In Thailand, the year is 2560. Although it technically is the same year here as anywhere else in the world, because Thais go by the Buddhist calendar, everyone refers to this year as 2560. The planners, calendars and online websites all declare boldly that it is now the year 2560. Odd? No. In every way this actually seems to make sense.
I left the US two months ago, and it was very clearly 2017, with all the new political turmoil; constant advances of technology, including cars that drive themselves; and what seemed to be the signs of an impending social revolution. But as I entered Thailand, I entered a new time. People cooking chicken in garbage cans, monks wandering the streets, meals that cost less than one US dollar, a completely indecipherable (to me) local language – it was anything but the 2017 I had just begun to experience in the US.
The future is one thing that is extremely unclear; everyone has their own idea about what the future holds for them and what will become of our planet. Zombie apocalypse? Alien invasion? Second big bang? In the future we may very easily go through another world war, but we do know that the environment will change and so will people. Even if the future in the west is not as materialistic as 2016 was, it does not mean that the world is going to end, but it will just be different. And if it is anything like the 2560 of Thailand, we are in luck.
Fast forward with me. Here is what 2560 looks like.
You realize that people have the same hopes, dreams and ways of unwinding everywhere. So relax. It looks like we have a bright future ahead of us.
Molly Hohle is a foods and nutrition junior minoring in Spanish. This spring she is attending Chiang Mai University in Thailand.