On the age of fifty-seven, I used to be a divorced man not notably eager on spending the remainder of my life alone. I made a decision to strive on-line courting. I had all the time been a world traveler and my two youngsters have been grown, so I may go wherever the wind took me.

After some false begins, I discovered a beautiful girl in Thailand. She was a Public Relations Supervisor and Psychologist working at a authorities hospital. We exchanged emails and talked on Skype for six months. I made two journeys to Thailand, and a 12 months later, we married in a conventional Thai ceremony. I needed to return to the US, however my spouse couldn’t journey till she obtained her visa. So I flew again to Arkansas, the place I labored as a database administrator, and patiently waited for ten months.

Lastly, her paperwork was authorised, she handed the medical examination and interview, and he or she joined me in America. Though she had traveled to different components of the world, she had by no means been to the US. She skilled fairly a little bit of tradition shock, however I helped her by means of the troublesome instances, comparable to when she failed her driver license examination twice.

Time Zone Shock

The primary shock my spouse skilled was the change in local weather and jet lag. After an extended flight throughout the Pacific Ocean, delayed baggage, hours spent ready in line at immigration, then one other connecting flight to Arkansas, she was drained, and the chilly November air in Los Angeles made her shiver. The time zone distinction between Thailand and the U.S. is twelve hours, so she spent the nights conscious and felt sleepy within the afternoon.

Language Shock

In her forty years, she had spoken solely the Thai language. Her alphabet has 44 letters, with 21 vowels and 5 tones. Each Thai baby begins studying the Thai language in elementary college. In highschool, 4 years of English is required. However her English research have been restricted to 1 hour every week, so she spoke only some phrases and didn’t know right pronunciation. Additionally, in her group she spoke Isarn, the dialect of northeastern Thailand. She had little likelihood to talk or apply English in youth. She was lucky to be employed at a global resort for just a few years, so she managed to apply some English together with her supervisor, who was from France. She additionally listened to English pop music, and repeated the lyrics.

When she arrived within the U.S., all of the natives spoke too rapidly, they usually used slang phrases she had by no means heard earlier than. Any time she spoke with an American on the grocery retailer, restaurant, or a social setting with my household, she felt shy and embarrassed. In Thailand she was a frontrunner, a well-known public speaker. Right here, she was a child. Her senses needed to take in all these new sounds. For a very long time, she skilled a lack of self-worth, and felt homesick.

Think about her delicate ears on listening to one thing like this the primary time:

Are you cozy over there? You wish to exit and get just a few issues on the retailer? We gotta do that an’ that. Hey, how yawl doin’? You guys discover everythin’ all proper? Okey-doky?

Comfortable? What’s he speaking about? You guys? I’m a woman, not a man. I am okay, I am not a donkey.

Each day she encountered extra slang phrases and needed to study vocabulary phrases. What ought to she say when she was launched to another person? She didn’t know American tradition. In America, individuals favored eye contact. In Thailand, individuals do not preserve eye contact for lengthy. People like to the touch. In her tradition, she didn’t like anybody to the touch her physique. Each day she needed to focus to attempt to keep it up a dialog. Easy issues that individuals take as a right, she discovered new. Thailand makes use of the metric system. Within the U.S., individuals use the British system of measurement.

She incessantly needed to repeat what she stated, as a result of individuals didn’t perceive her.

Car Shock

That was a giant shock for her. In Thailand individuals drive a automotive on the left hand facet. She arrived within the U.S. and everyone was driving on the flawed facet. Think about her confusion. I purchased her a automotive at some point after her arrival and informed her to drive the automotive house. She didn’t perceive the principles about cease indicators and what the center lane was for. There are not any velocity restrict indicators in Thailand. So she needed to study many sorts of indicators. She felt nervous and confused each time she drove. Some instances she made a flawed flip. She needed to make a proper flip, however turned left as soon as. Everybody wanted a automotive in America. She puzzled how she would survive.

She failed the state driver’s license examination two instances. The primary time she skipped too many questions and the pc didn’t let her return. She studied for a complete month. The second time she did higher, however the questions have been completely different. The third time she lastly handed. She was nervous sitting with the officer within the street take a look at.

He stated, “Not unhealthy. Watch out about blind spots.”

One week after she obtained her license she was fortunately driving house, when she was stopped by police for rushing. Fortunately the officer gave her solely a warning.

She felt so relieved! She gave because of Buddha. After that she adopted the indicators. American regulation appeared very strict. In Thailand, individuals negotiate a settlement with the officer.

Some examples of complicated avenue indicators:

PEDXING – what’s that? Is that some Indian title?

YIELD – what does that imply? Does it imply go? When you cease anyone’s going to yell at you.

STOP – In Thailand it’s for pedestrians. Vehicles do not cease.

SCHOOL ZONE – We’ve got to be quiet?

HANDICAPPED PARKING – We do not have that in Thailand. VIP or visitor speaker?

MERGE – A gathering level? A relaxation space?

4-WAY STOP – Major avenue will get first precedence!

Meals Shock

My spouse had issues when she ordered meals at most eating places. Ordering meals was an actual problem.

1. Ordering on the counter of a quick meals restaurant. She thought she needed to tip the server. Additionally, she didn’t know one has to pay earlier than the meal is served.

At Kentucky Fried Hen, she needed to order fried rooster. So the trick is in order for you legs and thighs you order “Darkish Meat” and in order for you breasts and wings you order “White Meat”. She needed legs however ordered thighs. She thought the leg was the thigh. To her, the leg is rooster toes.

The server requested, “What facet would you like?”

“What dimension? Small dimension, as a result of I do not eat an excessive amount of.”


“I order Four items. Small dimension.”

“No, I imply facet. What facet you need?”

“What dimension you’ve gotten?”

“Beans, corn, coleslaw, mashed potatoes.”

“Sure, corn.”

“Corn on the cob or common?”

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

“Sure, I would like corn on the cup. A small cup.” Oh, man. That is getting complicated.

The meals got here and it included biscuits. My spouse stated, “I did not order that. I did not like that.”

“That comes with the meal.”

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

At a quick meals retailer, she needed to order French Fries. The server stated they do not have that. French Fries have been on the menu picture.

They stated “we’ve got Potato Fries”.

Is that the identical factor? She needed to study one other time period. She was studying one thing every single day.

2. Ordering “Drive Through”, She had bother with the drive by means of. One time the shop worker did not perceive her English pronunciation very nicely, so her daughter went hungry. She repeated herself 5 instances with no luck.

3. Ordering “on the Restaurant”. The server would supply some drink first after which supply the sophisticated menu. She didn’t perceive all of the menu gadgets, however fortunately she favored to strive new meals. One time she ordered salmon with white wine. She anticipated a glass of white wine, however the wine was utilized in cooking the salmon. One time she couldn’t order alcohol as a result of the server didn’t consider she was forty years outdated. All clients who prefer to order alcohol have to indicate ID. In Thailand they by no means ask for an ID.

The U.S. customized is to incorporate 10% ideas within the invoice. In Thailand, in case you are not glad with the meals you do not tip. In America, individuals normally speak about who pays the invoice. In Thailand, the wealthy member is anticipated to pay. If a gaggle needs to barter who pays, this must be performed earlier than consuming.

Climate and Snow Shock

My spouse got here from a land with a tropical local weather. She had by no means skilled snow. What a shock to maneuver to Arkansas and get up one morning and see a white blanket of snow protecting all the things. No less than Arkansas had delicate winters, not like the frigid North, the place snow would possibly cowl the bottom for months.

Our first winter we had enjoyable constructing a snowman and having snowball fights. However driving on icy roads was scary. Our house was located amongst steep hills, and generally I couldn’t drive to work for 2 or three days till vehicles got here with dust to soften the ice.

She purchased additional heat garments, an area heater, thick blankets, gloves, and boots to outlive the winter.


Searching for garments was a problem. Most People have been bigger than my spouse. She needed to look within the teenager part to discover a comparable dimension that match. Generally she tried to order on-line, however the garments that arrived have been too massive. She needed to sew her outfits. So she did not purchase that a lot from on-line anymore.

She noticed the signal named “Flea Market” on the town. She knew what flea meant. However she puzzled, why individuals want fleas? For the backyard? In Thailand individuals simply kill them. She went inside one, and noticed outdated stuff, used garments, and trinkets. I defined {that a} flea market simply offered little issues.

Debit or Credit score and Checking Accounts

Most People spent their cash by bank card or debit card or examine. In Thailand most individuals paid by money and wired cash into financial institution accounts. My spouse requested me why I didn’t give her money. I gave her a debit card, and defined that it was simpler and safer to pay all the things by a card. So in all places she went, she paid by debit card. She felt excited to have the ability to purchase nearly something with simply the swipe of a card. On the grocery store, the cashier requested her if she needed money again. She stated certain I would like money again to my account.

No! It meant individuals can get money from their account on the counter. In Thailand individuals get money on the ATM solely.

One time she went to the Drive Through on the Financial institution. She was amazed and confused. She anticipated to fulfill a financial institution teller and ask for assist. Sadly she drove to the surface lane. In Thailand they do not have Drive Via companies and he or she didn’t know methods to function the machine. She noticed the spherical cylinder in a tube. How do I open this factor? She thought it might be the identical as ordering meals at a drive by means of. She communicated with the officer behind the window through speaker. She felt like a turtle. However the officer patiently defined methods to function the machine, and he or she made her first drive-through transaction. I laughed once I heard the story.

Merchandising machines have been one other thriller throughout her first few months. The machine stated, insert Four quarters. What was 1 / 4? She needed to study the worth of cash. And machines have been sophisticated too. She needed to discover ways to use a washer, dryer, range, hearth, air-con, TV distant, oven, dishwasher, and disposal.

Store on the Grocery

Buying was enjoyable, nevertheless it was so sophisticated to purchase groceries. She needed to find out about many sorts of latest meals. When she lived alone in Thailand, she normally purchased meals from the road distributors or ate at eating places. Meals was inexpensive in Thailand. Now she needed to discover ways to cook dinner.

She favored to eat wholesome meals. She do not like junk meals, sandwiches, burgers, or pizza. She collected recipes and watched some cooking exhibits. I favored Thai meals, so something she cooked, I ate and loved.

She discovered Oriental markets and discovered methods to cook dinner from her mom and sister by Skype and discovered from the web meals channel.

Meals price within the U.S. was so costly. The costs shocked her. For instance, in Thailand a bunch of bananas price 1 / 4. Moreover, she had a banana tree in her backyard. Within the Oriental retailer it was nearly 4 {dollars}. She did not wish to pay for that however needed to eat them. The Oriental retailer did not carry all of the meat, sauce, and different gadgets she wanted. So she created her personal recipes for some form of Thai dishes. She needed to be inventive and discover ways to use an oven, dishwasher, and unusual western kitchen devices. No less than she may purchase a rice cooker and steamer. Rice was a vital a part of each meal. She couldn’t discover a scorching pot within the shops, so she discovered one on-line.

Medical Shock

The healthcare and dental price in America was so costly. She needed to order contraception tablets. She could not with no prescription. In Thailand, individuals should buy the tablets on the pharmacy with none prescription. She went to the dentist for a yearly cleansing, and he charged twenty {dollars}. In Thailand, the price would have been 2 hundred Baht, or six {dollars}.

She went to the clinic for a checkup due to a foul cough. The nurse requested her the place do you wish to decide up your medication?

She stated, “Right here on the hospital.”

The nurse stated they do not have medication right here.

What? It is a huge hospital within the U.S. Why do not you’ve gotten medication? In Thailand individuals can take the medication within the hospital pharmacy like a one cease service.

Then the girl informed her she had to decide on the pharmacy location.

“Can I select Walmart?”

The girl requested, “Which Walmart?”

She stated the one which was near Walmart House Workplace. She went to choose up her medication on the Walmart Superstore, the one close to Walmart House Workplace.

Shocked once more! On the pharmacy, individuals stood in line to fulfill a pharmacist on the window and there have been some ways to choose up medication. What lane did she want to face in? Choose up lane, Drop Off, or Over-the-counter? What sort of medication would she get? She actually wanted her medication now.

She stood in line and talked with a pharmacy worker and gave them her prescription paper. The individual behind the counter stated her medication wasn’t right here.

How may that occur? She took a deep breath.

The clerk informed her she needed to go to Walmart House Workplace Pharmacy Store.

Oh brother! She wanted medication proper now please. She did not know there was a pharmacy on the superstore and a pharmacy within the Walmart House Workplace. So she drove the automotive and used the GPS navigator. She arrived at Walmart House Workplace and eventually obtained the medication! Whoopee!

The way to get a Job

My spouse needed to deliver some meals house and pay for the payments and make her child happy with her as nicely. She had 15 years expertise in advertising and public relations, however in America she needed to begin at first. Her English expertise weren’t good, so many employers declined her software. What sort of job may she do in America? She took a course in Bodily Remedy, however we lived in a small city and there have been few openings. She considered getting a sophisticated diploma, however the price was too excessive. She already had a masters diploma in Psychology, nevertheless it was not acknowledged within the U.S.

She ultimately discovered a job supervising disabled individuals. And she or he began a house enterprise.

Preserve Calm

So to different individuals who face tradition shock, her recommendation is, preserve calm. You’ll prevail. She prayed to Buddha and meditated, listened to stress-free music, went to work out on the fitness center, began to play tennis, and made new pals. She looked for Thai individuals in the neighborhood, cared for her backyard, and shortly felt at house in America. She rearranged the home, and talked together with her household in Thailand each week utilizing Skype. I used to be a very good listener and defined many issues to her. I favored her Thai dishes.

So preserve a optimistic angle, do not be afraid of tradition shock. You’ll stay by means of it and emerge a stronger and happier individual.

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