Photo of the Week
Thailand 4-week
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    [post_date] => 2015-07-29 10:54:45
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    [post_content] => Friends and Family,

Team Thailand is safe in LA! We had a great flight. The students are set to catch their connecting flights and have the emergency number in case they need it.

Thanks for everything!

Team Thailand
    [post_title] => Students are Home!
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Students are Home!

Emilie Kirk,Thailand 4-week

Description

Friends and Family, Team Thailand is safe in LA! We had a great flight. The students are set to catch their connecting flights and have the emergency number in case they need it. Thanks for everything! Team Thailand

Posted On

07/29/15

Author

Emilie Kirk

Category

Thailand 4-week

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    [post_date] => 2015-07-28 20:32:40
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-07-29 02:32:40
    [post_content] => Hi all,

We received word that the group has made their connection and left Hong Kong on time. Their Cathay Pacific #898 flight is scheduled to arrive, on time, at 8:08 am tomorrow morning to LAX. Warm regards,

Dragons Administration
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Thailand 4-week

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Group on Hong Kong-LAX flight

Dragons admin,Thailand 4-week

Description

Hi all, We received word that the group has made their connection and left Hong Kong on time. Their Cathay Pacific #898 flight is scheduled to arrive, on time, at 8:08 am tomorrow morning to LAX. Warm regards, Dragons Administration

Posted On

07/28/15

Author

Dragons admin

Category

Thailand 4-week

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    [post_date] => 2015-07-28 13:28:13
    [post_date_gmt] => 2015-07-28 19:28:13
    [post_content] => A semi cheesy quote used by my personally idolized first grade teacher: "There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other wings."
As a small, simple minded six year old, I pondered this quote, picturing my gnarled roots soaking up nutrients from my "comfort zone" such as my old friends and family and the warm familiarity we forget about on a day to day basis, but that envelopes us every time we come home from somewhere foreign and different. I then imagined That I had great and magnificent wings beating a flurry of wind around me. But there was a dilemma: No matter how hard my wings struggled to lift me off of the ground and take me soaring on new adventures, my roots held tight to their one spot of home, where they know they're comfortable and satiated. So, if we give our children roots to their homes and wings to fly away, wouldn't they stay stagnant at "home" dreaming of new and exotic places, but need home too much to make the jump into the sky? 
On this trip, I've come to the realization that our roots can adjust and find new forms of satiation, different forms of satiation, sometimes better forms of satiation, and new places to plant themselves.  In each new place our wings or our senses of adventure take us, and coax our roots or our cravings of home out of their grip on home soil, we are one step closer to planting our roots somewhere else and creating for ourselves new homes throughout the world. 
On our four week trip to Thailand, we have been to seven new and completely unique places, all within a country. In some, such as our 7 day homestay, we were treated like celebrities, and were invited to eat with the principle, teach an English camp, and were often asked to join into selfies that flooded our facebook pages. In others, such as the city of Bangkok, we were treated like clueless and common tourists (which we sometimes were),shouted at to accept tuk-tuk rides completely out of our budget, and herded through busy areas by bored looking Thai officials. Even different still was cave-stay, where we were treated as scholars and worshipers, given time to study Buddhism, and join 5 AM chanting in Pali led by wise and chuckling monks. In each place we arrived unsure of what to expect, our roots craving some form of home, maybe a western toilet or an email from home, but in each place, our wings persevered, reminded us that awkward moments would make good stories, and that our uncomfort was temporary. With some time, our roots found these new experiences more comfortable, massive bustling cities became more easier to navigate, Thai mannerisms became second nature, and our homestay families who were initially strangers, became our second families.
My sister has a tattoo on her back of all of the coordinates she's ever felt at home, and maybe these are like her roots. We travel to please our wings, to fall in love with new experiences, to stimulate our brains to think in new ways and gain experiential knowledge. And when we travel "home" our wings feel satiated and we resume our lives that our roots crave with such a passion. But maybe what some people overlook is that by going to new places, and by becoming "comfortable with the uncomfortable" as our instructor Derek says, we plant a part of ourselves, our roots, somewhere besides our conventional home. Our prior growth zone becomes our comfort zone, and things that our wings may have never even dreamed of trying are suddenly within our reach, maybe even our next adventure. And as we keep planting roots in new places, trying new things, everything becomes possible because we are able to develop the skills and the experience to cope with any situation imaginable. 
For me, Thailand was somewhere I was able to plant some roots. I gained new experiences, stories and friends, and feel like a better traveler than I was a month ago. I still have a long ways to go before becoming fearless, cultured and ready to take on the world, but, hey, we all have to start somewhere right?
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Picture of the Week, Thailand 4-week

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Roots and Wings

Mia Wallach,Picture of the Week, Thailand 4-week

Description

A semi cheesy quote used by my personally idolized first grade teacher: “There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other wings.” As a small, simple minded six year old, I pondered this quote, picturing my gnarled roots soaking up nutrients from my “comfort […]

Posted On

07/28/15

Author

Mia Wallach

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    [post_date] => 2015-07-28 13:27:22
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Everyday, think as you wake up
>>Today I am fortunate
to have woken up.
I am alive,
This morning one of our group members, Leticia, left. As a small goodbye "party", all of the girls in our group huddled onto one of the beds in our guest house at 7 in the morning, cherishing our last moments together. As we ate our ice cream bars from the 7/11 to celebrate our journey together, the reality that we would be boarding a plane back to normality hit hard.
It's really hard to put into words how this trip has made me feel, what I've learned, what the best parts have been, ect. Really hard. Although the language barrier has been extreme;y difficult at times, for instance when trying to get across Bangkok in a taxi, it's also made me realize that often words don't do enough for the experiences we've had.
Being in Thailand hasn't revealed the meaning of life to me. It hasn't spoken to me the true meaning of happiness. It's streets haven't shown me the absolute truth in what I want to do with my life. But that's okay. Instead of answering questions, this trip has opened doors and inspired questions. As Micah MacAllen eloquently puts it, "I had seen a little and knew a lot. Now I've seen a little more and know a lot less."
I don't know if I can fully appreciate all that we've been able to fit into our four short weeks here right now. Caught in the whirlwind of the college application process, senior year starting soon, and other compounded and time-consuming stressers, even here I don't feel that I've been able to fully process the unique experiences that we will probably never be graced with again. I mean how many people can say that they've lived in a cave with monks for three days? Or that they have a second family in Chiang Muan, Thailand? Or that they have worked together to navigate the enormous city of Bangkok using our newly acquired leadership and ownership skills. I think that I will be able to reflect on this for years to come and each time value this trip even more.
The pictures above are from Chiang Muan. On our last night of homestay, my sisters took me for a bike ride through the patty fields. My camera failed to capture the immense beauty that not only the scenery, but also the moment contained. My sisters were beautiful people inside and out. They made me want to better myself and gave me the highlight of my trip. I can't thank them enough.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I want to end with a piece called "A Precious Human Life" that I have hanging in my room at home.
Everyday, think as you wake up
>>Today I am fortunate
to have woken up.
I am alive,
I have a precious human life
I am not going to waste it.
I am going to use
all my energies to develop myself,
to expand my heart out to other,
to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings.
I am going to have
kind thoughts towards others.
I am not going to get angry,
or think badly about others.
I am going to benefit others
as much as I can<<
His Holiness
the XIVth Dalai Lama
This course is called The Spirit of Greng Jai, the spirit of unconditional compassion, respect and consideration, and that is exactly what Thailand has given me. Continuous acceptance and compassion and the tools I need to develop myself into a person who can benefit others as much as possible.
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Opened Doors

Emma Lester,Picture of the Week, Thailand 4-week

Description

Everyday, think as you wake up >>Today I am fortunate to have woken up. I am alive, This morning one of our group members, Leticia, left. As a small goodbye “party”, all of the girls in our group huddled onto one of the beds in our guest house at 7 in the morning, cherishing our […]

Posted On

07/28/15

Author

Emma Lester

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    [post_date] => 2015-07-28 13:25:04
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A small part of me thought that this experience was supposed to change me forever, like I'd "find myself" while sitting on a mountain with wind through my hair, or suddenly understand the meaning of life while gazing at the sunset, and I'd come home a completely new person. I know that's cliche, but isn't that supposedly how these "opportunity of a lifetime" things work? I wasn't expecting to undergo any sort of massive transformation, but it felt like I was supposed to; like if I didn't come back completely peaceful and blissful and metamorphosed, I had done something wrong. I wasn't expecting to undergo any sort of massive transformation, but this faint urgency to use this trip to create a somehow new and better person out of myself stayed in the back of my head the whole time. And then we had been here a week, and then we were halfway through, and then we had a week left, and I was still me. Now we're savoring our last few hours in Bangkok, and I'm still me, no newly sprouted metaphorical butterfly wings or completely recreated psyche. And honestly, I'm more than okay with that.
I wasn't execting to undergo any sort of massive tranformation, but I've realized I don't have to. What I got was so much better; I've gained a handful of new friends and experiences, and my fair share of funny stories. This was the experience of a lifetime, and its memorability and impact on my life isn't measured by whether or not I return as a completely new person. I'm coming back to America a little kinder, a littler stingier, and a little happier; and that's enough of a transformation for me.
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Thailand 4-week

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ลาก่อน สวัสดี

Cobie-Ray Johnson,Thailand 4-week

Description

A small part of me thought that this experience was supposed to change me forever, like I’d “find myself” while sitting on a mountain with wind through my hair, or suddenly understand the meaning of life while gazing at the sunset, and I’d come home a completely new person. I know that’s cliche, but isn’t […]

Posted On

07/28/15

Author

Cobie-Ray Johnson

Category

Thailand 4-week

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    [post_content] =>             My time in Thailand has given me the chance to experience so many life changing things, that I feel I would not be able to experience any where else. In the moment I am not fully aware of how much I have changed as a person since we departed from LA, four weeks ago. When I get home, what I used to be comfortable with will soon feel uncomfortable, like how Thailand felt for me just a month ago. One of the many important things that Thailand has taught me is being Greng Jai, which is having an open heart. Thai people are so giving, even with the little that they have. The people that I have come across would give the shirt off their back for you. Something that I was not use to was constantly getting asked the question, "Are you happy?" Which back home is something that is rarely witnessed. Thai people are always looking out for others and are some of the most unselfish people that I have met in my lifetime.

          I am unsure of what to expect from friends and family when I get home because when I get home we will have experienced different things and have changed one way or another. When I get home I will have so much of a greater understanding of how blessed I am to have the things that we tend to take for granted such as running water and air conditioning. I will also not be use to showering with warm running water and not having to use a squatty potty. Which is a reverse culture shock in itself. Four weeks ago, I would have never thought that I would become comfortable with the things that I have adapted to and have made apart of my daily life in Thailand. But as I began to experience Thailand I began to accept these things as daily necessities and becoming comfortable with the uncomfortable soon became my mantra for many situations that I have experienced while on this trip.  I hope that I can use the things that Thailand has taught me in my daily life back home and to become less materialistic and to have more gratitude for the things that we tend to take for granted.
    [post_title] => Final YAk
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Thailand 4-week

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Final YAk

Grace Daly,Thailand 4-week

Description

            My time in Thailand has given me the chance to experience so many life changing things, that I feel I would not be able to experience any where else. In the moment I am not fully aware of how much I have changed as a person since we departed […]

Posted On

07/28/15

Author

Grace Daly

Category

Thailand 4-week

WP_Post Object
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    [post_date] => 2015-07-28 13:24:12
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    [post_content] => 
I've sat here for awhile trying to write a yak that could help people understand what this experience was like, but it didn't feel right so I deleted it all and I am starting from scratch:
I could write some big long story about the experiences that I had in Thailand, or I could just answer the prompts that our instructors gave us, but neither of those things would allow anyone reading this to truly understand what I have done this past month or what I have learned and how I have grown.  It would be hard enough to communicate this experience through speaking, and writing in this format is entirely more difficult.   And maybe this isn't what the Where There Be Dragons people want me to write but it is what I need to write.  So instead of typing out answers to questions that would probably not make sense or be misconstrued.  All that I am going to say is goodbye.  Goodbye to this amazing country that has taught me so much.  Goodbye to the people that I have spent the last month with who are all so amazing and special in their own individual ways.
That is my yak.  My goodbye yak.  And now I would like to say hello.  Hello to America.  Hello to my friends.  Hello to my family.  Hello to my home.  And hello to the new world and the new possibilities that this experience has opened up for me.
Thank You
-Max
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Thailand 4-week

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Goodbye and Hello

Maxwell Napier,Thailand 4-week

Description

I’ve sat here for awhile trying to write a yak that could help people understand what this experience was like, but it didn’t feel right so I deleted it all and I am starting from scratch: I could write some big long story about the experiences that I had in Thailand, or I could just […]

Posted On

07/28/15

Author

Maxwell Napier

Category

Thailand 4-week

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    [post_date] => 2015-07-28 13:23:29
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    [post_content] => ในช่วงเวลาของการเดินทางครั้งนี้ผมได้กลายเป็นภาษาไทย

ไม่ได้จริงๆ
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Thailand 4-week

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the finest milk steak

Jackson Hermelee,Thailand 4-week

Description

ในช่วงเวลาของการเดินทางครั้งนี้ผมได้กลายเป็นภาษาไทย ไม่ได้จริงๆ

Posted On

07/28/15

Author

Jackson Hermelee

Category

Thailand 4-week

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    [post_date] => 2015-07-28 13:23:00
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    [post_content] => Two days ago we transitioned from cave-stay in one of the most rural areas in Thailand, barely speaking each day, to the biggest and busiest city in Thailand: Bangkok. Its tough to cram everything we want to do in Bangkok into two days along with ceremonies and ISP presentations. I think I speak for everyone when I say that leaving the group, the people we have spent an entire month with, and transitioning into our normal lives is going to be overwhelming. Leaving is bitter-sweet. Im excited to see my family and friends again but im leaving behind my home-stay family and my Dragons family. This past month I've been challenged in every way. I had so many moments of extreme happiness and sometimes moments of stress and confusion and culture shock but I would not change a single thing. Changing my experience would change what I've learned and how I've grown. I'm so thankful for every moment.
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Thailand 4-week

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Last Yak

Liana Robles,Thailand 4-week

Description

Two days ago we transitioned from cave-stay in one of the most rural areas in Thailand, barely speaking each day, to the biggest and busiest city in Thailand: Bangkok. Its tough to cram everything we want to do in Bangkok into two days along with ceremonies and ISP presentations. I think I speak for everyone […]

Posted On

07/28/15

Author

Liana Robles

Category

Thailand 4-week

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    [post_date] => 2015-07-28 13:22:30
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    [post_content] => Although I've faced many challenges over the course of the past month here in Thailand, preparing to part ways with my incredible new friends in LAX will be, without a doubt, the most difficult challenge of all. For the past few days I have been unable to think about leaving without getting teary eyed, so the waterworks will be inevitable when we head home for the summer. My only consolation is the hope that we will meet again someday, and I continue to think about my homestay in Chaing Mai. Although my family seemed confused when I told them goodbye, they understood when I said, "see you again." I realized this was a much more comforting goodbye than "goodbye" itself.

When I come home, I want my friends and family to expect a somewhat new and improved Lauren. On the outside, I am covered in bug bites, bloated with a cow pad gai (chicken fried rice)  "food baby", and am sporting a few scrapes and bruises (I'm clumsy), but on the inside I feel like the world is my oyster. So many irrational fears that I once let control my life have disappeared from my thoughts. In fact, I've realized that the few things I truly need are: good friends, good food, and laughter, in order to feel happy. The so-called "necessities" I desired when we arrived in Bangkok a month ago, such as a bed, a western toilet, and hot showers are things I no longer want at all. Most importantly, I've learned on this trip that phones, TVs, and all the extra things I don't really need in my life were distracting me from the things that truly matter and can bring a person happiness. For example, enjoying dinner with my friends here in Thailand is so much fun, because no one's face is illuminated by the glow of an iPhone.  As I transition back to my life in Charlotte over the next week or so, I will do everything I can to prevent myself from falling back into those old habits, and instead direct that energy towards the things that really matter.

In closing my final yak-yak, I'd like to say THANK YOU to Where There Be Dragons, and my amazing parents for providing me with this incredible experience that I will cherish forever.

Lauren

 
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Thailand 4-week

View post

See You Again

Lauren Marshall,Thailand 4-week

Description

Although I’ve faced many challenges over the course of the past month here in Thailand, preparing to part ways with my incredible new friends in LAX will be, without a doubt, the most difficult challenge of all. For the past few days I have been unable to think about leaving without getting teary eyed, so the waterworks […]

Posted On

07/28/15

Author

Lauren Marshall

Category

Thailand 4-week

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