September 29th, 2018
My time in Thailand was marked by extreme anguish—being alone in an apartment in
Chiang Mai for two weeks without knowing a single soul while recovering from a mild
concussion, which is the most alone I have ever felt in my life—and absolute joy. Joy was
laughing till my sides hurt with my Karen Grandmother in Moo Ban Mod Ta Noi.
The experience was divided into four courses-- called Foundations, Fields (Agriculture), Forests,
and Oceans, each with its own lessons, challenges, and unique rewards.
Foundations, the longest of the four courses, included mostly intensive Thai language
learning and introduction to Thai culture. During foundations, I lived with a host sister named Pi
Joy, who was in her mid-thirties, single, and had dreadlocks. We got along fantastically. Taking
the “rot dang” (“red car”, a truck with no back that represents one of the many public transit
routes in the Chiang Mai area) from her tiny home in a rur