Unlike many of my other posts, this one is mostly for fun. However, before I start I wanted to acknowledge some of the other bloggers on this site. There have been a few posts recently that are transparent stories of struggle and challenge. I so appreciate your realness and have really been touched by what you’ve shared. I’ve also been encouraged by that the fact that you run to God instead of turning your back in anger or despair. I’m looking forward to hearing about the “sun after the clouds” for each of you – and I’ll be keeping you in my prayers.
It’s been 8 months since my family and I moved to Thailand. I think the roughest patch was a few months ago, when I realized I was seeing the world in black & white. What I mean is, I was just getting up, going through the motions and climbing in bed for the night. God really refreshed me with some new zeal and excitement, which I am very grateful for.
So, along with that new zeal and excitement I want to share a few fun (and different) things about the Thai language and some odds and ends we’ve experienced in our time here.
Hail – 3 times. I only experienced the small hail (a bit bigger than I’m used to in Pennsylvania) however just a bit north of us was hail the size of eggs! That storm wrecked many homes, buildings and cars. We had the opportunity to give and help with a few of the repair efforts in the area.
Earthquakes – I’ve lost count. We are so thankful that the damage was not more severe where the epicenter was, as it could have been worse. There were a few injuries and a number of damaged properties from the earthquakes. The epicenter was 10 miles or so south of us. I’ve experience a few earthquakes over the years, but something we were not used to is that the aftershocks and separate unique instances of earthquakes (greater than 4.0) lasted for 8-9 days afterwards. I recall sitting in my car waiting at a traffic light and feeling like I got side-swiped by a semi-truck, but all the traffic around me was “sitting still” as well. It was to the point where you’d wake up with your bed shaking and realize it was another small earthquake. I think they’ve finally stopped – although when I hear the sound of a strong wind or feel some furniture shake I’m still a bit wary.
Well I did promise fun… so the rest will be in that vein.
I now get “Why did the chicken cross the road” jokes. You really do ask yourself that when it happens because they look totally confused when crossing the road, yet so casual about it. They also seem totally unconcerned that you are coming up on them at 20 miles an hour in a one-ton piece of metal with wheels.
I’ve learned that a lot more fruit than bananas needs to be pealed.
I’ve learned that US cherries and Thai cherries are two different fruits. Thai cherries appear to be what we in the US would call miniature plums. You apparently can buy US style cherries, but the only time I saw them they were on sale for $1 for 5 of them.
I’ve spent around 6 months now learning to speak, read and write Thai. It’s quite necessary in a country where English is not spoken that much (maybe 1 out of 10 Thai speak a bit of English). I usually spend around 6 hours a week working on learning Thai. To put that in perspective, there are some missionaries that have dedicated 40 hours a week for 1-2 years – it’s a pretty different language from English. However, I secretly believe there are some language thieves in our midst. Here are some Thai words and phrases that other people/TV programs MAY have stolen:
Robin Williams may have made popular the phrase “Na-nu Na-nu” in the TV program “Mork and Mindy”, but I think the Thai had it first. Na-nu represents a Thai letter… the “Na” sound and “nu” meaning rat. It’s said together “Na-nu” when naming the letter.
The Texans may THINK they have the rights to the phrase “Yea haw”, but in Thai it means a brand/symbol. Think of a symbol representing a popular line of handbags (or a brand on cattle) and you have the right idea.
“Bye” means to go or leave. Makes a lot of sense if you ask me.
“Gowron” might be the name of a Star Trek character, but in Thai it’s a small symbol that silences whatever letter is below it.
“Rohan” is not a place in Middle Earth… it is when two “Ra-rua” consonants are located side by side. They each have a shape similar to a horse head in abstract, which is apparently where J.R.R. Tolkien got the idea for the horse symbol for Rohan.
And for my final Thai language lesson… The longest word I can easily pronounce is 16 characters long. It’s originally an American word brought over to the Thai language. It’s actually an abbreviation… BMW. (Yes, it takes 16 characters in Thai to do what English does using 3).
Hope you all enjoyed a fun and informative look at some bits of Thai culture and my thoughts on living in Thailand for 8 months now. J
Sawadi krap & Pra jaw oi pawn. (Greetings and God bless you)
P.S. – For some extra interesting information: The Thai language has 5 tones. So the word “cow” can mean: Nine, White, Rice, Knee and He/She simply depending on the tone you use. And quite a number of Thai words vary their meaning simply by changing the tone. This can lead to serious communication misunderstandings! And for a final bonus you would say “A2Z Hope” by saying “Ga-guy Tung Ha-nuk hoo Wang”