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.

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