11 German habits I lost when I moved to Thailand
When you are German you have those habits you seem to be quite proud of – until you move to Thailand. It is not hard at all to lose any habit here, as in Thailand people march to another beat of the drum and just follow their own rules – if any.
Read which habits I lost when I moved to Thailand:
1| Following rules.
It obviously is clear that german love their rules. Don’t walk over a red traffic light – it’s not allowed! And what about our kids?’. It is one of those things in Germany, you will learn pretty early as a child – follow the rules. No exception. Well – this is totally different in Thailand. I hardly found a rule. Are there any? Ian nostrum. You can find laws here and if you are unlucky you’ll be fined if you are not able to follow them. But honestly – I barely can remember any rule. After already 9 months living in Thailand you will not stop for a red traffic light – why should you? Because of the kids? Never mind, they are the first ones to ignore them. Using a bin? Well I still do or carrying my trash around until I find one – but no one bothers to just drop it anywhere.
2| Care about the ones around you.
I lived in different places so far. I started my life over here in a cute resort nearby my work. Later on I found A house on stilts with a little neighborhood, I lived in for another 6 months. Now I moved to a small bungalow village with nice people around, mostly expatriates or people who train MMA or Muay Thai around here. But where ever I lived – no one did care about that I did, nor did they care about they others around. Had to celebrate one of their religious holidays? Well bring that huge firework on, baby! Oh, 5 am btw! That car is in your way? Why not honking and screaming as loud as you can, until some one (as if!) will be interested in your problem? Oh that was 4.30 am. Your bike is in the way and they know it’s yours? Well don’t you worry, they will come around at 2 am in the night and bang on your door as hard as they can, to make sure you will wake up and open the door just to find out they already reparked your bike.
3| Make a difference.
Markets. I love them! You can find literally everything in here. Clothes, soaps, shoes, watches, movies, tooth paste, drinks, fried insects and many more things. So go to one of the places and ask them to get eg. a shirt. You decided to get a blue shirt with the typical “Chang beer” print on it. Great – but what about the size? So let’s ask the lovely lady. “Miss, do you have this shirt in size M?” – she will now search through her shop and will first say “No have!” but will then present you one of those other shirts, preferably in another color and with another print- but it’s size M! So she will offer it to you in her best way, convinced that you will definitely like that, cause it is the shirt you wanted right? When you tell her you wanted size M but the blue shirt with the “Chang beer” print, she will be confused first and answer “No haaaave! Take this shirt, Madame. Very nice. Same Same!” And here we go. It doesn’t make a difference if the shirt is blue or green. Has a “Chang beer print” or maybe “7/11″. It is size M and has the same cut as the one before. So why don’t you take this one? Same same. But different.
4| Keep traffic as a whole system.
If you ever dare to drive a car – or even more dangerous – a bike in Thailand (especially in Phuket, where I live) you will connect right away with what I will tell you now. There is no rules of how to drive. Seriously. I tried my best to found out about it, asked thai friends, long term expatriates, even the german consulate here – no obvious rule to follow. One of the habits I lost is to actually drive like a German. I mean we have a whole system of rules, who goes first and when to drive if traffic lights just don’t work. But not in Thailand. So you probably just go for first come first serve. As well the louder you
honk, the earlier it might be your turn. Traffic lights are most of the times a nice decoration. Just make sure if you turn right, you might have a look in, well, every direction. They use every space they have. And they drive in every direction possible. Even if Thailand used to have left side traffic, you will often find bikes coming the “wrong” direction on your lane, as this is safer then to cross the road. You also might find bikes on your left side making a U-turn just right in front of your – but don’t except them to set the indicator nor holding their hands out or anything which could show you that this bike will make a turn just in front of you in a second. Just be prepared. To be as close to a huge truck as your arm length – but that’s still enough space for another bike to rush through.There is only one thing you definitely want to do: Survive Thailand’s roads!
5| Only use very clean sanitary facilities.
Simply said: Forget about that one. Take wipes or tissues with you as well as disinfectant. Don’t touch anything ever without using the wipes. Do not sit down ever. And let it go!
6| Don’t try food if you don’t know what you eat.
Being raised in Germany, it was always quite easy to understand where food is coming from, how it is proceeded and how it ended up on your plate. With the possibility to visit farms, plant your own veggies in our weekend garden and things like that, it was like a little foodie paradise. So actually there was no need to try food you don’t know or couldn’t recognize. Another one of the habits I lost while living in Phuket. And again: Welcome to Thailand. Fried insects. Half hatched chicks. Raw fish with whatever this is on that plate. Crispy pork and blood. Jelly desert. Plenty of food – most so delicious, you can’t decide which you gonna have first. But can you imagine, to bite into a fried waterbeds head? No? Well, been here done that. Eating a fried frog? Not proud of it but checked from the list. Chances are high that you will not know what you eat as you either don’t understand what they say or you just don’t know the taste of it and can’t recognize it by it’s look. The good thing? I hardly had really disgusting foods on my plate – so it is definitely worth to try whatever get into your fingers.
7| Not to backbite in front of others.
German are known to be polite. That doesn’t mean they are (and as a German by passport, I can tell). But at least scarcely anybody in Germany would stand right in front of you, knowing that you are not able to understand or speak the German language, and just backbite about you. Well, get along with that in Thailand. You are at the market and the thai ladies don’t think your make up is worth wearing it? Don’t you worry , you don’t even need to understand a word – you will know right away that they are talking about you, laughing and giggling, pointing at you. And if you move on don’t be surprised if the next girls from the 3 stalls next door know exactly what the girls just in front of you were talking about – they will make sure they are loud enough and let the others know. And you. In your face.
Personally this was one of the biggest fun while driving my car in Germany. Driving to fast and snapping in right in front of me? Well don’t expect me to not say anything. In fact I led down the window and would scream at you the finest selection of swearing I learned so far. Being in Thailand, knowing that this could get you into, well, the probably biggest trouble, this was one of the first habits I lost when I moved to Thailand. So: Shut up and smile (and dream of swearing the best and hardest swearing words ever!).
9| Expect others to be on time – ever.
Can we ever expect this from someone who has not been born in Germany, in the manner we used to be raised for? “Being on time means to arrive ten minutes early!” – Oh well. Just, let it be.
10| To admit you were wrong.
You sit in a restaurant and the thai waitress comes to bring you your drinks and – BAM – drops it. No worries, this happens to everyone. But actually, wait for it, it was your fault! I mean – obviously. Thatswhy you gonna pay the drinks (most likely). You are wondering what you did wrong? Well, it doesn’t have to be something in particular, it is just – it’s never the Thais’ fault, at least not officially. And never try to blame them – because loosing their face would be the worst you could do to them. So just smile, like they do, and order another drink. Cheers!
11| Discuss problems – every time, everywhere.
So probably you want to go to work and just see a guy trying to fix something on your bike. You walk over and ask what happened, while he just wave you away (why should it be your bike, right?). Well you have two possibilities – you either want to know exactly what happens and get into a discussion with him. Actually I would not recommend this, since Thais either scream at you, getting really (and I mean really!) angry, or they just leave. And most likely they just look at you and fuck off. You can also try just to ask very politely if you can help, since this is your bike and try to explain you would not be angry. Well, good luck. Or you just do it thaistyle: Grab your bike, fuck off, smile and wave!