It’s 5 am on a Thursday in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The streets are already awake and ready to get their day started. We walk through streets, twisting and turning down small roads, as the sun is coming up. The humid air fills the space between the buildings. The water from the humidity glassing over our skin, making our clothes sticky.
It was 2015 when I visited Thailand on a school trip. Thailand is my favorite country I've ever visited. The people are the kindest, the food the yummiest and the culture is centered around compassion and positivity. On this ten-day long trip, we traveled around Thailand volunteering in an elephant sanctuary, taking cooking classes, exploring temples, learning about Buddism and so much more. One morning a few people woke up extra early to visit the food market. The market opened very early on the mornings, so everyone was able to get their fresh food before starting the day. The warehouse was filled with as many different kinds of fresh ingredients as you can imagine. There was a meat section, fruit stands, vegetable stands and many stands where they prepared food for you to eat right away for breakfast. We got many different kinds of exotic fruits to try. Many of the fruits in Thailand are different than the ones we can get in the United States. After exploring the market for a little while, we took the fruit and went to find a place to eat it all of the items we had just gotten.
It was three chaperones and five students sitting around a table with a bunch of foreign fruit in the middle. The sun had risen, the fog settled and everyone else was starting to wake up. We got a knife and plates and started to cut apart the fruits. We bonded over trying the fruits, figuring out what we like and didn’t like. We ate dragon fruit, starfruit, mango with sticky rice and much more. Maybe it was the fact that I was overly exhausted or maybe it was because we were in another country eating cool fruit, but that experience bonded us so much. For the rest of the trip the people who sat around that table continued to talk about the experience we had at the food market, often bringing up new inside jokes we had created that morning or commented about the exotic fruits we had tried. Even just sharing fruit at breakfast created a bond among people who would've otherwise not have had that connection. That morning at the food market in Thailand is something I will ever forget.