To the Soldotna Rotary Club:
I just want to also say thank you to the whole club for first of all picking me and also helping me out with the support you guys gave to me. Thank you for giving me this opportunity, because this year has been the best year of my life so far and the memories will stay with me forever. So Thank you again.
~Anna
 
Sawadee-ka! Hello!
 
Hey Lisa! How are you doing? I just wanted to check in and tell you about some of the amazing and unforgettable things that I have experienced in the past six months!
 
Starting at the very beginning, when I first arrived in the Bangkok airport, I was greeted with the warmest welcome! A lot of the members of my host Rotary club came to meet and greet me as well as my whole host family. Ever since then, I feel like I have become a part of my host's family's real family. I have three host sisters and they are like the sisters I never had! And my host mom and dad are like real parents to me and treat me like I'm their real daughter! It's going to be so hard to say goodbye when it's time for me to return to Alaska.
 
Next I will tell you about My school here. So a couple of weeks after I arrived I went to my first day of school. My mom had bought me the school uniform, which every student in a Thailand has to wear. My first day was pretty intimidating. When I was going to SOHI it had about 500 students. However, my school here has about 3000. And given that I do not have any Asian heritage, I stuck out like a sore thumb. But my worrying was all for nothing. My class that I was put into are the nicest kids and all gave me a big, warm welcome. As did the tachers and proncipal of the school. At the beginning it was a little hard to communicate with my classmates because they were too shy to speak english to me and I hadn't learned Thai yet. But now, six months later, I have learned to understand and speak Thai much better and there is no shyness anymore. I love my new friends! Just the other day like 20 of my classmates and friends all went to the big amusement park right outside of Bangkok for a day trip! It was a lot of fun!
 
My Rotary club does a lot of projects/events that they let me help out with. They are really great people with big hearts. I am really happy with the club I got placed with. Examples of some of the events I have helped out with are what they call Mini Rotary One Day. These events are either located at a school or in a public place where they feed the guests and sometimes give them free dental/medical check ups, free eye check ups, free hair cuts, and lots of prizes. Just the other day I went to a elementary school where we were giving the kids food, free lice medicine(cause a lot of the younger kids have lice), and English lessons(which is of course what I was helping out with). The little kids were so cute and loved getting their picture with a foreigner. Another example of event I helped at was an event for the people who just got out of jail and were having a hard time finding a job. We taught them how to we've baskets to sell for a living.
 
Along with the friends I have made at school, I have made life long relationships with the other exchange students as well. There are 22 of us. Twelve from the U.S.A, four from France, two from Brazil, two from Mexico, and two fromTaiwan. And I love all of them. They are so fun and I love to hangout with them. In a month we will all be going on our South and North trip together!
 
In only six months I feel like I have only been here like a couple of days and like I have been here way longer. While I've been here, I have already gotten to see so much of Thailand. I often travel to Bangkok and get to experience the city life and Bangkok's unique night life. Thailand also has amazing markets! Some big and some small, most markets contain very cheap food and off brand clothing that you can buy for as little at $3 US dollars! Even though things are so cheap, you can spend a lot there quickly. And I am definitely guilty of that. I love the markets, but I have to not go too often or I will spend all my money. Also on the weekends I travel a lot. My host mom and sometimes the other exchange students and their families go together. While traveling, I have gotten the privilege to see the most beautiful parts of Thailand. I have seen beautiful waterfalls, breathtaking temples(with amazing history, culture, and architecture), to safari world, ride an elephant, swim in the salty ocean, and so much more! At the temples, I have really gotten to understand and participate in some of the practices of the Buddhist religion. And the temples are beautiful. The province I live in is famous for its old temples that were burned in Thailand's war with Myanmar.
 
Also something that I didn't think that I would get the chance to do here is play hockey!! I didn't know they had hockey here, but they do! I was so lucky that my host mom's nephews played, so she had some contacts. So they asked if I could join or a little bit. I ended up playing with two teams. One was like a regular season team where I actually played with some of the guys on the national Thai team and the other team I got to play with was the National Thai girls' team for a international tournament they had in Bangkok! And we won!!
 
Lastly, I want to tell you that my Thai language skills have really started to come along. Of course I still don't know everything, but I am conversational now and understand almost everything when listening! It is exciting to be able to speak a new language. And every Thai person that I speak with says that I speak Thai clearly! Right now I am still learning and am trying to learn to read and write.
 
Anyways, I just wanted to thank you for everything you did to get me here and for all your support! You are the best YEO and I sending you a gift soon! Thank you so much Lisa!!
 
Also if you could pass this letter along to the Soldotna Rotary Club that would be great! To the Soldotna Rotary Club:
I just want to also say thank you to the whole club for first of all picking me and also helping me out with the support you guys gave to me. Thank you for giving me this opportunity, because this year has been the best year of my life so far and the memories will stay with me forever. So Thank you again.
 
Now I am off to a ten day meditation camp! No speaking for 10 days. Wish me luck!
 
~Anna