Chiang Mai, Oh My!
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Chiang Mai, Oh My!

Starting seven weeks abroad with reflection and a bad pun

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Chiang Mai, Oh My!
Amanda Wang

Sawatdi kha!

…Is the only Thai I know so far. And even then, I haven’t actually used it because I’m afraid I’m mispronouncing it…

Nevertheless, here I am, with two fellow GlobeMedders and the stuffed animal I hauled from Hanover to Dallas, then to Abu Dhabi and Bangkok, which is now sitting on my bed here at our Chiang Mai guest house.

It’s been a long 27 hours of travel. With physical distance came a change in my thoughts and mental state as well. Leaving home, I felt a lot of anxiety at first. I’ve always been a homebody, not a huge fan of travelling. Once I was even berated by my family for travelling all the way to Hawaii only to be most excited about doing arts and crafts in the hotel lobby. And yet this summer, I packed my bags and boarded a plane to a city with the exact opposite longitude as my hometown, literally “across the world”. Emotionally, mentally, I am still not at my best from a difficult, yet formative year. Would I fall apart in Thailand, thousands of miles and a 12-hour time difference from my support network?

Yet, with every mile closer to Chiang Mai, came waxing excitement and waning anxiety. After all, seven weeks with a regular work schedule would bring me some desperately-needed rhythm after another crazy Dartmouth term, as well as a good deal of: *glances around furtively and whispers* Free Time. I remembered all my plans to visit temples, go on hikes, take yoga classes, and learn the language, and also plans to write (hopefully weekly), read, and watch TED talks. Plans to expand my world with new experiences, while also rooting down into my sense of self.

Living abroad for 7 weeks could be challenging and stressful. But as I watched the city scenery rush by from the left-side passenger seat of the taxi to our hotel (guess who has two thumbs and almost got into the right-side driver’s seat? THIS LOSER), I felt only excitement and anticipation. And after a jet-lagged nap and glorious shower, I’ll be ready for whatever personal growth this summer will bring. (Including growth in my spicy food tolerance…)


*P.S. Follow @DartmouthGROW on Instagram to see more of what we're up to this summer!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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