It will be mango season when we arrive in Southeast Asia. This is cause for much rejoicing. Also cause for rejoicing is the fact that Professor Gregg Finley will traveling with us. I cannot wait to listen to him discussing “thin places” with the saffron robed monks of Thailand. What is more, I am signed up for the climbing expedition to the peak of Mount Kinabalu. And to top it all off, my home-stay partner is not grossed out by flatulence. Without a doubt, this is an auspicious beginning to the travel term. I am especially looking forward to going to Thailand, the only country in Southeast Asia that was not colonized by Europeans. We are told to bring gifts to give to our future friends and home-stay families. I wonder if Obama paraphernalia would do the trick. Tira (the one not grossed out by flatulence) thought that a photo of the two of us in front of a snow bank would be good, but now I’m wondering if it wouldn’t be better if we just brought nine or ten life-size cardboard Obamas. We could bring some Steven Harpers too, if Tira wants. But in all seriousness, I am very much looking forward to this my first venture to Asia. The Europe trip was the experience of a lifetime, and this one is looking to be just as incredible. What a lovely school, to make it an academic requirement for us to eat fresh, ripe mangos on the other side of the world.