Article by Sitta Qurana
5 students and 2 teachers of SMA Negeri 1 Bantul attended a Sister School Programme in Pakkred Secondary School.
DAY 1 – February 2, 2012
From the window of the plane, as it made its decent, the well-organized buildings and roads dazzled under the sunset, as if to welcome visitors. A bit further on, some ships could be seen going back and forth in the river. And way down below, Suvarnabhumi Airport hoved into view, lying in Racha Thewa in Bang Phli district, Samut Prakan Province, about 25 kilometres east of downtown Bangkok.
Ahh… Finally we arrived in Thailand! Seven of us – Mrs. Yanti Widjiastuti (English teacher), Mrs. Sugiyem (Math teacher), Nindya Parahita, Sitta Wahyu Qurana (me), Kenanda Aryanti, Pratita Hana Kirana, and Galuh Putri Satyarini – were very glad that we arrived safely. For some of us, this was our first experience to do an overseas trip.
Together with the delegation from SMA 1 Kasihan, we approached the teachers and one student from Pakkred Secondary School that already waited us there. They gave us flower necklaces and we took photos together. After that, we went to Pakkred Secondary School which located in Amphoe Pak Kred, Nonthaburi Province (about 1 hour of driving from the airport) to have a ‘meet and greet’ with Pakkred Secondary School’s director, Mr.Tanasit and also our family’s host (Nuraini Anwaad’s family). Nuraini –or Aini for short- was a muslim student of Pakkred Secondary School. When we asked to introduce ourselves, we briefly used Thai languages –like ‘sawad dee khah’ for saying ‘hello’ and ‘chan cheu … khah’ for saying ‘my name is …’ – because we already taught about the language back at Indonesia.
After the meeting, all Indonesian students went to Aini’s house accompanied by some Chinese teachers while the Indonesian teachers stayed in a resort. Her house located in an island which in the center of Chao Phraya River, so we had to use boat to reach there. While riding the boat, Mr. Zhang (one of the Chinese teachers) kept telling us ‘sabay, sabay’ (relax, relax) because we already felt tired and really wanted to go to sleep. Mr. Zhang was a very friendly and amusing teacher and he was very willing to teach us some Thai and also Chinese language. Once we arrived, we had dinner with Aini’s family and the teachers. After that, we bid goodbye to the teachers and finally drifted to dreamland.
DAY 2 – February 3, 2012
That morning we were greeted by all of the Pakkred Secondary School citizens. All of us led to the stage to have an opening ceremony. Along the way, students of Pakkred were waving Indonesian’s and Thailand’s flags. A lot of cameras captured us here and there. We felt like walking on a red carpet!
Once the ceremony started, Mr. Tanasit as the director of the school gave a welcome speech, followed by performances from Thailand and Indonesian students. My friends, Kenanda and Galuh, performed a traditional dance called Tari Gambyong. After the ceremony, we were brought to see an exhibition which held in Pakkred Secondary School’s field. At this exhibition, we made our very first Thailand friends. They were Pao and Pop. When we had to separate, we gave them souvenirs that we brought from Indonesia.
At noon, we enjoyed Phad Thai –a traditional food from Thailand– and after that we went to the infamous Grand Palace together with four Pakkred’s teachers, Mrs. Benjamas, Ms. Som, Ms. Kate, and Ms. Sao. Grand Palace was a wonderful place. Rather than being a single structure, Grand Palace is made up of numerous buildings, halls, pavilions set around open lawns, gardens and courtyards. Most of the buildings were made from gold. Could you imagine it?
In the afternoon, we visited Museum of Siam. If you ever watched a Thai movie called ‘First Love a.k.a. Crazy Little Thing Called Love’, then you would recognize the museum immediately. This museum mostly explain to Thai people their history and sources of their identity. We were very facinated by the modernity and maintainance of this museum. As the day became darker, we got back to Aini’s house to have some rest.
DAY 3 – February 4, 2012
That day was Saturday and it was a free day for Pakkred Secondary School citizens (they went to school from Monday – Friday). In the morning we went to the Indonesian and Pakkred’s teachers’ resort to pick them up. With casual clothes and hats, we visited Bang Pa-In Palace which located on the Chao Phraya River bank in Bang Pa-In district, Ayutthaya Province. The facilities include vast gardens and landscaping, Wehart Chamrunt (Heavenly Light), a Chinese-style royal palace and throne room; the Warophat Phiman (Excellent and Shining Heavenly Abode), a royal residence; Ho Withun Thasana (Sages’ Lookout), a brightly-painted lookout tower; and the Aisawan Thiphya-Art (Divine Seat of Personal Freedom), a pavilion constructed in the middle of a pond.
At 11 a.m. we went to ride elephants. You were not in Thailand if you had not ridden one of their elephants. After that, we had lunch and went to mosque for the muslim to pray. The mosque was one the oldest in Ayutthaya because it was built around 130 years ago.
Our final destination that day was Ayutthaya Floating Market. This market was ‘floating’ because it was built on the river. This place was very exciting especially for the girls. But, we only had an hour to shop and we didn’t buy much in this market because we decided to keep our money for the next day.
DAY 4 – February 5, 2012
Sunday was meant for family day. We didn’t meet with the teachers that day. So, instead of having trip with Indonesian and Pakkred’s teachers, we accompanied by Aini’s family and close friends to go to Chatuchak Market.
Most of the day we spent at Chatuchak market to buy souvenirs for our families and friends in Indonesia. Aini’s family and close friends were helping us to communicate with the seller so we could buy in a lowest price. Chatuchak was a very famous market in Thailand so that we could see many kinds of people from all over the world. Without we realized it, the day was becoming late and we had to go home.
During our stay at Aini’s house, we became very fond of her family. Mr. Anwaad and Mrs. Anwaad were very kind and helpful to us. We asked to call them ‘khun yo’ (father) and ‘khun ma’ (mother). Khun ma was always cook us delicious meals. Aini’s older sister was very witty and Aini’s younger sister, named Husni, was very cute. Husni couldn’t speak English well so we used hand gestures to communicate. Aini herself was very friendly and a good older sister to us.
Our relation with SMA 1 Kasihan students was also good. We often shared good jokes after meals. Among ten of us, Anna (from SMA 1 Kasihan) was the oldest and naturally we called her as our leader.
DAY 5 – February 6, 2012
That day was our last day to visit Pakkred Secondary School. If we asked to choose which day was the most memorable during our stay at Thailand, we would definitely choose the fifth day.
That morning was the time to have a closing ceremony. Galuh, Kenanda, and Pratita were busy preparing themselves because they would perform a dance. Meanwhile, I myself was asked to give a goodbye speech as the Indonesian students’ representative. Originally, it was prepared by Pratita. Because she was going to dance, however, Mrs. Yanti trusted it to me. Stared by more than 3,500 pairs of eyes, I could finish my speech well – which mixed with Thai words as far as I knew. After that, it was time for goodbye performances. Galuh, Kenanda, and Pratita beautifully danced a creation dance called Tari Kipas. After the performances ended, we prepared to have lessons.
First lesson was Thai manner. We were taught how to respect other people such as to our friends, parents, teachers, and even to their King. We also shared Jawa tradition to respect other people and the King (Sultan). Second class was Batik class. The students from Indonesia asked to present the process of making Batik. In this class, Pakkred’s student volunteers were very excited to try. After that class ended, the student voulenteers asked us to have lunch together at their canteen. They gave us food options that didn’t contain pork in it. We decided to buy chicken noodle (20 bath) and juice (10 bath) – 1 bath is about Rp300,-. After lunch, we headed to upstairs to have Thai dance class, Thai music class, and Thai Physical Education class.
By this time, we started to be close with the Pakkred’s student voulenteers. Some of students that we recognized were Palm, Kib, Bow, Best, Ploy, and Flukky. They actively chatted with us and they even gave us Thai names. When we had our dance class or music class, they were willingly took the picture for us. At Physical Education class, we played three kinds of Thai traditional sports with them which ended by a victory from Indonesian students. All of the Indonesian students and teachers were given a gold medals like a real champion. After that, we got back to the meeting room to chill down and prepare ourselves for the farewell party.
In the evening, farewell party was started. All of the people since day 1 until day 5 seemed like gathering there, including Mr. Tanasit, Pakkred’s teachers, Pakkred’s students, and also Aini’s family. At farewell party, our school gave souvenirs to Pakkred Secondary School. I gave my own painting which I brought along to Thailand. As our last performances, seven of us sang Indonesia Pusaka and Ilir-Ilir. For the surprise, Sitta (me), Galuh, Nindya, Kenanda, and Pratita performed a Thai song from Crazy Little Thing Called Love OST. At first the audiences didn’t recognize the song, but after a few lines, they started to clap and sang along. When the song ended, all of the audiences were clapping, while Mr. Tanasit came to Mrs. Yanti and congratulated her. Mrs. Benjamas even said, “Why didn’t you perform this song this morning, I think our 3,500 students would be very delighted to hear.” Then she added jokingly, “you can’t go back to Indonesia tomorrow, you have to perform this first in front of our students!”
Such responses made us very touched. Farewell party became a bittersweet moment when we bid goodbye to each other, sometimes we cried in their shoulders. Thailand people was such a warm, kind, helpful, respectful and sweet people – it was hard not to miss them. We hope we could have that wonderful qualities in our personality.
DAY 6 – February 7, 2012
We left Suvarnabhumi Airport at noon and arrived at Soekarno-Hatta Airport in the evening. It was already late when we arrived at Adisucipto Airport, Yogyakarta. We were glad that we could get back to Indonesia safely and healthy. Although we started to miss Thailand, nothing could compare the happy feeling to be back in Indonesia.
Tanah air ku tidak kulupakan,
Kan terkenang selama hidupku,
Biar pun saya pergi jauh,
Tidak kan hilang dari kalbu…
I was writing this very long time ago, this was just the power of copy & paste from my doc haha
This article now available in English Zone only in SMA N 1 Bantul! ^^ Go read~!