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    [post_date] => 2016-07-31 10:54:11
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    [post_content] => I have a strong belief that every ending signals a new beginning. During our closing ceremony night we did blessing ceremony or ritual that is related to the 'spirit blessing ceremony' in Northeast Thailand called "Bai Sri Su Kwan." It is celebrated widely in many villages and small towns in Isaan, Thailand, including my hometown. Bai Sri Su Kwan is a welcoming ceremony or a ceremony to your family member before they leave home. In general, Thai people will host this ceremony when someone important, like family members, relatives, cousins or volunteers, come to visit or leave them or when they gets married or become a monk or during other important happenings. Kwan means spirit or soul. We believe that this kwan will protect us, our family and friends during our lives no matter where we are in the world. We are told that we are only able to feel our own protective spirit or kwan; not see it or hear it. Your kwan will bring you happiness when it with you. When the kwan leave you there will be problems. One needs to get the kwan back. So this ceremony is asking the kwan to come back, and also to bring goodness and protection to the person as well as asking that anything "bad" please go away from their life.

Our Thailand team believes that cross cultural differences between people on this planet is something to be cherished and respected. Our I-team prepared green yarn for each one of us while letting students spend time with each other in one room. They were so excited, loud and emotional. So were we. I rang the mindfulness bell several times to get their attention. Jan Pim held green yarn in her hands while Emili (Mali) started softly asking them to take seashells in the singing bowl for what they wanted to take back with them. After that Emilie introduced the blessing ceremony " Bai Sri Su Kwan," Me and Jan helped give away all the yarn to each students and ourselves. Then each one started find their partner and gave blessing, saying whatever they feel or admire about that person...it was filled with tears of gratitude, happiness, compassion, love, care, great memory, fun, joy, and sadness to leave each other.....

At that point, I felt so much gratitude to Dragons who allowed me to experience these amazing moments in this journey. Jon Jandai said "when you experienced something by yourself, you know it, you feel it... it's just like that." It is hard to put into words how this trip meant to me and I believe for all of us... Team Thailand, too.

I remembered many students said to me, "Thank you so much, you made me see what I want to do with my life in the future and thank you for sharing your home with me."

At the beginning of the program, I didn't think that I had anything of value to share with them. But I just needed to wait and see what was to be seen. Many of them said to me before they tied the yarn on my left arm that "Wishing you healthy, keep smiling and be who you are....take self-doubt and negative things away from me.

Between our I-team...it was more than words...tears, love, care and inspiration..that we shared. We become "Soul sisters". We become the same family.

And I said...Thailand is your home, come back anytime you feel....homesick, lonely, seeking for something new, friendship, family, Muay Thai,...foods, etc. Especially@ Pun Pun Fun Fun... We are always there for you.

I love you all

Khub kun maak maak ka,

Jer Gun Mai na ka took kon

"Happy teacher change the World"

Ps. From this journey, It made me want to become a happy teacher who can change the world.

 

 
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“Beginning Anew”

Ramphai Noikaew,SUMMER: Thailand

Description

I have a strong belief that every ending signals a new beginning. During our closing ceremony night we did blessing ceremony or ritual that is related to the ‘spirit blessing ceremony’ in Northeast Thailand called “Bai Sri Su Kwan.” It is celebrated widely in many villages and small towns in Isaan, Thailand, including my hometown. Bai Sri […]

Posted On

07/31/16

Author

Ramphai Noikaew

Category

SUMMER: Thailand

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    [post_date] => 2016-07-29 13:06:48
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    [post_content] => Team Thailand has arrived at LAX! Students are currently clearing customs and immigration before going to pick up their bags. Those students traveling onto their final destinations will transfer to their respective terminals and flight check-in counters, while those meeting parents in LA should be emerging from the baggage claim area in the next hour or so.

Thanks for your patience and support. It was an incredible summer!

Best,

Justin
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SUMMER: Thailand

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Arrival in LA

Justin Kiersky,SUMMER: Thailand

Description

Team Thailand has arrived at LAX! Students are currently clearing customs and immigration before going to pick up their bags. Those students traveling onto their final destinations will transfer to their respective terminals and flight check-in counters, while those meeting parents in LA should be emerging from the baggage claim area in the next hour or so. […]

Posted On

07/29/16

Author

Justin Kiersky

Category

SUMMER: Thailand

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    [post_date] => 2016-07-28 18:45:45
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    [post_content] => Thailand Team is in the air. You can keep updated on their travels through Hong Kong to LAX on the flight aware website here. We'll update you when students arrive in LA tomorrow. Have a nice evening!

 

Justin
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Departure

Justin Kiersky,SUMMER: Thailand

Description

Thailand Team is in the air. You can keep updated on their travels through Hong Kong to LAX on the flight aware website here. We’ll update you when students arrive in LA tomorrow. Have a nice evening!   Justin

Posted On

07/28/16

Author

Justin Kiersky

Category

SUMMER: Thailand

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    [post_date] => 2016-07-26 15:59:16
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    [post_content] => Dear Thailand and Myanmar Students & Families,

Thailand and Myanmar summer program students will soon be boarding their planes to return home and 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:

July 29th, 2016

Cathay Pacific #616

Depart: Bangkok (BKK) 6:40 AM

Arrive: Hong Kong (HKG) 10:30 AM

 

July 29th, 2016

Cathay Pacific #84

Depart: Hong Kong (HKG) 12:55 PM

Arrive: Los Angeles (LAX) 11:15 AM

Should you need any assistance during student travel days, please call our Admin cell phone for assistance: 303-921-6078, or email: update@wheretherebedragons.com.

We wish all students a great trip home!

Sincerely,

Dragons Administration
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SUMMER: Myanmar, SUMMER: Thailand

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Return Travel Information

Eva Vanek,SUMMER: Myanmar, SUMMER: Thailand

Description

Dear Thailand and Myanmar Students & Families, Thailand and Myanmar summer program students will soon be boarding their planes to return home and 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: July […]

Posted On

07/26/16

Author

Eva Vanek

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    [post_date] => 2016-07-24 20:19:02
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    [post_content] => Walking barefoot down neat country lanes-- no traffic at this hour. Only herons and egrets populate the freshly tilled rice paddies waiting for transplants. Electric emerald fields stretch to meet blue-purple hills shrouded by still slowly-lifting clouds.

We follow the kindly smiles and ochre robes: three Bhikkunis on their daily alms round. Awkward and apprehensive, we do our best to keep up and help collect the morning's offerings once they have been received by the bhikkunis. We sit carefully on our haunches while they give blessings to the villagers pouring water from small flasks sending merit to their ancestors. We direct our thoughts similarly, all the while doing our best to keep our lavender-white sarongs out of the bright red mud.

The cool, wet gravel under my feet, the longan trees laden with fruit, the grandmothers waiting patiently with banana leaf bundles overflowing with fresh vegetables and flowers to offer. Everything is fresh from last night's rain. I am present and I am grateful. Worldly cares slip away, one slow footstep at a time.
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Pintabaht

Emilie Kirk,SUMMER: Thailand

Description

Walking barefoot down neat country lanes– no traffic at this hour. Only herons and egrets populate the freshly tilled rice paddies waiting for transplants. Electric emerald fields stretch to meet blue-purple hills shrouded by still slowly-lifting clouds. We follow the kindly smiles and ochre robes: three Bhikkunis on their daily alms round. Awkward and apprehensive, […]

Posted On

07/24/16

Author

Emilie Kirk

Category

SUMMER: Thailand

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    [post_date] => 2016-07-21 09:34:05
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    [post_content] => We arrived at Pun Pun farm yesterday -- our instructor, Ramphai's home. No one knew what to expect when going into this part of our program. I think we were all a little nervous because we knew this was something we had never experienced before -- living on a farm and learning how to sustain food/water/energy, and being a part of a community that focuses heavily on saving the environment.

The minute we stepped foot in the village we were greeted with smiling faces and generous hospitality. It was truly heartwarming to see Ramphai reconnect with her family and friends as soon as she stepped out of the van. After a delicious lunch and introductions to the farm and the people we would be getting to know in the next couple of days, we went on a tour of the farm. We learned about the different kinds of seeds, plants, trees, and rice currently growing at Pun Pun (which, by the way, means "a thousand varieties"). We ended the day with an awe-inspiring Muay Thai lesson with some local teachers in the village. By the end of the lesson we were all dripping sweat and completely exhausted, but not one of us regretted it. Plus, we have some awesome pictures and got to see Ramphai bust out some of her own Muay Thai moves against "The Master."

As I went to sleep last night, I could already tell that our upcoming experience at Pun Pun was going to impact us in a way that we could never get to experience back home. Learning how to make our own soap and herbal tea, watching the incredible sunsets fade behind the mountains after dinner, and actually becoming real organic farmers have only been some of the highlights we've experienced so far. I can't wait for all the memories to come, here at our new home.
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Pun Pun Farm Stay

Gracie Zales,Summer 2016, SUMMER: Thailand

Description

We arrived at Pun Pun farm yesterday — our instructor, Ramphai’s home. No one knew what to expect when going into this part of our program. I think we were all a little nervous because we knew this was something we had never experienced before — living on a farm and learning how to sustain […]

Posted On

07/21/16

Author

Gracie Zales

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    [post_date] => 2016-07-21 09:28:40
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    [post_content] => 
Going into this trip as a vegan I had to come prepared like a soldier going into battle. Armed with granola and raisins I marched into Thailand hoping for the best. Shortly after arriving in Chiang Mai, we went DSC_0107out exploring. The first restaurant we came across was vegetarian and even had vegan ice cream. Vegan ice cream is a rare commodity so of course I had to run in and eat some immediately. I looked across the restaurant and caught sight of a trendy Australian with a shirt that read "banana girl," I could hardly contain my excitement. This was not just any cool Australian who loves bananas, but Freelee the banana girl, a vegan blogger. Starstruck, we ate our ice cream and then followed her out to get hugs and picture before going on our merry way to find many more vegetarian restaurants just on that block.
  As the elected food guru, I executively decided that we would eat at the vegan ice cream restaurant that night. Hesitantly, the group walked in and eyed the free-spirited customers, vegetarian quotes on the DSC_0095wall, and vegan options on the menu. As the food arrived I nervously looked around as they ate and to my pleasant surprise everyone's faces lit up and they devoured their meals. This particular restaurant even convinced two group members to go vegetarian (shoutout to Luke and Lacey)! From that vegan BLT to veggie meatballs at a Burmese restaurant to vegan cinnamon rolls, donuts, and cheesecake. Chiang Mai was delightful for a foodie like me. The city life was a blast with little-used bookstores and groovy night markets. There was always something for us to do. Leaving Chiang Mai may have been one of the hardest things I've had to do. Upon leaving, I made sure to stop by the bakery and buy more than my fair share of vegan baked goods. Laura Nusekabel [post_title] => A Foodie in Chiang Mai [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => a-foodie-in-chiang-mai [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-07-21 09:30:46 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-07-21 15:30:46 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/blog/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [categories] => Array ( [0] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 536 [name] => Summer 2016 [slug] => summer-2016 [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 536 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 0 [count] => 25 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 0 [cat_ID] => 536 [category_count] => 25 [category_description] => [cat_name] => Summer 2016 [category_nicename] => summer-2016 [category_parent] => 0 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2016/ ) [1] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 554 [name] => SUMMER: Thailand [slug] => summer-2016-thailand [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 554 [taxonomy] => category [description] => [parent] => 536 [count] => 53 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 0.1 [cat_ID] => 554 [category_count] => 53 [category_description] => [cat_name] => SUMMER: Thailand [category_nicename] => summer-2016-thailand [category_parent] => 536 [link] => https://my.wheretherebedragons.com/category/summer-2016/summer-2016-thailand/ ) ) [category_links] => Summer 2016, SUMMER: Thailand )
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A Foodie in Chiang Mai

Laura Nusekabel,Summer 2016, SUMMER: Thailand

Description

Going into this trip as a vegan I had to come prepared like a soldier going into battle. Armed with granola and raisins I marched into Thailand hoping for the best. Shortly after arriving in Chiang Mai, we went out exploring. The first restaurant we came across was vegetarian and even had vegan ice cream. […]

Posted On

07/21/16

Author

Laura Nusekabel

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    [post_date] => 2016-07-21 08:44:49
    [post_date_gmt] => 2016-07-21 14:44:49
    [post_content] => When we first looked at the itinerary I was skeptical of the Pun Pun farm stay. "Farm stay" to me meant a big red farm house with a chicken coop out back, and our group milking cows or reluctantly cleaning horse stalls. This attitude was partially the problem and goes against all the Buddhist teachings we have learned. Buddhist teachings say to go into things without expectations so that you are not disappointed and therefore will not suffer. But I'm actually glad I rejected the monks teachings and went in with tinted expectations because I was completely blown away.

Blown away isn't even strong enough for my reaction: I was in utter awe. The Pun Pun "farm" is much more of a hipster's paradise than a typical farm. I walked up to their dinning hall, a long pale blue table with quilted cushions in the center of a Southern-California-style mud brick building, and instantly feel welcomed by the frolicking children and contented adults. The set up of the farm is what chic resort hotel spas try to imitate, and photographers for Anthropologie would be more than ecstatic to shoot a catalog here. The cafe is stock piled with herbal soaps, hemp bags, and fresh fruit smoothies.

As I write this, hilariously, I have literal plant leaves stuck to my face. I started to get a rash of sorts and this was the solution. At home, I would have driven to my fancy dermatologist and have been given some pricey face cream to pick up at the pharmacy. But here, I watched Ramphai pick a bundle of leaves off of the ground, and didn't question for even a millisecond as I started to stick them on skin. Yet if my dermatologist had handed me a plant, I probably would have thought he was joking.

That is the charm of this place. You are swooped into the friendly, free-spirited vibes, and instantly allow yourself to trust. Everyone has amazing life stories (teacher in Cambodia, quit their job for a year to focus on organic farming, created a water filtration system for Burmese refugees...) and they started to unveil at the very first dinner. The relaxed happiness and open trustworthiness is contagious here.

The lifestyle here is so contagious that it inspires me to make changes at home. My family will be shocked, and definitely amused, to stumble upon me some afternoon, making my own shampoo out of plants or plowing a plot in our suburban backyard to grow a vegetable garden...

 
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SUMMER: Thailand

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Pun Pun

Carly Duris,SUMMER: Thailand

Description

When we first looked at the itinerary I was skeptical of the Pun Pun farm stay. “Farm stay” to me meant a big red farm house with a chicken coop out back, and our group milking cows or reluctantly cleaning horse stalls. This attitude was partially the problem and goes against all the Buddhist teachings […]

Posted On

07/21/16

Author

Carly Duris

Category

SUMMER: Thailand

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    [post_content] => After several days trekking in the remote Chiang Dao mountains of northeast of Thailand, the student group is making its way back through Chiang Mai to Pun Pun village (image above) to begin a village-stay/service learning project based on sustainable development, natural building and organic farming. The project is part of a "back to nature" campaign initiated by the Pun Pun Center for Self-Reliance founder, Jon  Jandai, after his experiences as a young man trying to 'make it' in the bustling big city of Bangkok. Feel free to check out his  TEDx talk in Chiang Mai from a few years ago here.

Our students will be partnering with an inspiring group of educators, students, volunteers and villagers to learn about mindfulness, community self-sufficiency, simple living concepts and some hard natural building-skills. Stay tuned for updates from the team once they have a chance to get online; they're coming soon.

Best,

Justin
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View post

Update from Thailand

Justin Kiersky,SUMMER: Thailand

Description

After several days trekking in the remote Chiang Dao mountains of northeast of Thailand, the student group is making its way back through Chiang Mai to Pun Pun village (image above) to begin a village-stay/service learning project based on sustainable development, natural building and organic farming. The project is part of a “back to nature” […]

Posted On

07/20/16

Author

Justin Kiersky

Category

SUMMER: Thailand

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    [post_content] => I breathed the salty air in deeply as sand flew up behind me. My stomach flipped with joy at the sight of it. Hoots and hollers escaped our mouths as we ran towards the rich blue water, the mountains growing larger as we got closer. Side by side along with 12 other beautiful kids as the warm water splashes across our feet. I could feel the sand in between my toes in each step I took and I could see the joy spread across all of our faces in radiant smiles, not being able to stop them.

Once we got deep enough we all dove in head first, feeling the current sift through each of our hairs. My body felt free and my mind felt at ease. I can't think of a better feeling.  Our laughs filled the air, dancing across the water and disappearing on the horizon. I lay in the water, letting my body as well as my mind float, listening to my breath go in and out, filling my lungs with salty air. The clouds swirling in the blue sky. Ever changing and never stopping. I could watch them forever.

I'm in Thailand, and what a beautiful place to be in! I'm here and I'm definitely going to make the most of it. How could I not? Sand on my body, tangles curling in my hair, salt burning my skin. It didn't matter. The joy from experiencing this moment distracted me too much to even notice. I knew from that moment that this was going to be a trip of a lifetime.
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SUMMER: Thailand

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The Beach

Karis Moore,SUMMER: Thailand

Description

I breathed the salty air in deeply as sand flew up behind me. My stomach flipped with joy at the sight of it. Hoots and hollers escaped our mouths as we ran towards the rich blue water, the mountains growing larger as we got closer. Side by side along with 12 other beautiful kids as […]

Posted On

07/14/16

Author

Karis Moore

Category

SUMMER: Thailand

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