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Thailand exchange student joins Badger High School senior class

Lydia and her father, Chainakorn

Exchange student Lydia (lower left) is pictured with the Nelson family with whom she is living while in Badger, Minn. Also shown in the front row is the family dog, Rusty, and Esther Nelson. Standing are Sara and Pastor David Nelson. (submitted photo)

Lydia is pictured in an outfit she wore for Thai dancing at a private school she attended in Thailand. (submitted photo)

“Small town living is peaceful; everyone knows everyone and the most important thing is I can’t get lost!” she laughed.

Meet Mutita, an exchange student from Chonburi, Thailand, population about 31,000. She lives with her father, Chainakorn, and mother, Somboorn, whose name means “perfect”, in their family home. Her father operates his own business; her mother also works there. Her older sister, Pintong, studies at the University of Thailand. She has one grandmother, her father’s mother.

Seventeen-year-old Mutitia, also known as Lydia, is residing with Badger, Minn., residents Pastor David and Sarah Nelson, their daughter Esther and son Micah.

“Lydia” is in the senior class at the Badger school as is Esther. Micah is in tenth grade.

“I study English in ninth grade (in Badger); I study the English language in my school in Thailand, too,” she said. “In the English language there are 26 letters; the Thai language has 44 letters!”

Sarah Nelson commented that she’s noticed how much Lydia has improved in speaking English from the time she came to Badger to the present.

Does Lydia have a favorite class in school in Badger?

“I like Mrs. Lee’s food class,” she replied. “I like cooking. In Thailand we don’t have cooking classes like this.

“I think I’ve joined every class at school- FCCLA, Robotics, math league, art club, girls basketball, and winter cheerleading!”

Lydia will return to her homeland next year for her senior year and graduate with her fellow classmates.

Ket Christianson of Badger and former resident of Thailand, welcomed Lydia shortly after her arrival to her new home with a tasty Thai meal of roast chicken and rice.

Her favorite food ‘back home’ is Tum-yum-kung, a spicy soup with shrimp. As for favorite American food, it’s french fries, hashbrowns, and steak.

“Lydia has been wonderful to try any food we make and she’s so helpful,” Sarah said.

Snow was something Lydia had never been exposed to until Sarah and Esther took her to Thief River Falls a couple of weeks ago.

“It is so cold!” she laughed.

In Thailand she said there are three seasons – summer, winter and rainy. April and May are hot-hot; October thru January are hot; and the rainy season, July thru August, is from flooding down to a lot of sprinkling.

Lydia’s future plans are to go to a university in another country … the United States, United Kingdom, and/or Canada.

“My goal is to travel and learn.”

Welcome to Badger and surrounding area, Lydia. May your experience be enlightening and unforgettable!

To see the complete story, read the October 30 issue of The Tribune in print or online.

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