On our hike to Khun Korn waterfall just outside of Chiang Rai, a young girl (to my right) giggled every time she saw us and eventually got up the courage to ask us where we were from — in Thai. When I answered, she showed such surprise and delight at being able to communicate with me that she eventually asked if she could hold my hand while we walked. “I’m so happy that we can chat together!” she shouted again and again. “We’re almost there!”
The girl had a particularly cute way of adding rolled “r”s into her words where they didn’t belong, and she was eager to tell me about her foreign teacher named Michael. When we reached the waterfall, the girls raced down to get in the cold water, wearing all of their clothes, and waved frantically when we left.