“Beauty is Pain”

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“Beauty is pain” is something people have told me my whole life, to the point when I say it as well. I just now started thinking about the meaning behind this phrase. Is this really a phrase that young adolescents should grow up with, and live by? Is this affecting our society in different ways? Should beauty be defined by how much pain you feel to get there? These kind of sayings is the reason why society believes that wearing 6-inch stilettos, waxing your legs, and wearing spanx is beauty.

According to Global Market Inside Study, “Four out of ten individuals have either personally experienced an eating disorder or know someone who has.” This is a fact that I find quite interesting due to the fact that you experience pain as you have an eating disorder, but it is ignored, with the help of the phrase “beauty is pain”. We are told that we are never enough for society, and that you can self-harm to make yourself pretty. This is fascinating because our society has such a double standard. It tells us that make up, starving yourself, and heels are what makes us beautiful, but if you use it/do it, you are fake.

There are many days when I have felt unworthy due to the way I look, and this saying has simply helped me feel worse. Knowing that it’s okay to hurt as long as it shows your outer beauty, is not a motto that is worth living by. Therefore, it is time for our generation to change the way we look at life. “Beauty” is not pain, it is being a person who is caring and understanding. Beauty should not be based on appearance, instead on what kind of a person you are. In conclusion, we should change our outlook on life, and stop teaching children that “beauty is pain”.

Thankfulness


Long time no see! Well, wrote… I am not sure what to say. So I was at camp like I said, and I am so frustrated that my Mallorca video still hasn’t uploaded one bit… My internet in Sweden sucks so please bare with me. I truly tried but it will be up when I get to Japan. I was going to write about camp, and all the experiences I had but it would take too long, and I think it’s best to keep some memories for myself. However, I thought about one word throughout the whole camp. Thankfulness. 

Thankfulness is something that most people forget about on a day-to-day basis. I love to express my positive thoughts to people, because it can really brighten up their day, and it’s always fun to give compliments. However, one thing I realized that many people don’t say, is that they are thankful for something or someone. I think people take it for granted sometimes that life is a specific way. I have made the mistake before to take someone or something for granted, and that’s when it hurts the most to loose it. Therefore I just wanted to make a small little thank you note to get me back again with my blog.

Thank you to all the people who I feel comfortable enough to share my secrets with. Thank you for listening and giving me advice. Thanks for baring with me although I get frustrated, or sad. Thank you for not judging my so hastily. Thank you to you guys who read my blog although I’m not very good at this thing with writing blogposts, haha. All in all, thank the world for the opportunity I have to live. 

My Life in A Week

So I am very busy usually, which is both good, and bad… This means I have not been able to write very good posts but I thought I could tell you my plans for this week.

Monday: 

  • School 8:30-3:25
  • Mentoring 3:30-4:30
  • Drama Rehearsal 4:30-5:30
  • Tutoring by Grandpa through Skype 6:30-6:55
  • Other Homework 7:30-8:00
  • Freetime

Tuesday

  • School 8:30-3:25
  • Pick up tickets for Greenroom Festival 3:30-4:00
  • Film English Video 4:00-4:45
  • Freetime (gym/exercise) 5:00-6:25
  • Tutoring by Grandpa through Skype 7:00-7:40
  • Other Homework 7:45-8:00

Wednesday

  • School 8:30-2:25
  • Dance Practice 3:30-4:45
  • Drama Rehearsal 4:45-5:30
  • Tutoring by Grandpa through Skype 6:00-6:55
  • Other Homework 7:00-7:30
  • Freetime

Thursday

  • School 8:30-3:25
  • Gym 4:00-5:00
  • Tutoring by Grandpa through Skype 6:00-6:55
  • Other Homework 7:00-7:30
  • Freetime

Friday

  • School 8:30-3:25
  • Drama Rehearsal 3:30-5:30
  • Hangout with friends 5:30-9:30

Saturday

  • Drama Rehearsal 10:00-3:00
  • Shopping for Costume for Play 3:25-5:25
  • Freetime (Get ready for tomorrow’s day trip)
  • Work on homework 6:00-7:00

Sunday

  • Train to Festival 9:00-10:30
  • Greenroom Festival 11:00-7:30
  • Train home 7:45-9:15

Obviously, this is just to sum up my week. It may not look exactly like this due to my planning skills aren’t the best right now. However, I am doing all the activities but the time just may be off by a little bit. I don’t think this post was very entertaining, but soon there will be more entertaining posts.

Just A Girl?

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Hi, I’m Gry, and I am a feminist. Did that affect your point of view of me? Since I said I was a feminist, you may have started to already create many stereotypical assumptions about me. No, I am not a man-hater, and no I don’t think women are better than men. I simply believe in the notion that women are equal to men. We are all human so why should our gender define what we are worth? There are so many reasons I think our society needs a change to create equality.

One of the biggest issues is the pay gap. Woohoo, who doesn’t enjoy the pay gap (please note sarcasm)? For every dollar a man earns, a woman earns 78 cents. WOW! This means it takes 15 months for women to earn the same as a man does in 12 months. This makes me worry for my future, and for so many other’s future. No matter how hard women work, they will be paid less because “they are just women”. The only job that has reported that they pay the same for both men and women is speech pathology. That’s one in like one million jobs. That is so mind-blowing to me.

Dress code. My school has this crazy obsession with the dress code. The rules are; no showing bra straps, shorts/skirts/dresses need to be longer than what your hands reach, and the shirts need to have a thicker sleeve than four of your fingers. These rules target women specifically more than men, and it is telling them to be ashamed of their bodies. It demonstrates the idea that all of our bodies are simply for others to look at, also known as objectification of bodies. Not only is this insulting to the students who are being dress coded due to “being a distraction” but it is also insulting to the people who the teachers say are being distracted because they are saying that they aren’t controlled enough. Also, saying that student’s skin is distracting more people than pulling a student out of class to make them change. I don’t know about you, but I have never heard anyone say, “I couldn’t concentrate during that assignment in class because all I could see was _______ shoulders/bra straps/legs.” Overall, sexualizing bodies, mainly women’s because that’s who most people sexualize.

Let’s talk sexual assault now. According to facts.randomhistory, “Globally, about 1 in 3 women will be beaten or raped in her lifetime,” (2014). This indicates that if I have a friend group of three girls, one of us will be raped or beaten in our life. This is a very high amount of women who get beaten or raped, but I guess it doesn’t matter because “she was provoking the assaulter” (please note sarcasm). According to the U.N., 99.3% of women and girls in Egypt have been subjected to sexual harassment. Can you believe that? I sure can’t. The Guardian once stated, “Approximately 1.2 million children worldwide are victims of human trafficking, and over 80% are girls,”(2013). When most people found out about this, their question was, “What were they wearing?” This is what I can’t wrap my head around; why would it matter if someone was wearing a low cut shirt or a turtleneck? It won’t stop the assault from happening, so why blame the clothing of the victim. This teaches the victim that it is their fault, which is totally untrue. I am not saying that only women are victims because in fact, about 9% of sexual assault victims are men. This is still super serious. Every eight minutes, Child Protective Service responds to a report of sexual abuse from any gender. With that in mind, there are still so many sexual assaults that go unreported. They may go unreported for many reasons but one is because “93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker,” (U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistic, 2000). So, sexual assault is quite serious if you weren’t aware of it before.

This may be a long rant, but I felt like our society needed a change. Instead of making women work harder, or show less skin, what if we actually made a change in our society. What would happen if women and men would earn the same amount? Or if assaulters would stop assaulting? I know it may not be easy for them because of some strange reason, but at least knowing that they are trying to stop would be relieving. I want to be able to walk home at night without having to hold my keys between my fingers in case someone tries following me. I don’t want to have to run if I see a man walking behind me because he “could” be an assaulter. I am sorry if this is not the kind of post I usually make, but I felt like I needed to step up about the rights that we all deserve.

XOXO,

G

If this was too much for you to handle, here is another thing you can look at;

Resources:

63 Interesting Facts About FEMINISM. (n.d.). Retrieved May 12, 2016, from http://facts.randomhistory.com/feminism-facts.html

Who are the Victims? | RAINN | Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. (n.d.). Retrieved May 12, 2016, from https://rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims

Letter to My 18 Year Old Self

April 25th, 2016 

Yo Future Gry,

Umm… ok I don’t know how to address myself…

I guess you’re like 18 now or something 😉 I hope you’re doing well, and that you are still doing things that you enjoy (ex. writing, drawing, singing, etc.). If you are not, get off your butt and make a change!!! You are probably still in school… 12th grade… WOW! You are so close to college:-) Which one do you have your eyes on the most? I hope you choose one in which you balance both education with social life. A

You may remember what was occurring for you at the age of 14, but in case you don’t, I am here to remind you, haha. You have 730 amazing followers on this blog, and you have only had it for 11 months. You have 56 subscribers on youtube, and you have only posted nine videos. Your favorite class is English because you love expressing yourself through writing, but you also love choir because your teacher is the BEST! You are also devastated that he is moving. You have gone to Thailand for a fundraising for students there, which you thought was one of the most educational trips in your life so far.

You are going through a rough time every now and then, and I think you probably still remember why. You may have even shared it on your blog or youtube by now, but right now you are not comfortable sharing with anyone really. I hope you have learned a lot from all you are/went through in 8th grade, because I think it is important to reflect on your life. I guess life isn’t quite as fun in 8th grade due to the fact that there is SO MUCH DRAMA! However, that is usual in middle schools, and you hate that factor.

You enjoy going to school everyday because you love seeing everyone smile, and working on different projects. Of course, you still get stressed with all tests, but you enjoy it overall (except for how early you need to wake up). In general, you think you like yourself as a person, but you don’t know who you are yet. You are never afraid of being yourself, no matter how much others will think you are weird or crazy. Never forget how fun it is sometimes to just do random things like sing at the top of your lungs while dancing the macarena… haha. I guess you were pretty cool in 8th grade, and I hope you stayed this cool, haha.

Now let’s get real into the questions; Have you had a boyfriend yet? Do you get good grades? Are you still expressing your creativity on social media? What is your favorite hobby, and subject now? Why? What is your favorite song, and what meaning does it have behind it for you? Are you still a vegetarian? If not, why?

XOXO,

G

 

Hawaii 2k16

 
  
 Day 1

Sitting there on the plane with my brother and mom, completely confused of what to expect for the vacation. All past vacations were with friends as well, so I didn’t know what expectations I should have. I didn’t want to be disappointed, even though there were so many amazing adventures ahead of me. I was finally going to Hawaii!

As we arrive at the hotel, we look out at the summer paradise. The hotel we were staying at was Sheraton Waikiki and it was beautiful. We checked in at 8 o’clock, but the room wasn’t ready so we walked around the streets in Waikiki. We decided to eat lunch at The Cheesecake Factory (which by the way has delicious shrimp with angel hair pasta). We walked around some more, until we found a hop-on-hop-off bus and we bought tickets and got on the bus just to look at the island of Honolulu. We then received our room in the Hotel, and got ready for dinner. The dinner was at PF Changs, which had good options, and I really enjoyed the food and service there. All in all, the first day was completed and ended up amazing.

Day 2

8:00 am, and it is already time to leave the hotel room. Diamond head was what we had planned to do in the morning. We get there and start hiking. A thing you may or may not know about me is that I LOVE hiking. I think it is a great way to just appreciate nature and kind of find yourself instead of following others. I just enjoy it a lot since nowadays, electronics are very usual to be on, so I take the chances to go outside as an amazing opportunity to be with nature. The view at the top was amazing, and the ocean looked beautiful.

After hiking, we drive around to find Hanauma Bay, which is super famous for snorkeling. Therefore, we go there to snorkel, but when we arrive, none of us really feel like snorkeling. We instead, lay by the beach and tan a bit. My brother then wanted to go to the hotel, so we drove back to Waikiki. We got ready for dinner, and ate at Red Lobster. Can I just say one thing? DELICIOUS FOOD!!!!!!

Day 3

Beach day:-) We drove around Oahu until we arrived at Lanikai Beach. Such nice weather, and wonderful time to get a tan. We relaxed by the beach until lunch time, which is when we decided to go to Taco Bell because my brother had never been before and I mean, it’s kind of a thing you NEED to try. I ate the cheese quesadilla because there weren’t a lot of options for me, but it was still delicious! After eating, we proceeded to drive around all of Oahu! This was just because we wanted to see everything:-) We saw the Dole Pineapple Farming as well, which was cool.

When we finally arrived to the hotel, we got ready for dinner. I wore a black maxi skirt with a black tank top to create the illusion that it was a dress. Apparently, I am not the only one with this outfit because that night, I think I saw about 13 people wearing the same outfit as me… I felt really basic but I mean, that means they have a good sense of style, haha. When we got home, it was time to sleep so we could wake up early the next day to be able to go see Pearl Harbor.

Day 4

5:00 is when I woke up, and we started heading towards Pearl Harbor. I was really excited due to the fact that I had seen the movie, and was interested in seeing how it was like. We started out by going to the Bowfin Submarine. It was so fascinating to see how everyone lived back then. We then continued to the Missouri Boat, which was HUGE! I started to think about how it must’ve felt as the people on the boat when they were being bombed. We then got on a small boat to take us to the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial. It was breathtaking. I couldn’t even imagine being in the boat as it slowly sank. The panic going on in the heads of the brave men in there. It was very devastating to actually see the place where something so tragic occurred, but it was insightful.

We went back to the hotel room, and got ready to go to Ala Moana Mall. We went around, and found a bikini top, and a water bottle for me from VS and PINK, two shirts from Brandy Melville, and a bunch of products from Bath & Body Works. I was so satisfied with everything that I received. We then ate dinner at the food court, and I ate Panda Express which I think I got food poisoning from so… I mean… just saying. Then we went home and went to bed.

Day 5

Relaxing. I stayed by the pool until 12:00, and I listened to podcasts. I have four I recommend, for Swedes; Mathilda och Andreas Blogpod, and Frida Podden. Meanwhile, for English speaking people; Women Of The Hour by Lena Dunham, and Myths and Legends Podcast. All of these are amazing, and I listen to them so much because I learn a lot. We then go eat at The Cheesecake Factory again, and then start heading towards Blue Hawaii Helicopters. OMG! We were going on a helicopter around Oahu! It was amazing and so cool! I definitely think that it is something to try, and I loved seeing it so much:-)

We continued home, and then we ate dinner at Hard Rock Cafe. It wasn’t a very long dinner because when we finished eating, we were all pretty tired and exhausted since we hadn’t gotten a lot of sleep. We continued home, and went to sleep to be able to manage waking up early again the next morning.

Day 6

Last day:-( We wake up early and start driving towards the place where we were going to scuba dive and parasail. We get on the boat with about six other people, and we start heading towards the place with the turtles. My brother, mom, and I were in one group but my mom was taking too much time so she didn’t want my brother and I to only get a little time, so she decided to just snorkel instead. My brother, another girl, and I ended up being in one group. We saw so many turtles, and it was so fascinating to see all the fish and creatures in the water. I have always been a fan of being in the water, and this was just one of the many ways I can have fun in water.

After scuba diving, a boat picked us up from the boat we were on, and drove us to the parasailing boat. We got in the equipment to parasail, and then we sat down on the edge, and all of a sudden we were in the air. It was so cool, I could feel the wind in between my toes, and it was just so relaxing. We were so high up, and we could see the whole area around us (which was quite large). When we got down, it was time to head to the car again, so another boat picked us up and helped us get to the dock again.

We then went to the room and got ready for dinner. I was actually meeting a friend, Jayson, that used to go to the same school as me here in Japan. He was in sixth grade in Japan, then he moved to Hawaii, so we planned to meet at Ala Moana. We met at 4:30 pm, and got some TasteTea Bubba, which I really ended up liking. We caught up so much, and I am so thankful that I had the chance to meet him again since I missed him. I got some ice cream as well, and he got fries and chicken or hamburger, I do not know… Anyways, it was so nice to hang out with him.

My mom then picked me up and took me to the dentist which is where my brother, Patrik was. He had a huge pain in his tooth, so he went to the dentist and had to pull out his wisdom tooth. I felt so bad because it hurt so badly for him. After that, we all went home because nobody was really hungry, and we just went to sleep because the next day, we were flying back to Japan. Hawaii was so beautiful, and I am so satisfied and happy that I had the chance to experience all of these adventures! Hopefully you enjoyed this post:-)

XOXO,

G

 

3 Things

3 things I look forward to

→Spring break with my bro and mom

→Softball practice tomorrow

→Dance performance in a month or so

3 things I like

→Talking to people who inspire me

→My family and friends

→Being in charge, haha

3 things I don’t like

→Rude behavior

→Fake friends who gossip

→Mushrooms and licoriceIMG_4906

3 thing I want

→Travel with my S.O. in the future

→Buy more casual dresses

→Tickets to coachella or any other music festival

3 things I should

→Find a different close gym that’s open for me everyday

→Text people/friends back more

→Cut out all fake friends

3 things I can

→Take a leadership role

→Adapt to people and places

→Plan things out

3 things I can’t

→Do good looking hairstyles

→Calm down…:-)

→Be quiet for a long amount of time

3 things I talk about a lot

→Funny experiences from vacations

→Women’s rights

→My future

3 things I wish

→Influence other people

→Hit 1000 followers on this blog

→Do well in school

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3 things that make me calm

→Music and drawing

→To take long walks

→Hanging out with friends

3 things that make me stressed

→Math tests

→When people aren’t on time

→My future

3 things I am doing this weekend

→Babysitting

→Softball game

→Go to the gym

3 things I’ve done this past week

→Attend meetings with teachers and a few students

→Started softball and continued dance

→Went to a coffee shop with Ebba

What Happened To Society?

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So, I wasn’t planning on writing this, but my scheduled post had broken down, so I decided now would be a good time to post this. I know I am going to get so many questions asked by my mom and dad, but I just think that I have to say some things to be honest to my readers. I just needed to share this because hopefully it will help many people understand the flaws of society, and not of themselves.

I have always been insecure about my body. Ever since I remember, I have always looked at my body with hatred because I couldn’t accept that everyone has flaws. I know everyone thinks about themselves this way but I also know, this is a horrible feeling. Why do we feel so insecure about our bodies? Is it because society has an ideal body image? I always see these beautiful models on all my social media, and I am not going to lie, I always feel this frustration about why I am not as “fit” as them. I grew up in a house where my parents would always talk about which diet they were going to try, and how they wanted to lose weight. I am just now starting to realizing, that may be one of the reasons why I was so aware of the ideal body at such a young age. I remember how at one period of my life, I ate more than my older brothers, because I had such a large appetite. When I realized that this was an issue, I went on a diet for about two years. I was in fourth grade.

When I got into sixth grade, I finally felt good about my body. That is until I moved to Japan. I saw how skinny everyone else was, and felt as if I didn’t fit in. I know that it’s not healthy to think that way, but I couldn’t help myself. I was comparing myself to others. When I lived in Italy, I had never heard what a thigh gap was. However, when I came to Japan, it seemed as if everyone wanted one because that is what determined if you were skinny or not. Which, for the record, is not true at all. It has to do with which body type you have, and your bone structure. I, of course, believed everyone and kept a thigh gap in mind each time I took a picture, and pushed my legs apart to create the illusion of having thinner legs. Can you believe that a 6th grade did that? That is horrifying! All because of society’s ideal body image.

I am not the only one who feels this way. According to DoSomething.Org, “Approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape. Unfortunately, only 5% of women naturally possess the body type often portrayed by Americans in the media.” This is the real horrifying news. Can you believe what our society has done to some of these people’s minds? To MY mind? People always say, “It’s the inside that counts,” but if we see all these things on the internet about being a specific size, then of course, we may not believe that the inside is the only thing that counts.

Let me tell you something, all our bodies are different. I have a different body shape than Ebba, and Jiwoo, so I shouldn’t compare myself to them because we were built differently. So, what am I really trying to say in this post? Well, I hope all you people who are insecure, go on a path with me to find confidence in your own skin. I am still trying to find that but that doesn’t mean I don’t love anything about myself right now. I love my cheerfulness every morning. I love my ability to smile, when I feel the worst. I love my positiveness. I love the people I chose to surround myself by. I love my ability to tell my true friends, from fake ones. I love the way, I don’t care if I embarrass myself in front of hundreds of people. I love my curves and lips. But most of all, I love me enough to know that I want to make a change.

Ski Trips 2k16

Happy belated Valentine’s Day! Hope you had a great time! Anyways, I kind of promised some people that this post would come up, haha ;-).

Basically, this Monday, all grades in Middle School travelled somewhere to ski. Our grade went to Zao (place up North of Japan), and we went there in 6th grade as well. Anyways, we had about seven chaperones, and they were all really fun so thats a pro of the trip. When we arrived on Monday, we changed into our skiing clothes and gear, and headed on to the slopes. I was on the advanced group with about nine more students the first day, and two teachers. We didn’t go to any black diamonds the first day, but we did have great skiing weather so it was quite fun. After we finished skiing, we went inside to the hotel, and relaxed a bit until dinner. I was put in a room with Jiwoo, Ja Yeon, Philippa, Isabella, Rina, Karen, and Lucie. We had so much fun just talking and getting to know each other better, since we couldn’t bring our phones we just talked.

After dinner, you could either night ski or chill inside. Ebba and I knew we were going to have time to ski later, so we stayed in and actually fell asleep in the room where everyone was hanging out. We woke up, and went to the Onsen (traditional bath in Japanese culture), and that is when we found out Izzy had fell on the slope and was on the way to the hospital. Fear filled my body because I wanted her to be alright. Luckily, she came back at about 11:00 pm, and Ms. Jewett knocked on the door to our room to let us know that Izzy was going to be alright. I was so worried for her after I heard what happened. Our whole room was overjoyed when she came back.

The next morning we skied the whole day. In the morning it was just Ebba, Nico, Mr. Chee, and I in the advanced group, and it was the most relaxing time because we could just kind of go in our pace, didn’t have to wait, and we didn’t need to squeeze everyone in one slope because we had space. However, after lunch, we had about 13 students and two teachers so it got a bit more crowded. After skiing we went inside, and ate dinner. There was no night skiing that night because the weather was so horrible, so instead we just all watched a movie, and then went to bed. Kind of relaxing actually. I think it was disappointing though that the weather was so horrible.

Last morning we woke up, and realized that this was our last day on the Middle School Ski Trip. It was also Philippa’s birthday, and not only this, but it was also Chae Young’s last day! When we had skied until lunch, then it was time to take the bus to the airport. We had about two hours before the flight left, so we ate dinner. I ate with Philippa, Ebba, Paulina, and Lucie. Then it was time to go to the gate. At the gate, I was talking to Ja Yeon, and we just had one of those deep talks and it was so wonderful to just connect like that. When we arrived to school again, the time was about 9:20 pm, and everyone started bursting into tears. We were all saying good bye to Chae Young, and I cannot explain how much I’ll miss her! I hope we stay in contact though. That was the end of the school trip, and then the next morning I was leaving to Hokkaido with my family, Ebba’s family, Lizzy’s family, and two other families.

We arrived at night, and all the families went to dinner together at the hotel. We talked about what happened on the ski trips since Lizzy was in another trip than Ebba and I because she is in seventh grade. We had a great time catching up, and then we went to the onsen together. Honestly, if you are ever in Japan, I recommend going to an onsen because it’s just amazing to see the culture of Japan. We then went to my hotel room and talked. The next two days, we just skied and ate dinner together at night. However, the last day of skiing, it was raining so we only skied until lunch, and then we went to the hotel. When we got to the hotel, Lizzy, and Fiona (a mother from another family) went to the onsen, and just talked and relaxed. That night all of the families ate a delicious last dinner together, and thanked Lena (Ebba’s mom) for organizing the dinners so wonderfully! All in all, it was two great ski trips, and I am so satisfied that I got the opportunity to spend them with people who I care about.

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.