Living with a host family often presents some of the biggest rewards and the greatest learning opportunities for many of our volunteers in-country. Host families provide a critical link to a community and in many cases serve not only as true surrogate families, but also mentors, language teachers, and best friends as volunteers learn to navigate their way around a new culture. Below, Haley Boone, one of our Thailand volunteers, writes about a trip she took with her host family to another region of the country.
"I went on my first semi-family vacation this past weekend and had a great time! I was invited to go and visit my host mom’s family in Buriram (about 5 hours from Nakhon Phanom Province) and decided it would be a great chance to spend some more time with the people that so graciously let me take over a floor of their house! I cannot say enough great things about my host parents... they have been absolutely wonderful to me and I could not have asked for a more comfortable living situation. Not to mention that they are both hilarious and such a cute couple. My host mom, Bpi Yot, speaks pretty decent English and always remembers the words that I teach her, but her husband, Bpi Yut (yes, their names are way too similar, and yes, I often call them the wrong name and it's really embarrassing) isn’t quite as good at English but is not shy at all about trying to talk to me. It always makes for really hilarious dinners... he is always trying to tell me a story and he’s so dramatic and acts everything out, and she just laughs at him and makes fun of him when he messes up the words. It is pretty funny, especially when he makes mistakes like calling children “chickens”, and his charades skills are quite impressive.
We drove to Buriram on Saturday morning and it was so nice! Bpi Yot's family lives in a village, so it was nice to go somewhere that is pretty quiet (minus the squawking roosters camped outside of my window) and so relaxed. Bpi Yot’s mom was adorable... she just sat on a mat outside the entire time I was there and chewed tobacco and cut up green beans. Her two nieces were there also, and I just fell in love with them! Their names are Cream and Kate- how cute is that!? I really wanted to bring Kate home with me... I’m not sure I’ve ever met such a cute and charming (and really bad) little girl! They took me around to all the local sights and I ate SO much good food!"