Things Thai people do that I’ve picked up

It’s hard to live in a country for 7 months and not pick up some of the habits. In fact, the other day my roommate (she just got here) saw me doing number 3 and claimed ‘I could never do that’. I give her 2 months.

Here are my top 5 new habits:

5. Powdering my Face
Okay, so I was overweight at the airport and my make-up bag got the boot, which is okay since I’ve been slowly cutting ties with it for a while now. But needless to say finding foundation for black girls here is like finding comfortable shoes in Payless. It’s not going to happen. So to keep my face looking cool I’ve resorted to dusting it with a bit of baby powder. Might sound strange to you, but you’ll be hard pressed to find a Thai woman (especially one with children) without a little bottle of baby powder in her purse.

4. Adding lime, sugar and fish oil to everything
Almost every meal you purchase here I’ve noticed comes with sugar and half a lime as condiments. And on the centre of your table there is likely a container with vinegar, and one with fish oil. Whether it’s kao pad (fried rice), soup, Pad thai, or anything else, you can be sure, in Thailand it will taste better with sugar and lime.

3.Eating with a fork and a spoon
Dinner knives are also another rarity here in Ubon, even in upscale restaurants. That’s okay though – I’ve become pretty adept at eating with a spoon and fork (spoon in the right hand, fork in the left).

2. No shoes in the house
If you visit a Thai home,(or church or temple, or some stores) chances are you will see a pile of shoes at the door and you will be asked to remove yours as well. My mother already started enforcing this in our own home when she got her hardwood floors, but it is pretty much gospel here in Thailand. I’ve side-eyed my roommate enough so I think she is getting that it applies in our apartment as well.

1. Socks and Slippers
I know, this is so not western, but with #2 it should make sense. Plus, when it gets cold here, it’s nice to have warm feet. I notice this trend a lot when I travel far on buses or trains in Thailand, and when you see something long enough it starts to look normal. On the upside, you get to show off your cute socks!

It’s the end of the world as we know it

So if you’ve been around people the last couple weeks you’ve probably heard the prophecies that talk about the end of the world happening on May 21 at 6pm. I have many questions about this so called end of the world, such as, is this 6pm eastern, central or mountain time? Since I am in Thailand, does the end of the world come sooner for me (May 21 at 6am)?

But all jokes aside, no doubt the world has been in a state of conflict for long enough that it is easy for people to think that our world is in fact coming to an end. And it is. The question is, when?

For the truth check out:

The Final Events According to Bible Prophecy

Get the facts, then decide for yourself.

Turning Thai

Today I went to a birthday dinner for my Thai student. She is turning 21 again and we wanted to celebrate her. It was a fun evening even though I was exhausted from six hours of teaching, which included 4 straight hours in the evening.

During the dinner we started talking about Thai dramas (soap operas). And the foreigners at the table found it interesting that Thai dramas, which take bad acting to a new level, are in some instances more dramatic than an episode of Days of Our Lives. However, Thai people in day to day interactions are not at all dramatic. And yet they LOVE these dramas. (I have Thai friends who do not go out on certain nights because that is when their drama comes, and others who cry when someone in their drama dies.)

But Thai people generally shy away from extreme displays of emotion. Crying in public (even at funerals) is almost taboo, as is shows of anger or great displeasure.

In this way I feel that I am becoming Thai. Over the past couple weeks I have gone through more mood swings than a pregnant woman in her first trimester, but I can’t show any of it. Sometimes I wonder if Jesus got mood swings. Did He ever feel like screaming? Like hurling a rock at someone’s head? Like telling a sister a piece of His mind? I seem to remember him weeping a couple times, but people don’t like to think about Jesus emotional like that. I don’t know. But in a culture where displays of emotion are taboo, and even in Christianity where people sometimes call you unchristian for expressing your true opinions on an issue, I can’t help but wonder if I am turning Thai. And as I do I wonder if I will hide my real emotions for so long that one day I will wake up and find they no longer exist.

Something to ponder.

The little yellow book

Thai Sunset

It’s been over a month since I posted (I know I am a terrible blogger) but in my defense it has been a truly intense month.

I have passed the halfway mark for my time in Thailand and so now the end is closer than the beginning. My mother who is counting down my return to her nest is extremely happy about this. But as I look at the first six months I can already see how much I have changed, how many weird Thai habits I have picked up (more on this later) and how I have stretched myself in ways unimaginable.

Over the six months I have also been making lists of my prayers in a little yellow book that stays in my purse or on my bed-head. I am pretty delinquent in writing all my requests, but usually the big ones make it on the pages. It has been such a blessing to see how God has answered so many of them. Requests for friends who were sick; requests for help teaching my classes; requests for help writing my manuscript; requests for my parents, my brother, my other relatives and friends. Everything from the simple and mundane (help me to like Thai food) to the complex (help my Thai friend to come to our Visitor’s Sabbath at church) have made it into that little yellow book. And the vast majority have been answered – not always in the way I want, but they have been answered.

It is an encouragement to me to see how God answers my prayers. It gives me hope that He will do the same in the future. Try tracking your prayers and answers and then count your blessings.

You may be surprised at how much God is listening to you.