Lifestyle Shock From Thailand to the United States


At the age of fifty-seven, I was a divorced male not significantly eager on paying the rest of my lifetime by yourself. I made the decision to try out on the web dating. I experienced always been a environment traveler and my two youngsters ended up grown, so I could go where ever the wind took me.

After some fake starts, I identified a wonderful female in Thailand. She was a Public Relations Supervisor and Psychologist performing at a govt healthcare facility. We exchanged emails and talked on Skype for 6 months. I manufactured two journeys to Thailand, and a yr later on, we married in a classic Thai ceremony. I had to return to the United States, but my spouse could not vacation until eventually she received her visa. So I flew back to Arkansas, where I labored as a database administrator, and patiently waited for 10 months.

Eventually, her paperwork was authorized, she handed the clinical exam and job interview, and she joined me in The us. Despite the fact that she had traveled to other areas of the globe, she experienced never been to the United States. She knowledgeable fairly a bit of tradition shock, but I aided her as a result of the complicated occasions, these types of as when she unsuccessful her driver license examination two times.

Time Zone Shock

The initially shock my spouse seasoned was the transform in local weather and jet lag. Immediately after a very long flight throughout the Pacific Ocean, delayed baggage, hours invested waiting around in line at immigration, then a different connecting flight to Arkansas, she was exhausted, and the cold November air in Los Angeles produced her shiver. The time zone difference concerning Thailand and the U.S. is twelve hrs, so she expended the evenings broad awake and felt sleepy in the afternoon.

Language Shock

In her forty several years, she experienced spoken only the Thai language. Her alphabet has 44 letters, with 21 vowels and 5 tones. Each Thai little one starts mastering the Thai language in elementary faculty. In significant college, four several years of English is expected. But her English scientific studies have been confined to one hour a 7 days, so she spoke only a couple phrases and did not know right pronunciation. Also, in her neighborhood she spoke Isarn, the dialect of northeastern Thailand. She experienced minimal prospect to talk or exercise English in early daily life. She was fortuitous to be utilized at an worldwide resort for a number of a long time, so she managed to follow some English with her manager, who was from France. She also listened to English pop new music, and repeated the lyrics.

When she arrived in the U.S., all the natives spoke way too promptly, and they utilised slang words she had by no means listened to in advance of. Any time she spoke with an American at the grocery shop, restaurant, or a social setting with my relatives, she felt shy and embarrassed. In Thailand she was a leader, a famed community speaker. In this article, she was a infant. Her senses had to take in all these new seems. For a long time, she skilled a decline of self self esteem, and felt homesick.

Envision her delicate ears on listening to anything like this the 1st time:

Are you cozy around there? You want to go out and get a several items at the store? We gotta do this an’ that. Hey, how yawl doin’? You men find everythin’ all right? Okey-doky?

Cozy? What is he speaking about? You guys? I am a girl, not a man. I am ok, I’m not a donkey.

Each working day she encountered additional slang words and experienced to master vocabulary text. What need to she say when she was launched to somebody else? She did not know American tradition. In The united states, folks favored eye get hold of. In Thailand, people today really don’t preserve eye make contact with for lengthy. Americans like to contact. In her culture, she did not like any one to contact her physique. Every day she experienced to focus to check out and have on a dialogue. Uncomplicated things that persons just take for granted, she observed new. Thailand makes use of the metric program. In the U.S., persons use the British procedure of measurement.
She frequently experienced to repeat what she claimed, due to the fact individuals did not have an understanding of her.

Automobile Shock

That was a significant shock for her. In Thailand persons drive a car or truck on the still left hand facet. She arrived in the U.S. and everyone was driving on the wrong side. Picture her confusion. I purchased her a car one day soon after her arrival and explained to her to travel the car or truck household. She did not fully grasp the rules about stop signals and what the middle lane was for. There are no pace limit indicators in Thailand. So she experienced to discover lots of varieties of signals. She felt nervous and baffled each individual time she drove. Some times she built a incorrect flip. She needed to make a right switch, but turned remaining when. Every person needed a vehicle in The united states. She puzzled how she would survive.

She unsuccessful the state driver’s license exam two situations. The 1st time she skipped too quite a few inquiries and the computer did not enable her return. She analyzed for a full month. The next time she did superior, but the inquiries were distinct. The 3rd time she eventually passed. She was anxious sitting with the officer in the road exam.

He claimed, “Not terrible. Be thorough about blind spots.”

One particular week after she received her license she was happily driving household, when she was stopped by police for speeding. The good news is the officer gave her only a warning.

She felt so relieved! She gave many thanks to Buddha. Just after that she adopted the indications. American regulation appeared pretty rigid. In Thailand, men and women negotiate a settlement with the officer.

Some examples of confusing avenue indications:

PEDXING – what is that? Is that some Indian title?

Yield – what does that necessarily mean? Does it necessarily mean go? If you quit somebody’s heading to yell at you.

End – In Thailand it is for pedestrians. Cars and trucks don’t halt.

School ZONE – We have to be quiet?

HANDICAPPED PARKING – We don’t have that in Thailand. VIP or guest speaker?

MERGE – A meeting issue? A relaxation location?

4-WAY Cease – Major road receives initial precedence!

Foods Shock

My spouse experienced issues when she requested food at most dining establishments. Buying food was a real obstacle.

1. Buying at the counter of a quickly meals cafe. She thought she had to tip the server. Also, she did not know one particular has to shell out in advance of the food is served.

At Kentucky Fried Chicken, she wished to order fried chicken. So the trick is if you want legs and thighs you purchase “Darkish Meat” and if you want breasts and wings you order “White Meat”. She wished legs but purchased thighs. She imagined the leg was the thigh. To her, the leg is hen feet.

The server questioned, “What side do you want?”

“What measurement? Smaller dimension, due to the fact I will not try to eat much too significantly.”


“I get 4 items. Compact measurement.”

“No, I indicate aspect. What facet you want?”

“What size you have?”

“Beans, corn, coleslaw, mashed potatoes.”

“Certainly, corn.”

“Corn on the cob or standard?”

What was she talking about now? Corn on the cup?

“Yes, I want corn on the cup. A smaller cup.” Oh, gentleman. This is finding perplexing.

The food came and it included biscuits. My wife mentioned, “I failed to order that. I did not like that.”

“That will come with the meal.”

“Okay.” She ate the thigh and corn on the cob.

At a rapid food retailer, she needed to get French Fries. The server explained they don’t have that. French Fries had been on the menu image.

They explained “we have Potato Fries”.

Is that the identical thing? She had to discover an additional phrase. She was mastering a little something each individual day.

2. Buying “Drive Through”, She experienced difficulty with the travel by means of. Just one time the store employee didn’t have an understanding of her English pronunciation quite nicely, so her daughter went hungry. She recurring herself 5 situations with no luck.

3. Ordering “at the Restaurant”. The server would present some consume initial and then provide the complicated menu. She did not fully grasp all the menu things, but fortunately she liked to try new food items. Just one time she ordered salmon with white wine. She expected a glass of white wine, but the wine was used in cooking the salmon. 1 time she could not order liquor for the reason that the server did not feel she was forty years old. All customers who like to get alcoholic beverages have to present ID. In Thailand they in no way request for an ID.

The U.S. personalized is to consist of 10% suggestions in the monthly bill. In Thailand, if you are not satisfied with the food items you really don’t idea. In America, individuals generally chat about who will shell out the monthly bill. In Thailand, the wealthy member is predicted to pay out. If a group desires to negotiate who will shell out, this has to be done right before having.

Weather and Snow Shock

My wife came from a land with a tropical weather. She had by no means seasoned snow. What a shock to go to Arkansas and wake up one particular early morning and see a white blanket of snow covering anything. At the very least Arkansas had gentle winters, as opposed to the frigid North, the place snow might address the ground for months.

Our first winter season we experienced entertaining creating a snowman and acquiring snowball fights. But driving on icy streets was scary. Our house was located among steep hills, and often I could not generate to perform for two or a few times until eventually vehicles arrived with dirt to soften the ice.

She purchased more heat clothing, a place heater, thick blankets, gloves, and boots to endure the winter season.


Buying for garments was a obstacle. Most People in america had been much larger than my spouse. She experienced to look in the teenager part to locate a equivalent size that suit. Sometimes she tried using to get on the net, but the outfits that arrived ended up much too significant. She experienced to sew her outfits. So she did not purchase that much from on the web any more.

She observed the indication named “Flea Industry” in city. She knew what flea meant. But she wondered, why men and women want fleas? For the yard? In Thailand people just kill them. She went inside a single, and noticed previous things, utilized clothing, and trinkets. I stated that a flea marketplace just marketed minor things.

Debit or Credit history and Checking Accounts

Most Americans used their dollars by credit score card or debit card or check out. In Thailand most men and women paid by dollars and wired income into financial institution accounts. My wife requested me why I did not give her funds. I gave her a debit card, and spelled out that it was a lot easier and safer to fork out anything by a card. So just about everywhere she went, she paid by debit card. She felt thrilled to be ready to buy nearly nearly anything with just the swipe of a card. At the supermarket, the cashier asked her if she needed cash back. She stated guaranteed I want money again to my account.

No! It meant individuals can get money from their account at the counter. In Thailand people today get dollars at the ATM only.

One particular time she went to the Generate Through at the Financial institution. She was amazed and confused. She predicted to satisfy a financial institution teller and inquire for aid. Regretably she drove to the outside the house lane. In Thailand they do not have Drive Via products and services and she did not know how to work the machine. She observed the spherical cylinder in a tube. How do I open this issue? She assumed it may perhaps be the identical as buying food at a travel by. She communicated with the officer driving the window by way of speaker. She felt like a turtle. But the officer patiently explained how to operate the device, and she created her very first generate-by transaction. I laughed when I read the story.

Vending equipment had been another mystery during her very first couple months. The device claimed, insert 4 quarters. What was a quarter? She experienced to master the benefit of cash. And devices were difficult also. She experienced to learn how to use a washing equipment, dryer, stove, fire, air conditioning, Television remote, oven, dishwasher, and disposal.

Shop at the Grocery

Buying was pleasurable, but it was so intricate to invest in groceries. She experienced to learn about numerous types of new food items. When she lived alone in Thailand, she usually acquired foods from the avenue distributors or ate at eating places. Foods was considerably less high priced in Thailand. Now she experienced to master how to prepare dinner.

She preferred to try to eat healthier meals. She will not like junk food, sandwiches, burgers, or pizza. She gathered recipes and viewed some cooking exhibits. I appreciated Thai food, so nearly anything she cooked, I ate and enjoyed.
She uncovered Oriental markets and acquired how to prepare dinner from her mom and sister by Skype and discovered from the online meals channel.

Food stuff value in the U.S. was so high-priced. The price ranges shocked her. For case in point, in Thailand a bunch of bananas expense a quarter. Besides, she experienced a banana tree in her back garden. In the Oriental store it was nearly 4 bucks. She didn’t want to pay for that but desired to try to eat them. The Oriental shop did not have all the meat, sauce, and other items she essential. So she produced her own recipes for some type of Thai dishes. She experienced to be creative and find out how to use an oven, dishwasher, and unusual western kitchen devices. At least she could buy a rice cooker and steamer. Rice was an vital section of every single meal. She could not locate a hot pot in the retailers, so she found 1 on line.

Healthcare Shock

The healthcare and dental price tag in The usa was so highly-priced. She needed to buy delivery handle supplements. She could not without a prescription. In Thailand, persons can obtain the tablets at the pharmacy without any prescription. She went to the dentist for a yearly cleansing, and he billed 20 pounds. In Thailand, the cost would have been two hundred Baht, or six pounds.

She went to the clinic for a checkup mainly because of a negative cough. The nurse requested her where by do you want to decide up your drugs?

She claimed, “In this article at the medical center.”

The nurse reported they you should not have medication in this article.

What? This is a big clinic in the U.S. Why don’t you have drugs? In Thailand men and women can choose the drugs in the medical center pharmacy like a just one prevent assistance.

Then the female told her she experienced to opt for the pharmacy locale.

“Can I decide on Walmart?”

The female questioned, “Which Walmart?”

She explained the a single that was close to Walmart Household Business. She went to select up her drugs at the Walmart Superstore, the a person around Walmart Home Office environment.

Stunned yet again! At the pharmacy, individuals stood in line to meet up with a pharmacist at the window and there ended up numerous means to choose up medication. What lane did she need to have to stand in? Choose up lane, Fall Off, or Above the counter? What form of drugs would she get? She genuinely essential her medicine now.

She stood in line and talked with a pharmacy personnel and gave them her prescription paper. The person guiding the counter reported her medicine was not here.

How could that come about? She took a deep breath.

The clerk explained to her she had to go to Walmart Property Place of work Pharmacy Store.

Oh brother! She essential drugs appropriate now remember to. She did not know there was a pharmacy at the superstore and a pharmacy in the Walmart Property Workplace. So she drove the vehicle and applied the GPS navigator. She arrived at Walmart Household Office and lastly bought the drugs! Whoopee!

How to get a Task

My spouse required to deliver some foods home and pay out for the payments and make her kid very pleased of her as perfectly. She experienced 15 yrs expertise in marketing and community relations, but in The usa she had to get started at the commencing. Her English capabilities were being not great, so numerous companies declined her application. What form of work could she do in The usa? She took a course in Physical Remedy, but we lived in a small city and there had been number of openings. She imagined about finding an superior degree, but the charge was also higher. She by now experienced a masters diploma in Psychology, but it was not identified in the U.S.

She inevitably located a position supervising disabled men and women. And she began a household business enterprise.

Maintain Serene

So to other folks who confront tradition shock, her tips is, keep serene. You will prevail. She prayed to Buddha and meditated, listened to calming tunes, went to function out at the health club, commenced to participate in tennis, and built new friends. She searched for Thai people in the neighborhood, cared for her yard, and quickly felt at residence in The usa. She rearranged the property, and talked with her household in Thailand each individual week employing Skype. I was a excellent listener and described numerous issues to her. I preferred her Thai dishes.

So continue to keep a favourable mind-set, will not be concerned of society shock. You will dwell via it and arise a more powerful and happier particular person.

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