Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Just a little "hooaro" (laugh)

The following is a running list of happenings and funny occurrences in Thailand. Every one of these events happened because we are confused "farang" who don't quite understand the culture yet. But we are learning and laughing at ourselves often:

1. After arriving the first night, we ate a spicy curry dish in the cafeteria, but did not know if the water was safe to drink. We looked around a little and then went back to our room, discussing if we could safely drink water from the sink in our room. After about two hours, when we were feeling a little faint, we finally ventured out of the dorm only to find a 7-11 directly next to us. The water in the cafeteria is also safe to drink.
2. We asked the student at the front desk how the internet worked. She gave us a username and password and we gladly thanked her. The internet worked and all was well. Later, our supervisor told us that we needed to get our own usernames. The student had given us her personal information.
3. Our second morning in Thailand, Sarah woke up with a huge lump on her left eyelid. A mosquito had bitten her in the night and she could barely open it. Amy got ice from 7-11, but it was still pretty enormous for most of that day. It was also the day we took ID pictures.
4. We thought everyone we interacted with laughed because we were "farang" or foreigners and only Thai people have lived in this dorm thus far. Turns out that you are not supposed to "wai" (bow your head while holding your hands together before you head) everyone you see. You are only supposed to "wai" your supervisor or to any superior who you will interact with.
5. One day we started walking from one campus to the other, looking for a songtao (taxi-like mode of transportation). Some nice lady pulled over and asked if we wanted a ride. She seemed nice enough and we figured that hitchhiking in Thailand might just be a normal occurrence. We hopped in the car and she started talking to us as if she knew us. After many subtle questions we finally realized that this was Payap's Dean of Arts, whom we had met briefly the previous day. She later told us that hitchhiking was a good way to get around!
6. The first ever question addressed to us as teachers was, "what is a bosom?" It was a legitimate question asked after we read a section of a poem that said, "the heart out of the bosom."
7. First day of teaching fiascos: being the fresh new teachers that Amy and I are, we made sure to get to class with plenty of time to spare. When we arrived an hour before our class, the entire place was deserted-- not a teacher in sight. Then the copy place was closed, the computer wouldn't turn on, once we figure out the computer the powerpoint wouldn't open, and students were beginning to trickle in. Not stressful at all.
8. Failed attempts at friendliness:
The Boom story- During Loy Karthong we made plans with a student named Boom to go celebrate the holiday together (or so we thought). When we arrived at the set meeting time and place, Boom was nowhere to be seen. Half an hour later she walks by and says, "Hello. I'm going to go eat. Goodbye." I'm pretty sure we just completely misunderstood our previous conversation. We tend to misunderstand quite a bit.
The "Newt" story- It was our friend Newt's birthday, so Amy and I went to 7-11 and bought some Oreos and candles. We wrote her a card and stuck the candles in the Oreo box. Then we went to the first floor where the pictures of students and their room numbers are posted, and found the person who looked most like Newt. Turns out it wasn't Newt. It also turns out that Newt does not exist. Her name is Nuch and she lived on a completely different floor.
The apartment story- We wanted our room to be homey and inviting so that we could have students over, so we bought a bunch of thai fabric, some string lights, and also some artwork. Sticky tac didn't work, so we spent a week trying to track down pushpins (they are harder to find than you would think). When we finally bought some and came back home to start decorating, we realized we had cement walls.

1 comment:

  1. yes yes. this all sounds about right.
    remember, it's not you, it's thailand...

    ...but really, it's you.