Student describes Thailand with three words

Contributed by Macy Salama A monkey perches on Macy Salama’s shoulder. Food sold by a local encourages the monkeys to get close.
Contributed by Macy Salama
A monkey perches on Macy Salama’s shoulder. Food sold by a local encourages the monkeys to get close.

After the first week of living in Thailand, I now hardly react when I see a mother holding her five-month baby on the back of a motorcycle. Thailand is best described by three words. Fearless is the first word I would use to describe life in Thailand. Not only do people jump on the back of truck beds going 70 mph, but the dogs, cats and monkeys roam the streets independently. Whether it be the courageous citizens or the lively flowers, Thailand is filled with character.

I decided to study abroad in Thailand because I knew it was so different from my culture.  I wasn’t disappointed with this expectation. It didn’t take long for me to realize the lifestyle in Thailand is different. I quickly knew I was not in St. Louis anymore. Maybe it’s because it’s normal to see four people crammed on one motorcycle here, or that the scenery is absolutely breathtaking.

The second word is vibrant. I realized, within the first few days of studying abroad, that living in St. Louis my whole life has

prevented me from seeing nature’s beauty and diversity. In Thailand one would not come across oak trees and streets of similar houses with freshly cut grass and flowers planted in rows. In Thailand, it is common to see different flowers with every step; the plants are wild, not placed and planted in a certain spot. Looking to the right you may see the beach, and looking to the left you will find the sun setting behind the silhouetted mountains.

Beautiful. That is the third word I use to describe Thailand. Thailand is filled with color; every bush has brightly colored flowers blooming in the sun. Shades of purples, pinks, reds and oranges cannot escape one’s sight. The scenery is striking, but I have found another type of beauty in Thailand: the mentality of the people. Though it has only been a few weeks, I have realized the amount of judgment in Thailand is limited compared to what I am familiar with. Acceptance of one another is common, smiles are seen more often and people mind their own business rather than pry into the lives of others. Although I feel like a tourist and out of my comfort zone, I have only received friendly reactions from locals. They are happy to help and smile when I say with an American accident, “Khaup khun ka,” which means “thank you” in Thai.  The people here are welcoming.

Thailand is a place of fearless action, vibrant surroundings and inescapable beauty. A few times a week I find myself in shock that my experiences are real. Studying abroad in Thailand has been more than I could have imagined. I’ve swam in a waterfall, visited multiple beaches, fed monkeys and learned a few words in Thai. It has only been three weeks, and studying abroad has already satisfied my expectations. Fearless, vibrant and beautiful — my first impression of Thailand.

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