When I woke up this morning tears began to form. I knew it would be our last day in Hua Hin, which in a short amount of time began to feel like a second home. The Thai people of Hua Hin have been the most welcoming people that I have ever met. Hua Hin made me realize that Thailand truly is “the land of smiles.” No matter where we went or who I was around someone always put a smile on my face.
Finishing up packing this morning did not feel right. I didn’t want to leave Salesian, the friends I made, and all of the amazing places where I made lifelong memories. It was not easy for anyone as we said our goodbyes. The relationships and bonds that have been made will always have a special place in our hearts. Before saying goodbye we joined for one last Mass at St. Theresa Catholic Church. Most of of bought handmade rosaries, which were blessed by Father at the end of Mass and many of us are excited to give our blessed rosaries to family members when we arrive home.
The staff of the Vittaylia School treated us as family. They made sure to make us feel at home, fed us home cooked meals, and showered us with love. We were blessed to have met P Deng who treated us as her own children. A smile would automatically be put on her face when she saw us, and of course on ours when we saw her. She loved getting to know us through Dr. Tim, who was our translator since she did not speak English. We presented a framed picture that we took with her and signed all of our names in Thai. Tears were brought to both her eyes and ours as we gave her our gift and said goodbye. It was extremely difficult for everyone to say goodbye to our dear friends Yoky and Anda. They were an extreme help to us during our time spent in Hua Hin. Every opportunity they had to spend with us, they would. Whether is was a trip to the markets, spending the day with us at the school, having lunch with us, or enjoying a night out in the town. They were both passionate about making their English better and loved speaking with us. They were not only our friends on this trip but they also became our sisters. We already miss them dearly and wish they could have traveled with us to Bangkok.
On our way to Bangkok the traffic was very heavy. It took longer than expected but the ride was enjoyable. Looking around and experiencing the differences of American and Thai highways was interesting. The Thai people drove off the main highway on to the sides on the roads, got so close to one another that it made it look like there were going to be accidents, people sitting in the back of pick up trucks, and of course driving extremely over the speed limit. Looking out my window, it was amazing to experience such a different atmosphere than America which has very strict driving laws. I thought Hua Hin had crazy drivers but, Bangkok definitely has Hua Hin beat.
After checking into our hotel we traveled by the underground subway to the local Bangkok mall. The mall was amazing. It was covered by colorful lights and plenty of escalators, which led to 8 different levels. On our way back from the mall we were packed in like sardines, as I looked around I noticed a similarity between the Thai people and ourselves. Most people were on their cell phones. It has been very interesting observing the similarities and differences between the Thai culture compared to our own. I look forward to the next few days in Bangkok and the memories that will be made.