Throughout everything I think it’s the little, daily, ordinary, maybe even mundane, things that count and that I want to remember. I’ll be starting a new weekly post that will focus on a random happening, anecdote or observation that occurred during the previous week.
Traveling and living abroad opens you up to many unbelievable experiences.
It also sets you up for a lot of really unbelievably awkward ones. I feel awkward, out of place, confused, embarrassed at least five times a day – like at times when I can’t get my motorbike of its tight parking spot because there are two others right next to it, when I’m the only one who’s hot and rosy-cheeked in the fan-only classroom, when I accidentally buy 50B worth of sticky rice instead of 15B (15B would be plenty for two people…50B would feed a small army) or when I’m asked to pose like this:
Awk. Ward. – little Thai girl, big farang girl and even bigger sheep…there’s no way this picture could end well…
Or when Thai guys call you out on your appearance.
Appearance in Thailand is everything and there’s a lot of value put on beauty. Looking so obviously non-Thai often works in my favor since being blond-haired, blue-eyed here is uncommon and intriguing. It also often gets me compared to typical Thai body types, sizes, features and styles that are considered beautiful…and that I am the complete opposite of.
Luckily I usually have a pretty thick skin and can laugh things off, finding things more amusing than offensive. This trait has come in handy this past week, when I have been told things like:
“You have really thin hair.” – said when putting my hair in a pony tail. Thanks…that was just the compliment I was looking for.
“It’s clear she’s from the U.K. and you’re obviously from the U.S. because you have a larger nose like a Native American.” – said when simply standing there minding my own business. Right, not only should you never comment on the size of a girl’s nose, but this doesn’t make any sense considering my heritage is European…and is racist.
“Want another drink? (takes my beer away) You can have a whiskey soda – if you drink more beer, you will get fat.“ – said when I really didn’t want a whiskey soda. Guess you can’t complain when someone else is paying.
And my favorite…
“Ahhh, like a monkey.” – said when noticing there is hair on my arms. Just because I don’t have perfectly smooth, tanned, hairless skin doesn’t immediately mean I resemble a monkey, thankyouverymuch.
The best part, is the fact that these comments came completely unsolicited from guys who were interested in taking me out sometime. If this is what people who are actually find me attractive say out loud, I don’t want to know what the others are thinking when they see me walk by… The Thai habit of being super polite yet also often super blunt will never cease to shock me.
So…this week, my self esteem has taken a bit of a hit – and I think a batch (I don’t know the right term…school? swarm?) of mosquitoes just hatched in my bathroom – but I still feel happy to be here. I think that’s pretty impressive.
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