Expat

Unlearning Thai

(or the quickening of my inability to retain and use properly the Thai language)

I am reminded of my failings, my total fail as a Thai language learner. Payap Blog wanted me to write about my experiences taking Thai classes at PYU so I did, blah, blah, blah. Which got me thinking, blah, blah, blah, about how I have been steadily unlearning Thai.

You see, my Holy Ghosts, I’m an English teacher, and as an English teacher I am expected to speak English. I know, I know, you’re like wait a Chi Gong minute. But I can’t engage with my students in Thai as much as I would LOVE to and I don’t think it is legal (in my mind) to ask one of my 13-16 year olds to say – grab a coffee after class.

Of course this is just excuse Number One.

Blah, blah, blah. No! I am not going mental. It’s just I barely have the time to write (my Passion of the Christ) either! Between socializing, listening to Dyer’s Excuses Begone, midday naps and the daydreams about sexy boys (Can I go old school here? I want to jump their bones), who the heck has the time?

Since I’m moving this week to a far better local, I got to pack up my Thai notes, handouts and books that have joyously collected dander these past few months (?). Another Hallmark reminder of my NEGLECT. It’s pathetic really. Baw, to the Bai, to the Mai. Pathetic.

I shall run down the sois of Chiang Mai drenched in exhaust and dust and my saccharine sweat screaming, “WHY CAN’T I LEARN THAI? WHY CAN’T I LEARN THAI? WHAT CAN’T I LEARN THAI?!” The dogs will howl in concerto and the cats will make their horrible heated noise to go along with my lack of shame.

But between you and me and the frying eggs, (*whisper*) I think everyone thinks I’m stupid.

That’s me! I should be better by now. Stupid, stupid, stupid. (Let’s not use the word Lazy, shall we? A far more stinging insult, don’t you think?) Lord Krisha help me if I end up on the Cat Woman’s Women Learning Thai’s Barely Getting By With Thai. I want to be on the Successful Thai Language Learner side!

There was a lovely lady who was in my reading and writing class who had been in Thailand for 7 years who had not learned to read and write yet and I withheld my filthy judgment because I could totally see how that could happen. It’s happening to me.

It’s the end of March 2011, people.

Am I so engrained in my own Culture that I can’t learn Thai? Do I have to get a Thai boyfriend? (Not that there is anything wrong with that.) Do I have to hang out in the bars and learn Issan? (Not that there is anything wrong with that.) Is Tinglish my destiny?

In my defense? I have none. I am at the mercy of my own stupidity. I’ve upgraded motorbikes and coming soon, will be upgrading homes. I can only hope that I’ll be upgrading my Thai in the 2011 future.

Blah, blah, blah.

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7 thoughts on “Unlearning Thai

  1. Hi Lani,Your mother probably did a very good job to make you a US citizen.I guess on the street in Chiang Mai many people will address you in Thai and you're not able to answer sufficiently, which also contributes to your frustration or not?I sincerely hope you will make more progress in the near future.Just a tip: should you fail and want to prevent Catherine from renaming her blog to: “Women Learning Thai… and some men and Thai too ;-)”, you could always resort to a bit of plastic surgery to let people think you're just another (ignorant) foreigner 🙂

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  2. Lani, I have a magnet on my fridge that says “take my advice, I'm not using it”. And funny enough (or not) my latest post is… yup… advice laden. And it's good advice. Honest.But truthfully, the only advice (mantra?) that keeps me going with my Thai studies is “never ever give up”. I'm a slacker. Sure. But… ok… no buts…

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  3. Lani, I am right there with you…My Thai learning is languishing at the moment…You know I have been telling Catherine about an idea I have had for over a year now and I think you can benefit from it as well…You need a sleeping dictionary…trust me it keeps you interested in learning Thai and it works…nuff said.

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  4. @I-Nomad: Yes, my mom is wondering why on earth does she have a daughter that wants to live in the country that she escaped?And yes, everyone wants to know where I come from and wants to speak Thai to me! I know, I know, I look kohn Thai!!!!@Cat: I love the magnet saying! Get me through the summer!!!!!!!!!@Talen: What is a sleeping dictionary???????

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  5. When I was taking Thai classes, I was actually really impressed with my Thai skills (I was the only one, but still!). Since I stopped taking classes, I have not studied once. Not one word. Not one anything. And guess what? I have forgotten most of the basics I learned. It's hard, and it really takes an effort, and sometimes life gets in the way. Don't feel lazy or stupid or bad…it just happens sometimes!

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  6. Lani, this post doesn't give me any hope of my good intentions of continuing my studies after I've left Thailand 😦 We could always speak Tinglish together…that has to count for something, doesn't it?BTW I think Talen's sleeping dictionary has a pulse, and probably long black hair!

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