Category Archives: Thailand

Spoiled Palate

Today my friend and I went out for lunch and I made a horrifying discovery. Thailand spoiled my palate for seafood! 

Or at least, mediocre seafood. 

We ordered shrimp dumplings and ramen with seafood. My friend enjoyed it all. None of it tasted good to me! It tasted frozen, fishy, and not like it came straight from the fisherman!

Because, duh. I live in Wisconsin. Not a coastal city famous for its seafood. 

I suppose I’m pleased to see my tastes improve beyond that of a teenage boy. But it sure feels impractical. I’ve been spoiled! 


#Didn’tFailFundamentalRights

My grades from last semester have sslllooowwwwwwlllllyyyyyyy started trickling in. Most importantly, despite all the stress the class caused me, I can officially say: I did not fail Fundamental Rights.

Actually, I got an A. Which particularly matters because out of all my classes, Fundamental Rights worried me the most.

First, it was a freshman level class. Can you imagine how embarrassing it would be as a law student to fail a freshman level class? My classmates were 17 year olds who spent most of the class wrapped in fuzzy blankets, eating snacks, and catching up on gossip. In fact, on more than one occasion, the professor quit talking because you couldn’t hear him over the sound of the students talking. 

Second, I kept missing classes because the school administrators would schedule it for the same time I had other classes. Like Law of Information Technology, a way more confusing class I felt obliged to attend. Missing the first time or two left me vaguely stressed. Five weeks in a row and I was convinced I would fail Fundamental Rights. 

Third, probably because it was a freshman level class, the professors’ teaching styles…ranged considerably. The first professor said “rice” instead of “rights.” (“Human rice is the basis of our society!”) The second professor ignored my request for notes when I missed the class since she didn’t teach during the scheduled teaching times. The third professor usually ended our 3 hour class after an hour. (Appreciated, but not conducive to learning.) 

I had no idea studying abroad would leave me so expectant for pass/fail grades!


Talking About Thailand (With My Prof)

For those of you who followed this blog over the last 7 months, you know Thailand was not everything I expected. It was hard. The school did not run a great program. I never got WiFi or library access. Classes ended in May but my last final was due July 25th.

I tried explaining all this to my professor who runs the program. In fact, I wrote a list before meeting with him so I would make sure he knew exactly what I experienced. 

It went something like this:

Me: “It was very challenging. They would change the classroom without warning, cancel class randomly, change the schedule often….”

Prof: “Sounds like a very challenging experience. But what a great opportunity to experience Thailand!”

Me: “Yes, traffic was terrible. Taxi drivers constantly cheated me. My friend also studying abroad would compare notes with me, but since she was originally from Thailand, she did not experience half of what I experienced.”

Prof: “But it sounds like you made friends!”

Me: “I made, like, three friends.”

Prof: “What an opportunity for growth! So glad you had a good time.”

Me: “I did not have a good time. It was very challenging.”

Prof: “But you got to see lots of Thailand, right?”

Me: “It was very hard to schedule times to travel because the school kept changing when classes were.”

Prof: “Isn’t that just like Thai culture? What an experience. So, what kind of student should we send next?”

Me: “One that can somehow deal with the constantly changing schedule and still be organized enough to keep track of when things come due because no one will them. I don’t think you’ll find that person in law school.”

Prof: “Great! I will be sure to put them in touch.”

…I tried.


The Missing Final

Thought I was done talking about Thailand? Me too. 

But guess what Thammasat University finally produced this morning? The final I never received

As in, the final due June 15 that they never sent out? Yeah, it is now due July 15.

Good thing I didn’t get around to throwing out my notes yet. (That was actually what I planned to do this weekend because who expects a final at the end of June when school has been out over a month?)

To quote my Mom, it is like I’m back being homeschooled. School never ends. You just do it all summer.


Home Sweet Home

And so the plane touched down and I arrived back in the United States after five months away. My Mom and sister met me at the airport. I was so happy to be back I almost kissed the ground. 

And then I remembered, I was in Chicago. 

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12 Hours Off

My last day, I met up with a friend for a quick lunch before heading to the airport. My flight left at 6 pm. Or so I thought. 

Turns out, in my eagerness to leave Bangkok, I somehow confused the times. I didn’t leave till 6 am the next day. 

Which left me a whole night with no place to go and three huge suitcases. 

Thankfully, I made this discovery at lunch and my friend kindly offered to let me crash at her apartment. Thailand, as per usual, was not going to let me go without a traffic jam. We hailed a taxi for the 40 minute trip to her apartment…

And arrived 3 hours later. 

It ended up working out, however. My friend helped me repack my suitcases and we watched movies and walked around her local mall. She was flying out a week later also to move back home to the U.S. so it was a day of goodbyes for both of us. 

I made it to the airport by 2 am and managed to stay awake till I boarded my flight.

It all feels very symbolic, in a way. I showed up too early. A friend reached out her hand and helped pull me out of my confusion and anxiety. Traffic made things messy. It all worked out in the end. 

And that it did. It all worked out in the end. 


Rainforest Guest House & Café

I spent my final [official] night in Thailand at Rainforest Guest House & Café. I highly recommend the place if you find yourself in Bangkok. Though called a hostel, it comes with your own room, bathroom, and a complimentary breakfast…all for under $20!

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It is the sort of place you feel like should be the background for a movie. It is cute in a vintage, start-of-an-inconvenient-adventure sort of way.

In fact, that’s exactly what I told my sister when I first arrived:

“I am in a romantic comedy right now. First, my hostel comes with a really narrow stairwell which you have to drag your suitcase up to get to your room, which totally feels like what the heroine from a rom com would have to do. And second, I’m wearing a hat and I never wear hats. It is totally something the heroine from a rom com would do.”

Well, nothing romantic happened during my stay and most of the comedy involved me laughing at myself,  but I still recommend the place!

Image may contain: Amy Buchmeyer, smiling, hat and closeup(Look at that hat. Totally belongs in a romantic comedy)


Thailand Church Goodbye

My final days in Thailand left me feeling very loved by my church family. 

 

It wasn’t necessarily anything specific…

 

Shopping, laughter, extra messages asking when I’m leaving or what my last days looked like. 

 

But they made me feel loved and seen. I even got a shout out in church. 

 

And though there isn’t a lot I would say I miss about Thailand, my church there is definitely one thing. 

 

I cannot imagine the last few months without them. They became my family. ❤


Wrapping up Thailand

“How was Thailand? Amazing?” people who do not read my blog regularly always ask. 

I’ve yet to come up with a good answer.

Usually I smile, or at least, I try to smile. It might come across more as a grimace. And I say, “Oh, it was an experience.” 

And then I tell them about the elephants or the beaches or Karen refugees. The exciting stuff. But because I can’t help myself, because I feel like it represents more of my semester, I add honestly:

“The school part was really hard.”

Sometimes I add more. Usually they do not want more. Not that I blame them. Who cares about school administrators who don’t send finals or taxi drivers that charge a few extra dollars

I mean, elephants.

Those of you who read my blog understand, and I appreciate it immensely. You get what I am talking about when I call Thailand a mixed bag. But I do love talking with everyone. I love talking about the good parts of Thailand. I love being home. I love my job. I love my new glasses. Really, I sometimes wonder if I dramatize Thailand because home feels so nice. Almost three weeks absence from Bangkok has not made my heart grow fonder. 

But really, what should I expect from three weeks? 

I have a few more posts about Thailand to go. Posts about goodbyes and cool hostels and final memories. Happy things I want to remember. 

But the final, happy memories come from a foundation of homesickness, loneliness, and anxiety. The bitter and sweet, ever mixed together. I guess that was Thailand for me. Good and bad. Amazing and painful. Even if it does not come to the surface, it hangs in the background of every conversation about my trip. I want to be happy, to only focus on the amazing.

Yet if I want to continue growing from the experience, I think I must hold on to the balance. I cannot lose sight of one or the other. So, yeah, Thailand had elephants and they were amazing. But gosh darn it, those taxi drivers were also a pain in the neck too!


Korean Baseball!

After our day running errands, Jasmine and I met up with some of her fellow teachers and went to a baseball game!

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It was an adventure because out of all of us I probably knew the most about baseball…but that is not saying much. We had great seats, though!

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At the same time, it was a totally new experience because this particular baseball team had CHEERLEADERS. Or more precisely, K pop dancers because the girls finished up every inning with a K pop dance. It was thoroughly entertaining. There was also an MC who kept running around shouting things in Korean I did not understand and working the crowd up into a frenzy at every possible moment. 

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Alas, the home team lost but it was marvelous fun. The crowd got REALLY into it whenever the home team was up to bat. Because most players were Korean and had three-syllables in their full name, a lot of popular chants and songs got used over and over using their names. I was singing right along by the end! However, when it came time for the other team to get up to bat, the entire stadium took a nap. I am only half-joking. The fall in energy was palpable.