“What is the difference between ‘house’ and ‘home’?”

That’s what my supervisor asked me the other day, as we were doing an informal lesson of me learning more Thai and him practicing his English, with the help this very helpful translation website.  I explained that ‘home’ had more of an emotional attachment to it compared to ‘house.’  This made me, in turn, think more about my experience here in Thailand, and how it’s fascinating how adaptable the human spirit is.  It’s the kind of change that you don’t really notice, like it sneaks up on you.  And you don’t have to be abroad to experience this — it can be present during other moments of transition in life: a new job, going to college away from home, getting into a new relationship…

I realize how I have organically formed familial and social connections here.  My roommates are like surrogate sisters; my colleagues at work are like cousins, and my supervisors are my Thai parents; and my “new” friends, aren’t really new anymore.  I had Thanksgiving with a few American buddies, and from time to time, I roll up deep with a crew at a Chiang Mai club, the Warm Up, predominantly frequented by young university students.  With the food vendors on my street, I’m not bumbling so much when I order my food in Thai these days.  Sometimes even I’m amazed — “Did I just successfully say ‘grilled pork with rice to go’ in Thai?  And did the server just understand and compute that?!?!”

So after three months here, I feel confident in saying that I’ve put in an effort to explore Chiang Mai, find my spots to chill and study, and also hang out with people and have fun.  But the new experiences are always continuous — from doing a border run to Burma to renew my visa, harvesting rice at a farm that supports Burmese people, playing with kids that had just received free cleft palate surgery, and helping my boss come up with an English phrase for a parade banner raising awareness on the issue of domestic violence.

It’s funny how even though I felt homesick earlier this month,

dscn07251 I realize that in a weird sorta way…


I am home.



~ by wannabejochen on 30/11/2008.

One Response to ““What is the difference between ‘house’ and ‘home’?””

  1. As always, great post! I’m glad you’re feeling more “settled in” in CM. Funny to think you’re a frequent at the Warm Up – where was it when we were searching for a place to go?? lol…

    Awesome banner, by the way – the message turned out great (assuming that the banner in the picture is the one you helped craft).

    I’m at the airport in Phoenix right now, waiting for my connection to Minneapolis. This is trip two of three over the course of the month (next week is my last trip to the frozen tundra). Talk to you soon!

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