Greetings from the land of smiles. This is my very first update after coming to Thailand. I am one of the hundreds of Bhutanese students studying in Thailand and my batch here includes eleven, of which four are ladies. When I was interviewed for the scholarship I was asked, how will you manage to communicate with the Thais who are not very fluent with English? He already answered his question. I said, “I can manage”.
True to what the interviewer asked I am having difficulty speaking but what they write in English is a whole different story. I am beginning to pick some basics already. I have come to realize that their written English is sky high especially of Ajarns (Teacher/Professor). Logging into my university’s website I was amazed at the educational background of the faculty here; Harvard, Oxford, Princeton etc… Perhaps a reminder that good/big things come in small packages. Another striking feature of my Ajarns-no male Ajarns. My faculty, education is women power-all women show. No wonder my course director remarks, “This year we have a lot of guys”.
A week into coming to Rangsit University situated in Pathum Thani, an hour north of Bangkok I come face to face with my first culture shocks.
1. Whether you board a public transport, a sky train(BTS) or any other modes of transport, most Thais especially the young never talk to each other instead fiddle their cell phones until their stop is reached. I am yet to experience the motorcycle Taxi.
2. I reside in an apartment named ‘Penthip House’ where students of many different nationalities reside. We Bhutanese and Moses, a Burmese friend are the only ones to cook and eat. Rest of the dwellers just walk, grab something, eat and come back.
3. Everyone smiles here-back in Bhutan only familiar faces smile.
4. The sound- Just by listening to the roar of an engine one cannot make out whether it’s an SUV or a motorcycle. Here, they fuel up their cars with some sort of gas-a literal air which I am not aware of.
5. Bangkok and its outskirts are known for its vast super expressways and highways. Traffic jams and convoy are a daily sight. Despite the speeding cars and Lorries, no one honks at each other which is not in our case. Perhaps, something to learn from the drivers here. But if one is caught up in an accident the survival rate is second only to none.
6. Food-Even before coming to Thailand, I have had experiences of eating Thai foods and what is salt to us is sugar for them and lots of it. I see many a young a little plump than their age because Thais love their food. One can see food stalls in whichever market and whatever malls.
This is my 15th night here in Thailand and I am anticipating more of such shocks. I will keep updated on things happening and yeah like everyone else here I do miss my family back home and I tell you there’s nothing like the air of our country. Here, they say, Thailand has only two seasons; hot and very hot. Happy breathing folks for those of you back home and happy blistering for the ones like me here.
Thank you for visiting…Khab poon khab…