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It’s much easier to camp out in a cooler climate

It’s much easier to camp out in a cooler climate It’s much easier to camp out in a cooler climate

It’s a long way from Cadott to Rayong, Thailand, as Kerida Chanrutchanon, or Jeda, can attest to. The 17-year-old junior traveled to Wisconsin, in August, where she met the family she’d stay with throughout the school year.

Jeda made the trip as part of an international exchange program.

“Here and Thailand have a lot of differences,” said Jeda, including the 12-hour time lapse. “Culture, food, weather, everything.”

Serving as her new “family,” Kris Jahr and her family opened their home, and their hearts, to the teenager, immersing Jeda in the culture that belongs to the Badger State.

“Jeda is quiet, but does like to be involved with the family,” said Kris. “She has seen quite a few American traditions since she has been here.”

Kris’ oldest daughter got married last fall, so Jeda was able to share in some traditions with that, like the bachelorette party. A funeral about six weeks later, was yet another experience Jeda could see first-hand.

Jeda also got to go camping with the family, something she doesn’t do in Thailand, as the temperatures there are in the 90s.

“That is too hot in Thailand,” said Jeda, adding she likes the snow in Wisconsin, the first she’s seen. “Here is a lot more cold. I love camping.”

Because it’s always green in her native land, Jeda greatly enjoyed seeing the fall foliage in Wisconsin, and taking photographs – even if she did have to buy warmer clothing.

“It’s so colorful,” said Jeda of the fall season.

Thanksgiving and Christmas were also something very different for the Thailand native, who says she enjoyed the turkey and all the food associated with the Thanksgiving holiday.

“It’s very different…we not throw big Christmas at all,” she said.

“We shared the traditional Thanksgiving and Lexi (Kris’ middle daughter) took her shopping for Black Friday,” said Kris. “Jeda enjoyed that.”

Coming from the east coast of Thailand, Jeda is used to eating the rice that is cultivated on the farms surrounding Rayong. In Cadott, Jeda was introduced to the many variet- ies of food Wisconsinites enjoy.

“That’s good, it’s yummy,” said Jeda. “I see we eat a lot of potato and beef. I like it.”

To give a sample of what her culture consumes, Jeda cooked her host family rice and soups, which they said they liked.

One thing that is not a huge culture shock to her, is the size of the area in which she lives with the Jahrs.

“It’s (Rayong) like here, it’s not too big,” said Jeda.

School, on the other hand, came as a big surprise.

“Math is the same, but history...” said Jeda.

Although she only knew a little English before she came to Cadott, Jeda’s main surprise was that teachers stay in the room after a class is over, while the students leave to go to the next class. Not so in Thailand, as the roles are reversed. Lunch was also a culture shock, as students in Thailand can go off by themselves to eat, instead of congregating in the commons.

During her time at Cadott, Jeda took part in many activities, supporting the sports teams, as well as joining the FCCLA and Promise Club. She also likes the activities she does with her host family, such as trips to Action City, going on a cruise to the Bahamas in January, bowling, escape room games, roller skating and snow tubing.

Kris said she hopes the family can get even more outdoor activities in with Jeda this spring.

“She is really good at ax throwing,” said Kris.

While Jeda has enjoyed her time with her host family, she misses her mom (a yoga instructor) and dad (who works in a company setting), and her 12-year-old brother. Her parents miss her, too, even though the family talks regularly.

“Some, they have happy and sad together,” said Jeda.

Jeda says she will miss the Jahrs and the Cadott School District, as it has been a great experience, but she will be happy to return home.

“It has been a joy having Jeda here with us,” said Kris, “and we sure will miss her when she returns home to her family.”