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Hana River Biking

안녕하세요 (Hello)! Week 7 in Seoul was great. This was Jacob’s second week and last week in Korea. A fun highlight included our friend group ending up in the same place of Seoul we randomly decided to go to on our first week. At this random place we decided to try a sit-on-the-floor place and ordered two random stews for our large party. One was google translated to “potato ride” and the other was made of pig spine. They were both delicious; however I was not impressed with the amount of two potatoes I managed to find in the potato ride. Another highlight included getting Bingsu, which is Korean snow ice cream, with my exchange buddy. She taught me how to say lunch and dinner in Korean and how to talk about the food that comes with the drinks in Korean. Dinner is pronounced like “Jeo nyuk” and lunch is pronounced like “chum sim,” while food with drink is “panju.” The Bingsu we ate was a strawberry and condensed milk decorated mountain of milk chips with a cheesecake stuck inside. Jake and I got to eat most of it because the exchange buddy stepped out to talk for a long time, and it was mostly melted when she returned. We loved this ice cream so much that we got it three times during the remainder of his stay. Two of my favorite activities happened this week: Han River bike riding the Noryangiin Fish Market.

Another great weekend started. Thursday night started with a KUBA dinner that Jake and I went to. We ate sushi that dinner and were served three massive sushi rolls that were split between 5 people and we were all beyond stuffed. Then we moved on to round 2, which is typically a Soju place. At this Soju place we tried raspberry, apple, and blueberry flavored Soju. My favorite out of these three flavors was apple. John was also there with his KUBA group and we were approached by a GWU exchange alum who we met at the Simon Lee dinner, Jiyoon Chung. It was very exciting to see someone we met at GWU at this bar in Korea and we shall have lunch with her after midterms. After dinner, the night was spent at Monkey Beach and Octagon. Monkey Beach was a new club we tried, where a Korean girl climbed a pole and rang a bell and thus was able to get a free tub of long island iced tea. Shout out to a KU alumni Tony Lyons for giving us great tips here in Korea! He constantly recommends cool hotspots to try (like Monkey Beach) and how to succeed in classes. After Monkey Beach, we went to Octagon. As I previously mentioned, it is the number 9 club in the world and a lot of fun stuff always happens there. We danced until we could not dance anymore and even Jake was impressed by it.

Friday morning was met with homework. That Friday afternoon however we went biking on the Han River. This area is popular among Koreans because it provides a beautiful view of the city as well as a place for activity. This is where Korean couples go to show off how cute they look together in their matching outfits and bike ride. Jesse, Jake, John, Mike, Jesper, and I decided to bike. The pollution was low that day so you could actually see the mountain peaks in the distance. I felt free and happy on the bike. The bike lanes were separated into two moving direction lanes. I kept riding as fast or as slow as I wanted along to the rhythm of my music, which was blasting from my bike basket. Jake rode on an unknown path so he was separated from the group for 20 minutes, but eventually he found us. The whole trip was only 3000W for an hour and everyone was left joyful from the experience. After this adventure we got Indian food and enjoyed it on the Crimson roof.

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Fish Market Stingray

The Noryangiin Fish Market is the largest seafood market in Korea where vendors sell everything from stingrays to squid to mystery fish. It is open year round and is the place where restaurant owners compete for the freshest catch in the mornings. John, Jesse, Michael, Jake, and I decided that we would wake up early on Saturday to explore this attraction. When we got off of the subway, the market was hidden in a large warehouse with a smelly fish odor emanating from it. As we descended down the stairs, you could hear the bustle of the merchants. It was around 9:30am when we arrived there. The warehouse was the size of a city block, with wet floors, and loud merchants trying to make a sale.

The first section was mainly shellfish such as crab and muscles, with a few squid and sea slugs. Jesse and I decided to try stingray sashimi and then the whole group split a sashimi platter. The sashimi platter was 20000W and the stingray was 15000W. We weren’t sure of where we should sit so we went outside the warehouse and sat on a raised curb where they plant flowers. We used that was the table and sat around it. The sashimi platter was fantastic and a Korean man in his car even stopped to make sure we were dipping the sashimi in the sauce. The stingray however did not sit right with any of us. When I ingested it, a funny sensation was felt down the entirety of my tongue. Being an enthusiastic food lover, even I felt as if I could not try even another piece. My friends were in agreement and we ended up throwing away the stingray sashimi. Afterwards, we decided to try some fish-cooking restaurant in the market. In order to do this Mike chose a king crab for his meal, Jake chose a red snapper, and I chose a simple random fish. We went into a random restaurant in the warehouse and they prepared it for us right there and then. It was delicious and definitely an experience that we won’t forget. Afterwards we went Han River biking round 2!

Saturday night Jake and I went to Hongdae to a rooftop party and got Korean BBQ at 2am. On Sunday, it was KUBA field day and Michael and Alissa’s group won a free meal! Studying abroad rocks! 안녕 (Goodbye)!!!

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Strawberry Bingsu


By Ashlyn

Hey you. Yeah, you! You want to visit Copenhagen? You want to visit Copenhagen and skip tourist trap operations like Tivoli and the pocket-emptying experience that is Noma?

Most people prefer to go to a city's main tourist attractions when traveling. However, as great as viewing the "must-see" sights is to the eager traveler, sticking to the beaten path is not a great way to take in the full depth of a city's culture. For anyone interested in coming to Copenhagen and getting an "insider's" look at the city, the following are a few tips to point you in the right direction.

Insider Site: The Botanical Gardens

While most prefer to see the castles or visit the Little Mermaid statue at the harbor, some visitors to Copenhagen might prefer the beautiful Botanical Gardens. The garden is host to a number of different plants and funguses and serves as a "gene bank" for many different species. It is a part of Denmark's Natural History Museum. The grounds are lovely in the spring and summer; even in the winter, though, the large heated building is open during the day and shows off all manner of plants, big and small. Those with a love of nature should not miss it.

Insider Eats: Torvehallerne

Right outside of the Nørreport metro stop is Torvehallerne, nicknamed "the Glass Market." Two glass buildings feature a smorgasbord of delicious treats, from fresh-baked bread to pastries to-go, squeezed juice, gourmet chocolate and more. Personal favorites include the dulce de leche oatmeal from Grød, the pulled chicken banh mi from Lêlê, and a pack of sweet Danish flødebøller from Summerbird.

Insider Drinks: Lidkoeb

Looking for a fun place to spend the evening sipping drinks? Lidkoeb, located in a back alley in Vesterbro, is a three-level bar with an interesting theme on each floor. Get beer on the entrance floor, cocktails at the level above, or sip whiskey on the top floor. Keep your drinks inside at the bars and comfortable tables, or head outside to the covered patio. In the colder months, heated lamps and furs keep bargoers cozy.

Insider Fun: The Meatpacking District

Anyone who goes out regularly in Copenhagen has been to the Meatpacking District. What used to be a big collection of meatpacking establishments has been turned into a hip center for bars and nightclubs. Located on this stretch in Vesterbro is Jolene, a popular nightclub and bar, as well as Mother, a popular pizza restaurant. Follow the hordes of young Danes on a Saturday night and you won't miss it.

Clam noodle soup
Clam noodle soup

Annyeonghaseyo (Hello)! Seoul, South Korea week 4! My mood is fantastic. The study abroad chart shown at orientation does not seem to apply to me. I am constantly happy and my program just keeps getting better! Shout out to my sister Yanina, so far the only Kim I know is Kimchi. I shall start off with a random story of week 4 study abroad.

About two weeks ago, my friends Jesse, Ernest, John and I decided that it would be fun to travel to a random metro stop and just explore what was around the area. We managed to get off at a stop called Seokgye, about three blocks away from our regular Anam stop. As it was around 9pm and we were all hungry, we agreed on a late dinner. We managed to walk one block up from the metro station, when John stopped to look inside of a restaurant shop. As soon as he took longer than 5 seconds, a spry Korean woman pulled him inside and, thus, we were compelled to dine there. Once inside we were seated in the corner near a party of rowdy Korean working class men who had no problem taking shots of Soju on a Monday night. We suddenly realized that there was no English menu.

The consensus was to ask the Korean woman who let us in to order for us. The challenge was telling the woman that we were hungry and wanted food not alcohol. It took us 5 minutes to explain to her that we only came in for dinner. It quickly became the best decision ever. Once she understood she picked out two dishes from the menu based on her own tastes. She choose this giant honey mustard omelet and boiling hot noodle clam stew. Both were way too delicious and so random, that all of us were happy she ordered for us.Another interesting learning experience so far has been teaching one of my KUBA buddies English through a language exchange program offered here. I signed up for the program on the first day of orientation in the hopes of also being able to pick up some Korean. My exchange buddy and I sat next to each other during a group 5 lunch. We talked about everything from K-pop to our favorite color. Although, I only learned how to say "you're welcome," we ended up becoming good friends. I hope to be able to hold a simple Korean conversation after these next couple of weeks.

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to party in the number 9 club in the world, Octagon. It was not shaped like an octagon, nor was it the best club I have ever been to. However, I had a good time. My roommate Alissa and I kept being pulled to tables by Koreans to party with them and were even invited to the VIP room. As fun as it was to come home early in the morning, that was not the highlight of that weekend. The very next day I joined my KUBA group on a typical KUBA event called membership training. Membership training is where many school clubs, companies, and friend and family groups go to stay in a house for a night to drink and bond with those around them. The house my group stayed at was 5 hours away and was located in the middle of the mountains outside of Seoul. My friend Sabrina and I came at 6pm and were immediately served Korean BBQ. People had arrived earlier and already started drinking. When we got into the house, I noticed that there was no furniture and the floor was heated. The experience that followed can only be described as an organized Korean version of a house party. Throughout the night, I had a chance to experience Korean games and bond with my KUBA buddies as well as the other international students. Definitely an experience I will not forget. For now until next time! Annyeoungkyeseyo (Goodbye)!



By kaandle

German food is a difficult thing to define. Some will argue that since Germany officially became a state in 1851 and its history prior to that consisted of tribal territories and was included in various empires' borders, food unique to Germany does not actually exist.  Add to that the buzzing metropolis that is Berlin and suddenly finding traditional german food is a difficult task.

That being said, here are five of my favorite eats as of yet:


This is essentially a round, grilled piece of beef that falls somewhere between a hamburger and a meatball. It's deliciousness has yet to fail me - ranging from specialty flee market food trucks to prepared sandwich sections in grocery stores (yes, it comes in sandwich form too), frikadeller is always top notch.


Imagine mac&cheese made with gnocchi pasta.  Clearly a match made in heaven. If you find yourself in Berlin and craving some spätzel, go to Clärchens Ballhaus.  Not only does your cheesy dish come with apple sauce and fried onions (sounds weird - just go with it) but you can also get a style-specific dance lesson with your meal.

Bavarian Mac&Cheese 

You're probably thinking this will be redundant since I just described spätzel as mac&cheese-like, but that would be incorrect. Markethalle Neun, essentially a warehouse packed with awesome food stands, sells a Bavarian Mac&cheese that will make you never want to eat anything else ever again.  I have not been to Bavaria, but this dish in itself is close to convincing me to take the five hour bus ride just to eat it in its natural habitat.


Here we have a non-German food item making the list.  Berlin has a large Turkish population and as a result large amounts of döner.  I'm pretty confident in guesstimating that every other street has at least one döner stand.  And it's a good, cheap, filling eat.  Personally, I opt for the falafel döner over more traditional veal or chicken.  Fair warning: your breath will smell strongly of garlic and onions once you're done.


Basically a higher quality hotdog.  What are Germans known for? 1. Meet 2. Beer 3. Cars (a bit irrelevant, but still very true)  Put your faith in their meet expertise and buy the inexplicably cheap bratwurst off the street and enjoy.


By kennatim

I have had a hard time determining how the Irish really feel about Americans. Obviously, being American myself, opinions are probably held back. In my classes, my peers often attack U.S. foreign policy, but in conversation, everyone mentions their cousin on Boston, or wonderful holiday to New York City. It almost seems as if the Irish do not want to like Americans, but with the overwhelming influence of American pop culture here, from Burger King to House of Cards, it is impossible not to.

Being in a modern, international city like Dublin made me figure the consensus I have been witnessing is skewed. I thought that opinion skew would change when I made my way to Cork City. Cork is about three hours by car southwest of Dublin, much more off the beaten path, with rarely an international flight out of the airport. Though still one of Dublin’s larger cities, I considered it to be a better representative of the small town nature of Ireland outside of Dublin. Is location on the southwest coast is a bit remote and many Dubliners poke fun at the distinctive Cork accent. This was going to be real Ireland.

As soon as we got off the bus, I found the Cork accent to sound much different than I was expecting. The international influence was very surprising, and the “Cork accent” to me was any accent that did not sound Irish. I totally underestimated the cosmopolitan nature of the city. We met some Eastern European friends, stayed in an Airbnb with a Portuguese woman and German man, and ate at a restaurant owned by Brazilians. By the way, the food in what I thought was a quaint little Irish town made Dublin look like my middle school cafeteria.

We had a great time exploring churches, the waterfront, the nightlife, and even got a chance to kiss the Blarney Stone at Blarney Castle. I learned that Ireland is truly a modern, living, breathing organism with a large variety of people and places that might not necessarily agree on anything, let alone their views on Americans. I have never felt uncomfortable, and with my red, white, and blue backpack I purchased here (getting ridiculed by my American friends, no doubt), that is saying a lot. So if you are looking for an international experience, or just looking for really good Brazilian food, look no further than County Cork.

By Ashlyn

DIS (my study abroad program) offers several different types of housing, including "Living-Learning Communities." These communities place students who are interested in learning a particular skill in the same housing facility. I was placed in the "Culinary House," an LLC dedicated to teaching its inhabitants about Danish food culture through hands-on lessons, visits, and tastings.

As a member of the Culinary House for the past month and a half, I have cooked (and eaten) quite a lot of Danish food. Though I feel like I have only scratched the surface of Danish cuisine, I already have picked out a few favorites among those dishes that I have eaten. The following is a list of my five favorite Danish foods… at the moment. (Subject to change.)

  1. Smørrebrød

These open-faced sandwiches are possibly the most popular food in Denmark and are typically eaten for lunch. Start with a piece of nutty, grainy rugbrød, which is a special dark rye bread. Next, and a slew of ingredients and condiments. Each type of smørrebrød has a particular list of ingredients that it must include. My favorite smørrebrød types are prawn - made with mayonnaise, small prawns, hard-boiled eggs, and lemon - and tartare - seasoned with salt and pepper and topped with raw onion, egg, and horseradish.

  1. Wienerbrød

Wienerbrød is what Americans would typically call a Danish pastry, but in Denmark the name literally translates to "Viennese bread." This is because the recipe for a Danish pastry comes from an adaptation of the Viennese treat Plundergebäck. The Danish version of this pastry comes in many different shapes, sizes, and flavors. My favorite version is known as overskåret and is flat with stripes of white frosting, warm yellow custard, and melted chocolate.

  1. Fransk Hotdog

Hot dog carts are as common on the streets of Copenhagen as they are on the streets of New York. However, instead of your average frankfurters, the hot dog carts here in Denmark sell long, meaty sausages called pølse. One of the more popular ways to eat pølse on the go is in the form of a Fransk Hotdog ("French hot dog"). A hollowed-out baguette (closed on one side) is filled with creamy French dressing and then a sausage is inserted from the top. The salty, grilled hot dog goes very well with the crisp baguette and the rich dressing.  The Danes call it hangover food - whatever it is, it's definitely a guilty pleasure.

  1. Brunsviger

This Danish cake is sometimes served for birthdays, though it can also be served as a coffee cake. It tastes like a cinnamon bun, and is made of delicious, fluffy dough topped with a thick layer of caramelized butter and brown sugar. It should be eaten warm, but in my opinion, it can be eaten cold, or lukewarm, or half warm and half cold, or upside down, or with sunglasses on. This cake is dangerous, dangerous stuff.

  1. Flødebøller

Ah, flødebøller. In the past few weeks I’ve gotten to know this little Danish treat very well. The average flødebøller is a simple mixture of marshmallowy meringue, piped onto a wafer and dipped in tempered chocolate. But it is so much more than that. I have eaten approximately 200 flødebøller (give or take a hundred and fifty) since I’ve been in Copenhagen and I expect to eat at least 200 more before I leave to return home. It doesn’t matter whether they are simple or fancy – some chocolate shops make them with marzipan, or put dried raspberries in the meringue, or use white chocolate on the exterior – they are all delicious. They are also not too rich or too filling. They are the perfect after-dinner treat!

So fresh and so local, the food from my agrarian homestay.
So fresh and so local, the food from my agrarian homestay.

“Arroi maak, ka!” “Chan im maak ka!” I must have said these two Thai phrases hundreds of time this past week.

I was living in a MooBan (village) in Yosothon Province, about three hours northeast of where I am in Khon Kaen, learning about the agrarian life in Thailand. We lived with farming families, and had what CIEE calls ‘exchanges’ each day. Exchanges are essentially meetings where different groups will share their experiences and knowledge, and we will share a bit of our own. We met with groups like organic farmers, farmers who sell at a green market, chemical farmers, and contract farmers. We also visited a rice mill and a sugar plantation. However all these exchanges were far from the highlight of my time away from Khon Kaen. My highlight, you ask? It was the experiences that prompted me to exclaim “Arroi maak” and “Chan im maak.” (Very delicious, and I’m VERY full.)

The food. My Meh in this family was an organic farmer. When rice is in season she grows organic rice, and in the off-season (which is right now) she grows a wide variety cover crops that nourish the soil for the next rice season. The crops included an assortment of vegetables, watermelon, and corn. There were also a number of chickens that roamed the back yard and offered us fresh eggs each day. Everything that was placed before us to eat was fresh, organic, and grown by my Meh herself or by one of our neighbors.

There was an abundance of stir fried vegetables, fish, som tham (green papaya salad), and sticky rice (SO MUCH sticky rice!).

My two favorite dishes were a local Isaan variety of black sticky rice (cow neow see dam), soaked in coconut milk and topped with sweet egg and fresh coconut meat that came from the coconuts plucked from the trees in our yard. I had to slurp down the coconut water first before I could eat the meat of the fruit with our sticky rice. My second favorite was a dish of caramelized onions and whole cloves of garlic paired with boiled eggs that had then been fried so the outside was a little crispy. I dipped my sticky rice (plain white this time) in the sauce, scooping out caramelized onions and garlic, to eat with my bite of boiled/fried egg. A perfect blend of savory and sweet. My mouth waters as I write and reminisce. Arroi MAAK, ka.

Eating from such an intensely local food system was an incredible experience. The food was probably the best I will have in Thailand.

By LizGoodwin04

When I first told people I would be studying abroad in Thailand, I got almost the same reaction from everyone: “You’re going to eat so much great food!” Thailand is definitely known for its cuisine. Thai food is the perfect combination of spicy, sweet, sour and salty. While I’ve eaten some stranger things since I’ve been in Thailand like ant eggs and grasshoppers, I’ve also eaten some amazing things that I’ll miss when I go back to America. In no particular order, I’ve ranked by top 5 favorite foods in Thailand.

  • Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Shrimp Soup)
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Tom Yum Goong, or spicy shrimp soup


I’m not a big soup person, but this soup is so good I find myself ordering it at least once a week! The soup is made with lemongrass, chili, lime and shrimp.

  • Khao Niao (Sticky Rice)

I love sticky rice. It’s become an obsession since I’ve been in Thailand. The Thais eat rice with every single meal from breakfast to dinner. Regular rice is a core staple in Thailand, but in the Isaan province where I’m staying, sticky rice is the go-to. This glutinous rice sticks together so you can form a ball with the rice and mold it into a spoon to use to eat with your other dishes. Sticky rice is also used in a lot of Thai desserts. My favorite is Khao Lam, which is sticky rice that is roasted in a bamboo shoot and sweetened with coconut, sugar and red beans.

  • Som Tum (Spicy Green Papaya Salad)

Som Tum isn’t a dish that can be found in all of Thailand, but it is very popular in the Northeastern province where I am living and it is by far one of the spiciest foods I’ve had in Thailand. It’s made with shredded raw papaya, fish sauce, lime, chili and cherry tomato. This dish is one of those distinctive dishes that people either love or hate.

  • Khao Pad Tuna (Tuna Fried Rice)

As I mentioned before the rice in Thailand is really good and the fried rice is even better. I’m not used to eating fish in fried rice, but as a vegetarian in Thailand it can be hard to find protein so I try to incorporate as much fish into my meals as I can. This is a typical dish though and the fish in Thailand is much better than any fish I’ve ever had in the U.S. It’s super juicy and flavorful!

  • Fruit Smoothies

And finally, one of my favorite foods in Thailand isn’t really a food, but I will count it as such. Thailand has some of the best fresh fruit including dragon fruit, jackfruit, coconut, mango, banana, pineapple, watermelon, etc. The list goes on and on! Almost everyday I go to the fruit stand next to my classes and grab a fresh coconut, which they chop open for me and stick a straw in. If I’m not feeling the coconut, I go the smoothie stand next door to the fruit stand and get a fresh fruit smoothie. Just like everything else in Thailand, the smoothies are delicious and especially refreshing when it is 100 degrees out!

By jdippel529

Spain is a culture rich in history, language, wine, and more importantly, food. Sitting down for a meal is one of Spain’s defining cultural experiences. People gather with friends, family, and co-workers everyday, hours on end, to enjoy each and every one of their meals. That is why it is pretty hard not to fall in love with all of the amazing food Spain has to offer. Although I have only been in Madrid for 3 weeks, there are dozens of dishes that I know I will go back to America sorely missing. But for now, here are my top 5 favorite Spanish foods:


  1.    Paella – My all-time favorite. Although Paella is traditionally a Valencian dish, you can still find it just about anywhere in Madrid. It is a rice dish typically served with seafood and peppers, but I’ve also had it with chicken. Once its served, you can’t forget your squeeze of lemon on top. All in all, paella is an explosion of flavors you simply won’t be able to resist.
  2. Croquetas – Croquetas are small, fried, bread-crumbed rolls usually containing mashed potatoes and/or basically any type of ground meat. Warm, fried, and cheesy—croquetas, in my opinion, are the best comfort snack Spain has to offer.
  3. Patatas Bravas – This is another one of my go-to tapas dishes. Patatas bravas are diced potatoes fried in oil and then served with a spicy tomato sauce. They are basically hash browns 2.0
  4. Pan – Bread! Any Spanish meal is simply incomplete without a heaping portion of bread on the side. I thought I was a bread lover back in the States, but I knew nothing about real bread until I arrived in Madrid. This is the kind of bread made for Kings (and Queens).
  5. Tortilla – Spanish tortilla is nothing like Mexican tortilla. Instead, it is really an omelette. It consists of egg, potatoes and fried vegetable oil, and usually takes on the shape of a cake. Although you may think of breakfast when you think of eggs, this dish can be served at any and every Spanish meal. It’s great that tortilla is one of the most common dishes in Spain, since it is a food you will definitely begin to develop a craving for.


For me, the hardest thing about adjusting to life in Spain has been overcoming the language barrier. But, food is universal. My strongest and most confident immersion into the Spanish culture has most definitely been through its amazing dishes. With my host mom, especially, I find that we don’t have to say a word to agree on how delicious our dinner is. That’s the beautiful thing about this country, it can teach you so much through something as simple as food.

Wat Arun Temple
Wat Arun Temple- From my first day in Bangkok

Hello (Sa wa dee ka) from Khon Kaen, Thailand! I have been in Thailand for nearly two weeks yet it has felt like I have been here for at least a month. Each day is jam-packed with activity and new experiences. I am studying with a small group of American students from Universities around the country, so we spend a fair amount of time together. We all live in the same dormitory building in the university district of Khon Kaen right on the edge of campus. This dorm building is my home for half the time I am here in Thailand, but the other half I spend in week long homestays every other week in rural communities. The first one starts this Monday (2/2)! I’m thrilled that I get both a homestay experience and a college student experience. This past Sunday after a three-day orientation at a site about an hour outside of the city we moved in with our Thai Roommates. I have yet to meet a Thai person that has been rude or unkind. My roommate included. Kim is a kind, thoughtful, energetic, and very sporty. She loves singing John Legend and playing basketball.

On my first night in Khon Kaen, Kim brought me to an Agriculture Fair on KKU’s (Khon Kaen University) campus. I rode to the fair on the back of Kim’s Motorcycle. Motorcycles, or what Thai’s call ‘Moterscies’ are the primary mode of transportation around Khon Kaen (Sorry, Mom. Be comforted-- I do wear a helmet!). This fair was a massive spread of tents and stalls sprawled out on what felt like a square mile of campus. If it wasn’t for Kim I would have gotten massively lost. The fair had everything from mango tree saplings, banana trees, flowers and small cacti plants, to cows, fighting roosters, bunnies, puppies, and goats. But that’s not nearly all. There were stalls and stalls of wild food and clothing vendors as well. I played it safe and only tried a few samples of food and then bought a fresh cold coconut. Buying fresh raw coconuts is going to become a weekly ritual for me at the fruit stand down the road from the apartments. They are so sweet and refreshing!

Food has been an adventure. I haven’t gotten sick yet (knock-on-wood), and everything that I have ordered has been delicious! I am able to order my food in Thai because my program has already led us through twenty hours of intensive Thai class. It’s incredible how much I am able to speak in such a short time! All the food is so cheap (on average, one American dollar can buy you a large meal)! My favorite dishes so far have been a traditional Issan pork dish, made with lots of lime and green onion- very spicy and eaten with sticky rice, as well as green curry and morning glory greens (kindof like stir-fried kale). Every dish I try has been pretty fabulous.

In Thailand coffee is generally of the hyper-sweet powdered instant variety. Not my favorite. This past week, motivated by my caffeine headaches, I have managed to find a few cafes around my apartment that have real coffee! Cafes open no earlier than 9am, and some open at three. Coffee is not a morning necessity for some reason. When ordering, I always have to be very intentional about saying ‘mai sai juan’ or ‘don’t add sweet.’ Otherwise they will pour a shot of condensed milk in with the coffee.

This next week I will be living with a family in a slum in Khon Kaen for four days. It is the first of our six home stays in different communities around Issan (the northeast of Thailand). I am excited to experience their way of life, gain a new perspective, and practice my Thai.