flows all around us, roots reaching deep with every step, the stupa an antennae channeling between the earth and sky. Envisioning this place from above as we circumambulate clockwise, we imagine our steps so slow that the earth shifts before our feet reach it again. Simultaneously floating, flying, and deeply rooted. We are home. On the journey we are always where we are.

With every step we radiate loving compassion – for those around us, for ourselves, and for those whose absence we feel so keenly. As we move forward, we hold in our hearts a space for our friends whose paths diverge from our own. We honor the time and our journey together. May your own paths be illuminated with love.

The journey is unexpected by its very nature. It cannot be known, nor can its meaning be gleaned in the moment. Within the journey exists action, absorption, awareness, even stasis: To circumambulate the stupa and not move a foot. To see the world in a grain of sand. To gaze into the muddy monsoon-swelled Mekong and watch our reflections float by with the current while remaining still.

The karst limestone mountains of central Lao form an awe-inspiring backdrop – craggy and shrouded against the smooth golden arc of the stupa. Mysterious and breath-taking, much like life. Tomorrow we will set off into the caves of Khong Lor hidden in those mountains. We leave behind the Mekong and the stupas for a few days. But we will bring with us all of you. Each one of you we wish to share this journey with. We say once again: May you own paths be illuminated with love.   

Peace & blessings,
Team Lao

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Laos 4-week

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The Journey

Hillary Sites,Laos 4-week

Description

-Team Laos Group Yak- Peace: Step-by-Step Today we did a walking meditation around That Mueang Gao: closing our eyes, feeling the warm tiles under our bare feet. There was a cool sunset breeze, birds chirping, puddles of monsoon rains, the Mekong churning and bubbling…deceptively languid. Energy flows all around us, roots reaching deep with every […]

Posted On

07/18/14

Author

Hillary Sites

Category

Laos 4-week

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