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    [post_date] => 2017-07-28 12:06:26
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    [post_content] => Dear parents, family and friends,

The Thailand team just landed in LA. They're back on US soil and making their way through Customs and Immigration before heading off to meet parents and catch onward flights. It's been an absolutely incredible summer and we want thank parents for their support and patience.

Please contact the office should you have any questions.

Best,

Justin
    [post_title] => Team Thailand is Back
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SUMMER: Thailand

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Team Thailand is Back

Admin,SUMMER: Thailand

Description

Dear parents, family and friends, The Thailand team just landed in LA. They’re back on US soil and making their way through Customs and Immigration before heading off to meet parents and catch onward flights. It’s been an absolutely incredible summer and we want thank parents for their support and patience. Please contact the office […]

Posted On

07/28/17

Author

Admin

Category

SUMMER: Thailand

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-28 09:16:49
    [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-28 15:16:49
    [post_content] => Sawasdee ka

We did it!!! 14 things that you need to know about Thailand Summer 17

1. Whole hearted participation and attention

2. Consideration of others and positivity

3. Be present

4. Work on regaining and maintaining trust

5. Walk the walk

6. Group accountability

7. Ask for help and support

8. Honesty

9. Embrace change

10. Greng Jai

11. Inclusivity always

12. Dont be afraid to be alone and reflect

13. Failing forward

14. Love and compassion
    [post_title] => Spirit of Greng Jai Completed!!!
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Spirit of Greng Jai Completed!!!

Ramphai Noikaew,SUMMER: Thailand

Description

Sawasdee ka We did it!!! 14 things that you need to know about Thailand Summer 17 1. Whole hearted participation and attention 2. Consideration of others and positivity 3. Be present 4. Work on regaining and maintaining trust 5. Walk the walk 6. Group accountability 7. Ask for help and support 8. Honesty 9. Embrace […]

Posted On

07/28/17

Author

Ramphai Noikaew

Category

SUMMER: Thailand

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-27 17:06:30
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    [post_content] => Sawasdee ka

We did it!!! 14 things that you need to know about Thailand Summer 17

1. Whole hearted participation and attention

2. Consideration of others and positivity

3. Be present

4. Work on regaining and maintaining trust

5. Walk the walk

6. Group accountability

7. Ask for help and support

8. Honesty

9. Embrace change

10. Greng Jai

11. Inclusivity always

12. Dont be afraid to be alone and reflect

13. Failing forward

14. Love and compassion
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Spirit of Greng Jai Completed!!!

Ramphai Noikaew,SUMMER: Thailand

Description

Sawasdee ka We did it!!! 14 things that you need to know about Thailand Summer 17 1. Whole hearted participation and attention 2. Consideration of others and positivity 3. Be present 4. Work on regaining and maintaining trust 5. Walk the walk 6. Group accountability 7. Ask for help and support 8. Honesty 9. Embrace […]

Posted On

07/27/17

Author

Ramphai Noikaew

Category

SUMMER: Thailand

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-21 11:54:36
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    [post_content] => 
Dear Summer 2017 Thailand Student Families,
It is hard to believe that almost 4 weeks have already passed since embarking on this incredible adventure! It won’t be long before students will be boarding their planes back home. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival!
Below is a reminder of the return group flight information for eagerly awaiting families (all times are in local time zones):
Friday, July 28th, 2017
 
Cathay Pacific Flight #616
Depart: Bangkok @ 6:40 AM
Arrive: Hong Kong @ 10:25 AM
 
Cathay Pacific Flight #884
Depart: Hong Kong @ 12:55 PM
Arrive: LAX @ 11:10 AM
We will have a Dragons Administrator on call for the duration of the travel day. Should you need any assistance after regular office hours, please call our “on-call” number at 303-921-6078.
We wish all students a great trip home!
Sincerely,
Boulder Admin
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SUMMER: Thailand

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July 28th Group Return Details & Reminders!

Eva Vanek,SUMMER: Thailand

Description

Dear Summer 2017 Thailand Student Families, It is hard to believe that almost 4 weeks have already passed since embarking on this incredible adventure! It won’t be long before students will be boarding their planes back home. We are sure you are anxiously awaiting their arrival! Below is a reminder of the return group flight […]

Posted On

07/21/17

Author

Eva Vanek

Category

SUMMER: Thailand

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-15 11:22:37
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    [post_content] => After leaving Pun Pun inspired to investigate our connections to the land, the group headed into the foothills of Doi Inthanon, the tallest mountain in Thailand. We arrived in the small village of Mae Win, and were met by Pi Oshi, the founder of the Indigenous Dialogue Center, and our host for this leg of our journey.

Mae Win is a village of about 600, entirely populated by members of the Karen hill-tribe. The Karen (or the Pga-ganyaw, as they call themselves) originate from what is now eastern Myanmar, and while many Karen are newcomers to Thailand and live as political refugees along the Thai-Myanmar border, many have also been in Thailand for generation, and the village of Mae Win was established by the Pga-ganyaw over 300 years ago.

Students got to experience their first homestays, integrating into daily village life: getting awoken by roosters, helping with chores, playing with little host brothers and sisters and the multitude of animals that constantly surround you in rural Thailand. We learned how to plant rice and make the handwoven cloth that our host families turn into most of their clothing.

We also got to learn from Johnny, a village elder, about his "lazy man" style of farming, the opposite of modern American monoculture farming. He grows a vast array of local fruits, vegetables, and medicinal herbs, mostly just by letting the land be! Johnny is a fascinating character, who only has a few months of traditional schooling, but traveled the world seeking the knowledge of indigenous elders across the globe. Johnny shared some of the Karen traditions, and we were all touched to learn about the deep connection between the Karen and nature. At birth, each baby's umbilical cord is tied to a tree, and for the rest of their life, they have a special relationship: the child protects the tree and the tree protects the child. They become one with their tree, and through this maintain a deep spiritual connection to the forest and all of the environment. Johnny's 4-year old granddaughter accompanied us to show us her tree.

Johnny's son has started a coffee business named after him, "Lazy Man Coffee," and we planted some coffee seedlings, and then watched a demonstration of the entire process from plant to sorting and then roasting the beans, and ended with a taste of the final product.

Our final major activity was a daylong trek into the base of Doi Inthanon, and Pi Oshi led us on a wild exploration, sometimes on a trail, but more often than not winding through hilly farms, walking balance on the paths between terraced rice fields, and clambering over roots of trees up a steep incline. By lunch we reached a small farming outpost, where rice is stored after harvest, and we all pulled out the packets of rice that our host moms lovingly packed in banana leafs for our journey. We sat on the edge of the rice paddy and listened to the sweet sounds of Pi Oshi's flute mingling with the water streaming down through the rice fields and the light patter of rain falling on our tin shelter.

We are walking away from the Karen village with an increased awareness of our interconnection with the environment and a greater sense of what it means to live in community and work towards the common good. Now it is time to look inwards, as the group has just entered the Ubon Rachatani in the northeast and is headed this afternoon to a monastery where they will begin learning about Theravada Buddhism and experience a meditation retreat.
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Dragons visit the Indigenous Dialogue Center

Olivia Werby,Best Notes From The Field, SUMMER: Thailand

Description

After leaving Pun Pun inspired to investigate our connections to the land, the group headed into the foothills of Doi Inthanon, the tallest mountain in Thailand. We arrived in the small village of Mae Win, and were met by Pi Oshi, the founder of the Indigenous Dialogue Center, and our host for this leg of […]

Posted On

07/15/17

Author

Olivia Werby

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-14 08:56:54
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    [post_content] => One doesn't view language as a major component in forming relationships until they have actually confronted the reality. At the Karen Hill Tribe Village home stay, we went in oblivious to how vital language would be. Even for the smallest of tasks, such as asking where the restroom is, language proved to be the ultimate barrier between confusion and clarity. Realizing that this barrier was powerful, many of us resorted to an ancestral way of communicating: miming. Using crazy hand gestures, charades, as well as sound effects, we managed to work around this intangible wall. Laughter, a universal language, became an ice breaker that helped us form and strengthen our relationships with our home stay families. This was a wake up call for us to acknowledge how vital language is in even the simplest of situations, and recognize that as travelers, not tourists, it is important for us to learn the fundamentals of another language if we truly want an insight into a new culture.
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Waking Up

Sofie Denecke, Cristian Carpio, Nicole Engen,SUMMER: Thailand

Description

One doesn’t view language as a major component in forming relationships until they have actually confronted the reality. At the Karen Hill Tribe Village home stay, we went in oblivious to how vital language would be. Even for the smallest of tasks, such as asking where the restroom is, language proved to be the ultimate […]

Posted On

07/14/17

Author

Sofie Denecke, Cristian Carpio, Nicole Engen

Category

SUMMER: Thailand

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    [post_content] => Of all the beautiful things there are to discover in the Land of the Smiles, some of the most beautiful experiences we have had on this journey have revolved around a single pivot -- music. Music knows no language, no accent. It is not constrained by borders or walls, and cannot be claimed or conquered. It belongs to all of us, and with it, we have bridged gaps of nationality, language, and culture.

At Pun Pun, the organic farm where two of our instructors have made their home, we have gathered around holding guitars, ukuleles, bongos, and hang drums, singing as the orange Thai sun sets over luscious green jungle. In the true spirit of  Pun Pun, this music was completely and utterly organic -- there were no chord charts, no written songs, no lyrics. It was purely through the connection of human understanding that we were able to create art and sound together harmoniously. More and more people were drawn in by our noise, and together, we built a small community that could sing and laugh together.

In the Karen village, in which we participated in homestays in which we had no common thread of language, we laughed as we strummed ukuleles and drummed on the floor of bamboo huts, understanding across culture and language that we were excited to be together and share the sound that we were creating.

There are few things in this world as universal and good as the raw humanity of the music we create. We express happiness and sorrow, and connect from cultures that are worlds apart. We learn to breath together, and sing together, and organically create something beautiful and whole that cannot be manufactured again. Traveling abroad is difficult. Language and culture are very real barriers that divide us from the communities that have been kind enough to welcome us into their homes. It can be very easy to retreat into oneself, to feel distant, and to believe that there is no way that we can overcome these cultural differences. Our experiences in the past two weeks have proved otherwise; there is joy and empathy in this life that cannot be hindered by race, class, or creed. Through music, we have come to know and understand people and cultures that lie far beyond our own upbringing -- we have come together to laugh and sing in the same language, and to realize that really, the divisions that lay between us are most often the ones that we create ourselves.
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SUMMER: Thailand

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The Universal Language

Priya Subberwal & Quin Kapsner,SUMMER: Thailand

Description

Of all the beautiful things there are to discover in the Land of the Smiles, some of the most beautiful experiences we have had on this journey have revolved around a single pivot — music. Music knows no language, no accent. It is not constrained by borders or walls, and cannot be claimed or conquered. […]

Posted On

07/14/17

Author

Priya Subberwal & Quin Kapsner

Category

SUMMER: Thailand

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-14 08:55:20
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    [post_content] => It's difficult to write this post because I can't even put into words what I've been experiencing in Thailand.  I'm a little scared to come home because I've fallen so deeply in love with life here---especially at Pun Pun, an organic farm and seed saving community that we stayed at.  Although we pee in what is basically a hole in the ground with a porcelain bowl, are surrounded by bugs (my friend Sofie and I roomed with a bat, multiple 'musical' geckos, as well as quite a few spiders and mosquitoes), have no technology, and spend our days gardening and dancing in mud to make bricks for the houses that the members of the Pun Pun community live in (they make all of their houses themselves!!)---a part of me wants to spend my life here.  There is no place like it.  That being said, I do love home and part of my heart still remains there, so in an ideal world I would split my time between these two homes.

One thing I have really missed is music.  When I fall asleep to the sounds of the jungle, I can't help wishing that I had my favorite songs ringing in my ear as well.  But during our last night at Pun Pun, something happened that fulfilled my craving.  I can't describe it, no written account could do it justice.  But I can try: I asked some of the 20 year old-ish men in the community (who are always singing and playing guitar in the common area) to come to this beautiful auditorium that has an unbelievable view of the sunset, and play music with all of us.  So we sat there in the dark, and we communicated through music.  There were no words, just instruments and melodies flowing out of our vocal chords.  We talked about love as we sat around candles, and we stayed there until the very last one burned out.  It was a beautiful sight---seeing a candle stick dissipate into the ground as the flame turned to darkness.  At Pun Pun, I felt the power of community and I learned to think with my heart instead of my mind.  Leaving there was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.

We shared not only music, but also art.  One of the men asked to take a picture of me, and the morning that we left---to my surprise---he gave me a drawing he had done of me.  My heart has never been so warmed by a gift.  I took a picture of him as well, promising to paint him and send it to one of our Dragons instructors who lives in the community, Ramphai.

That is why I'm scared to come home.  I'm scared to be re-submerged in a culture that relies on technology, and doesn't cherish the values of compassion and caring for other to the same extent.  Most of all, I'm scared I'll lose hold of these values.  All I know is I need to come back here, maybe in December.

My love affair with Pun Pun isn't finished.
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SUMMER: Thailand

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Fun Fun at Pun Pun

Gabrielle Ohlson,SUMMER: Thailand

Description

It’s difficult to write this post because I can’t even put into words what I’ve been experiencing in Thailand.  I’m a little scared to come home because I’ve fallen so deeply in love with life here—especially at Pun Pun, an organic farm and seed saving community that we stayed at.  Although we pee in what is […]

Posted On

07/14/17

Author

Gabrielle Ohlson

Category

SUMMER: Thailand

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-10 08:17:54
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    [post_content] => We often expose our students to the mythologies of the world that so frequently present humans' lives as parallel to the lives of plants. It is a worldview that is not uncommon among the indigenous peoples of our shared planet and one that offers us all a unique way in which to make more tangible the symbiotic relationship we all have with the natural world, regardless of our cultural backgrounds.

For the past four days we have been learning from the plants themselves. The seeds have been our main teachers. The way in which they bring to us the memories of times long since forgotten by us and offer a glimpse of things yet to be seen is nothing short of a miracle. In Thailand, this miracle is well known, and the richness and depth of this knowing is celebrated daily in both ritual and hidden subtly in common speech. Yet, with over 95% of all seed diversity on the planet now extinct due to acts of what many would consider crimes against humanity committed by identifiable transnational corporations such as Monsanto and Dow Chemical Company, we are learning the importance of intimately knowing more about our bio-regions, knowing what is in our food and where it comes from, doing our best to protect our watersheds, holding agro-chemical companies accountable for their actions and, most importantly, to save our planets precious seeds.

"Life is easy" is a saying we often here at Pun Pun Seed Saving center near the old city of Chiang Mai. Here we learn how to make homes out of nothing more than mud mixed with rice husks, we learn to gather medicines from common shrubs growing in front of our homes. We don't worry too much about money because seeds offer us virtually everything we need to live a healthy life of abundance (clothing, food, medicines and shelter). This is the way humans have lived since time immemorial and a way in which we all might be wise to again adopt, if only in a small way, when one considers the ecological costs of living the way modern men/women typically do in so-called "developed" nations.

Our stay at Pun Pun has been fruitful, and not only due to the heaps of organic, fresh mangoes, pineapples, bananas and durian we eat daily! Through cooking together, singing together, gardening, meditating, planting trees, eating and even crying together we have found another extension of our human family here, all the way on the other side of the world. We have re-discovered yet another possible way of being, and have been shown that ultimately, life can be easy.
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Keeping the Seeds Alive…

Gregory Pettys,SUMMER: Thailand

Description

We often expose our students to the mythologies of the world that so frequently present humans’ lives as parallel to the lives of plants. It is a worldview that is not uncommon among the indigenous peoples of our shared planet and one that offers us all a unique way in which to make more tangible […]

Posted On

07/10/17

Author

Gregory Pettys

Category

SUMMER: Thailand

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    [post_date] => 2017-07-05 12:24:53
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    [post_content] => Our group awoke Monday morning to the view of rice paddies, small villages, and mountains rolling by outside the windows of the overnight train we were riding from Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai.

The last two days had gone by quickly, as we began to get to know each other and understand this journey we are taking together, all in the long shadows cast by the stupas of Ayutthaya. This grand and sprawling complex of temples and gates was once the capital city of the kingdom of Siam.

We explored the city on foot and by Songtaew, an open air truck that is a common public transportation option in Thailand. Towards sunset each night, when the rain clouds began to darken and unleash torrential downpours, we would take cover and return to our traditional wooden house that became our home base in Ayutthaya. There, we cooked Thai meals together and swapped stories and began to forget that we've only been together a few short days.

We are all thrilled to now be in Chiang Mai, the gateway to the north, the region that we will learn from and grow with over the course of the next few weeks.
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Enter the North

Olivia Werby,SUMMER: Thailand

Description

Our group awoke Monday morning to the view of rice paddies, small villages, and mountains rolling by outside the windows of the overnight train we were riding from Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai. The last two days had gone by quickly, as we began to get to know each other and understand this journey we are […]

Posted On

07/5/17

Author

Olivia Werby

Category

SUMMER: Thailand

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