My Daily Roadtrip

The things I’m getting used to (or not) here

In order to share some of the nuances of everyday life here in Thailand, I thought I’d write about things in terms of how comfortable  (or not) I have become with them or how I have (or haven’t) gotten used to each thing. For the sake of brevity, I won’t be expounding much on each one, but feel free to ask any questions you may have in the comment section and I’ll tell you more …

So far in Thailand,

I have gotten used to the sinks in my house having two options – off and on. (Well, to be honest, I can have more or less pressure if I want, but there are no hot vs. cold water options.)

I have grown comfortable with the navigation of the local hospital in order to check in, be seen by a doctor in the emergency room, and pay my bill. This one is compliments of my son, who recently had a run-in with one of our sinks falling off the wall, shattering, and cutting one of his legs fairly badly. After seven visits to the ER for stitches, bandage changes, and check-ups, I’m quite comfortable with the process.

I have not gotten used to seeing older, white, western men out and about with their young Thai girlfriends.

I have gotten used to seeing stray dogs running around just about anywhere and everywhere. I have not yet gotten used to said dogs barking, yipping, and sometimes riling up our entire neighborhood of pet dogs (who are enclosed within their gates). To be honest, it is one of my least favorite parts of living here.

I am getting used to how many of the smaller stores, restaurants, and coffee shops here are open … well, just when they are. A daily schedule of when they are or aren’t open? Not so much. In addition, these stores will often be there one day and gone the next with no explanation.

I have not gotten used to how, once you make friends here, they will care for you like family even if you’ve only know each other for 4 or less months. However, I absolutely love it! It really is unique and I am learning a lot because of it.

I am not always comfortable with the amount of attention (and sometimes touching) my children often attract when we are out.

These 2 cuties get A LOT of attention when in public!

These 2 cuties get A LOT of attention when in public!

I have gotten used to paying certain prices for particular foods, coffee, and the like, and now am slightly indignant when I have to pay $2 USD for an iced latte rather than $1 USD. I know, I know, I’m going to experience “sticker shock” big-time when I return to the States for the first time!

I have gotten quite comfortable driving on the left side of the road, although I often still head to the wrong side (left side) of our truck to get in when I drive (the steering wheel is located on the right side here), and sometimes still turn on the windshield wipers when I mean to flip the turn signal (reversed from how they are in American vehicles).

I have not yet gotten used to those times when we are the only white people amidst a sea of Thai, such as when at the market, at the park when the Thai are out exercising, or at the local hospital. I’m ok with that – I think everyone should at times be forced to be in places where they are somehow the minority, as it challenges the way you think and look at things and people.

I have grown comfortable with the fact that small geckos live in my walls and ceiling and run wherever they please whenever they please. I have not grown comfortable with how these geckos also poop wherever they please. Nasty!

leaving our shoes outside the room we went to a meeting in

leaving our shoes outside a meeting room

I have gotten used to having to take off my shoes at the door of some businesses, gatherings, etc.

I am growing more comfortable having to use squatty potties at times when in public bathrooms. I am still getting used to the fact that these public bathrooms often do not have toilet paper, soap, or paper towel available in them.

I am not used to, and am in fact uncomfortable with, the fact that the majority of public advertising in Chiang Mai uses only white models or light-skinned Asian models. (In America, darker skin is often considered more “beautiful.” Here in Thailand, however, lighter skin is considered to be more “beautiful.”)

I am getting a bit more used to there being a different set of “rules of the road” to which people abide to here. I am still getting used to the graciousness of Thai drivers (Road rage? The only time I really experience that is when I ride with westerners!), but being a new driver here, I am grateful for it!

This list is just the tip of the iceberg, folks! Maybe I’ll share more in a “part 2” post at some point in the future. Until then, you’ve gotten an idea of some of the things we encounter in daily life here and how comfortable (or not) I’ve grown with them.


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7 thoughts on “The things I’m getting used to (or not) here

  1. You are getting used to geckos pretty fast, I remember writing a (very short) paper for language school about how much I hated them and various suggestions of how to kill them. I think this was after one fell into my hair when I opened a sliding glass door.

  2. Joy, that’s hilarious! (not about the gecko falling into your hair, but about the paper you wrote) I would possibly write a similar paper regarding the dogs I encounter, particularly in our neighborhood (sigh). I think getting used to the geckos came fairly quickly because, a) right away, Shun-Luoi named the first one we saw in the house, “Ralphie,” so that the kids would not be scared. As a result, all geckos in the house now are all “ralphies” – we have tiny ralphies, big ralphies, etc. Ha! I think it helped me over any skittishness I had about them as well, and b) b/c I have yet to have one fall on me (although Shun-Luoi has). Yikes! I may change my mind after that happens …

  3. Ashley Ahl on said:

    The first time I visited Thailand we thought we were being so clever naming three legged dogs “Lucky” until we saw about 100 of them in just a couple of days! I can imagine having stray dogs a part of your everyday life would be a bit exhausting. I really enjoy reading your entries, it is amazing how different living there is from just a couple of visits but your observations are so spot on with what I remember! My brother was a like a little celebrity, he was 8 a little on the chubby side and as tall as most Thai. We finally gave up on asking people not to touch him. The last night we were there a server at a restaurant was so intrigued with him she ended up feeding him the last half of his meal! It was hilarious, she just couldn’t get enough of him! I’m glad to hear Elijah is doing better!

    • Ashley, thanks for taking the time to read – that is fun that you’ve been to Thailand multiple times, thus can better “picture” some of the things I am sharing in these posts. You’re right that living somewhere is a totally different ballgame than visiting a few times – plus, living overseas can sound totally romantic in so many ways (moreso in some locations than others), but when push comes to shove, it’s really hard in some ways.

      Yes, our kids too many times are treated as little celebrities. People have picked up Abigail, want to take their pictures, and often touch their heads or faces. It’s hard to know how to deal with sometimes, b/c you want to be gracious to the culture who is receiving you, but my utmost responsibility is to protect my kids. I’m learning … slowly. 🙂

      Thanks again for following along, Ashley – blessings to you (are you still in BRF?)!

      • Ashley Ahl on said:

        I just recently moved back to BRF after a 10+year stint in Chicago. I’m enjoying the adjustment! Take care!

  4. Geckos eat mosquitoes. Mosquito-eating lizards should not only be named Ralphie, but you might find yourself wai-ing them out of respect and gratitude… 😉 I love the list.

    • Ha, Adele – AMEN to the wai-ing to the geckos … what a hilarious picture in my head! Yes, knowing that fact about them also made me a bit more comfortable with sharing my home with them. 😉

      Glad you enjoyed the list – thanks for reading!

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