We want to share a few stories about people we have met and small victories we have had in the language.
A few days ago I was following behind Brittney to find a seat on the subway and then the one close to her was taken in-front of me (little did I know God had a specific reason for this), so I turned and sought after another one. I found one about 10ft away and sat down. Usually I like to study my flash cards when I can as we travel, but it had been a long day and I was tired of looking at the Thai language. But, I felt convicted to take out my cards and look at them. When I started flipping through them I noticed the older gentleman beside me softly speaking the words I was slowly trying to make out, and then he would look at me to watch me slowly read them. I wanted to talk to him, but I didn’t know if he could understand English. So I just continued, and he was following every card. I came to the word for foreigner (คนฟรั่ง, kon-fa-rong) and then I looked at him and pointed to myself and chuckled. He laughed as well and then began speaking to me in perfect English! He helped me with a few cards and then we ended up talking about his daughter who lives in the States and his job as an airlines consultant. We both ended up getting off at the same station, and I found out he lives on the next street over from us!! There I was sitting by a man I met about an hour away from home who lives right next to us. As we were saying our goodbyes he gave me his business card and said to contact him so I could practice language with him!
This morning Brittney and I were walking to the street to get a taxi. We had about 4mins to perfect our sentence to tell the taxi driver where we would like to go. We kept saying over and over again out loud: “ไปรถไฟใต้ดินไหมครับ” (bpai-rot-fai-dtaai-din-mai-kop). Then we crossed over the bridge and called a taxi, and for the first time the taxi driver understood us and we had him take us to the subway without using any English! Yes it was a small sentence, but it was a sweet victory for us.
Also today I got my haircut. I went to a new place because the last place I went to wasn’t so great. We found a barber shop on the first floor of our condo, so we went there this afternoon. I was very thankful a guy went before me and got the exact haircut I wanted, so all I had to say when I sat down was “same-same” and she understood. The workers were talking amongst themselves and then all the sudden I heard them say something about rain fall. Immediately without thinking I asked her if it was raining in Thai. She lit up and smiled. She then began throwing all kinds of words at me thinking I could speak Thai. I noticed a few and would guess what she was asking. There were a few awkward silences because of my lack of vocabulary and sentence structure, but the pause would soon be dismissed by “never mind, it’s ok.” In the end I got a good haircut, and we made a new friend.