It’s been a few days since I left Thailand yet I still can’t get over everything that happened. Honestly, everything is just starting to sink in and I still vividly remember every single thing that happened.
A blend of excitement, scorching heat, pad thai, fried crickets, free ice cream, cute stuff toys, heated debates, disappointment, late nights, bi-polar emotions, sentimental songs, unique stories and sad goodbyes made up the first international tournament experience of mine, the Asian World Schools Debating Championship.
Who would’ve thought that I could learn so much about debate, life, and the world in a span of one week. This one week flew by so quickly that as I got back to my home in Manila, I was still in disbelief that my Thailand adventure was over.
Although I wasn’t able to visit the Thailand safari and ride the renowned elephants of Thailand, simply eating authentic Thai food already showed me the beauty of Thai culture. I was overjoyed as I got to pig out on Pad Thai, my favorite Thai food, on several occasions. The atmosphere in Bangkok was also very different. Day or night, the city seemed to always be very vibrant and busy. The numerous number of spas in the street was also quite shocking.
This experience also helped me get to know my teammates A LOT better. It truly is during these types of tournaments and experiences abroad that you really get to know people better. Even if we didn’t meet our expectations and even if we know we could’ve done a lot better, I’m sure that all of us learned myriad of things through this experience. Lessons that I’m sure will stick with us for the rest of our lives! 😉
Greatness Doesn’t Come In An Instant
One of the most important things I realized in this tournament is that debate is just like everything in life. You have to work hard in order to get good at something. Going into the tournament, my teammates and I didn’t really work as hard as we were suppose to and it showed.
As we faced seasoned and much more experienced teams, the difference was very evident. True enough, as I asked other teams how much they prepared and how long they’ve been training, I witnessed how much effort and time these debaters have put in to get to their level. My team was also really fortunate (or unfortunate) to have gotten to go against ACJC, who eventually went on to go undefeated and win the entire tournament, for it’s when you face stronger and more experienced opponents that you learn the most!
My team still has a long way to go but experiencing this type of competition will definitely help hasten the process as we strive to reach the next level.
Debate Brings People Together
Debate truly does bring people together and this tournament is a testament to that. Yes, during the debates, everyone tries to act macho, intimidating and fierce, yet outside the debates, you could truly see the true character of every individual! This is the beauty in debating. People are able to voice out their opinions and what they think through proper discourse without hurting anyone.
Thankful To Everyone in AWSDC
At the end of the day, putting everything aside, what made the experience so memorable where all the unique individuals I met –––– people coming from different cultures and backgrounds but living in the same world as me.
The answer of the Tarot Cards my Thai friend had when I asked whether or not I’d meet all these new friends I made couldn’t have been more true. The answer was simple, “Whether you meet them again or not, you’ll always look back at the experience, and you will say that meeting them was worth it.” Although, it didn’t directly answer my question, I couldn’t agree more!
In the end, whether I meet any of the AWSDC people again or not, one thing is for sure, the AWSDC experience as a whole is something that I will always look back to not just for the debates, not just for the food, not just for the unique Thai culture, but for the friendships I made!
Everything Happens For A Reason
Everything truly does happen for a reason. Even if right now my parents are telling me that I shouldn’t have gone to Thailand because I missed so much and my grades will probably suffer, I firmly believe that all this is happening for a reason.
The experiences I had in Thailand will always be PRICELESS. Even if I missed several days of school and now have a mountain load of tests and assessments to work on, the surreal experiences I had in Thailand are more than worth it!
As I look back at everything that happened, I can’t help but smile. Without a doubt, it was the right decision to go to Thailand! No matter what happens tomorrow, the next day or the next week, I will always cherish all the wonderful experiences I had, the unique individuals I met, and the myriad lessons I learned during that one week!
Everything honestly felt like a dream yet it couldn’t get more real. I seldom use this adjective (my favorite word) but there truly is no better word to describe the entity of the AWSDC 2013 experience than simply, PHANTASMAGORICAL!
PS. Through this experience, I also got to meet my long lost friend, PIKACHU! :)) This is definitely just the start of more amazing adventures to come…and Pikachu will be there with me every step of the way, reminding me of all the lessons I learned from my Thailand adventure and AWSDC experience! 😀
AWSDC 2013 – Thailand
Countless of lessons learned in Thailand, Amazing moments, experienced first hand! From debating about several world issues, To meeting my long lost friend, Pikachu!
All it took was just one week
For me to hit an emotional peak!
The miles between us, my friends, won’t keep us apart
For all the memories we had will always be in my heart!