This past weekend, I got the chance to experience Thailand like never before. It’s now been one week since I’ve been volunteering as a live-in English tutor for a very talkative 9 year old boy in Northern Thailand. Although throughout the week I stayed at his family’s house outside of Chiang Rai, this last weekend we made the trip up to his family’s weekend getaway home near Chiang Saen, which is close to the Golden Triangle (where the country border’s of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos converge).
I had no idea what to expect, mainly because the only one in the whole household who speaks English is a 9 year old boy, Pat*. Other than him, I need to rely on my very limited Thai vocabulary (improving by the day, but mostly confined to words and phrases such as “like”, “don’t like”, and “delicious”).
When you lose your ability to communicate with most of those around you, you tend to “go with the flow”, as it’s the only choice you really have.
So when Pat’s nanny motioned for me to hop on a bicycle and follow another Thai girl, Sirichai*, who I had just met, I didn’t ask questions.
My only regret was not bringing my camera along.
Luckily, I went for a second bicycle ride, and a third after that, and captured some shots of that unforgettable bicycle ride.
Most of the area is all rice fields.
Some of the rice was ready for harvesting, some had just been harvested, and some was being harvested by rice farmers. When I rode by with Sirichai, everyone stared. Some waved, some said hello. I got the feeling that not too many foreigners come here!
The roads were quiet and peaceful. The occasional scooter and car passed us, but overall we got to experience the beauty to ourselves.
Above you can see an image of a rice field that has already been harvested. I love seeing the reflection of the sky in the fields.
Above, you can see some newly planted rice. My conversation with Sirichai basically consisted of me saying the same words of “Beautiful rice fields (Too-Na Cow Su-Oy)” over and over again.
It was even more beautiful in person.
Most of the homes we passed belonged to rice farmers. We also passed corn fields, sugar cane fields, and some other vegetables that I had never seen before. But probably close to 90 % of what we passed were rice fields.
The photo above was actually taken from the backyard of the family’s home where I was staying.
Sirichai stopped every so often along the way to introduce me to her friends and family (although I had no idea who was who, since I didn’t understand a word anyone was saying). It really felt like a unique experience, getting a peek into the everyday life of the rice farmers living in Northern Thailand. I had so many questions I wanted to ask them but couldn’t because of the language barrier. Google Translate was no help either. The translations it provided were confusing, at best.
So instead I simply contented myself with the beautiful views.
Far off, in the photo above, you can see the white specks (possibly storks?) of birds in the rice fields. I saw nearly a dozen varieties of waterfowl, although I’m not a good enough ornithologist to come close to classifying them!
This last picture was taken shortly after it had rained. It’s currently the rainy season here in Northern Thailand, but it has been relatively dry since I’ve arrived. Prior to coming to Thailand, I was told that it would likely rain most of the day, every day, but instead it’s rained once every one to two days, for only one to two hours at a time.
Life in Thailand has been interesting, although I do admit it gets a bit lonely having only a 9 year old boy to talk to! I’ll be writing more about my adventures in Thailand (and my knitting projects that are slowly advancing) in the weeks to come.
*Names have been changed.
Have you ever been in a scenario where you felt totally outside of your comfort zone? How did you deal with it?
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