Thailand has so many little, unwritten rules to follow its impossible not to mess up every now and again.
I just seem to mess up a lot.
I have already been sent home twice from school by our head teacher Jiraporn for my choice in dress (I’m worse as a teacher than I ever was as a student…). The first week I walked in wearing dress pants and I was sent home to change into a skirt because a woman wearing pants is considered rude. Honestly I think it is only this school that believes that, the visit school down the road lets their teachers wear dress pants and so do other schools in different areas of Thailand, but oh well! All of you who know I never wear skirts because I don’t necessarily like them…feel free to laugh your heart out because I have to wear one every day. The second time I was sent home for wearing flip flops to English Camp. They weren’t just any flip flops though, I asked Jiraporn if they were ok for “causal wear” and she responds with, “Noo no, those toilet shoes. Rude.” Sigh. “Ok I’ll go change.”
Wait wait…toilet shoes?? About two months ago my flops broke. This is very distressing news as my feet are about 8x’s bigger than the Thais’ feet..men and women alike. It was hard enough trying to find shoes that fit me in Bangkok I and was pretty pessimistic about finding anything in Bung Kan. However, a trip to the Tesco Lotus proved fruitful and I walked out with a brand new pair of white and blue (albeit mens) flippity floppers…they were the only ones in the whole store big enough for me. Of course I put these on instantly and shamelessly wore them every day. As I found out so suddenly at English Camp, these were toilet shoes. Tha’s have shoes that you wear specifically for the toilet, and I have been rocking those bad boys all around town for weeks and nobody bothered to inform me. They are bright white and blue so it’s not like they blend in at all, but even after I found out I have no other sandals and I sometimes still wore them despite feeling extremely self-conscious about it. I wore them to dinner on Walking Street one night and some of my students were there selling things on the street. Fortunately I was aware of my faux paus and could make a joke of it as all of my 13 year old kiddos saw my shoes and keeled over laughing at me. Leave it to my students to point out my social mistakes…where were they two weeks ago?? Emma went on a visa run to Laos the other day and found me a nice pair of plain, black, flip flops that were my size and kindly brought them back for me. 🙂
I spent the first two months in Thailand eating my food with a fork like a barbarian. In Thailand stabbing food with your fork is seen as aggressive. Instead, use the fork to help push food onto your spoon. I eat like a lady now. Hah! Right.
A couple of the Thai teachers and I joke about having a food baby after we eat too much all the time, so naturally when we were out for dinner and one of the teachers put her hand on her stomach and said “baby”, I assumed she meant food baby and I enthusiastically replied, “Me too!” How was I supposed to know she was actually pregnant? Her baby bump was hidden behind the table. No one said anything about my comment so now I have a feeling half the staff at school thinks I’m preggers.
I’m that weird, possibly pregnant foreign english teacher at the high school who eats like a rabid dog and wears toilet shoes in public. It’s a miracle I’ve made any friends in this town.