It's been so long, and I appologize, but thing's have been absolutely nuts here. I left you off a few days after the end of my last unit on mining. Since then (not in order), I've created two pretty hefty documents, ate pizza, missed my Ivies skype date, had a Bowdoin alum visit me, visited my Unit 4 dam community and family, and managed to ride out the political commotion to a point where I am confident a trip to Laos is not in my near future.
I leave in 10 days, which is just an absurdly little amount of days. You can almost hear the man counting down the rocket blast-off. We've been given the option to stay from the 15th - 19th for a retreat, or we can be done with the program on the 14th. As valuable as I think the retreat would be, those 4 days are a surprise travel period for me, since I was not able to change my plane ticket later than the 19th. I do have critiques of the program for my own personal interests, but I don't think I'd really want the program to change much. I am so appreciative of the program for whatever crazy contemplative education it was, and I'm glad I experienced it for four months. As challenging and uncomfortable as it may have been for me at some points (really not that often), I would not want to change it to anything more aligned with my learning style or personality. The program has some amazing, but quirky structures, goals, and teaching methods, and although I often challenged them, I think they are all essential to my four months here.
I'm thinking of heading to Khao Yai National Park with some other non- retreaters. It's going to be strange not to end the program with all this reflection that we've focused so heavily on, but I honestly feel I'm in a really great place with the program and my semester, and I would absolutely love to spend my last 4 days in Thailand out in nature.
That being said, I've started processing the fact that I only have 5 days left in Khon Kaen and with some of my best friends. You start thinking, "What have I done this semester? What didn't I do? How did I spend my days, my nights?" Munny came to visit, and I honestly couldn't show her around Khon Kaen or KKU, because we're never here, and when we are we very very rarely leave our little office/ dorm bubble. In two days, she knew more about my university than I did. But would I change any part of the program to give more free time for exploring KKU? Probably not. I'm excited to take the semester as it was and not regret anything I didn't see. Every time you do something, you're not doing a whole billion other things, but it's the experiences you have and the choices you make that are valuable, as opposed to regretting what you missed out on.