It’s time to start packing..

.. when one says or thinks the following:

  • on tipping: Wow. That’s 30 cents more than I would have paid.
  • on visitors getting food poisoning: I don’t have medicine. Suck it up.
  • on people getting scammed: It’s not my money, it’s not my business.
  • on house chores: The maid comes in tomorrow.
  • on not getting hot water: Just turn the knob towards cold.
  • on cutting someone in line: Let him/her get a taste of his/her medicine.
  • on DVDs: Just get the pirated on across the street.
  • on traffic: There’s space for me between the freight truck and the motorcycle.
  • on wine: $63 for Turning Leaf? Awesome, it must be on sale.
  • on ordering food: Medium spicy, a touch of bitter, and no sweet. Double up the meat but substitute soy sauce with oyster sauce. And make the sauce more stewy than runny. Don’t scrimp on the ginger and don’t try sneaking in the MSG. Serve it hot but not until the rice comes out first.

Sadly, all these thoughts went across my mind recently. While all this may be acceptable locally, in my saner moments, I refuse to accept this to become my standard. Living overseas has given me the opportunity to experience and understand another culture, but it doesn’t mean I intend to be less of an American. I want to refine my values, but not change them completely.

Signs of going native in Bangkok

I will never pass as a Thai, nor will I be able to think like one. However, two plus years in Bangkok, I’m beginning to notice signs of adapting to the local lifestyle.

  • Thais pass me on the sidewalk, sometimes clearly exasperated by my slow pace.
  • The food cart vendors automatically know what I will order.
  • I stop fighting the system.
  • I called the chaos a “system.”
  • I am told I drive like a local and it doesn’t bother me.
  • I eat khao soi gai as post-workout food.
  • I stop comparing.
  • I stopped being shocked (surprise still happens).
  • I laugh more than I fume.
  • I’ve mastered the “whatever” smile, the “whatever floats your boat is fine by me” smile, the “I’m hating this” smile, the Mona Lisa smile in addition to the natural genuine smile. Hint: it’s in the eyes.