This was my first (and last) free weekend in Chiang Mai, so I wanted to take advantage of as much as possible! I didn’t have my Thai Society and Culture class on Friday, so several of my friends and I temple-hopped through the Old City. We ended up visiting 4 different temples and I really enjoyed exploring some of the less popular/less touristy temples in the city. They were each beautiful in their own way and it was fun checking off a few more from the list of 300 temples in Chiang Mai!
Friday evening I had my last cooking class and we had probably my favorite meal of the week: larb e-sarn and khai jiew. This is a spicy meat salad (still not sure what makes it a salad) with a Thai-style omelette and rice. It was a wonderful pairing and I’m already craving that omelette again! For dessert we had my favorite Thai dessert, mango sticky rice with coconut cream! It was soooo good. I am excited to try to make some of the Thai dishes I made last week when I return to Boise! :)
On Saturday, several of the USAC students and staff members volunteered at Nikki’s Place Agape Home. The home is an orphanage for about 70+ children living with HIV/AIDS. We spent a couple of hours with the kids playing games and soccer that morning. It was such a fun morning, but also heartbreaking to leave those kids. They have a good life at Agape, but I just couldn’t help but want to bring all of them home with me. :(
Quite a few of the USAC students are taking either Buddhism in Thailand or a Global Health course this semester, so they have been introduced to some unique healing and meditation practices by their professor. Some of the students decided to visit the Lanna Yoga center, which is run by Guy Harriman. Guy has worked in a variety of fields, but most notably he worked with Steve Jobs at Apple to create the chip in your iPhone! He now lives in Chiang Mai and runs this healing and yoga center. He created the ajna light, which is used for both meditation and as treatment for addiction, stress, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. It is a 10 minute light where you lay down, listen to music and gamma waves are sent into your brain to help reverse the frequencies in your brain. The light helps you tune to the natural frequency of the earth to get your rhythm back to a normal frequency. It’s been tested at Yale, Harvard, and Johns Hopkins and has proven to make a difference for some patients! I felt so relaxed and calm after doing the ajna light therapy. It was a very unique experience that makes me want to try other meditation techniques in the future!
Sunday was spent visiting various markets in Chiang Mai! I went to the Baan Kang Wat artist village and it was the most tropical and green area I think I have seen in my life! I enjoyed looking at the art there and enjoyed some lunch before popping around town to some other local markets. I finished the night with some friends at the Sunday night bazaar! It was an awesome weekend and I can’t believe I’m starting my final week of classes today!