A Big Decision in Chiang MaiSeptember 20 in Thailand
From Brazil I came back to Thailand. In April 2017 I spent three charming weeks here, so I decided to dig in and explore seriously. Now that I have been living internationally for over a year, “exploring” no longer means traveling around with a set itinerary. Instead, I am improvising my stays according to what makes me happy, excited, and intrigued.
I have made the decision to stay here in Chiang Mai, which is the third-largest city in Thailand. FindPenguins comes with the satellite map, so you can see where I am exactly. I will be here until October 31st, and most likely will extend that until December, when I fly back to the US. I love my spacious and comfortable apartment.
Here is a link to the Airbnb site so you can see what it looks like: https://abnb.me/PjtZrIiUrQ I love my little neighborhood (I have become a “neighborhood person”) and I find the location to be perfect: just within the ancient city walls, yet separated from the tourist bustle further south. Despite the big city congestion, I like being here for all the possibilities a big city offers.
I have also made a much more momentous decision: I am devoting myself to learning Thai. I just can’t have the kind of experiences I have enjoyed in countries where I was fluent unless I make the same effort here. So all day long, until late afternoon, I am Pomidoro-ing my studies—twenty-five minutes study, five minutes total break, repeat. There are longer breaks to eat and do my exercises, but I still listen to Thai podcasts, and read about Thai culture and history. Also, I have two teachers (via Skype), one for teaching me all I ask to know, and the other for one hour of “this is how we talk” conversation. I am trying to memorize vocabulary as rapidly as possible with spaced repetition practice. Memorize memorize memorize—it’s my new name!
I am at such an elementary level that I can’t really bother people on the street with much more than a short short conversation. However, in a stroke of luck I met a photographer/artist who is desperately keen to learn English, so we are teaming up for a daily language exchange. His English is slightly ahead of my Thai. We are roaring into the improvement of both our language abilities with fervor. And lo! There is a long-lived Language Exchange every Wednesday and Saturday evenings at a pub close to my apartment. The first time I went there I met Thais, Americans, Chinese, Brits, Koreans and Canadians present! I also signed up to be a member of a “foreign language challenge,” called the Add1Challenge. Here is a link for more information: https://add1challenge.com/ Why? I thought it would be fun, and a sociable way to be fanatically intent on attaining fluency in ninety days.
My visit to Brazil the last three months taught me the value of really being able to communicate in a foreign language: to talk and listen on an emotional level, which breaks down cultural barriers. My goal is never to “become” Brazilian, or Thai, or anything else. It is to become closer.
And to have fun as I never have before!
ฉันเรียนเพื่อสนุกกับชีวิต. “I study for life’s enjoyment.”Read more