New Year is traditionally a time for list-making. My lists are about living cross-culturally. I have lived in Thailand for 33 of the last 51 years. I no longer belong anywhere else. Pramote and I got married in Iowa in 2009 and built our home in a village close to his family in Chiang Mai. That is the context for my reflections this New Year’s Eve.
3 things that are persistently remarked upon:
3 things about my behavior that are hard for Thai acquaintances to accept:
3 things that I still find difficult:
OK, to be fair, what have I heard about how Americans respond to Thai persons in the USA?
I have been out of the USA for a while. Are these sorts of insults disappearing?
I have come to terms with most of these aggravations here. I cannot impact how Thai people first perceive me except by remembering to smile benignly and dress appropriately. They cannot diminish what I know and what I think, by underestimating it. At this stage in life it is time to shed regrets about what was not to be … and to dispose of books I have hoarded and clothes I have outgrown.
I’m on my way to a party down the lane where they will have ice cubes in the beer and bits of animal innards on the grill. Happy New Year, in this the best of all possible worlds.
Rev. Dr. Kenneth Dobson posts his weekly reflections on this blog.