By Emily & Hannah, Chiang Mai, Thailand
We just completed one of the most intense days of our lives. As part of our orientation, we were introduced to the Thai language, Thai culture and important do’s and dont’s.
For example, don’t point your feet at people or things because it is very very rude (the foot is the lowest part of your body).
Stay cool, calm and collected or ‘Jai Yen’. Showing anger, being hot-headed or losing your temper is very inappropriate and is one of the most looked down among character qualities. Always smile. Thais love to smile and even babies are taught at a very young age to smile. There is a little Karen baby boy living in front of the Tilley’s house and he is just the most smiley baby we have ever seen!
Apart from our indoor learning experiences, we were given the chance to learn in the real world. So with our new found Thai language skills, we walked down our street to the main road, beckoned a Song Taew (red truck) with our palms facing down, and said ‘Gad Suay Geow’. The driver nodded his head and we quickly jumped into the back of the truck and promptly rode away into the sunset.
Not really, but we arrived at ‘Gad Suay Geow’ which is a large shopping mall, also known as the ‘Ghetto Mall’ by the Tilleys. We had fun walking around and ordering some Mango Sticky rice and having the shop lady test us, then laugh at us, because of the lack of our Thai language knowledge.
While Emily and I were both feeling exhausted at the end of all this traveling, we went home and promptly slept. We were still getting over our jet lag. Then we had dinner at the Tilley’s to meet a few of the students at the ‘advanced level’ of English speaking. Beforehand, we were a bit anxious to meet them, because we didn’t want to say or do anything that would offend them!! So we prayed and asked God to go before us, help us, lead us by His Spirit and bless our time with them. And of course, He did.
One of the highlights of our night was hearing a story by one of the guys of his experience in getting a wisdom tooth pulled out by some dental students which left him squawking like a headless chicken with his mouth hanging open in agonizing pain. Poor guy. But he was laughing and we were all laughing. It was just such a fun night!
We both came back and said how much BEING with the students refreshed us. We loved our time with them and look forward to spending more time with the students.
Emily & Hannah are involved in an English teaching ministry with the Tilley family at Wisdom Tree.