On our first day in Thailand, we woke up early. We had just fallen asleep at 4:30 a.m. and woke at 6:30 a.m. to shower and get ready for the day. We wandered down to the hotel restaurant, where we had our very first Thai dining experience. We were all handed menus that were in Thai. There were a few pictures of food on the menu, so we found it easiest to simply point to the item we wanted to eat for breakfast. In Thailand, you do not find your traditional eggs, toast, granola, or oatmeal for breakfast. Instead, you have rice and pork, pad thai, fruit, juice, coffee, bread, and anything else you can think of. Most of us had some sort of rice dish for breakfast.
After breakfast, we headed to Nakhon Sawan Rajabhat University. We entered a large conference room and were greeted by professors, administration, and the University President. Each and every person was so elated to see us. We all smiled and gave the traditional Thai wai greeting. There was a large conference table with name tags for each of us. We took our seats and were immediately delivered coffee and Thai desert. Traditional Thai dancers performed a dance for us. The girl dancers were dressed in
solid gold and were beautiful. At the end of the dance, we were introduced to the faculty and staff of NSRU by Dr. Michael Brody. After introductions, we all headed to a restaurant off campus for lunch.
Lunch was beautiful. We were taken to a local restaurant just minutes from the university and entered into a room labeled “VIP”. We sat down at the table and were immediately waited on. Round after round of authentic Thai dishes were delivered to our table. There was fish, chicken, soup, papaya salad, rice, egg omelet, fish cakes, and vegetables. The waitress filled our water glasses every couple of minutes. I had the opportunity to sit near the President, who kept filling my plate with more and more food.
After lunch, we headed back to NSRU, where we learned more about the Thai culture and how to speak basic Thai words. We were then assigned our host family. After we met one another, we went back to the hotel and packed our bags and our host family came and picked us up. My host mom works for NSRU as a professor of accounting. On the way home, we went directly to “The Big C”. The Big C is a HUGE shopping center on many levels, with grocery stores, banks, phone stores, food courts, and many clothing stores. We went to the grocery part of The Big C, where we purchased food. She bought hot dogs, instant coffee, breads, and vegetables. She told me she wanted me to have “midnight snacks” so she also bought a bag of potato chips and some Oreo cookies. After grocery shopping, we picked up her children from school. She has two kids, a boy and a girl, ages 13 and 16.
When we arrived at her home, we were greeted by their 4 dogs. Their home is beautiful! It is in a gated community and is gated itself. We walked in and she directed me toward the living room where she had me sit on the couch. She brought me water and turned on the television which played some sort of Thai cartoon. While I sat on the couch, my host mom, brother, and sister arranged and cleaned my room. I was struggling to keep my eyes open after only 4 hours of sleep in over 48 hours. When they were done cleaning, they directed me to my room where I quickly changed into my pajamas and crawled into bed.
My first day in Thailand was amazing. The people are so nice and very accommodating. Most importantly, they are extremely grateful to have us here.