Thursday, March 30, 2006

Through Thai Eyes - I

One of the very enjoyable experiences of teaching here in Thailand is seeing your home country through their eyes. This year we sent about 50 of our English-major students to the USA for summer work. Remember, summer in Thailand is March-April-May, so right now these students are scattered all over the USA from Hawaii to Florida. I always wait in eager anticipation to get those first emails, and I share one with you (warts and all!) I just received this morning, along with my reply.

Pardon the student's vocabulary choice for "cigarette butts." We have more work to do with him when he gets home!


Dear Teacher,

First of all, I'd like to apologize for not able to keep in touch with you as often as I've told you before, because there's no computer or even the telephone in our dormitory. The telephone box doesn't present in our site as well. Each time I need to use the computer, I have to go to our boss' office where many people are seriusly dealing with their works there. Therefore, I don't want to do like that so often. Although our boss will move us to the another better dorm where provides internet access, we don't want to move because we have to pay more money for the housing. Anyway, I will do try to keep in touch with you, my professional teacher.

Thank you for the GREAT GRADE you've given to me. It pulls up my GPAX a lot.

Here, in Virginia, is a good match for us. It's peaceful, nice environment, friendly and funny people and not crowded.

Before we came here, we had stayed in your HOME, at New Yorker Hotel, New York. We experienced many fascinating things there. The buildings are much more bigger than those ones we see in Bangkok or in our other big cities. We went to the Central Park where I have no idea that how they can put that natural park among this HUGE CITY without leaving it destroyed like the park in our home (Country). The squirrels are running all over the yard in the park without being scared of people. Moreover, we can breathe freshly in the park (or even in the city) despite we are surrounded by a large number of crowded people and cars !!! Fascinating !!!

And evenmore, I saw a young boy and girl kissing in the park ignoring the people (including me) who kept walking pass them! And the most attractive is that ... the light of the city which is very colorfull at night, especially prominantly at Time Square. We love it.

But what I consider it makes New York unpleasent is the CIGARETTE! I saw almost people (or even all) ,from the young to the old, smoking a lot. There are many cigarette asses (or cigarette filters?) in everywhere -- on the streets, in the trash cans, and almost in the DRIANS !!! It seems like the people consider smoking is as normal as drinking the pop !!!

I think European and American are on the top list of those who smoke the most. So, I wonder how do you survive from this matter, because I've never seen you smoking and appreciated it's the good of you, my kind teacher.

All in all, I LOVE AMERICA. It doesn't make me disappointed. THE POWERFUL AND MIGHTY COUNTRY.

I almost get used to with the food, the foreign accent and the weather now. And I enjoy working so much.

>>> Once in a life I experience America, it is worth my whole life... <<<>

Yours sincerely,

P.S. Sorry for the lenghtly mail, it's affected by the reasons
according to the very first beginning of this mail.

Dear C,

Wow, what a great email--how interesting to see the USA through your eyes!

New York City is made up of a huge population of recent immigrants (mostly from Europe and the Mediterranean countries), so you'll see many similarities to Europe there--including the smoking (yuck). This city is soooo different from the West Coast where I live--but my impressions of New York City are about the same as yours! I do love the liveliness of the city, also.

Despite the difficulty of finding a computer, thanks for the effort to send an email. By the way, public libraries often have free email service on their computers, although you have to get a library card (free) to use one.

As to your grade, please don't thank me. YOU did all the hard work, and you earned it. There were 2 C'2, 7 C+'s, 1 B, 10 B+'s, and only 5 A's given in the class. So, consider yourself part of the privileged, elite, top 20% of the class!

Hope to hear more from you later!
Your Teacher in Thailand


Udorn girl said...

Cigarette asses, too priceless :-)

trangam said...

This was really funny... especially the girl and guy kissing ignoring even your student!! How could that be! I used to think you teach young classes but these seem big guys - dear kind & professional teacher.

witheringintuition said...

Thank you for posting these letters. It really provides insight into some of the normative differences. I loved seeing New York and Virginia through your Thai students’ eyes.

I have been accepted to study in Thailand next fall so I am curious to see further differences and similarities in perception.