Tradition Shock From Thailand to the United States


At the age of fifty-7, I was a divorced gentleman not notably eager on spending the rest of my life by yourself. I made a decision to attempt on-line dating. I experienced generally been a environment traveler and my two kids have been grown, so I could go where ever the wind took me.

Soon after some untrue starts off, I uncovered a wonderful female in Thailand. She was a Community Relations Supervisor and Psychologist performing at a governing administration healthcare facility. We exchanged e-mails and talked on Skype for 6 months. I manufactured two trips to Thailand, and a calendar year later on, we married in a classic Thai ceremony. I had to return to the United States, but my wife could not vacation until finally she acquired her visa. So I flew back again to Arkansas, where I labored as a databases administrator, and patiently waited for 10 months.

Last but not least, her paperwork was accepted, she passed the health-related test and interview, and she joined me in America. Despite the fact that she experienced traveled to other sections of the globe, she had hardly ever been to the United States. She seasoned really a little bit of tradition shock, but I aided her by the difficult periods, this sort of as when she failed her driver license examination 2 times.

Time Zone Shock

The 1st shock my wife skilled was the improve in weather and jet lag. Following a extensive flight throughout the Pacific Ocean, delayed baggage, hours invested ready in line at immigration, then another connecting flight to Arkansas, she was drained, and the cold November air in Los Angeles manufactured her shiver. The time zone difference in between Thailand and the U.S. is twelve hrs, so she put in the nights large awake and felt sleepy in the afternoon.

Language Shock

In her forty a long time, she had spoken only the Thai language. Her alphabet has 44 letters, with 21 vowels and 5 tones. Each Thai boy or girl starts understanding the Thai language in elementary faculty. In substantial university, four decades of English is essential. But her English experiments had been confined to just one hour a week, so she spoke only a several phrases and did not know suitable pronunciation. Also, in her community she spoke Isarn, the dialect of northeastern Thailand. She had minimal probability to communicate or apply English in early life. She was privileged to be employed at an worldwide resort for a number of years, so she managed to practice some English with her manager, who was from France. She also listened to English pop songs, and recurring the lyrics.

When she arrived in the U.S., all the natives spoke also promptly, and they used slang phrases she had never read prior to. Any time she spoke with an American at the grocery store, cafe, or a social setting with my family members, she felt shy and humiliated. In Thailand she was a chief, a renowned community speaker. In this article, she was a newborn. Her senses had to soak up all these new appears. For a extended time, she experienced a reduction of self self confidence, and felt homesick.

Consider her sensitive ears on hearing one thing like this the very first time:

Are you comfortable about there? You want to go out and get a couple factors at the retail outlet? We gotta do this an’ that. Hey, how yawl doin’? You fellas come across everythin’ all suitable? Okey-doky?

Comfy? What is he chatting about? You fellas? I am a lady, not a man. I am all right, I am not a donkey.

Each and every working day she encountered a lot more slang words and experienced to learn vocabulary terms. What need to she say when she was launched to an individual else? She did not know American lifestyle. In The usa, people favored eye get hold of. In Thailand, people today really don’t keep eye contact for lengthy. Individuals like to contact. In her culture, she did not like anybody to touch her human body. Just about every working day she had to focus to consider and carry on a discussion. Very simple issues that men and women just take for granted, she observed new. Thailand utilizes the metric process. In the U.S., men and women use the British method of measurement.
She routinely experienced to repeat what she claimed, due to the fact men and women did not realize her.

Car Shock

That was a significant shock for her. In Thailand people push a car on the still left hand aspect. She arrived in the U.S. and all people was driving on the improper facet. Imagine her confusion. I bought her a vehicle just one working day soon after her arrival and advised her to push the automobile dwelling. She did not understand the procedures about quit indications and what the middle lane was for. There are no velocity limit signals in Thailand. So she experienced to study a lot of types of symptoms. She felt nervous and confused each time she drove. Some times she built a improper convert. She desired to make a proper change, but turned remaining the moment. All people essential a motor vehicle in The us. She questioned how she would endure.

She failed the state driver’s license exam two periods. The 1st time she skipped way too a lot of concerns and the computer did not permit her return. She analyzed for a full month. The second time she did much better, but the issues ended up diverse. The 3rd time she lastly passed. She was anxious sitting with the officer in the street exam.

He explained, “Not lousy. Be very careful about blind places.”

A single 7 days after she received her license she was fortunately driving property, when she was stopped by police for rushing. The good thing is the officer gave her only a warning.

She felt so relieved! She gave thanks to Buddha. Following that she adopted the signals. American legislation seemed really rigorous. In Thailand, people today negotiate a settlement with the officer.

Some illustrations of bewildering avenue symptoms:

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

Produce – what does that signify? Does it suggest go? If you stop somebody’s going to yell at you.

Quit – In Thailand it is for pedestrians. Automobiles really don’t quit.

College ZONE – We have to be quiet?

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

MERGE – A meeting issue? A relaxation spot?

4-WAY Stop – Major road receives to start with priority!

Food Shock

My wife had complications when she requested food items at most places to eat. Ordering food was a genuine problem.

1. Ordering at the counter of a rapidly foods restaurant. She assumed she had to tip the server. Also, she did not know a single has to pay ahead of the food is served.

At Kentucky Fried Hen, she preferred to purchase fried rooster. So the trick is if you want legs and thighs you buy “Dim Meat” and if you want breasts and wings you get “White Meat”. She needed legs but purchased thighs. She believed the leg was the thigh. To her, the leg is chicken ft.

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

“What dimension? Smaller dimensions, simply because I don’t consume too significantly.”


“I buy 4 items. Little dimensions.”

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

“What sizing you have?”

“Beans, corn, coleslaw, mashed potatoes.”

“Indeed, corn.”

“Corn on the cob or standard?”

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

“Sure, I want corn on the cup. A small cup.” Oh, person. This is finding perplexing.

The food arrived and it integrated biscuits. My wife reported, “I failed to order that. I failed to like that.”

“That comes with the food.”

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

At a quickly meals keep, she required to purchase French Fries. The server claimed they really don’t have that. French Fries were being on the menu picture.

They said “we have Potato Fries”.

Is that the exact same issue? She had to study an additional term. She was mastering one thing every single working day.

2. Buying “Push Through”, She experienced difficulty with the travel via. One particular time the retail store staff didn’t recognize her English pronunciation pretty effectively, so her daughter went hungry. She recurring herself five occasions with no luck.

3. Buying “at the Cafe”. The server would offer some drink initial and then offer the sophisticated menu. She did not comprehend all the menu products, but the good thing is she favored to test new foodstuff. Just one time she requested salmon with white wine. She expected a glass of white wine, but the wine was employed in cooking the salmon. A person time she could not order alcohol simply because the server did not think she was forty years outdated. All prospects who like to order alcoholic beverages have to display ID. In Thailand they under no circumstances request for an ID.

The U.S. customized is to incorporate 10% recommendations in the invoice. In Thailand, if you are not happy with the food items you really don’t suggestion. In The us, people generally discuss about who will pay out the bill. In Thailand, the abundant member is anticipated to pay back. If a group desires to negotiate who will fork out, this has to be completed prior to taking in.

Climate and Snow Shock

My wife came from a land with a tropical local climate. She experienced by no means knowledgeable snow. What a shock to go to Arkansas and wake up just one early morning and see a white blanket of snow masking every thing. At least Arkansas had gentle winters, in contrast to the frigid North, exactly where snow might address the ground for months.

Our to start with wintertime we had enjoyment developing a snowman and acquiring snowball fights. But driving on icy roads was scary. Our household was positioned amid steep hills, and occasionally I could not travel to work for two or three days right until trucks came with dirt to melt the ice.

She purchased additional warm apparel, a room heater, thick blankets, gloves, and boots to survive the winter.


Browsing for clothes was a problem. Most Americans were more substantial than my wife. She experienced to glimpse in the teenager portion to find a similar dimension that in shape. Often she experimented with to get on the net, but the outfits that arrived ended up far too large. She had to sew her outfits. So she failed to get that a great deal from on the web any longer.

She saw the indication named “Flea Market place” in city. She understood what flea meant. But she wondered, why people today require fleas? For the backyard? In Thailand people just destroy them. She went inside of just one, and noticed aged stuff, utilised outfits, and trinkets. I defined that a flea market place just sold minimal items.

Debit or Credit rating and Checking Accounts

Most People in america used their cash by credit card or debit card or look at. In Thailand most people paid out by hard cash and wired income into bank accounts. My wife questioned me why I did not give her dollars. I gave her a debit card, and explained that it was simpler and safer to fork out everything by a card. So all over the place she went, she paid by debit card. She felt fired up to be in a position to obtain nearly nearly anything with just the swipe of a card. At the supermarket, the cashier requested her if she desired money back again. She reported guaranteed I want dollars again to my account.

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

A person time she went to the Push Through at the Bank. She was surprised and baffled. She envisioned to meet a bank teller and request for aid. However she drove to the outside lane. In Thailand they do not have Drive By means of companies and she did not know how to operate the device. She saw the spherical cylinder in a tube. How do I open up this detail? She assumed it may be the exact same as ordering food stuff at a generate by means of. She communicated with the officer powering the window by means of speaker. She felt like a turtle. But the officer patiently discussed how to function the machine, and she created her to start with generate-by way of transaction. I laughed when I heard the tale.

Vending equipment were a further mystery through her to start with handful of months. The equipment mentioned, insert 4 quarters. What was a quarter? She experienced to master the benefit of cash. And equipment were difficult also. She experienced to learn how to use a washing machine, dryer, stove, fire, air conditioning, Tv set distant, oven, dishwasher, and disposal.

Shop at the Grocery

Searching was enjoyable, but it was so intricate to obtain groceries. She had to find out about numerous forms of new foodstuff. When she lived on your own in Thailand, she ordinarily purchased foods from the road distributors or ate at places to eat. Foods was significantly less high-priced in Thailand. Now she had to study how to cook.

She appreciated to consume healthy foodstuff. She you should not like junk food, sandwiches, burgers, or pizza. She collected recipes and watched some cooking reveals. I liked Thai meals, so just about anything she cooked, I ate and enjoyed.
She identified Oriental marketplaces and realized how to prepare dinner from her mother and sister by Skype and uncovered from the world-wide-web food stuff channel.

Foods price tag in the U.S. was so high priced. The rates stunned her. For illustration, in Thailand a bunch of bananas value a quarter. Aside from, she experienced a banana tree in her garden. In the Oriental retail store it was practically four bucks. She failed to want to spend for that but wanted to try to eat them. The Oriental retailer didn’t carry all the meat, sauce, and other objects she wanted. So she created her individual recipes for some sort of Thai dishes. She experienced to be inventive and understand how to use an oven, dishwasher, and weird western kitchen area gizmos. At the very least she could get a rice cooker and steamer. Rice was an crucial portion of every food. She could not discover a very hot pot in the stores, so she discovered 1 on the internet.

Health-related Shock

The health care and dental cost in America was so expensive. She desired to order birth management tablets. She could not with no a prescription. In Thailand, folks can buy the supplements at the pharmacy with out any prescription. She went to the dentist for a yearly cleansing, and he charged 20 pounds. In Thailand, the value would have been two hundred Baht, or 6 pounds.

She went to the clinic for a checkup because of a terrible cough. The nurse requested her in which do you want to choose up your medication?

She said, “Right here at the clinic.”

The nurse explained they do not have drugs listed here.

What? This is a massive medical center in the U.S. Why really don’t you have medicine? In Thailand people today can acquire the drugs in the clinic pharmacy like a just one cease provider.

Then the girl explained to her she had to pick the pharmacy locale.

“Can I select Walmart?”

The female requested, “Which Walmart?”

She claimed the 1 that was shut to Walmart Property Business office. She went to choose up her medicine at the Walmart Superstore, the one particular in the vicinity of Walmart Property Place of work.

Stunned again! At the pharmacy, people stood in line to satisfy a pharmacist at the window and there were lots of techniques to decide on up drugs. What lane did she need to stand in? Decide on up lane, Fall Off, or Over the counter? What sort of medication would she get? She genuinely essential her medication now.

She stood in line and talked with a pharmacy personnel and gave them her prescription paper. The person driving the counter reported her drugs was not below.

How could that transpire? She took a deep breath.

The clerk explained to her she experienced to go to Walmart Household Business office Pharmacy Shop.

Oh brother! She wanted medication ideal now be sure to. She did not know there was a pharmacy at the superstore and a pharmacy in the Walmart Dwelling Business office. So she drove the auto and employed the GPS navigator. She arrived at Walmart Dwelling Workplace and lastly bought the medication! Whoopee!

How to get a Career

My spouse wanted to deliver some food items home and pay out for the payments and make her kid proud of her as effectively. She had 15 several years knowledge in promoting and public relations, but in The us she had to commence at the starting. Her English techniques were not ideal, so lots of businesses declined her application. What sort of task could she do in America? She took a class in Physical Remedy, but we lived in a little city and there have been several openings. She imagined about having an highly developed diploma, but the price was also high. She by now had a masters diploma in Psychology, but it was not recognized in the U.S.

She at some point identified a work supervising disabled folks. And she commenced a dwelling business enterprise.

Hold Tranquil

So to other folks who experience lifestyle shock, her suggestions is, keep tranquil. You will prevail. She prayed to Buddha and meditated, listened to relaxing audio, went to operate out at the health and fitness center, began to play tennis, and produced new buddies. She searched for Thai persons in the local community, cared for her backyard garden, and soon felt at dwelling in The us. She rearranged the residence, and talked with her household in Thailand each week making use of Skype. I was a superior listener and spelled out quite a few points to her. I liked her Thai dishes.

So keep a favourable mindset, never be scared of culture shock. You will stay by it and emerge a more powerful and happier particular person.