Author: peregrinefrissell

Overnight with a Thai family

This week is mid terms week, when all the normal classes are cancelled and students work on the assorted papers and tests assigned by their professors. My classes aren’t too terribly challenging over in the Thai studies department, so in lieu of some of the studying I ought to be doing I thought I would recount some of my experiences. Last weekend I was shown yet another extraordinary act of kindness and generosity by one my Thai friends (her name is Aum, pronounced “oom”) when they invited me to stay at their parents house overnight. It was an opportunity I was excited to have. As with many things over here I learned a whole lot, but not exactly the things that I expected to learn. Her and her father picked my friend Tyler (another American student) and I up around 4:00 p.m. Friday evening just a short walk away from our apartment. We drove out of town right in the midst of rush hour to their home, which was in what was kind of a …

Boy Scouts in Bangkok!

This handsome little guy was walking down the street in front of a week or so ago. I see young boys wandering around in their Boy Scout uniforms from time to time here, and it always brings heart warming flashbacks to my days in Troop 1947. Those were the days. A Thai person once told me that all Thai boys have to be in Boy Scouts for at least two years, but I’m not convinced that’s actually true. I can’t find anything online to support it either. But what a thought… Disclaimer: This is a far more dapper boy scout than I ever was.

Missing the beauty we cannot see

There is an art to finding beauty in things that you don’t have any emotional attachment to. Life is different here for that precise reason. There are many things that are beautiful. I see them every day, but it’s different from being back in Montana. For the majority of my life I have resided in places where every time I turned a corner I had a reason to appreciate what I saw that was completely devoid of the aesthetic appeal of the scene. My life was full of meaningful relationships and events, spread out around the places that I spent the most time. Uprooting and moving across the world, I don’t have those connections anymore. It isn’t a straightforward switch, but I’m slowly learning to appreciate and enjoy it in it’s own right. It makes me stop and think, it makes me really look into a place for what it is devoid of the emotional connections I’m temped to inject into it. Then it forces me to make them anew, to create relationships and experiences …

Excitement strikes, and no one was killed

I was in this square about twenty minutes before this happened: http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/general/463328/update-paragon-bombs-homemade Just as I was beginning to lull myself into thinking that this city wasn’t so crazy after all. I’ve been exploring a bit each day, filling in the blank spaces between metro stops in my head. Seeing familiar faces, all these kind smiles most everywhere I go. It was certainly an abrupt wake-up call, and has been an intriguing story to follow in the time that has lapsed since as well. I was at the gym yesterday evening, about 24 hours after the incident. There was a Thai talk show on the TV, and while unfortunately I couldn’t understand the words that were being said, the expressive faces of the anchors were fascinating. A very passionate looking plump man was talking loudly with a face that can only be described as indignant, as if he was saying that whoever was responsible for such an act of terrorism had better watch out, this wasn’t an acceptable act in a nation whose nationalism is tied …

Settling in, sort of

As the first week of my time in Thailand comes to a close, I feel I am beginning to settle in. Albeit slowly. It feels as if it has been far more than eight days that has gone by, as every day has been a roller coaster. I’ve learned so much, yet become conscious of how much more there is out there to know. It has been a humbling experience to say the least, and I am weary and excited to see what the next week brings. I’ve had some excellent experiences with many local Thai people. Everything that I have read about their innate kindness and generosity has proved true precisely when I needed the most. Many faces are now connected to names and smiles in my head, and that helps keep me anchored when I go about my day to day routine, particularly at the University. Now that I have had a bit of time to think about it, the things I miss most so far are all the conversations I have each …

Day Two: Bangkok’s Chinatown

Before Bangkok began the Thai-dominated metropolitan mixing pot that it is, apparently it was the Chinese who had the settled it the furthest, and have been effectively ingrained in Thai society for the last 400 years. About 14% of Thai citizens are ethnic Chinese, and as many as 40% can claim some small piece of Chinese heritage. At least I read all this is my Lonely Planet guidebook and a Wikipedia article, so I thought it would be prudent to spend my last free day before classes begin by exploring Bangkok’s Chinatown for myself. Sensory overload was the theme for the day, and I forced myself to trudge through the stalls for several hours experiencing the sights, sounds, and smells of the area. Hundreds and hundreds of people crammed into alleyways not more than six or eight feet wide with stalls selling wares on either side led you to squeeze your way as politely as you could for around an hour, then abandoning all sense of propriety and just forge on by whatever means possible. …

Adventures Abound on the First Full Day

Well, here I am, writing again at 5:30 in the morning with the birds chirping outside my window. It’s never what I would have predicted myself doing, but if it turns into a trend then I’ll be happy. Yesterday was my first full day in the country, and I seriously doubt my ability to translate its richness in a blog post, but I’ll give it a shot. After finishing my first blog post I grew restless and decided to venture outside my apartment before I was due to meet my Thai buddy at ten. I traversed several back alleys to get out to the main road, and made the random decision to go to my right. Within two blocks I had passed at least five small food carts, grilling chicken and beef right their on the side of the street on charcoal grills. They were selling sticky rice and fried and grilled things that I had never seen before. Because I still had no money I made the mental commitment to try them all at …

Day One: Awoken by Birds at Sunrise

It is the beginning of my first full day in Thailand, and I was lying awake in my bed around 5:30 am when I decided I might as well get up and do some reading. While in the bathroom I slowly noticed the sound of birds outside my window. It was still dark outside, but when I opened the window to my balcony I could hear a cacophony of calls and sounds. I will have to find a good resource pairing bird calls to species to figure out what exactly is right outside my window, but at any rate it was a truly excellent welcome to a country that I am just now seeing by daylight for the first time. You can look out the window and see birds of all shapes and sizes flying to and fro over the city, and by the sound of it there are a handful of species taking residence in the decent grouping of trees right outside my window. The trip here was rather long, and a quiet apartment …

En Route to Bangkok

Here it is, the maiden voyage of the blog and this adventure. I’m sitting in Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris, France, waiting to board a plane bound for Bahrain, which is my last stop en route to Bangkok. I’ll be spending the spring studying at Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand. Sitting on the precipice of adventure has always been a curious thing to me. I spent many months in anticipation of this trip. Looking forward to it has made it difficult to do homework and write my stories all of last semester. I’ve been kept awake at night with dreams of the vibrant culture, chaotic city, and the profound impact I hope it will have on me Now that it’s here, however, it’s a difficult thing to grasp. Growing up ski trips evoked a similar pattern for me. I would look forward to a Saturday of skiing all week until Friday night, when I inevitably questioned if I wanted to go at all. I never could bring myself to admit it to anyone, and …