Barriers

17:47 Natasmack 0 Comments

You're invited to a party by your incredibly intelligent scientist friend. He tells you that the party you'll be attending is full of his super smart and some ultra geeky fellow scientists. They are Physicists, Microbiologists, Astrophysicists  and some type of “ists” you didn’t know existed.   Between them they are speaking of terms and concepts you’ve never heard of. With the acceptation of dead give away words like “earth”, “equation”, and maybe “biochemistry” you have no idea what they are talking about. At this moment you're kicking yourself wishing that you spent less time doodling your crushes name on your binders in Biology 11. Your incredibly intelligent scientist friend can see that your struggling to keep up, and is translating their jargon into something a little more simple for you to stay involved. Although its confusing you're still smiling and surprisingly enjoying yourself. At the end of the night you’re happy you went to the party, but excited to go home and fall into your world of vocabulary and conversational topics with your cat, roommates or significant other.

My daily life is like a this scientist party. Except its a Thai party. Obviously, I am surrounded by a new culture and a language I've never been exposed to before coming to Thailand. When I first arrived here, the dialect of the Thai language confused me and I could barely get any words out. I  enjoyed being surrounded with a world that was so exotic to me. I quickly learned how to greet and thank people.I learned how to ask for my meals with no meat. Which worked 70% of the time. Then I was lucky enough to meet some local people. My vocabulary slowly grew and and with some help from an app I could say a little more and more everyday. Being a foreigner in a new group of Thai friends has been good for me. I can start to pick up common words and tones. Although I have no idea what they are directly saying, I can slightly pick up the topic of the conversation.

I am ashamed to admit this, but there was a moment for me where I was permanently frustrated. I wanted to be able to go into a restaurant and order exactly what I wanted, or walk into a room full of new people and be able to communicate and show my personal character. I am incredibly independent and outgoing, facing this barrier; I started feeling really lonely. The first moment I felt this was while riding in a late night cab. The two women I was riding with are very close friends. They were talking about work. I was overwhelmed with frustration and that pertinent pang of missing my friends. I flashed back to nights where my friends and I would pile into a cab and talk about the nights events. I really wanted to be apart of it, but because of the language I spoke, rather, couldn't speak; I was unable to be apart of the conversation.

Selfishly, I was annoyed. I so badly wanted to be able to speak for myself, and not have to be translated. I felt why whit and sass was lost in translation, and who am I without those charming attributes? Luckily, this moment only lasted a few days and I started to loose the single minded way of thinking.

I cant go around demanding people speak english because of my feelings. I made the decision to fly myself into a country where the culture and language unfamiliar. I need to deal with the frustrations myself or sharing them with third party observers; the cats. When faced with these situations I've learned to talk slowly, smile and attempted my best at any Thai. I try and speak to everyone, wether its English or Thai. By nature I love to talk, when the opportunity presents its self, I am like motor. Barely stoping for a breath. When it looks like I am being faced with a weekend of pure Thai, I try to wear a permeant smile and make up stories about what people are talking about based off body language and tones I discovered to be positive or negative. With my imagination, this sometimes can get a little out of hand.

I will be starting thai lessons in the foreseeable future, but for now I'm learning how to be myself without language. Its challenging, and I do have my selfish moments. The devils advocate that plays in my head always reminds me to relax and that my Chatty Cathy time will come. For now flashing peace signs and the Thai bow will do just fine.

    

Accepting the changes of a new home.

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