Things that make me sweat

Since I’m in a new country, I get nervous at times. It’s totally natural, right? But when I’ve been in somewhat nerve-racking, stressful situations here in Chiang Mai, I get extra perspire-y. In other words, I pretty much turn into Sweaty McSweaterton.

– I took a Thai hip-hop dance class, and apparently, at the end of class, the instructor chooses a couple dancers to come to the front with him and help lead the routine. Why did I get chosen?!? He asked me something in Thai, and all I could say in response was, “I don’t understand,” in Thai. It was (literally) a hot mess, and I started messing up a lot in front of everyone. In the end, apparently, the dancers who are picked get a prize — I received a flower-patterened pillowcase. Sweet!

– Meeting my supervisor’s boss and trying to explain what I hope to get out of this internship. Not sure if he fully understood me. I do remember that I just smiled a lot.

– An acquaintance of mine put her head to my stomach for some reason, as if she was trying to hear a fetus within my stomach. I affectionately rubbed the back of her head, which is a social NO-NO in Thailand! Ahhhhhh!!!!

– Lastly, at a lunch gathering of social workers, police, and immigration officers, following one of my first case conferences, the women asked me how old I was. After answering, my supervisor — this sweet, older Thai woman — turns to me and says, “Eugene, the next question you have to be prepared to answer is: ‘Do you have a girlfriend?'”

What I love about this country is that for the most part, people laugh and smile along with your discomfort and embarrassment. They don’t make you feel like a stupid-ass, nor do they shame you for it. They don’t yell at you, “You’re in Thailand. You need to learn the language!” It’s a good feeling. And it also helps diminish the puddles on my brow and in my armpits, too.

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~ by wannabejochen on 12/09/2008.

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