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Photo by Sampor Burke, Mekong Semester.

Instructor intro!

Welcome everyone to the Mekong program and Sabaidee with palm folded like a lotus shape an official greating from Laos, where in the past it’s called “Lan Xang” Kingdom literally means The Millions of Elephant land.

My heart keep counting down the days we all will meet in Kunming with an incredible excitement, and it is such an honor to be part of your instructor team along with Jess and Marcus.

My name is Somsanid Inthongsai (Som) the instructor from Lao PDR, I have been involved with Dragons since 2010 and the Mekong program has been the most area that I’ve been exploring, recently I just finished the Myanmar summer program where I revived my enthusiasm to seek out the opportunity to learn and sharing about life experiences. Before Dragons, I have worked with NGOs, private schools and companies etc, as a freelancer in the field of English teaching, translation, interpretation/program liaison between the projects and the Lao government. And I also was a wilderness trekking guide when I was in a College.

As the young age, I started to work my first job at 16, after highschool years. To earn and pay for my own education, following my father into the wild, and join the topographic surveyor team. In the jungle where I learned the most to be self reliance and living life way far out from human civilization, risky due to the UXOs (unexploded ordnance) and wild animals attack. There isn’t a use of money or cellphone despite you have them on hand but useless for anything. But there I found to be my most happy place which I doubt about the meaning of happiness? Everyday I woke up by the creek hearing the wild roosters and gibbons, starring at the peak of a gorgeous mountains with a tiredly smile knowing that we will climb them. Eating some unfamiliar food when we ran out of the supplies, oh the Python and the Kingcobra taste like chicken but I was allergic but survived later on phew! Sleeping under the millions of stars in a little self-made bamboo hut, listening to the crickets and the creek flow was the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard.

Thus, I personally found that the root of happiness is in so many different form, the cheapest but most expensive one is from you, the one who made it and embracing it in whatever situation you are. So take an action with positive intention, when looking back into it, that will be the greatest achievement with pride.

And I’d like to express that we all are lucky to take the challenges to step out of our comfort zone and embrace every moments that we witness contiously, to bring back home with a tremendous experience and knowledge in the pocket of wisdom.

PS: I was also a Buddhist monk for short period of time but a lay Buddhist for life, and love sharing and discuss about Buddhism and life in general, and you are more than welcome to participate morning or sunset meditation session when we have a chance on course.

Apologize if my English is somewhat mistaken, it’s my third language. My mother tongue is Lao, second is Thai and Khmer(Cambodian language) is survival.

Can’t wait for the full circle!

Somsanid.