In the Land of Smiles

There was a split moment where I noticed several people skittering out from the sidewalks into shops and under awnings. The cloud covered sky over head likened itself to that of a thick smoke and then water, from nowhere, was everywhere. You haven’t had rain till you have had tropical rainy season rain. I was drenched in seconds. In America it would not have been uncommon to spit and swear, to get angry and upset. But this is Thailand. Walking over to the nearest cover I heard a woman call out to me in Thai and in turning back was greeted with a smile. The woman standing before me bowed her head and handed me a kabob of pineapple and pomelo and though I was soaking wet and a mile from home I couldn’t help but smile. This is Thailand.
The last week before leaving for my program was one of the most anxious times of my life. There is something about knowing that in a few short days your life with be changed drastically for the better that can mess with your head. Most of this anxiety was less nervousness about the move over but almost entirely about my own readiness to just be in Thailand. Of course, I was nervous about meeting new people or getting past the language barrier, but nothing trumped the awesome feeling of adventure and starting something new. And now that I’m in the country and have settled in, I can really feel that nervousness, that anxiety, falling away.
Arriving in Thailand has raised some new questions and erased some preconceived ideas of what life would be like here. There is no climate like Thailand’s climate. The sticky heat is everywhere and the rain comes down in sheets but it isn’t unbearable. I believe with time I can find it quite nice. I had been told it was hot here, but no one could have prepared me for the humidity. In a similar way, before I arrived I had this idea that because of the language barrier the native people wouldn’t even try to work with me. After multiple times of ordering meals and getting directions with no working knowledge of the language, I cannot stress how wrong I was; the Thai people have taken these problems with a smile and a great attitude.
This all makes for a wonderful experience so far and I can feel myself already growing accustomed to the many changes this move constitutes. And every time I’m caught in a monsoon rain or lost in the winding streets outside Bangkok I can do as the Thai do. I can smile and laugh it off because this is Thailand.

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Filed under Doug in Thailand, South & Central Asia

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