Getting back on track with my planned updates! For our Friday expedition on 18/10, we visited the non-profit organization ECHO Asia. ECHO is an international NGO that “exists to equip and empower workers in agriculture and community development so that they can be more effective in their work with smallholder farmers” – in doing so, they hope to improve food security, food sovereignty, and livelihoods to the communities they support. To start the day, we got to learn about what ECHO does – it was pretty cool as it aligned well with our current class work. Then we got to tour their Chiang Mai Impact Center. There we got to check out all kinds of research projects they’re working on and go into their seed bank. I especially liked seeing this seed bank and learning about how they make saving seeds more accessible to rural farmers. The technology they had in their seed bank to preserve seeds costs thousands of dollars, but through different experiments, they found a method to save seeds with just a bike pump and some special plastic bags. After lunch, we got to participate in cleaning seeds – preparing them to be saved, and in germinating seeds. It was pretty hot, but overall, it was a good outing. That night, I went to see the movie Maleficent 2 with some K students and Thai friends. It was so fun! The movie theater we went to was inside a mall- it was huge. The tickets were cheap and I got to eat some popcorn! I’ve started to miss American food a bit. Anyways, the movie was in English with Thai subtitles – it was a pretty good movie and a fun night in general!
This was a busy weekend! On Saturday, we went on a hike at Huay Tueng Tao Lake. There’s tons of beautiful nature near Chiang Mai, but getting there has sometimes been a challenge for us. However, Huay Tueng Tao Lake was only 8 miles away from our dorms so we were able to Grab there. We found the trail head we read about online fairly easy, however from there we had a pretty hard time. Our plan was to go on a waterfall loop hike, but there wasn’t much signage and there were tons of trails to go on. The hiking was beautiful – I don’t think I’ll ever get used to hiking in a jungle. Eventually, we stumbled upon an amazing view point. We could see the whole city and there was a bamboo hand constructed that made for some really cool photos. After a bit more hiking we found a small waterfall, though I’m still not sure if that was the waterfall we meant to find! After sitting with our feet in the water for a bit, we backtracked back to the trail head. Even if not what we intended to do, it was a great hike! That night, we checked out a popular jazz-bar in the city- listened to music and stopped at a few more places. I spend that Sunday relaxing and working on schoolwork.
The rest of the week was routine as expected. I still love Thai class, and we learned so much vocab this week! Thai has been challenging, but it is so cool being able to see the progress I’m making. My other classes are still going well. Outside of classes, I’ve gone to the gym and the store. A few of my friends and I are trying to do more after classes as we have a lot of time and want to experience more. On Wednesday we went to the Chiang Mai Student Market – this is a huge market over by one of the other universities here that had lots of clothing. That was cool to check out even though I ended up not buying anything. Also this week, we went to get manicures and on Thursday night, ISDSI had a pizza party for the participants. This was a great week and I’m glad to keep making an effort to do more things.
One highlight for me this week is just that I’ve had lots of small victories in Thai. I’m able to understand more Thai out of class than ever and I’ve been speaking a lot faster. In Thai class, we learned lots of vocab including time words and days of the week, daily activities words, and some more adjectives and tense words. This has really improved what I can talk about and understand so that’s been great.
Also, another highlight this week was the hike at Huay Tueng Tao. I always love getting outside and the hike itself blew my expectations. This the lake itself is a pretty touristy spot, yet we didn’t run into many people on the hike and we saw virtually no trash. The area was well taken care of and it felt like we had the whole hillside to ourselves. The viewpoint we found was beautiful, and anytime I plan an outing that goes well, it feels like a big success.
Thank you for reading! As usual, be sure to check out the rest of the pictures from this week here.