There are many things here that I have fully adjusted to like eating spicy food, washing my clothes and dishes by hand, greeting people with a ‘wai’ instead of a handshake, eating with only a fork and a spoon, driving on the left side of the road and many many more things.
Yet there is one thing I miss, hugs. They really do not hug here, and if they do it is only a side hug thing, for a few seconds and only between the same sex (ie. a girl hugging a girl). I can never hug a guy in public in Thailand. It goes against all of its culture. It is seen as the equivalent as having sex in public. The only public display of affection between a man and a woman that is ok in public is handholding. No back rubs, kissing, or hugging.
This past week was rough. I wasn’t sleeping (which I know adds to the high emotion and as a result my patience was running thinner than normal). Here’s a snit bit of what happened:
- I was pulled over 3 times in 2 days by the ‘bad’ police. They only pull tourists over and expect to be paid a bribe. You have to have 2 things here to get out of a ticket: a helmet on and a valid driver’s license. I have both. Yet on the 3rd time, I was forced to pay. I was running late to a meeting, otherwise I would have gone to the police station to respectfully battle it out. So I paid. Because I am white, I have to pay.
- My computer and printer were having ALOT of issues at work. It wasn’t displaying the Thai letters correctly and we had a fast approaching deadline. I spent more time in this past week trying to fix the printer, only to find out it was a computer issue. It was a long, complicated and frustrating process, but it finally started to work as it should. I can now type and print in Thai accurately! ขอบคุณพระเจ้า
- On my way to by paper for project I’m working on, I managed to get tripped up on some wire while crossing a fence and scrape my hand, wrist, and leg up.
- The straw that broke the camel’s back was a simple miscommunication. My boss was out of town and I was asked to meet with a few people. I agreed, yet they never set a time. I stayed around all day, yet they showed up 1 hour after I left (of course). So we postponed it for the next day, again they didn’t tell me a time, and was here super super early. I had to leave my Thai class to meet with them, and then return to Thai class once they were gone.
In retrospect, I know these were not a big deal. Yet, I was at the end of my rope and ready to cry at any moment. Right before I met with the people, I asked my male coworker to talk upstairs. I quickly vented. He then looked out the window (I thought that was weird) and then he gave me a hug. It wasn’t very long (we were doing an illegal hug here), but it was a real hug.
This is why we serve together and have community. Yes there are many days where they drive you crazy, yet we are family. We are a family, the body of Christ. We need to stick together to accomplish the goals He has set before us. We can do it with each other.
Also, I encourage you to encourage another. Love them. Be bold and go out on a limb. Be crazy creative to love everyone around you. It doesn’t matter if they are Christian or not. Go and love, risk the limits to love well, even if it means a forbidden hug!
Comment below if you went out and boldly love someone in a new way! How did it feel? Was it hard?
Do you remember a time when you were loved well? What did they do? Share your experience(s) below!
Like this post: read how ‘God is a hug’ from a previous post of mine.