Wow I can’t believe it’s already been another week since my last entry! On Friday (13/9), we went on our first Friday excursion to some museums and temples – we go on these trips each Friday instead of normal classes. For the first half of the day we got to visit the history, art, and folklore museums of Chiang Mai. I learned a lot of important historical context for how the city operates today. After lunch, we went to Wat Suan Dok, one of the more famous temples in the city. I’ve learned a lot about Buddhism since coming here, and Wat Suan Dok was a great place to learn more history, walk around the beautiful temple grounds, and even meditate for a little while. I took lots of photos on that day – they’ll be up on the photos page!
The rest of the weekend was good! On the weekends, ISDSI hosts optional activities for all of the program participants – Saturday was cooking class! We learned how to make food at 6 different stations taught by Ajaans. It was really fun cooking Thai food and we also had quite a filling lunch. Some of what we learned included pad see ew, papaya salad, spicy pork salad, and a banana-coconut milk dessert (not sure of the dishes’ English names). In the afternoon, I hung out at a park and at the dorms. On Sunday, we wanted to get out in nature so we went to visit Mae Sa Waterfalls! Mae Sa was about an hour drive from the dorms – the hike covers a series of 10 waterfalls, 5 of which you can swim in. Our group took a songthaew there and spent several hours hiking and swimming. While I’ve seen waterfalls before, I was blown away at how pretty they were and how fun it was to swim in them. The water was warm and not very deep. We got there pretty early so we had one of the falls to ourselves for awhile. It was a great outing! I spent the rest of my weekend finishing up homework and preparing for the upcoming week.
School has become a new normal for me so I don’t have much to write about right now. I still love Thai class and can not believe how much Thai I’ve learned so far. I’ll post soon with more details on that. For our lunch break we’ve been going to the same vendor in the food court area. It’s like we’re regulars there now; the women who run the place are so nice to talk to and they help us practice Thai – their food is great too! My afternoon classes have been going okay too – starting to get projects and assignments but they should all be interesting. After class I’ll bike around a bit or study in a cafe. I still really like biking too! Today after class, since on Thursdays we don’t have afternoon class, we got to go to a market and sporting goods store to purchase gear we need for ISDSI outings. Tomorrow for our Friday outing we’re going to visit an elephant farm – check back next week to hear about it!
My highlight this week was the trip to the Mae Sa Waterfalls. It’s been pretty hot here so it was so refreshing be able to swim somewhere – in waterfalls no less! I hadn’t really left the city since I’ve been in Chiang Mai, so I loved getting to see some of the nature surrounding the city. It was also really cool because this was an outing we planned for ourselves- and it worked out! The transportation was easy and cheap thanks to our favorite songthaew driver, the waterfalls were better than I could have imagined, and it wasn’t too crowded when we got there. The whole trip costed less than 6 USD. It was a successful trip and a really fun time!
Thanks for reading! More pictures can be found here!