The adventure of learning a new language and culture

’Wow, your Thai is really good, how many years have you been in Thailand’’ says the Thai student who sits in the back of my car. I am trying to stay concentrated on driving and keeping an eye out for the many potholes on the road. At the same time I am having a conversation in Thai with the two Thai Christians who are accompanying me to fellowship group. It takes a few seconds before I respond. ‘’I don’t speak Thai very well, I’m only here for six months now and I make mistakes all the time’’ I answer him.

This is a normal response in Thailand. Back home it would be rude to wave away a compliment and to kindly accept it would be the proper thing to do. However here in Thailand to accept the compliment and just say ‘’thank you’’ would be seen as getting a big head. I’m glad I didn’t say the first thing that came to mind.
It’s those small things that make living a Thailand a big adventure. Constantly you are asking yourself, what is the proper behavior here, what should I say, how should I say it, or do I say it best by saying nothing at all? And I’m not even up to point of talking about Biblical stories, imagine how much sensitivity I will need for that?
In the mean time we’ve arrived at fellowship group. The Thai Christians talk about the Holy Spirit, how He gives the right words on the right time. Silly me, why am I worrying so much? At the necessary time, God will give me the right words. And I hope people will praise God for that, not me.

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