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Nathan - Czech Republic 2015-16
Shayna - Thailand 2014-15
Nathan - Taiwan 2013-14
Erin - New Zealand 2012-13
So it is nearly christmas time and I am missing the christmas spirit so much, because it is one of my favourite holidays!  And since Thailand is a country with the religion of Buddhism, they do not celebrate christmas!  That has not stopped me from decorating my room and playing christmas music all month though!  During Christmas i will be going to Bangkok with my rotary club!  I am not too clear on what we will be doing during our stay but I am very excited!  Since Bangkok is a HUGE touristy area there will be lots and lots of christmas decorations!  I have also received many christmas presents in the mail from my family which i will open on christmas day!  
The exchange students in my district realize that homesickness is an issue around christmas time so we decided to have a Christmas dinner with each other and have a Secret Santa to get into the mood of Christmas!  
My time here has been phenomenal!  I have already learned and done so much that I would have never imagined myself doing!  I've forced myself out of my comfort zone and I've really learned to come out of my shell!  I have made so many friends at my school, being blonde and having blue eyes really helps, and they are all so eager to teach me thai!
I've already had my first Rotary Trip and that was to the northeast of Thailand where I hiked up Phu Kradeung Mountain!  It took me 4 very long and tiring hours to trek up to the top, and it was SO steep! Once we got to the top we camped for three nights and hiked around the top of the mountain and got to know the other exchange students! It was so amazing and something I will never forget!  Once of the most memorable moments was one morning we woke up at 4 AM and walked to a cliff to see the sunset!  Although it was very cloudy and we only saw about 1 minute of a sunset, the view was still gorgeous and so serene!  Leeches were also a huge part of this trip!  I'm pretty sure if you asked any exchange student who went on this trip to describe it in one word it would be "leeches" and "beautiful" !  I got extremely familiar with leeches and I decided that they are creatures that I am ok with never seeing again!  The leeches did not effect the trip whatsoever and I still enjoyed myself!  
The language is still a huge barrier for me yet I find myself able to have very simple conversations with thai people which a big step forwards from 4 months ago! I am excited about my progress and I can't wait to see how much I will learn by the end of the year!
I want to take this opportunity to thank you all and say how appreciative I am to have this experience!! It is a once in a life time opportunity and i am extremely fortunate to be one of the students that live it!  I knew so very little about thailand, or asia in general, and from the short 4 months i  have already lived here I have learned an abundance about asia and thailand and I am so excited to share what I have learned with everyone back home!  At the beginning of this exchange I was extremely homesick and I was sad because everything was too different and I didn't like it but now i see that everything is so different and I love it!  I love learning new things, eating new foods and seeing other religions!  I love being immersed into this culture and having it open my mind to how big the world is! 
Thank you so much for this and I can't wait until I see you again!
Until next time,