Last week I had the do the hardest thing yet during my Peace Corps experience: say goodbye to my family I've had for the last 2 months. Even though it doesn't seem like much time, I feel so close to them. In a sense they have “raised” me, teaching me to speak my first words in Thai, learn how to adapt to the culture, and keeping me safe. They included me as part of the family from the very beginning, treating me as one of the family. My “may” (mother) worried for me the same as one of her own children, following me everyday with her motorcycle as I rode my bike and bringing me drinks for the ride home. My pi sao (older sister) has been a great friend to me and patiently taught me Thai. My yai (grandma) has been so encouraging and has the best smile of anyone. The day we had our swearing in ceremony she surprised me by coming to the hotel we stayed at just to give me a hug and say “chok dii!” or good luck! Even though verbal communication was not always there it didn't matter because their actions said so much more.
My may and yai
Giving my grandma and grandpa gifts the night before I left.
Good bye celebration with all the homestay families in our area
Its so comforting to know I have their love and support as I leave training and begin my 2 year service. At the same time it makes it harder being away from home, because I'm not only missing my family and friends back in the states, but missing my Thai family too. I just remember that I will be here for 2 more years, and will develop more connections just like the one I have in my Thai family when I'm in my new site. (And hopefully visit my family a lot!)
And, as they say in Thailand, Suu Suu! (Keep fighting!)