wander process


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Bad Spelling

Sometimes I wonder what kind of friend I am. I mean, obviously, to most of my friends, I’m “the friend who’s living in Thailand.” And what kind of friend-who’s-living-in-Thailand could I be if I don’t provide people with many pictures to drool over?

More than pictures to velvety rice paddies, lushly dense jungled mountains and pristine beaches, people seem to go nuts over bad translations and unfortunate spelling. And I see them all of the time! I should stop holding out on all y’all.

This comes from a walk down the vegetable aisle at Tesco Lotus. I go to “Lotuh” twice weekly, mostly to stock up on apples, yogurt, and yogurt milk. If I’m lucky, there will be some sugar snap peas or cherry tomatoes. Yesterday, there were no peas, but I did find these translations (right next to one another):

I’m realizing that I don’t share enough the charms of my everyday life here. There are some really great, silly, crazy things that happen to me here. They might not be exciting, but they also might not be a part of everyday life in America. So I’m thinking I should document more of them.

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Love, Thai Style

News of my coworkers’ impending wedding came in April or so and knowing that it would be in bad form to not invite coworkers, I eagerly awaited my invitation.

When the invitation finally came, I could not have been more pleased. Getting the invite was great enough. The greatest part, however, was the realization that I was about to attend a Hello Kitty-themed wedding. Hello Kitty holding a bottle milk (that conveniently read “MILK”) was emblazoned all over the background of the wedding invite. It was like a bad stereotype come true.

Thai weddings are reserved for people close to the family, so all of the coworkers met up at the wedding reception, which was held at a large building on the edge of Lamplaimat. I slapped some make up on my face and put on my fancy beads that weigh roughly as much as a small child. I met up with Stephanie, an intern at the school for the summer (you will see more of her in the coming posts), and we set off to congratulate Ouey and Op and celebrate their nuptial bliss.

I gave Ouey a big hug and told her how beautiful she looked on her special day. Some things don’t change across cultures. I also slipped them a little money. Wedding gifts in Thailand are almost always money. And money that you give has to be an even amount, otherwise it’s bad luck or something.

We strolled into the reception hall and were confronted with what might be the most ridiculous thing I’ve even seen at a wedding. A larger-than-life-size banner of Ouey and Op in their wedding clothes, looking all cutesy and pointing at each other.

It seems like elaborate table set-ups are a given, no matter what country you go to a wedding reception in. This one, I was told, was Chinese-style.

All of the tables were provided with cheap, flat, watered-down alcohol. I was sitting around a table with my coworkers, and we saw that some of our students were also attending the wedding reception. They bashfully came over to our table, said a quick hello, gave us the alcohol from their table, and promptly left.


For the next hour or so, there was a lot of sitting around and enjoying/trying to identify the food. Here are some shots of my lovely coworkers:

Bell, Kum, and Oi

Nat, Nim, Nim’s boyfriend, Add

Ty, me, Stephanie

At one point in the night, I was coerced into trying to catch the bouquet (I was surprised they even had the bouquet toss). There were not many single ladies attending the reception, so it ended up being me and a handful of the other teachers. I didn’t want to be the strange, bouquet-snatching white girl at the reception, so I hung back a little and let my coworkers battle for the bouquet. Oi emerged the victor.

The bride and groom made their way through the guests, stopping to take pictures with everyone. Then came time for our crew.

And then it was time for the final picture of the night before the jet-legged Stephanie and I made our way back to our rooms. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the reception, but I suppose like all wedding receptions, it depends on the company you keep. And my coworkers were a blast to hang out with.