Chiang Mai was the perfect place to begin immersion into Thai culture. We spent our first few days at Chiang Mai University where we took language classes and learned about the history of Thailand and Buddhism. My favorite part of our first week in Chiang Mai was the Doi Suthep temple; there, we experienced Buddhism first-hand. The story of the temple begins with an ancient white elephant carrying a relic up to the peak of the mountain and then dying of exhaustion. Doi Suthep is said to be built on the site where the white elephant died. Now, the temple has a much more lively narrative. The pathways are filled each day with people wishing to know their fortunes and praying for loved ones. Many parts of the temple, including the center or chedi, are made of solid gold and are covered in ornate detail. While there, I had the opportunity to be blessed by a monk. Other group members and I knelt down in front of the monk while he said a blessing of luck and happiness, and sprinkled us with holy water. It was one of the most spiritual moments of my life. My first week in Chiang Mai was definitely one to remember.