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Brie Mullins – Thailand

สวัสดี! Hello! My name is Brie Mullins and I’ll be going to Thailand for the 2017-2018 school year. I’m currently a senior at West Jefferson High School and grateful member of the generous Columbus Rotary who was kind enough to sponsor me. For ten months I will be a proud representative in District 3340 located in the east of Thailand. I’m not fluent in Thai but I’m taking steps everyday to ensure I’ll be able to soak up as much culture as possible by learning what language I can before I leave for this adventure. In my small hometown of West Jefferson I participate mainly in the arts. Throughout my highschool career I’ve squeezed as many fine arts classes into my schedule as possible, participated in the theater program, volunteered to help for the arts council, as well as being a member of every band my school has to offer. I am excited beyond words to experience the culture of Thailand and to see how I will grow creatively and as a person during this exchange. I’m positive I will learn priceless lessons while abroad and I have only Rotary to thank for this wonderful opportunity!

 

 

October 1, 2017

I’ve now been in Thailand for a month and a half! September started with my host father’s birthday and, goodness, what a party we threw. There were so many people! My host mom, sister, and I cooked all day to prepare for everyone. At one point the entire house and their motorcycle shop below was overcome by the smell of food and at that point my job was to keep the dogs from eating all of our hard work. After the sun went down and the weather cooled, the people started to pile in. All the employees and their families as well as friends, relatives, and rotarians came. Karaoke ensued and everyone was either dancing or singing. After everyone had danced and eaten dessert, my host father went to the front to present scholarships to the children of his employees. It was so cute to see these little kids with clumsy hands run back to their parents with the envelopes my host father gave them.

At school, everything has been very serious because this was the last month before the semester ended. I was happy to help my classmates for their english exams and to watch as they prepared for their chinese and japanese exams. I haven’t learn much in the foreign language classes because everyone is preparing for the exams but next semester I hope to be able to actually study in those classes.

After school I go to a Thai class with two other exchange students, a girl from Brazil and a boy from Taiwan. We’ve made it our mission to try and find different cafes to go to before class when we’re together. My favorite find was this cat cafe and our weirdest one was this place that served fruit teas with cheese on top. Cheese. Sour cheese. I think I might have enjoyed if it wasn’t 90 degrees everyday where I live but it’s an experience I don’t regret.

Now that school has ended for me, I was lucky enough to be able to travel to a couple of other provinces. I headed north to Amnat Chareon for a couple of days where I got to take a few Thai Boxing lessons and live inside of a primary school for Thai kids ( which was great because my thai isn’t even as good as theirs)  I’m currently enjoying the small city of Mukdahan on the border of Laos. I’m very thankful to have all these generous hosts and for allowing me this opportunity!

the beautiful sunset right before the party began

The packed house at my host father’s birthday.

All the kids with their parents that my host father gave scholarships to

The helpful guy in front of the cheese-tea place who recommended his favorite concoction to us; peach & white cheddar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 1, 2018

Hello, again! I’ve been in Thailand for a little over five months now and I can hardly believe how the time has flown by. There hasn’t been much of a change of season here, I wish I could say something about fall or winter but Thailand is an endless summer. It’s been so hot that my glasses fog when I go outside from being chilled in the air conditioner and then being engulfed in hot, humid air. You can only imagine what my hair looks like somedays.

School has started again and I’ve returned to Ubon as well as switched families. I’ve had a great time with this family these past few months and I’m excited to spend these coming months with them too. On weekends when my family has free time, we take the other other two exchange students in my club on an adventure with us somewhere in the province. Together, we’ve been to numerous cafes, quite a few temples, a zoo, and many saturday nights at the movie theater.

During the holidays, I made apple crisp and shared a big ole box of christmas candy from Ohio with my family, friends, and classmates here in Thailand. I think my host sister was the most excited about trying all the candy; half was a delicacy while the rest was trash in her book. It made my day to see face light up and shrivel with disgust as she dug into all that candy.

Now that January has past, I have just over a month of school left before summer break! My classmates have been kind enough to take time out to teach the other exchange students and I Thai but I realize these days are fast and fleeting with summer coming. On my last break I had an opportunity to live in a different province so I’m excited to see what these coming months bring!

The Mekong River at dawn

A striking red, green, and gold temple in Amnat Charoen.

Weekend Adventure #1: temples in my province, Ubon Ratchathani

A statue I got to hike up a mountain with that family one sweltering afternoon; totally worth it.

Weekend Adventure #2: temples in my province, Ubon Ratchathani

Weekend Adventure #1: temples in my province, Ubon Ratchathani

Weekend Adventure #2: temples in my province, Ubon Ratchathani

Here’s a family a couple other exchange students and I were lucky enough to stay with over the last break.

My kind classmate, Thaya, teaching Thai.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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