Five Reasons to Hate Thailand
By Eric Paul S. Sevencruz, CSsR (in Thailand)
Having stayed in Thailand for a month I have gotten five reasons to hate it.
Transactions are too easy. Applying for a visa took me only 20 minutes tops. I just submitted my form, filled out some missing information, paid and presto finished! Entering their country was a breeze. There was no interrogation unlike when I left the Philippines that we had go through a grueling question and answer portion. Even getting my work permit didn’t have much fuss. They just looked at me in person, signed few forms and paid.
Food is really good. For a health buff like me, or so I think myself to be, Thailand is not a good place. Every corner offers a variety of sumptuous delicacies. Sometimes a dish can have all 5 flavors in one: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and spicy. And if spicy food is your weakness, you might as well cross this country off your list. They have several degrees of spiciness, ranging from scalp-tingling to impossibly consumable spicyliciosness. So I am always drench in sweat every time I eat.
Makes me feel at home. The weather, the people (unless when they talk) certain aspects of their culture is very much closer to home. Nong Khai, the place where I am stationed as of writing, is like living in Bukidnon. Adjusting to my novel location was not difficult at all. People are friendly too and they very much accommodate me should I need help or assistance. Now, I still am waiting for home sickness bug to bite me.
Their language is like a song. Thai is a tonal language. So even if we Romanize their words, it still makes more sense when you hear it said. Otherwise, you’d end up confusing them. Often times one word are spelled the same way but read differently. A slight shift in tone can shift the meaning of your thoughts too from innocent to something naughty. But even for a music lover like me, learning their language can be a hair-splitting experience. Darn, I have lots of split-ends now.
It pushed me to pray harder. Prayer has always been integral to my life as a religious. But here in Thailand, I had to do some more extra! (if there is such a thing as quantifying prayers). Studying the Thai language requires me to go to school which is quite far from the house. At first I thought I can ride a bicycle going there but it IS really far. So the only option left for me is to use a motorcycle which I haven’t actually done in recent memory and at that kind of distance. But as they say, “Desperate times call for desperate measure!” So I practiced riding the motorcycle Wednesday afternoon so I can drive myself to school the next day. On my first day of driving, I lost count how many decades of Hail Marys I prayed with an extra Our Father on every intersection and road curve. Thank God I’m still in one piece to this date. And I want to keep it that way. Thanks Mama Mary!
For now, I continue to be out there. Go where there are opportunities for me to experience their culture and their mission and perhaps discover even other reasons to “hate” them more. I need to be constantly open to every new experiences I find myself in and not getting to anxious on making mistakes or being laughed at. Along the way, I am sure, there will be a lot of booboos, awkward situations, even difficulties. But I came here with my mind set to go on a mission travel marathon or missiotravelathon as I call it. Take things slow but consistently moving onwards and taking each opportunity to witness to the Gospel and discover more of myself too. I know there will be rough roads ahead but they are unique ways of learning. In fact they are the once that leave lasting impression. Indeed, my stay here makes me hate Thailand because all these five reasons cannot stop me from beaming with joy in the Land of Smiles. Shalom!