Wow. What a completely crazy, whirlwind of a summer it’s been. Since stepping foot off the plane from Thailand, I practically dove straight into my DAT books and hibernated the remainder of my summer away to study for my upcoming exam. Studying was intense, to say the least. I condensed what was supposed to be a 10 week schedule into about 7 weeks, so I was studying 7 days a week, for 10+ hours a day. Many nervous breakdowns and lots of test anxiety later, my test is finally over and I’m quite proud of how hard I worked and committing myself to it.
Now that I’m back in school, midterms and weekly assignments are keeping me as busy as ever, while having to also juggle work on the side. At the same time, it’s my last year of college and it’s so incredibly bittersweet and I want to soak up every moment of it because this summer has probably been one of the best summers of my life thanks to the incredible opportunity of being able to study abroad.
When people ask me what one of the best parts of my trip was, my mind immediately jumps to Mae Sot, a little town in Tak province in western Thailand near the border of Myanmar. This was the site of the fieldwork portion of our public health program, which I’ll get into more in later posts. During our first week here, we had a lot of time to walk around and explore and we walked pass this cute painting on our way home from a delicious Burmese lunch.
There is a strong Muslim community here in Mae Sot, and this particular teashop is super famous for its homemade naan, rolled out and made fresh every morning. Apparently they sell out every day before 8 or 9 am, so our entire group headed out around 6 am so we could get a taste of this naan.
This was also served with their Burmese sweet tea, which has condensed milk added for that extra tasty sweetness.
Fresh naan right out of the oven!! We ate it plain, but this would have been even more delicious with a warm bowl of curry.
Afterwards, we headed to a huge outdoor market just a short walk down from the teashop.
Fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, flowers, insects, you name it. You’ll probably find it here somewhere.
Always love the bustle and chaos of markets in Asia.
And finally, here we are at the famous Thailand-Myanmar friendship bridge! This is the connecting bridge between the two countries that crosses right above the Moei River.
Right next to the bridge, there’s Rim Moei Market, which is a great place to shop for small souveneirs and t-shirts and ice cream for 10 baht.
In the afternoon, our tour guide took us to Wat Thai Wattanaram, where we got to spend more time listening to monks and looking at reclining buddhas, marble buddhas, moving buddhas, you name it.
Oh, and another reclining buddha (like the one at Wat Pho).
Young boys who live at the monastery and will eventually become monks at an older age.
One of the popular Burmese restaurants in town, named Wadee. Looking back at these pictures makes me miss the food, but even more so, just the casual simple days where we would all go out together as a group during the weekend and walk around town and explore Mae Sot together.
Curry is really popular in Burmese cuisine, and I’d have to say that the best Burmes-styled curry I tried while in Thailand was definitely here at Wadee.
The famous Burmese tea leaf salad, which you might recall from our Rangsit visit.
Burmese style pork-curry over rice. SOOOOO aroi.
Our maps.me (the best traveling app ever) actually led us to a small POW museum just a short walk away from Wadee, which was really interesting to get to hear and learn more about. The volunteer working at the exhibit that day shared his story about his time in prison as a result of participating in peaceful protests against the government and spoke more about political prisoners. You can read more about the organization here.
It’s been quite a while since I’ve had the chance to actually sit down and look through all my pictures, but actually having the chance to sit down and look through them now is just making me relive all of the beautiful stories and memories of this summer. I can’t wait to share more stories from Mae Sot and Phop Phra.
I’m eternally grateful for the people, stories and experiences of this summer.