I have lived in Thailand for over 5 years now and I love my life here. However, there are a few things that I will never get used to if I live to be a hundred.
Having been brought up with the usual English traditions, I find it difficult to totally embrace “turning Thai “. Take meals for example. Breakfast between 7 and 9am, lunch (or for northerners , dinner) between 12 and 1pm and tea between 5 and 6pm.
We simple folk didn’t go out for “dinner” in the evenings !
Things are a little different here. I’ve lost count of the times I have been woken in the middle of the night by chatter and the aroma of cooking food. Naively I always pose the same question through blurry eyes, “What is going on?” And I always receive the same matter-of-fact answer, “We’re hungry !”
I point out that if they were asleep they would not be hungry but I simply get the “stupid farang ” look. Thai life decrees “eat when you are hungry !”
One of the hardest things to come to terms with is “Thai-Time” ! Punctuality has always been important to me, probably because of teaching for 34 years. We have 5 clocks in our house, only one of which works. In fact, that is one too many as it is totally superfluous to requirements.
It is also fascinating to note that minutes in Thailand tend to consist of around 300 seconds ! So, “I’ll be there in 5 minutes, ” really means 25 minutes.
If I arrange to meet anyone, I like to be there on time. Often, my good lady very kindly offers to drop me off, so as to avoid any misunderstandings with the police later on.
However, if I start getting a little impatient as it becomes apparent I’m going to be late, I am met with ,” Bar going to close soon? Your friends can’t have drink till you get there? and so on.
And I suppose she has a point but I still find it very irritating. As is getting to the bus station at the last possible minute !
But the situation that winds me up every time is not being able to find something in the house. The number of occasions where I was certain that we had a poltergeist are numerous. Things just disappearing into thin air.
Though far from being a DIY expert , I do have a toolbox, in which I keep tools ! When I am finished using a tool, I put it back in the said toolbox. Not a Thai ! Not when there is a convenient empty nearby space to use !
Invariably, I can be heard muttering to myself as I hopelessly search for various objects that I need at a particular moment. Eventually, my lady can take no more and says, “What problem?”
I explain that I appear to have lost my glasses or whatever. I get the reply, “Not lost.” I fall for this every time as the euphoric feeling of relief that the item is not lost kicks in.
“Great, so where is it?” “Somewhere in home !” The urge to wrap my fingers round her neck is sometimes overwhelming but again there is truth in what she says. I “lost” my gold bracelet a while back and remarkably it did indeed turn up 18 months later, yes, in the home ! So technically, it wasn’t lost !
Finally, the matter of plates, cups and glasses etc is another irritant for me. Whenever I finish a meal or a drink I take the dirty dishes etc to the sink. Any left over food is put in a waste bin.
If I’m in a hurry, I give the plates etc a quick rinse to make it easier to clean them later. Not my girlfriend’s sons. There is crockery and glasses all over the house AND garden ! The sink is often full of dirty dishes with left-over food still on the plates.
The strength of ants is well-documented but the ones that inhabit our home are ant-Olympic standard, such is the amount of free sustenance readily available.
I’m sure many people have the same “problems” and like I said earlier, I love my life here. I am realistic enough to know that all this is never going to change, but it’s good to have the occasional moan.