This trip has been a mind opening, life changing experience. Not only did I meet incredible people that made the trip the best month of my life, but I also learned how to understand other cultures in a new way with more respect towards everyone.
Thailand is a very religious country so with that there are many fine lines between being a tourist and being rude. The first week we got there we learned all of the do's and don'ts of Thailand. Some of them were what I was expecting like being conservative in temples and taking your shoes off when entering but there were some rules that I took as a surprise and it took me a while to adjust like: no waving, when you see someone you put your hands in a pray sign and bow your head. We also couldn't point to anything with our feet which was surprisingly hard to adjust my manners to. These little rules didn't seem like much to me in the beginning but as the trip continued and once we began to live with the homestay families we learned that it was crucial to respect these rules. Not only was I overly aware of my actions with Thai people, i was also more aware of what I said in the group of Eil because sometimes you don't realize that something you say someone else may take offense to.
During my incredible week homestay experience I was able to share a home with a wonderful, kind, family with two twin daughters Ing and Ang. I've never had any sisters in my mile so all of the sudden I had two little sisters with never ending energy spreading their love everywhere they went. It almost felt as if I had a shadow all week which I was not used to and took a few days to adjust. Everywhere I went they were there. It was really nice to know they were always going to be there but I have never had younger siblings before so at first I felt a little weird of a connection between us. But in time this connection became so real whether we were biking around the village or playing with their english coloring books I always had fun and felt as if it was just a great learning experience for all of us.
My host mother and I had a beautiful connection because even though we couldn't verbally communicate we were able to communicate in hand gestures and the little words I had learned in Thai, but for the most part it was smiles. Honestly smiles get you everywhere in Thailand and I really think it is a universal sign of kind and happiness no matter the language you speak. Just an example of this non conversational communication was when my host mother found out I liked mangos. She observed me eating and noticed I really liked mangos, so I never went a meal without mangos after that.
Once I return to my home I am going to be more socially aware of my surroundings and just think before speaking which is a very powerful act to be able to do. Thailand has opened my perspective and has really inspired me to travel and explore the world.
There were so many great life lessons I learned throughout this month in Thailand and I hope I can't take back with me those new understandings into my daily life back home.