Friday, September 29, 2006

Things that just never happened to me in the States

Just when I was starting to feel a little more "settled in" here and like I was beginning to figure things out, I have a week of culture shock-filled experiences. Talking on the phone with Mom and Meghan tonight, they said I should start a list. Here's the beginning:

While living at home in the States, I never...

1. caught in a torrential downpour, getting completely drenched as I tried to get "home" - first trying to find a taxi, then getting kicked out of an available taxi because the driver did not want to take me a mile down the road, then waiting for the bus, then walking 2 blocks back to my apartment (part of the way through ankle-deep puddles) from where the bus dropped me off.

2. ...had a string student tell me that he couldn't clip his nails right then because of his religion. [This was an Indian student - not sure what religion nor what the procedure is in that religion for clipping nails, but I let that one go and asked him to come back to class with nails short enough to be able to play the violin correctly.]

3. ...found myself by the side of a busy street with my cello standing beside me, a violin in one hand and a heavy briefcase/bag in the other, trying to hail another taxi because my first one refused to take me all the way back to my part of town. (Are you catching a pattern here with taxi and traffic issues?)

4. ...was late paying a bill because it was written in a language I can't read. [I even saw the due date written in Arabic numerals, but had no idea it said September 9, 2006 because here they write dates day/month/year and in Thailand the year is '49.]

5. ...was woken up multiple times during the course of the night by mosquitoes biting me while in my own bed, despite having sprayed myself twice with Off and attempting to cover myself completely with the sheets.

6. ...spent my entire Friday evening stuck in traffic (first in a taxi, then a bus), eating 1/2 of my fast-food dinner during the 10 minutes I stood by the side of the road trying to find an available taxi, then eating the other 1/2 in a dirty bus after I had given up on the taxi all because I accidentally left my cell phone in the first taxi I was in, losing not only my means of communication with the friends I was planning to eat dinner with downtown but also my main form of communication with everyone I know in Bangkok and their contact information, as well as my alarm clock and a large sense of security as a single woman on the streets of a large, crowded and foreign city.

7. ...had school canceled for two days in a row due to a military coup in the country in which I reside.

Are you laughing? I have to or else I'll either go crazy or cry. May the Lord sustain my sense of humor and adventure during this season of new experiences.

[I also wanted to offer my profuse apologies for not yet replying to many who have written me such wonderful emails and posted comments on this blog! I think about you all often and keep planning to write back. My weekdays are so full though and I find myself very brain-fried at the end of them due to the stress of work and, again, the newness of the culture I'm trying to learn and adjust to. Thank you for your patience!!]


At 7:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh darling! Why do these things always happen to you? Well, except for the cell phone! : ) Anyway, I'm praying for you and I love you!

At 1:28 PM, Blogger Tara said...

Don't forget about that first bus ride experience on how you ended up almost at the airport. Now that was FUNNY. ;)

But thats one of the accomplishments you can be proud of. ;) (It's not easy trying to read bus directions in English, let alone in Thai! And for that, I applaud you. Hugs)

OH yes, and about the time when you were caught in traffic due to the water buffalos. LOL I just love your adventures. =) YOu should make this journal in a book form at some point. God bless.

I love you Catherine!

At 4:31 AM, Anonymous helenhenry said...

Dear Catherine,

Now I even more to pray for in regards to your safety, adjustment, etc. yes, the taxis can be trying.

I remember when Paul and I could not get a taxi from the airport to the hotel or the hospital to the hotel, etc.

Have you been able to replace your phone?


At 7:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like you said...'Only in Bangkok' ! Well any way I am very proud of you and I am praying for you. (did you get your phone back?) Well anyway I hope things get better!
Love Ya,
P.S.-I am going to double the journal idea...these are events you are never wanting to forget.


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