Chan Yak Ja Pbai (I Want To Leave)

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Chan Yak Ja Pbai (I Want To Leave)

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Unfortunately, I have not been able to travel since the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. The last two years of my undergraduate were affected by the pandemic, and initially, I was planning to study abroad during my senior year. Unfortunately, that was not possible and I was barely able to complete my student teaching placement for my Secondary Education Minor as the program was constantly under revision to ensure student safety. Now, as a graduate student, if I could go anywhere it would easily be Thailand as that is where my personal historical focus is. While my Thai is far from fluent, I have been steadily learning the language for about a year now as I hope to have an opportunity to complete an extended stay for scholarly or leisurely purposes. In terms of specifics, I would first like to travel to Chiang Rai, Sukhothai, or across Isan as Northern and Eastern Thailand have some of the richest historical and cultural sites, combined with the fact that individuals who I am very close to are from these areas as well. I have worked part-time at a Thai restaurant in Houston for a significant amount of time which helps considerably with practicing the language. As I am one of the only foreigners that works for the restaurant, the owners, my co-workers, and the individuals I have been introduced to through them have become like a second family to me, and I am very grateful for their generosity, inclusivity, and willingness to teach me as an outsider to the culture. Thus, I would love to be able to visit the areas that have meaning to them as well as fulfill my own historical ambitions. Two of my closest co-workers and I discussed traveling to Thailand and Laos together, and we agreed it would be interesting if we started a vlog to document the process. Not every temple or historical landmark allows photography or video to be taken, but I do think a vlog would be a great way to capture the moment as I am not the best at actively documenting things through social media. Video documentation also has the advantage of directly capturing the emotions and excitement of traveling as opposed to journaling or even photography. The photo I chose is of my co-worker and me at an event for the restaurant promoting Northern Thai cuisine in the traditional "Mo Hom", or the shirts worn by rice farmers.

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This item was submitted on February 2, 2023 by Molly Federwisch using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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