Thursday, June 16, 2011

Long time no blog format... new country

ANnnnnnnnnnd we're Back! Been a loooooong time since this blog has been updated, just about a year I guess. There are many reasons why I haven't updated it....mainly this started out as a travel blog to document my time and keep my family and friends updated on my time and adventures in Taiwan and I'd like to keep it a travel-related blog. Since September, I've been back in NYC, doing the grad school thing, seeing family and friends.....but unfortunately not doing much traveling. Let's face it, no one wants to read a blog about the mundane, repetitive NYC commuter experience. Wake up, take the subway, go to class, go to work, watch Sportscenter, go out to the bars....and so forth. On the plus side...I have been teaching ESL to adults at an amazing school in Flushing, but other than that, life has been filled with routine, and classes and reading.

However, this summer I'll be living in Thailand, in a little town called Pai up in the North near the Burmese border. I decided I'd keep the same blog (but new more user friendly format!) from my time in Taiwan....sort of do a continuous travel blog thing here, each trip building on the last, until this whole internet fad finally goes out of style.....
Looking over some of my old posts has gotten me really excited about a long trip abroad again.

The reason I'm heading to Thailand is that I got a great chance to do some research, teaching and ground level development work in and around the town of Pai working with the local Burmese refugee population. I'm leaving on June 30th and I'll be back to NYC on August 30th. I'll be working with an amazing organization called The Burmese Refugee Project ....... I have to thank them for such a unique opportunity to get ground level experience. They're a small organization based out of New York. They work on educational projects, health initiatives and projects aimed at improving the lives of Burmese refugees in Thailand. It is just the type of grassroots, micro-level approach to development work that is philosophically and theoretically most appealing to me.

This trip has also been made possible thanks to a small Colorado based NGO called the Lauren Project This NGO is a small organization dedicated to providing funding for development work, human rights work and educational programs in developing countries. I am really grateful for their grant and thankful to the wonderful organizers at the Burmese Refugee project. Please check out both of their websites!

I'll update more in the next few days....I've got a lot to do to get ready for my trip, visas, vaccinations, studying Thai, etc. But I figured I'd get this blog up and running. More posts to come soon. I'll be in Bangkok from July 30th until July 6th, to get my bearings, take care of a bunch of logistical things, like getting a phone, changing money, getting some things for my time up North etc...Then I'm gonna head up to Pai on July sixth until the end of August. I'm very excited about this trip and hope it goes smoothly.

- B

PS I realized that I haven't updated this since I landed in Kenya. Chalk that up to slow and often inaccessible internet connections in the neighborhood where I was staying. But here are some pictures of my time there last summer:
Rafting Pics

Teaching in Kenya

Random Kenya

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