Tuesday, June 21, 2005

20 chickens

so one of the great lessons learned on this trip has been:
check your culture at the door and leave your expectations behind

As chara mentioned in a previous post, the Thai culture is very different from ours and very relational in nature. They love visitors, and would love to just sit and talk with anyone who walks into their village/restaurant/etc.

while we are helping out with tsunami relief it is hard to reconcile our own American goal driven culture of getting things, done, seeing results against a culture that would almost rather you just hang out with them. They all long to learn and practice English with those that would sit and talk to them. This is great as they are also very helpful at allowing us to practice our Thai with them.

that said, learning Thai is interesting. Learning it is difficult, yet seems to be coming along quite well. That said, we walked into a restaurant the other night for our usual: Gai gap kaao nieow (chicken with sticky rice).
as we walked in a group of three guys told us to join them for dinner. We were ordering the food to go, as we had to bring it back to the house for the sick ones in our group. So after we ordered our food we went and sat with the guys. They welcomed us to sit with them and were so happy to have us sit and talk with them. We practiced our Thai with them as they practiced their English with us. Only one of them spoke English but he was so nice. Ryan and I practice our Thai. Ryan is much better than I. As we were trying to say how old we were, Keun a-yu tha-arai (how old are you?). I said, yee-sip gai (20 chickens) instead of yee-sip gao (29). I'm still learning my Thai numbers.. obviously...

to that end, we all laughed. The Thai people have some really great aspects of their culture that I wish we had in ours.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ben & Chara -

We're enjoying your posts at home in CA! Especially anything that involves puke or cultural embarrassment for Ben :) It's such a wonderful thing that you're doing - keeping you both in my prayers to come home safe. Have a wonderful journey -