Oh, Thailand

28 08 2011

Oh, Thailand.

You’ll hear this phrase a lot amongst Peace Corps Volunteers in Thailand. This is the phrase we use to explain, deal with, brush off, justify, and most often accept, something that has happened that we attribute to the fact that we are, well, living in Thailand. This can range from receiving a random bag of oranges from someone we’ve never met on our bike ride home from school to a random three day trip to Cambodia when we just thought we were going to a wedding down the street.

No matter what the event, circumstance, or adventure, we all explain it away with that one simple phrase.

Oh, Thailand.

After seven months in Thailand (and counting), the list of things that require such a phrase has grown long. There are dozens upon dozens of daily occurrences and random phenomenons that we have accepted as a part of our world.

My friend Ellie posted a long list of some of these humorous things in the form of “You know you’re in Peace Corps Thailand if …” I know she won’t mind that I’m re-posting, and if she does … well, I’ll buy her some chocolate or some cheese 🙂

So here it is. I hope it gives you some insight into our world and makes you smile a bit, too … and Ellie, if you’re reading this, I combined some things off your list of “Ellie realizations” into the main list because I happen to agree with them, too 🙂

For Ellie’s blog post, click here!

You Know You’re in Peace Corps Thailand If …

  • You encounter random bugs, lizards, spiders, etc., during your morning shower and instead of screaming you politely smile and say “Hi, Friend!”
  • You feel a certain type of wind or breeze and you run outside to collect your drying clothes because you know it’s going to rain in 5 minutes … and you’re always right.
  • You think, utensils? Why use utensils when God/Buddha gave you 2 very capable hands?
  • You find ants in your sugar, cereal, etc., and eat it anyways. It’s protein, right?
  • You start talking to the cats/dogs in Thai.
  • You also check to see if they understand English.
  • You have a pet too-kay (lizard) and you’ve named him.
  • You repeat “too-kay, too-kay” after it makes it’s noise (exactly like the name sounds).
  • You’ve eaten at least 5 kinds of bugs on a regular basis and it isn’t even worth mentioning anymore because it’s such old news (luckily this one does not pertain to me! … yet.)
  • You realize you don’t actually know English grammar as well as you thought you did … or perhaps you’re just forgetting everything now that you’re speaking Thai all the time.
  • No matter what you’re good at (washing laundry, cooking dinner, cleaning dishes), the Thais are better and more than willing to do it for you.
  • You’re willing to let them to avoid an argument in broken English/fast Thai.
  • You use Thai phrases, in Thai, when speaking to your American family/friends (sorry guys!).
  • You don’t mind when someone is 45 minutes late to an appointment because you just showed up ten minutes ago yourself.
  • You miss having rice because you’re eating “farang food” (foreigner food)…which actually means you’re eating pizza with shrimp, corn, and hot dogs on it with ketchup as a dipping sauce.
  • You don’t remember the last time you used toilet paper in the bathroom and you’re okay with that.
  • You see a motorcycle with two adults and two children and your first thought is that there is room for more.
  • You think mangoes are better when they are not ripe.
  • You have to shower at least two times a day (three times is preferable).
  • You recognize the only answer to “How are you?” is “fine”. Never happy, sad, good, etc.
  • You accept that corn and black beans are adequate toppings for ice cream.
  • You don’t mind talking about your digestive system and diarrhea is second nature.
  • You are stunned when there is actually a full five day school week.
  • You have an overnight bag packed and readily available because you know that “trip to the market” could turn into a three day trip to Cambodia.
  • You see those little lottery briefcases and desperately want to buy a ticket!
  • You use an umbrella to walk anywhere because in Thailand it’s not cool to be tan.

I’m sure the list could go on and on, but I”ll leave you with that … maybe in another seven months I’ll give you a new list!

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One response

29 08 2011
Nancie McDermott

Love this; some things do not change. Only two things did not get my “nod” of “Yep, that too!” There was a time when going to Cambodia, Laos and Burma were not an option for PCV’s (long, long ago). Also, the sun umbrella is also about staying cool. That made sense to me then and now; the ‘not being tan’ issue is one that makes me sad; I observe that view is in the world, but it’s not for me.

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