Integrating into the Thai’s Way of Living

Being in Thailand for the past three weeks had taught me a lot about being open to new challenges and not take things for granted. The two home stays were the best experiences because it made me go out of my comfort zone in order to fully communicate with my host parents. My host parents knew little English, so I had to learn how to do hand gestures and body movements to get my message across and they had to do the same too. Although, I couldn’t speak fluent Thai I felt a strong connection between me and the host parents through the body gestures. The most frustrating part about the home stays was sleeping on the floor with insects coming out at night. It bothered me a lot because I was never exposed to anything like that, so it was difficult for me to sleep throughout the night. Then waking up early to cook with the host parents for the monks and breakfast taught me how precious time can be. I love to sleep in but by waking up early in the morning I felt like it made a difference in my day because I can get so many things done.
            The one activity that challenged me the most was hiking and going up the stairs to get to the top of the waterfall. I thought the hike was only an hour or so, but it took about two hours and by the time we reached our destination everyone was drained. All I remember was complaining about the insects and how hot it was. But after the hike I reflected on it and realized that the whole time the tour guides never complained once or said that it was too hot for them. During the hike we saw some people working and picking out tea leaves to sell. I envy them because they’re able to work hard under the hot weather and the insects didn’t bother them. I wish I can fully immerse myself into their way of living and not complain about it.
            All my experiences so far are just a little taste of how Thai people live. I still have a lot to learn about the way of living in Thailand. But the one connection I made while being in Thailand was how my parents lived here. The night of the hiking trip I called my mom to tell her that I finally knew exactly what she was talking about when she said she used to walk hills after hills on dirt road to get to the garden. My parents used to live in Thailand and they would tell me stories about walking on steep hills and having to hike to get to places. Now I’m finally experiencing the same things my parents did when they lived in Thailand. I’ve learned to go out of my comfort zone and see a new way of living.

3 thoughts on “Integrating into the Thai’s Way of Living”

  1. I totally understand your thought, Ka. I'm happy to learn that you like what you experience. I can see that you really to trying hard. I still remember that you try to talk to the host family. You both don't understand each other, but you still want to communicate. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  2. As Americans, we have an extreme need to control our environment – control the temperature to fit our preferences, keep bugs away and avoid places where they might dwell, drive rather than walk, etc. So navigating a place where harmony or co-existence with the natural world is the norm, throws us all off balance. But I hope you remember that you did it! You climbed that hill to the waterfall, you slept with the bugs "-), and you sweated so much that you had to drink a gallon of water to rehydrate. Draw strength from overcoming those challenges, especially when you meet the next one that comes down the road. Thanks for your honesty, Mai Zong!

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