Global Service Scholar: Alexina Pilo
Country: Thailand

Looking back on this experience, a lot comes to mind. The past month has been one full of unique challenges, laughs with new friends, and the beauty of warmth and love from the people of Chiang Mai. Before beginning this journey, I had a preconceived notion of how much I would help the family I was working with. I believed that in doing my service I was not only going to help the family with their everyday needs, but I would teach them English and some of my culture along the way.

The notions that I once held were quickly changed as the month continued. I learned that each person in this hardworking family has a role. They do not need volunteers to keep living their daily life. Instead of me teaching them, they were the ones teaching me.

This trip and working with this family taught me a lot about gratitude. Gratitude for the small conversational moments that I had with the children. Gratitude for the current life I live and the life I grew up living. And gratitude for this experience.Two of my biggest takeaways from this trip are the realization that, first, I need to slow down with what I’m doing to fully appreciate daily moments in my life. Second, although I may not have helped the family I was working with as much as I wanted or expected to during this service trip, I have walked away with the strongest feeling of contentedness and happiness that I could have ever asked for.

As my journey progressed in Thailand, I learned that this trip was much more than a service trip; for me it was more of a personal growth expedition. My time from this experience taught me more about myself and how I want to continue living my life in the future. This trip showed me a different style of living. One that doesn’t rush ever activity, one that appreciates more the people, conversations and small moments, and one that is not only accepting of others who are different but is loving and warm.

As I come back to my daily life I will attempt to move forward with this new lifestyle. I plan and hope to have more gratitude, and patience for things in my daily life, and although I may not be able to continue to live on “Thai Time,” as I wrote about last time, I hope to continue to embrace and embody the ideas and purpose behind it.