Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Because I Once Lived Overseas

Hubby and I lived in Thailand for a little over three years. Son #1 was born there.

When people hear this, they very often say something about how it must have been an amazing, life-changing experience. And it was. But to be honest, many of the changes were not all that huge and meaningful. So, hey, here's a handful.

Because I once lived overseas:

I wear jeans all summer.
Hardly ever bother to buy shorts. About halfway through my spin class, I start to sweat like I used to sweat, standing around at work in Thailand. So, you know, it's not that hot, ok?

I don't need a tan. Thais think pale skin is beautiful. They like big noses, too. Somehow, though, that combination did not turn me into The Sex Goddess of Thailand. But, hey, at least I will probably not be all wrinkly and cancerous when I am 60.

I make really good fried rice.
I have a few other dishes I can whip up, but the fried rice was the hardest one to learn how to do. I had no idea it would be so difficult. So I am especially proud of it. Come over, and I'll make you some.

I was once kicked out of a women's clothing store for being so fat they had nothing to offer me, and the saleslady was afraid I would scare off customers. At the time, I weighed 120 lbs and was an American size 9.

I have cursed a man out for copping a feel.
People in Thailand assume, thanks to Hollywood, that American women will fuck anything. So, you know, if you sit next to the bus driver, he will grab whatever he can reach. That happened enough times that I stopped sitting next to the bus driver :) One day, I was walking with Son #1, who was an EXTREMELY ADORABLE baby, if I may say so myself, and a man asked to hold him. This happened ALL the time. Thai people LOVED Son #1. As well they should.

Turns out, though, that the man only wanted to hold my baby as an excuse to run his hands across my chest, at length, when he returned said baby to me.

I yelled at him. Something along the lines of, "Hey! Don't do that! That's rude!" But then I realized: I am way angrier than that. And I do not know how to communicate that, in Thai. I did not know a single Thai obscenity. But you know what? I knew a LOT of them, in English. And I let him hear every last one of them. At top volume. While jabbing my finger at him with one hand, and holding my baby on the opposite hip. Boy, did he apologize. I backed that man down the street for quite some time, and didn't care HOW rude I was being to him or WHAT anyone else might think. That was SOME FUN.

I know what it feels like to be tall.
When I got off the plane in Bangkok, I could see over just about everyone. It was awesome. I loved being tall. Because at 5'3", I do not get that experience very often at all. It was, I will say, fantastic, except for one time. And that is a story for another post.

I have no sympathy for illegal aliens.
We knew a guy who let his visa lapse, in Thailand. All of us, every foreigner he knew, let him know that he was being irresponsible and stupid, and that he was disrespecting Thai law. We gave him boatloads of grief, until he got his visa stamp and was legal again. Yes, people have lots of lovely reasons for what they do. I don't care. My family came here legally. I lived abroad legally. Get in line, folks.

There are probably lots more things I could mention, here, but...this is just a blog break before I get back to work. May Deadlines kick my butt something royal, every year, and this is no exception. So, hey, maybe I will do this again, sometime.


Sue said...

Oh my. See, people think I'm nuts because I want to be pale too! I'd rather be pale!

I'd also like to know more...

Anonymous said...

Real fried rice?? I may love you just a litte bit more than I love bass-playing-hubby right now! ;o)
(Shhh don't tell him I said that!)

ALF said...

mmm - fried rice. Doug LOVES him some fried rice. We might have to make the trip to try yours...

Ilona said...

Loved, loved, loved the mental picture of you reaming out the lecherous Thai, him backing away appologizing. I read that section three times, and it made me laugh every time!

And your comment on my last Friday's post at Mid-Century Modern Moms (which I just now read because I am a Delinquent Blogger) also made me laugh out loud.

'YOUR room is my room until you're paying rent, so unless you want us making out there, keep it to yourself.' SNORT. I am SO remembering that line. Hee...

Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

You know I could have sworn I commented on this one already? It must not have "taken" & it was right before I was leaving for work so I probably never saw.

I wear jeans all summer too. I think it's kind of like my watermelon problem - why buy half a pair of pants when you can get a whole pair of pants for the same price?!?!?!?

That's so weird about the bus drivers. It's really because of US movies and not just that the bus drivers are creeps? (I'm seriously asking, btw. They didn't do that to the Thai women?)

Anyway, neat post! I'll be over for some fried rice!

Christine said...


Well, it was very noticeable among bus drivers, but really not exclusive to them. Thai men just assume we are all very slutty. And they will say, "You know, just like ..." and mention some movie filled with slutty behavior.

Thai women, on the other hand, do not get that kind of harassment. Because they are Good.

On the flip side, Thai women often said that white men treated them all like prostitutes. Because, well, a lot of white guys come to Thailand for the rampant and affordable prostitution, and can't get it through their thick skulls that once you leave the whorehouse you are dealing with normal women, Just Like Back Home.

So, hey, it goes both ways.