Many would have said that firsts are and will always be remarkable. The firsts would set the standards. The firsts will be the first.
The Imus Institute Cultural Exchange Student Program in Thailand (part of the institution’s preparation programs for ASEAN integration) last May-June 2014 was the best time of my college years. It has brought me so much emotion especially joy and excitement. I’m sure that a lot of people would want to switch places to mine but I won’t. I won’t trade anything in the world to what had transpired me in those times. And now one year had past, looking on its third batch is bittersweet. It feels so fresh, like it happened just yesterday.
The feeling of a first-timer who happened to be a chance passenger for the first time, the first-timer who freaked out when she found no luggage at her hand and realized it was checked-in, the first-timer who sat alone on the plane feeling all nervous.
The first step out of a plane finally in Thailand and seeing the most marvelous Bangkok Airport, the double decked air-con bus,the 5-hour drive to Phitsanulok and the worry we carried because some of us are left behind.
The feeling of finally stepping on the 507.56 acres Naresuan University, the dorm, the towel/blanket/dress, the split-type air-con, the unbelievably large lizards, the scorching weather, strong rains at night, several skype calls, the impalpable martial law, the buddies, the motorcycle of our buddies, famous omelette stores, the 7-11 stores and coffee shop every corner, Coffee Space, Betagen, Lays, Mama, the convenience of laundry works, the most inexplicable feeling riding a motorcycle by four, different dinner menu every night, smirnoff vodka, videoke nights, riding the wrong e-bus to classes and getting late, the green bikes, the olympic-sized university pool, street foods, street fruits, night markets, losing slippers, forgetting about wearing bra, oc boy roommates, sober late night talks, sleepless nights, the fastest internet connection I’ve ever experienced, pesky insects of all kinds flying all over, bidets, the large frog at the shower, tuktuk, visiting majestic temples, lighting incense, cheap good food, the truly comforting comfort rooms, some food that really challenged my stomach, feeding fishes, eating the food for feeding fishes, crying after feeding fishes, my crying habit, my sleeping habit, my yawning habit, the songs Daylight, Huling Sayaw, Laging Naroon Ka, Piliin mo ang Pilipinas, Yoo dtor loey dai mai, Your heart for my Number and Dok Salou, Circle dance, Happy dance, Sukhothai Historical Park, my first swimsuit, spices, the how-the-hell-happened-three-minute bath and getting dressed, planting a tree, Hearing the Sunshine, first-time-in-forever yoga class and sleeping after it, the unexpected calls from mother nature, witnessing most vulnerable moments as well as my own, the blusterous overnight of fun with our buddies, the cooking show, the aftermath dinner of the cooking show, dogs that seldom barks, close encounter to elephants, the largest Krabak tree in Thailand: its way down and seemingly unending and tiresome couple of hours way up, slugs, superb fog, losing all my money and passport, Philippine Embassy at Bangkok and Bangkok taxi.
The feeling of the first-timer leaving the place of her many firsts, giving tightest hug she could ever give, sobbing worse than a kid, the piercing melancholy seeing them leave, the hefty steps I grieve and tears my eyes could never halt.