By: Mariah Hartle
Going to a different country always has its expectations but mostly big unknowns. Thailand is no exception and as I expected my expectations were blown away by the Thai culture. As I sit in the United States, I notice the little things that can’t quite compare to what I have lived. With all that we did in Thailand and all the people we shared our lives with, one thing always comes back to me. It’s the thing when talking about Thailand I always over emphasis and want people to understand.
That one thing was the kindness I felt in the country. In every situation I faced, I had no fear. The people of this country made me feel as if as was at home. Whether it was bargaining with a street vendor in Chang Mai or losing a thumb war with a 4th grader in the Bang Toong Ting School. I had never seen such kindness from the most random stranger. Coming back home I understood that the US is on a different clock then Thailand. We are opinionated and like things done fast. However in Thailand it seems like things slow down and really soaks into the moment. This type of philosophy really changes how people act around each other.
I saw this type of kindness especially with the school children that we worked with in Ban Toong Ting School. Every morning they would great you with a wai and a simple hello. They didn’t care who people were they just wanted to wish them a good morning. We taught the students a lesson to improve their English. The kids sat quietly, did the activity, had fun, and made me feel less nervous about teaching in front of a bunch of kids. They were so grateful for everything that was provided for them and I always saw them smiling. It made me really think about how kids in America think about education and how they act around their peers.
I had this moment about Thailand and the kindness that is in the people and in the culture. This moment happened when we were in Kalasin practicing dancing for the parade. It was a moment where it was a celebration of fun and happiness. I was dancing with a bunch of strangers that felt like family. I was doing all the moves wrong and the ladies and children were laughing, and I loved it. That moment really made the trip for me, and explained how amazing this trip was and how far kindness can go for a complete stranger.