Before coming to Thailand I knew that it was a welcoming country, known for the locals’ smiles. Everyone that I talked to who had traveled to Thailand told me that the people were some of the nicest they had encountered.
Within my short time here, that proves to be true. The Thai people have a genuine desire to be friendly and accommodate. Walking down the street and having everyone I pass by, smile at me is now a normal part of my day. On my way to the gym, instead of zoning out like I usually would I make sure I’m returning the smile. When we are at places where Thai isn’t spoken, they will just give a smile and try and find someone who does speak some English to help us.
The Thai have a saying that is said frequently, “mai pen rai”. It means “it’s okay” or “no worries”. This saying conveys how a lot of Thai live their lives. They tend to not stress about much and will throw this phrase out after a mistake or miscommunication. For myself, I find this attitude refreshing. I say no worries all the time and I already appreciate the laid back lifestyle here. This attitude also shows in other parts of their everyday life. Our program administrators warned us during the first few days that the Thai are known for being late, which I’ve learned quickly to be true. The gym that I go to says it opens at 10 a.m. but I have yet to see it open that early. I’d say 11 a.m. is the earliest so far. I’ve also realized that when I have plans to meet someone, it’s not unusual for them to show up 30 minutes late. Just have to smile and say, “mai pen rai”.