During the summer of 2017, I was blessed with the opportunity to spend two weeks in Udon Thani, Thailand, participating in service projects through a travel company called Rustic Pathways. My travel buddy, Kaia Baker, and I would agree that those two weeks changed our lives forever. Before the trip, my family and all my relatives threw me a going away breakfast in DC. I remember how hesitant my grandmother was to let me go; the 8,556 miles from Thailand to where I lived in New Jersey, stretched out like a lifetime between us. But, before long, I was on a flight headed towards the adventure of a lifetime. Now, looking back more than a year later, I felt the overwhelming need to culminate my thoughts into a love letter to this beautiful country that I fondly dub my “second home.”
A Love Letter to Thailand
By Tyler Newman
I fell in love with you the moment I saw your blue skies.
Blue like aquamarine, I jumped in and your oceans rose up to meet me.
Your children are magic, their culture a trance so unlike mine
But when I walk through the village, a brown face turns towards mine and smiles
“สวัสดี (S̄wạs̄dī, Hello)” This greeting bridges us.
I feel like I’ve known you my whole life, but we’ve only just met.
Your rice patties and palm trees beckon to me and I run down to meet you.
Your sun paints my skin like gold and I smile
The paradise you bring courses withing me, liquid strength
When love is given it never goes away