Jungle Living In Thailand (What I Learned When I Gave Up Running Water)

In the summer of 2005, I packed my bags and boarded a 747 bound for Bangkok. At the tender age of 20, I signed up to spend a summer in Thailand, teaching English among the Kui people of Northeast Thailand.What I learned went far beyond the teeming streets of Bangkok and touristy beaches of Phuket — it was a lesson truly realized only when I abandoned my perception of comfort and fully embraced my new home. In a nutshell, it was soul-shaping.Here are a few of the lessons I learned from my time living in Thailand’s Sisakaet Province....more

Fabulous Photos Friday: Images of Thai Buddhism

The images of Thai Buddhism will stay with me forever.  The Golden, intricate figures and images are somehow soothing, awe inspiring, and even sacred.  They are steeped in antiquity, history and worship.  Look at the peaceful faces of the Buddhas, and the sometimes fierce aspect of the protectors.  I do want to return to Thailand to see them all again....more

What to do in Bangkok: The Golden Buddha

I could have spent months in Thailand and not seen it all, but what I did see will stay with me forever.  I spent the second half of my trip with my daughter, Alexandra, who always said she never wanted to go to Asia.  As it turned out, she was not ready to leave when the time came!...more

Ethical Elephant Tourism in Thailand

Everyone who travels to Thailand wants to trek with the Asian elephants who are advertised for trekking, riding, and shows....more

Off to Thailand and Myanmar (Burma)

 Happy New Year! We will be on our way to Bangkok on New Years eve and day. We spend 2 days in Bangkok, then fly to Mandalay for a river cruise down Myanmar to Yangon (used to be Rangoon) Then back to Bangkok. I was involved in a yearly college weekend where all the foriegn students from then Burma, gathered for cultural events. I learned Burmese dancing.  I've  had a love for the country ever since. This is my first trip. It will be a good experince to be in a mostly Buddhist country and learn about that. ...more

Not Letting Fear Have the Final Say

by Mandi SchmittFear is a sensation I am most unaccustomed with. I sometimes joke that my fear threshold is broken or turned off, and that this could potentially get me into trouble, much like people whose pain indicators are faulty can hurt themselves without knowing it. Jetting off to a foreign land without a plan, jumping off a bridge with only a thin bungee separating me from death–these are things that most people find terrifying, mainly because they are so outside the norms of a typical lifestyle. But for me, well, these things are what make me feel alive....more

Mother of the bride:A diary

I'm Not Too Cool to Beg, Not For Thai Orphans

I used to try and be cool. It wasn't even a conscious thing but I had this ingrained habit of being non-committal about things. Don't let people know you care. Better yet, don't care at all. Keep your hand close. Smile only occasionally. Be hard to impress. I don't know why. I have many, many guesses. But I don't want to talk about that. I want to talk about when it changed for me. ...more
Final count as of midnight September 30, 2011. We raised $10,826.50! Thank-you all of you for ...more

Teaching Our Family to Survive in a Thai Orphanage

I can see it in the way my husband eyes the Girl as she grabs her third helping of chicken. When I throw him a questioning glance he says, "A chicken half this size would be all the meat for dinner for all 28 kids at the orphanage."...more

I have to agree with you about my husband.

I will hope with you that your family finds a way. ...more

"Dear Madam Ambassador": A letter about remembrance and reparations

    Re: April 23rd Remembrance and Reparations Peace Rally Dear Madam Ambassador,...more