Blog #1: I’m going to Thailand!

I was nervous before we went to the Wat Temple last month. I remember I left over an hour early because I was scared I would get lost or be late and I wanted to make the best impression possible. I also didn’t know what was appropriate to wear and the last thing I wanted to do was offend anyone. Sometimes I forget that everyone else probably has the same thing going through their minds. To be honest I was a little uncomfortable when I got there. I didn’t really know how I should sit or how I needed to address the abbot monk at the front of the room. Thankfully Acharn Cathy showed us how to introduce ourselves by putting our hands together in front of our mouths and noses and bowing our heads slightly. We learned later from the abbot monk how the placement of the hands is very important. The lower the placement, the less formal the greeting. I found it fascinating that just the placement of my hands signals respect for a person. It’s something so simple and subtle, but its things like this that help me understand the Thai culture. I also learned how to properly sit in a temple. I remember after we were told to sit with both legs to one side staggered I immediately switched to that instead of being cross-legged. I also found it interesting that a woman can’t sit close to the abbot monk. I’m interested to see how gender might impact certain things in Thailand. I have a tendency to forget that not every culture treats genders the same way.

One goal I have for myself while abroad is to try everything at least once. I’m a picky eater and I have to say being in a culture with very different food than I’m used to makes me nervous. I really want to stick with the mantra “don’t knock it till you try it” because it would be a shame to miss out on any experience while I’m in Thailand. I think food is a big part of this. In my mind, food is an important part of any culture. I’ve had Thai food here in the U.S. but I’m smart enough to know that the Americanized version is probably very different than authentic Thai food in Thailand. I think this goal can go beyond food as well. We are going to be doing a lot of different activities that involve doing a lot of different things. I just want to go in with an open, positive state of mind. No one in my family has ever been to Asia and this is a learning opportunity that I can share with them.

Here are pictures of me with my dog Sydney and with my brother Jacob.

4 thoughts on “Blog #1: I’m going to Thailand!”

  1. Katie,

    I am so excited to be rooming and sharing this experience with you! You were not alone for I too was nervous going to Wat Thai and was distressed whether my dress was appropriate or if I was going to do something disrespectful unknowingly. I also thought it was interesting about gender roles in the temple and am curious how this translates to other facets in Thailand. Anyway, don't worry about being picky because I am a foodie and we will definitely be trying lots of things if I am around!

    See you Sunday,

  2. Katie,

    Your are not alone in feeling worried about your attire and uncomfortable at Wat Thai. I also felt that way and I'm sure that a lot of people felt that way too. It's just that we do not know what others are feeling about a certain situation that makes us feel like we are the only one feeling that way. Like you, I also found fascination in the hand placements as it is so simple yet means so much.

    Lastly, I hope that you will try lots of different food in Thailand even though you are picky! You never know what you will like until you try them all! 🙂

  3. Hi Katie,

    I, too, am a picky eater. I am quite worried about the food in Thailand since I hear it consists mostly of spicy foods and I myself am unable to eat large amounts of spicy foods. I understand what you said about feeling uncomfortable about the attire as well. When I was deciding what to wear, it was such a difficult decision.

    I look forward to getting to know you more. 🙂

Leave a Reply