Thailand 2k16

 

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You get an extra post this week because the video finally uploaded!!!! Anyways, here is the travel diary I kept as I was there!!!! Love it and miss it so much!!!!

Day Before

 As I was arriving to Japan from Sweden the day before I take off to Thailand, I start thinking of the emotions I am feeling. All I could think was, “It is finally happening! You cannot believe how scared I am?” However, I wasn’t necessarily scared, I was just nervous. I was nervous to disappoint. Disappoint the Thai students. Disappoint the supervisors there. However, disappointing my school was the most nerve wracking. I guess I felt this pressure to represent the school in a good way, and I know that the “board” wouldn’t have chosen me unless they thought I was qualified, but I guess that was the nerve-wracking thing… They thought I am qualified, and I didn’t want to disappoint. I know also that I will have hard time because I have to listen to the stories that all the people have to tell about their lives, and how they struggle. I know that it will be heartbreaking to hear what they have been through. All in all, can’t wait until I am finally on the amazing journey of both tears and smiles.

Xoxo,

G

Day 1- Arriving

The morning that we were leaving, we had to take the bus at 7:08 am so it was quite early. I was still super nervous but stoked about the wonderful experience that I was about to take part in. I just hoped that I had packed everything I needed to pack because otherwise, it would be quite stressful, but I would live through it.

When we got on the van when we landed in Bangkok to go to the hotel, we stopped to eat dinner on the way. Phlippa and I ate vegetarian Pad Thai, and it was delicious. One thing I did realize during our dinner break was that a lot of Thai people stared at us. I guess its because we are foreigners, so that was quite cool to see people’s reaction to us. I felt very comfortable even though it had only been a few hours in Thailand. However, I was very nervous for the speech that I had say in front of the school that had the first ceremony the next day. Even if I did mess up, it wouldn’t be the end of the world because I knew Jeanie could fix it when she was translating to Thai. There was an exciting week ahead of us and I was looking forward to every second of it.

Xoxo,

Day 2- First Ceremony

I was sitting on the bus with the rest of our group, on the way to the candy store to buy candy for the students at the kindergarten before the ceremony. It is amazing that a small action like that, makes such a different in these children’s lives. The children were so grateful and I felt so bad for the children who stood next in line when I ran out of candy, but in the end, everyone got at least a little candy. After we finished handing out candy, we headed over to the ceremony. I have to say, the ceremony was amazing. When we were handing the scholarships to the children, there was one girl who was so sweet. She came up to me, said her name, thanked me, said, “I love you”, and then she hugged me. She honestly made me cry because I was so excited that she was so happy. I think it’s these moments that make me understand the importance of education. It is so inspirational that they keep fighting and I love how they are so thankful. I hope my kids will be as polite as they are here. I am so thankful for this whole experience, and this is what is going to change my life. I will learn from this, and I already feel more open-minded.

It was very exciting there, and different and I guess that is why I like it. The bus rides are pretty calming and relaxed. We just asked a bunch of questions to Ms. Stephanie. Since I am such a curious person, I enjoyed it but I am not so sure she did, haha. We actually tried a new dish in a bamboo “banana peel”. Although, it wasn’t really my taste, I enjoyed trying a new food and in such different packaging. We will probably be trying different food here and maybe some I will like and some I won’t. It is always good to try something instead of just assuming you don’t like it.

Lying in bed that night thinking of what we would be doing that week was very relaxing. I thought about how much our school community has helped these kids, and how we did it all together, as a team. It is quite awesome how we all worked as a school instead of as teams against each other, to help the less fortunate. What’s even more awesome is how much the students appreciate it. They were very excited to meet us so they took many pictures with us after the ceremony, and posted them on social media with the caption saying, “Thank you,” and asked for our usernames. I commented back how I loved meeting them too and it was a pleasure, and it truly was. If I could describe the ceremony with one word it would be “gratefulness”, because no matter how old, which gender or whatever it might be, they were all equally thankful.

Xoxo,

G

Day 3- Village

We started the day by going to the Silk Village, and then continued to the so called, “Elephant Park”. At the Silk Village, it was amazing, and I learned a lot. I was awed by all the work that the women there were doing. I found out that you need more than two people to make silk, and many kids don’t want to learn how to make it because there are machines for it now. It is quite sad that it’s going “extinct” but I understand that the children don’t want to learn because it’s very complicated. However, it would be cool to know how to make it. After we walked through the Silk Village, we looked around in some stores to buy some souvenirs. Jiwoo and I started out by trying a shirt that we both like the model of but not necessarily the designs, and colors. We took some pictures in our Thai clothing, and then many more of the group tried on Thai clothes, so that we could take a group picture. We didn’t end up buying anything because we didn’t think we would wear it to school. However, we kept on looking for different items to buy. After we looked around, we had to get into the van to go to the Elephant Park.

When we arrived at the Elephant Park, we were a little late so Jeanie talked to the workers and got us in. Inside of the park, it wasn’t at all like I thought it would be. It was a show where it felt like the workers were just torturing the elephants. They had axes that they would hit them with, and they would kick as well. I felt like I just needed to get out of there. I couldn’t bare the feeling that people were paying to see this, or worse, I was paying to see this. Right after the show, I went out of the bleachers and just walked around until I found a bathroom. I realized that this was a wake up call to help me understand that animals aren’t always treated with respect, especially when people pay to see them. All in all, I learned something insightful about these parks, and I hope many people soon stop supporting the abuse.

Xoxo,

G

Day 4- Second Ceremony + Visiting Houses

The second ceremony was going to happen, and it was something I was looking forward to. This time I wasn’t as nervous, and I thought it was going to be just as fun as the first one. I was really looking forward to meeting all the students. When we handed over the envelopes with the scholarships, then they actually smiled so they showed appreciation. I think it was so fun to hand it to them personally, to see the smiles on their faces.

After the ceremony, we ate lunch then played a game of volleyball. This time we didn’t suck as much as we did the first time. We won the first set, and lost the other two. I think everyone that was watching us play, laughed at me because of my “striking a pose” whenever I fail, haha. Honestly though, I didn’t mind, because I was having fun and I always embarrass myself. We didn’t win the game but, we all were winners in the end because nobody was upset.

After we left the school, we started driving to a house that we were going to help out. When I stepped out of the van to see the house, I was devastated. I listened to their stories, and it was horrible. The parents of four different kids had abandoned them when they left for Bangkok and they don’t contact each other at all. Therefore, the children had to be taken care of by their grandpa. The house didn’t have a toilet, or a roof. They also needed shoes so I donated money for that as well. It was such an experience to see how their parents affected their lives. So much damage done to these children, and the parents don’t even talk to them. The oldest boy works by cutting sugarcanes, but barely gets paid (a pack of 10 sugarcanes for two baht). All in all, it was devastating to see the differences in our houses and lives.

When it started to become darker, we walked around in some small roads and looked at the night market. It was quite exciting to see what the Thai culture had to offer. Some of the items that worked to buy were quite funny and were pretty cool to see in a night market. Since Philippa and I weren’t hungry, we didn’t eat dinner, instead we walked around when everyone was eating. When we got back to the restaurant, I just felt like walking around. Therefore, I decided to walk around the street and take pictures, and that’s when I realized how the details on all the buildings are what make Thailand beautiful. In total, it was an amazing day and I learned a lot about the Thai culture.

Xoxo,

G

Day 5-Hiking+Visiting Preschool 

We started the day off by buying candy for an elementary school that we were visiting. When we arrived, they were all sitting on the ground waiting for us to hand out candy. It was so exciting giving out the candy to all the children because they enjoyed receiving it.

After we handed out the candy, we played their team in volleyball, and this time we actually won. It was very exciting to play against them because this time we had a chance at winning. When we finished the game, we took a lot of pictures with them and wrote down our Facebook names again. I realize now how many new friends I made on Facebook, and now my whole timeline is full with Thai posts. However, it is worth it because I had the chance to meet all these amazing people.

We arrived at the mountain that we were going to hike, and the restaurant that we were going to eat at. We took some pictures at the bottom of the mountain, and then we started walking. I really love hiking because it’s a great way to absorb nature in all its ways, and realize what is happening in life around us. Meanwhile I was walking, I took videos so I could use them for my video of the trip when I got home. When we arrived at the top, I saw how the view was breathtaking. It was fantastic and a bunch of pictures were taken. Not only did we take pictures during the hike, but we also talked to each other. It is very nice to talk to people when you are walking because then you know you have time to talk.

After lunch, Ms. Stephanie and I went to the bathroom, and it was the most horrible toilet I have ever been to. There was dirt and water all over the floor, three of the toilets were out of order, and the actual toilets were all Japanese style. I am so glad that toilets in Japan are cleaner. However, it was a great opportunity to see how the citizens in Thailand have their toilets like, and the fact that they are kind of used to them looking like this one. We have such different ideas of what a usual toilet looks like and it is fascinating. All in all, I think it has been a great experience to see the different views in Thailand.

Xoxo,

G 

Day 6-Temple+Traveling Home

The last day had come, and I was super upset to leave this place behind, but I know I am bringing the memories with me wherever I go. We packed for our flight and headed towards the van. We were going to visit a beautiful, famous temple. It was only us students, and Ms. Stephanie who entered. I think I separated from the group quite early on because sometimes it is nice to be left with your own thoughts. I thought about how there could’ve been a girl my age in the same place in the 11th-12th century. It was pretty cool thinking about how life kind of just passes by and what remains of our life times, is the monuments. Maybe in another century, a girl will be walking around the same temple and thinking back on it just like I was doing. Life is pretty amazing, because it is like a labyrinth. You never really know where to go, but you figure it out as you walk. Another thing I was thinking about was what the people’s lives back in the 11th century were like. It was probably so different than what our lives are like now. The way the people in 11th and 12th century could entertain themselves, was playing outdoor games or just communicating. All in all, it was a great experience, and I think I made the right decision to walk around alone to think about everything alone.

When we had been at the temple for an hour, we went to the lunch place we were going to eat at. Since it was Amelia’s birthday the day before, we had birthday cake as well. It was then time to start our trip back to Japan. The week passed so quickly and it was an amazing experience. I loved receiving the opportunity to help everyone in Thailand, and visit all the monuments and views. I am one of those people who gets over attached to memories, and I know for sure that this is one of those memories that I am never going to forget. I had the chance to get to know everyone better, and work together as a team. I learned a lot about myself as well, and I think I changed as a person as well because I am more aware now of what is going on in other parts of the worlds. Overall, I will miss this place and I love that we all were able to connect and discover more about each other and the culture here together.

 

 

 

 

Spark

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I just thought I would share a poem that was written by Meghan Rienks, and I am just really loving this poem because it’s just so meaningful:

There is something both frightening and yet so very comforting about darkness
It’s in the way it hugs every curve of your body
How it forgives those mountains and plateaus that the daylight does not
In the darkness you can hide
You can hide from pretty much anything
So you turn off the lights so you don’t have to look in the mirror
And you shut the blinds so it seems like the sun stopped shinning for everyone else too
And it’s quiet
And it’s dark
And it’s lonely

But it’s not forever
This life of yours will not be defined by the moment in which you cease to exist
You can’t see it now but, It’s got chapters, and volumes and sequels and a future
And that body you’re cloaking in shadows is carved with so much beauty
In the fog as you forgetting how your bewitching mind is
One of a kind
Irreplaceable
In the darkness you can’t see any of that
So light it up
And ignite that spark

It’s not about being happy all of the time
It’s about recognizing those moments in which you really feel alive
When goosebumps crawl up your arms and you can’t help the smile breaking across your face
It’s that feeling when you hear that song on the radio you love so much
When you’re running so fast you can taste your heart beat
In those singular moments when it feels as if your soul is rising from your body
Looks down at you, and says, remember this.
This moment
This is who you are
You are not your grades
or your jean size
or your anxiety
or your depression
You are not your past
You are not defined by a number or a phrase or a moment

You are light
A sparkling, dazzling, electrifying glow
And you burn brighter than even the deepest of shadows

The darkness will return
That’s an inevitable fact
You’ll have moments of weakness
And you’ll wonder where the light went
But here’s the secret
That light is you
and nobody can take that away

Sorry For Delay

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My computer has been lagging up so I cannot export my Thailand video today again, so I thought I would just share some pictures from this Christmas. I took them with my cousin who I love, haha. Isn’t the sunset in the background so beautiful!? Anyways, just wanted to tell you all that a new youtube video will be up during the week so please check that out:-) I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your support by subscribing to my channel.

XOXO,

G

Life Abroad

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I have lived abroad since 2008. Wow! It’s been 2, 720 days since I moved to Italy. I cannot believe how long time its been since I lived in Sweden… I just though I would share a little bit about how my experience is as an international girl. This may seem cliche but I have definitely learned a lot from it.

Ever since I moved, I have felt different whenever I am in Sweden. I didn’t know the directions to places, I spoke more English than Swedish, and I was never used to the public transportation there. I would have to have a friend with me wherever I was in public because I didn’t know where to go when I was shopping. I stopped talking to the people in Sweden who I was never really super close to. I couldn’t keep track of how many people I had in my life in Italy. The people who I knew, where from all over the world.

In second grade, I started understanding English better, so I made a lot more friends. That year, my best friend at the time moved. That is when I started realizing that this was going to happen every year now for the rest of my life. Every year my best friends would move somewhere different. I stayed in Italy, and saw how people passed me by. I practically grew up in Italy, because I have most of my childhood memories there. The school felt like my house, and the people who were in school felt like an extended family.

I didn’t start understanding how fortunate I was to have had the opportunity to live abroad until I was in fourth grade. I was in class and my wonderful teacher, Ms. T, was reading English literature for our class. I realized that I would never read those kind of books if I lived in Sweden. I wouldn’t have learned so much about Shakespeare, and other classical books. I have become open-minded to all these new cultures, and experiences.

I have become a lot more extroverted since living abroad. You may wonder how this works, but since I attended an international school, I didn’t have any other choice than to be an extrovert. I needed to make new friends each year, and talk to the new kids. I am now so much more extroverted than I would’ve been if I stayed in Sweden. You can ask anyone of my friends here, but if I want to go up to someone and talk to them on the street because they seem nice, then I will definitely do that. I can be the weirdest in public, and I won’t even care what others think because I know that I have made a lot of friends because of how weird and approachable I am.

I have received so many opportunities due to my move. If I never moved from Sweden, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I wouldn’t be writing this. I wouldn’t have gone to Thailand to help out. I wouldn’t have so many people that I love in my life. I wouldn’t talk as much as I do now. I wouldn’t be me. I am so satisfied with what I have accomplished so far in my life, and I am only 14, so I am looking forward to the other experiences that I will have in my life. I just wanted to take the time to write this, and thank all my amazing teachers, and friends that I have had the chance to meet throughout these years. I want to thank all of you, because I love you all. You made me into the person I am today

XOXO,

G

PS. I was having issues with my computer so my Thai post will come next week instead. Sorry! However, check my youtube channel out to see my other video that I posted today.

Questions of the Day

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All pictures above are from a Thanksgiving dinner party

What do you need most right now? More than 24 hours a day so I can have more time to get things accomplished.

Right-handed or left-handed? Right-handed.

Piercings? Only on my ears.

Tattoos? Nope, I do not have any.

Height? 163 cm.

Shoe size? 37-38 in European size.

Freckles? All over my nose, haha.

Do you drink? No, I do not.

Anything in the refrigerator that you don’t like? Mushrooms, and a lot of other things… I am a picky eater.

Which shampoo do you use? Victoria Secrets shampoo, doesn’t matter which one, haha.

What perfume do you use? Tease by Victoria Secret.

What are you doing right now? Writing this post, texting and kind of packing for Thailand (when you are reading this, I will be there already).

What are you scared of? I have a phobia of spiders.

When did you cry most recently? Last Thursday because I watched a sad movie with my friends in Sweden.

Allergies? Some product in a body lotion I tried when I was little, hahah… I don’t know which product though.

Can you sing? I wouldn’t call myself amazing, but I am decent enough. I mean I enjoy singing a lot so I do it all the time, but I don’t think I am good at it.

Place you want to visit? Oh! I actually don’t have a specific place but if you check my post 21 Trips I Want to Take Before I’m 30, then you have an idea of where I want to go.

How does your dream-man look like? I don’t think I have an ideal right now, but I think I’ll know how my dream-man looks like when I see him, haha.

XOXO,

G

Winter Wonderland

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I have exciting news! Haha, at least its fun for me to say them… I just wanted to let you all know that from now on I will post blog posts twice a week; Mondays and Thursday. I know it is not very exciting news but I thought I would let you know.

Today I am on a plane to Thailand with six of my classmates and one teacher. You may be wondering why, but if you saw my post from a couple of weeks ago, you would know. I am actually going there because our school has been doing charity work (raising money for children’s scholarships) and about seven 8th graders travel to Thailand to hand out the scholarships to the students. I think this will be both difficult but an educational trip. This is because, I will realize the different conditions that we live in and how we can all help make a difference. I am super stoked for this trip and I hope it will be a memorable experience.

I am actually writing this the day before you are reading this post, and I am writing both of my posts for the week today (Sunday) but setting a publishing time up, so it will be published 6:00 pm Japanese time on Monday and Thursday this week. Anyways, hope you all have had a wonderful break because I know I have, and I loved catching up with all my friends in Sweden.

XOXO,

G

Happy New Years!

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Since it is a start of a new year, I decided to share some of my New Years resolutions with you all:-) This is the first time I tried the scheduled posts so I hoped it worked, but I set it up for 12:00 AM in Japan. I hope you really enjoyed year 2015 because I sure did!

  1. Be more positive- I wanna see everything more optimistic if I am sad.
  2. Eat healthier- Stop eating as much carbs, and candy.
  3. Exercise more- Try to work harder at the gym.
  4. Make new friends- Socialize with people I usually wouldn’t.
  5. Be present and live in the moment- Stop using my phone all the time so I can stop and smell the roses.
  6. Be more consistent in my blog- I want to start posting one or two days a week and have those days decided.
  7. Make a difference with the help of my blog- I want to make the world a better place by writing something strong and important on my blog so I can inspire.

I don’t know if I am going to be able to stick to these resolution because that is a big struggle of remembering them. However, this year I really want to be able to follow them all. Anyways, I hope you had a great time over the holidays, and I hope you really enjoyed your new year!