I will totally admit that it has not been easy finding all the things I need here! The city has a dizzying assortment of offerings at every turn. I also refuse to pay the 3x or more tourist price! Therefore, I make my life more complicated, but it is through this challenge that I learn the most about Chiang Mai. I am slowly acquiring local secrets! For example, I can get discounted fruit and veggies in the evening! It’s totally fresh, but certain stores need to sell it before closing time! Also, I’ve been learning which markets have the best deals and for what merchandise. I’ve been looking for a small and inexpensive electric fan for my room. I don’t want to run the air conditioner all night because it’s not only wasteful but it will run up my electric bill like crazy! Who knew it would be so hard to find a small electric fan in a hot country?! Well, after days and more hot days of hunting, I have found one and I am basking in the cool air as I type. Ahhhhhh, plus mmmmmmmm, I am eating my discounted mango slices.
Life is ‘sabai sabai’ right now.
This wonderful expression has many connotations, and one needs to truly absorb its array of meanings here in Thailand. It reveals itself in layers, and only if you let it. Sabai Sabai literally means doing well, and since it is said twice it means really doing well, but this is but a fraction of its actual meaning.
Sabai Sabai is an attitude.
It sometimes means relaxed, comfortable, or just plain chill. In some ways it is one’s ultimate acceptance of everything that is and will be….come what may…
Learning thai language requires an understanding of local customs, attitudes and histories. Sabai sabai is essential!
My classes have been primarily focused on tone. Thai is a tonal language so the way you say the same word makes all the difference. Some classes felt more like singing lessons! Slowly, I am refining my tonal pronunciation. I’m so glad to be here for that reason. It’s so important to speak it and hear it constantly in order to fine tune the ear to the subtlety of tones.
The last few days have been really different. Abstract decorative script has started to become recognizable as sounds and syllables!!! I find myself always trying to read and sound out the words I see on the street.
I’ve been doing all sorts of things to learn thai…sparking conversation with locals, bargaining just to practice, asking directions to places that I’m not going to, watching Thai movies, making flashcards, thai word post-its all over my apartment, online apps, grammar drills, you name it! I just had to share this wonderful, hilarious video of a gal learning through song…
LOL!!! Instead of LOL in thai – they use 555 because the way you say the number 5 is “haa.”
Tomorrow I will try a local language exchange meetup!