I’m back!

Winter break has begun, and I’m free to do all of the fun things I’ve been wanting to do all semester!  I have a list full of craft projects and trip prep that I cannot wait to get started on. I’ve started working on my Thai, visiting the Thai temple to practice my speaking and writing. I’ve also planned out my independent study for spring semester, which I’m very excited to tell you all about!

Be sure to follow my Instagram for daily Thailand throwback pictures, and updates on all my cool craft projects.

<3, Eliot

Checking In!

Hello humans!

This week, I worked 37 hours, turned all my homework in on time, started working on a new cool sewing project, went on a little nature adventure, met a Peruvian Shaman,  visited with relatives from out of town, bought a new pack of dental floss, started consuming massive amounts of wheatgrass, had a sandwich fall out of its container and into in my backpack,  presented to my Human Biology class about GMO’s, worked a night shift, finished a knitting project, and shook my head with shame when I came home to find my parents watching Bob’s Burgers for the first time. It’s a weird life.

Holy Moly!

It’s been almost a 2 weeks since I’ve been able to get a post up on here!

With the start of the second half of the semester, I’ve added 2 more classes to my schedule, which means almost twice as much work as before! I also got promoted at work (woohoo!) and work in Vitamins now, instead of vitamins and on the registers. This is quite snazzy cause I love working in vitamins, but I also work an average of 28ish hours a week now, instead of 20. With my one other day at my second job, I’ve pretty much been the busiest bee in all the lands!

Seeing as how this will be my schedule for the next 2 months, I probably won’t have many opportunities to post on here, but do not worry! I will most certainly keep you guys updated about any trip plans/ideas, and anything especially cool that I find myself doing.

-Eliot

Thai Food Fair

Sunday for lunch, my family and I went to the Thai Buddhist temple of St. Louis  for their monthly Thai Food Fair.  Yeah, it wasn’t organic, and I felt totally gross afterwards (and still do), but I knew what I was getting myself into, so I’m not upset about it. It was fun!

The temple is in an old church. They turned the sanctuary into the temple, the basement into housing for the monks, and added a library, meditation room, garden, and multipurpose room. It’s name, Wat Phrasriratanaram, means “Temple of the Beautiful Gem.”

When you arrive, you purchase a pack of 10 fake dollars for 10 real dollars, and use these throughout the fair to buy what you want to eat. I told the ladies it would more fun if they had pretend Baht’s to buy the food with, and they just laughed at me.

They had a good assortment of food, which I’m told changes monthly. It is much more reasonably priced than going out for Thai food, but still significantly more expensive than Thailand. It also seemed to be a little more authentic than the average Thai restaurant.

  
I forgot to take photos of our food, because I was too excited to eat, but got a photo of the woman who served it. I asked for her picture, she said yes, and then kept packaging up the food. Here, she was putting a soup into a plastic bag, sort of like one you would bring a fish home from the pet store in. It’s likely that if you bought a soup in Thailand, they wouldn’t bother with the foam container, and would put it straight into the plastic bag.

  
This lady was incredibly nice, and I had a little Thai conversation with her, which was fun! I ordered 3 Thai Ice Teas, in thai, and she got so excited she just started speaking Thai and I had very little idea of what she was saying. So I told her, in Thai, that I only speak Thai a little bit, and then she kept speaking Thai. I just laughed, and thanked her for the Tea. It was only $2 a glass, compared to the usual $3.50 at a Thai Restaurant, but $2 is still twice as expensive as Thailand.

Once we finished eating, we got some Rotee for desert. Rotee is sort of like a crepe, but slightly more like a pastry. It’s fried in butter, drizzled in sweetened condensed milk and sugar, rolled or folded up, and then covered in more toppings! In Thailand, you can find Rotee at the night market, or maybe near a beach. They usually serve it with more toppings, such as jelly, honey, or chocolate syrup. It’s a real treat.

  
I ordered 3, in Thai, and the lady asked, in Thai, if I would like them for here or to go. One of the most fun parts about the Thai fair was practicing my Thai. After I ordered, she told us she would bring them to our table, which was very nice!

  
To read more about Thai food, check out my 5th post in the series 8 Reasons to Visit Thailand. To read more about Thailand in general, read them all!

If you enjoyed reading this post, and checking out my blog, consider donating to my next Trip to Thailand. Learn more here!

Lock Outs and Soap

It’s been another crazy weekend! Saturday morning, I woke up to get ready for my crazy day of working both jobs, and realized I was coming down with a cold. I immediately decided that I totally blatantly refused to get sick. So I drank a few cups of hot honey water (with raw organic honey of course), mixed up an interesting concoction of all the get better things I had – turmeric, lemon, apple cider vinegar, cranberry juice, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and echinacea – in my huger water bottle, and hoped for the best.

All week, I had been slightly stressing about what I was going to do at work on this crazy saturday, because last weekend, my little portable soap container full of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap fell out of my pocket and shattered. I do not like to use normal soap, since its basically poison. I went to buy a new little glass bottle to use and wasn’t feeling like I should, so I didn’t. Then I tried again, and the store didn’t have any! So I decided that I would just go with it, and use the soap at work, or maybe not was my hands, or something. I really didn’t know what I was going to do. Then, Saturday morning when I was concocting my get better potion, the problem solved itself! I grabbed my little bottle of echinacea, emptied the last bit of it into my water bottle, and immediately realized it was a perfect soap container. I just love it when life works out like that!

When I went to head home after my second shift Saturday, I felt around in my coat pockets, and my keys were nowhere to be found. I locked them in my car, in the ignition, and I don’t have a spare. There was a cop sitting in the parking lot, so I walked over to his car and asked if he could help. He wedged the door open with a little wooden block and wiggled a metal pole into the car. My unlock buttons inside the car stopped working about a week ago, so we couldn’t open it that way. He tried pulling the handles, but that wouldn’t work since the car was locked. Lastly, he tried pulling up on the little sticky upy knobs that lock the car (super technical term), and that didn’t work either. I abandoned my car at Fresh Thyme, and my mom picked me up.

Sunday, I was considering my options of calling a locksmith to open it, which costs about $70, or calling the dealership to see if they have any sort of blank key that would open it, when my grandpa offered to go over there and try to get it open. I explained the situation to him, and he left. About 45 minutes later, he showed up at my house with my keys, and all was well. There is a small dent above my car door, and I’m not sure if it was the cop, or my grandpa, but I’m totally not mad. I’d rather have a little dent than have had to pay $70 to get it open.

So the crazy weekend is over and its time to begin a crazy week! I’m off school for fall break this week, which is great because I work a total of 44 hours this week between both jobs (compared to my usual ~30).  I’m totally looking forward to putting that paycheck in my Thailand Savings! I still have a little cold that I’m dealing with, but it’s not the worse cold ever, and I’m taking lots of measures to make sure it will be gone soon. So, let the crazy week begin!

P.S. I went on a pretty cool adventure Sunday,  check back later to read all about it!

11 Thai Ice Teas

I was going through my closet today and found 222 Thai Baht that I forgot I had.

baht

222 Baht is about $6.17 which doesn’t seem like much, but in Thailand, its sort of a lot. For 222 Baht, you could rent a motorbike for 2 days, buy an impressive assortment of snacks (probably 5-10 things) from 7/11, eat about 8 meals of Thai food (not fast food though, thats expensive), drink 11 Thai Ice Teas, or get a Thai massage. So really, this 222 Baht is quite an epic discovery.

Also, I’ve started a countdown. 2 months, 23 days, 6 hours, and 57 minutes until I land in Bangkok! For more info about my trip, checkout the new Thailand tab up there! ^^^^

*Wipes Sweat Off Brow*

It’s been a crazy weekend! Saturday I worked 9-5 at one job, and 6-10 at the other. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I expected, and I am happy to be making money for my trip! Sunday, I wrote the entirety of a 1,200 word argumentative essay on why you should be a vegetarian, along with research, and a 4 hour shift of work. I am happy to have a mostly relaxed day today, and get some more homework done.

Thursday, I accidentally knocked my water bottle off of a ~100 foot tall cliff. It was slightly tragic, but happened about 2 minutes after I thought, “I really need a bigger water bottle,” so obviously it was just the Universe at work. Since then, my body has been craving insane amounts of water. Like, upwards of 2 gallons a day. So I bought a 66 oz bottle and will be lugging it around with me from now on. I also have no craving or desire at all to eat anything. It appears I am doing some sort of detox that I wasn’t even aware I was going to do, which is totally fine with me! I usually try and let the Universe do what it wants, so I will be gulping down massive amounts of water and eating fruit until I’m instructed otherwise. Life is weird.

It’s Official!

I did the deed, guys! I will be arriving in Bangkok, Thailand at 11:45 pm January 5th!

I managed to spend only $879 on the trip, instead of the $1,300 that I planned for! The website I booked through had a special running, $50 off any trip to Thailand, so that helped a little bit. I love saving money! I managed to accomplish the rest by spending a little more time, and a little less money. Really, when you think about it, they’re totally related. You use some of your time in a certain way and then you are given compensation for it, whether it be money, or a hug. We use time to get other things every day.

First, I realized it was way cheaper to fly from Chicago to Bangkok than St. Louis to Bangkok. A difference of 889 to 1365! My first thought was then to book a flight separately to Chicago, which would be $230, putting me at a total of 1,119. This would have given me a one way travel time of about 30 hours. Still cheaper than what I had planned, but not the cheapest possible way! I realized I could take a bus from St. Louis to Chicago for a mere $20 each way! By adding about 8 more hours of travel time, for a total of about 38 hours, I saved about $190. Major score, and totally worth it. Thats like a month’s worth of food!

So my flight is booked. It’s Official! I’m going to Thailand and nobody can stop me! *laughs evilly*

But seriously, I’m very excited. Thanks to everyone who donated to help me pay for this ticket, you made it happen! And while I have the ticket, I also need to live while I’m there, so please don’t hesitate to donate if you are interested and able!

Drop Expectations!

Not too long ago, a friend showed me a super epic way to live life: without expectations! It’s likely that you’ve never even thought of this before, I know I hadn’t. But its one (seemingly) simple trick to totally change your life. It takes a whole lot of practice, but I work on it every day!

Much of our suffering every day comes from expectations, think about it! You expect your friend to text you back, they don’t, you get grumpy. You expect your kids to clean their room, they don’t, you get grumpy. You expect to get everything on your list done today, you don’t, you get grumpy. You expect your dinner to be ready when you get home, it’s not, you get grumpy. The list goes on and on.

There are two ways to live without expectation. One is with no expectation towards others. When you have absolutely no expectations for what others will do, you will be saved amazing amounts of suffering, because more often then not, people do not live up to those expectations. And really, it’s totally okay if your dinner wasn’t ready. If you come home expecting dinner to be ready, and its not, you’ll probably explode on the person who was supposed to have your dinner ready, causing unnecessary tension, anger, and sadness. Or maybe you would not say anything, but bottle up all your anger inside, waiting for another thing to go “wrong” and then explode. Now, say you came home and your dinner wasn’t ready, but you didn’t have any expectations about whether or not it would be, so you just shrug it off, and happily make your own dinner. What an awesome difference! You gain the power to make a choice in every single situation every day. You gain the power to not let others’ actions tear down your happiness!

The other way to live without expectation is towards yourself. You expect to get at least an A on a test, and you get a B. So now you’re going to spend at least the rest of the day moping around, thinking negative things about yourself and how you totally screwed up. Instead, if you take a test, have no expectations about your grade, and get a B, you might think “Hey well thats pretty good! I should definitely look over those questions I missed.” You choose to be happy, accept your B, and learn from it!

Another great thing about living without expectations is that it opens the door for more opportunities! When you have expectations for an outcome, you might attract that outcome. Say you go into a job interview expecting that you will either get the job, or not get the job. So these become the only possible outcomes, and you destroy the possibility that the interviewer might ask you to be her babysitter, or the hiring manager might love a piece of your artwork, and buy it to hang up in his office! In every possible situation, there are infinite outcomes, so by imposing expectations on the situation, you limit yourself!

This sounds all nice an simple, typed out here, but it takes a lot of work. It’s like living life the opposite of how you’re used to! If you’ve read all the way through this post, I challenge you to try it out! Maybe start with 30 minutes of absolutely no expectations, and see how it goes. It might just change your life!

If you enjoyed reading this article, be sure to check out my latest plans to take over Thailand.

It’s Plane Ticket Time!

If you’ve been following my blog, I’m sure you’ve heard all about why you should visit Thailand, and my plans to study abroad there in the spring. I was officially accepted into the study abroad program last week, and now it’s time to buy my plane ticket!

So far, my gofundme page page has been quite successful! I have raised 410 dollars, of which I appreciate every penny. I had originally set my funding goal as $4,165, which is the total amount I need to go on the trip. I had estimated that I could save $1,500 by the time I left for my adventure, and that if I made the full $4,165, I could put the extra money I earned towards paying for school next year. While 4,165 is still my total amount needed for the trip, I changed my gofundme goal to $2,000. I’ve taken on a second job, so I should be able to save the other $2,000 myself!

So far, in my savings, I have a total of $900. $410 from gofundme, and the rest is money that I earned! This is just a few hundred dollars short of the cost of my plane ticket, so I would especially appreciate any donations in the next week or two, to help me reach 1,300 dollars and purchase my ticket!

If you’ve already watched my video explaining my trip, and checked out my blog, but still are unsure about whether or not its really worth it to donate to my trip, keep in mind that I will be updating this blog with everything I do, see, and learn over the course of the adventure. That means that you get an awesome peek into life in Thailand, as well as the privilege of watching me learn and grow! I would say that’s worth a little $5 donation! If you agree, check out my gofundme page for information about rewards you can get for donating.

Thanks for reading!