This is Foriegn to Me


Thai Writing

It is hard to learn Thai. I don’t think I can make this statement any clearer. Thai language is so distant from English that at first I had no idea where to begin when learning it. The writing looked like art to me, not words or letters. When writing Thai there aren’t even any spaces between words so it looks so confusing. The journey to learning this language is truly a hard one.

I have never been any good at language to begin with. I always loved writing, reading, math, and although I didn’t like science, I could do it well, but language has been the one subject where I find myself tilting my head. I thought that I would be good at it, but when I took Italian in high school I learned nothing. It was partially because my Italian teacher wasn’t qualified for his job so he handed out A’s like promoters hand out flyers. Therefore, I thought that maybe it wasn’t my fault that I was so bad at language. I thought that I could redeem myself on my quest to learn Thai, but the language has not been sticking.

In Thai class we learn so many words and phrases so fast that by the end my head is all jumbled. It’s a two-hour class and my professor is the most energized man you could ever meet, but despite how much he makes me smile I still struggle with hearing the difference between B and Bp. So many sounds are very similar in Thai and so many words are the same.  Maa can mean dog, horse, or come depending on the tone in which you say it. And then when learning to read and write it can be difficult as well because some characters make the same sounds. And you learn that high-class consonants have high tones and low-class consonants have low tones, but when a high-class consonant is with a short vowel it has a low tone, and when a low-class consonant is with a short vowel it has a high tone?

Sometimes when my professor walks into the class and just jumps right in with asking questions in Thai and he looks at me expecting an answer in Thai I just want to put down my head and say “once I leave here this is useless to me.” But for some reason I keep on trying because I want to feel accomplished, and I know that  will take some time, but I’ll be happy at the end.

After learning how to say and order different foods I began trying it at food stands. At first I wanted to hit myself because I would learn words and then as soon as I walked up to a cart and looked around all of those words vanished from my mind, and all I could do is point and order in English. Or whenever I tried the Thai person standing in front of me would just stare as if I was saying words that never existed even though I was saying the exact words that I learned in class. But recently I made a breakthrough.  When I recently went to order a pork omelet, I walked up to the Thai woman at the stand and said “Sawadii kha. Muu kai jiaw” and she didn’t scratch her head and stare at me she just nodded and began cracking eggs.


About Cambriae Winifred

Sometimes you wake up and you don't know where you're going, but you know where you want to be. Sometimes you have all the thoughts in the world, but you struggle with translating them into words. I want to write until it gets me to my destination and I want to write until my thoughts are understood.--- Find what you love and live your life. We are the dreamers of dreams. I'm writing this blog to build a bridge between myself and the rest of the world, to inspire people who may be lacking light in their life, and to uplift those who are marginalized by speaking what I believe to be the truth. I named this blog "Like Chocolate," not only because people often call me chocolate because of my skin complexion, but because chocolate symbolizes sweetness and richness. I want to bring those positive things to other people. Also, chocolate is made from cocoa beans which are a source of energy and when you have energy you can do anything; you can live life. So... Be sweet, Be rich, Be good, Be life!

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