I love learning! Seriously, if being a college student could be a profession, I would excel. However, it is not, and I am quite content being a wife and mom. But who said being a wife and mom means I cannot learn? Ask my poor hubby! Seems like I am always saying, “Did you know _______?” And it is not gossip I am sharing; it is some random fact I learned that day.
Knowing that, you would think I would be excited to have an excuse (language learning) to go to school, right? Some days I am and other days…not so much.
The truth is, things take longer over here–or at least in my neck of the woods. Traffic makes going to the grocery store at least a 2 hour ordeal. (That’s why I now have some of my groceries delivered!) Plus, one store will not have everything you need! I actually asked my helper why one store does not carry everything, and she just laughed. When I told her about Walmart (I MISS WALMART!) she got so excited. I got depressed. On average, I shop at 3 different stores for our groceries, and just because Store A had all- purpose flour last week, does not mean it will be there next week. This actually would not bother me, except for the amount of time it takes to get to and from each store. Ahmet does not let me drive here, so I cannot do it all in one day; it has to be spread out through the week. There is a Thai word running through my head right now–it means “troublesome”–but somehow the Thai word fits it better!
Then there is homeschooling. Praise the Lord we are able to use A Beka videos! They are such a help, but I still spend about 10-15 hours a week homeschooling. That is exhausting when you already spend 15- 25 hours (including transportation time) at school. Not to mention, there is nothing in this world more mind numbing than language learning. Except maybe phonetics class….
Now, if I want to do anything else, like go to the post office, the market, shop for anything outside of our norm, go to the doctor (we are there way too often!), or visit with a friend, it requires careful planning. I have to make sure it is a day our helper is here, or I have to take the girls with me. I do not mind taking the girls, but that means I have to walk home from school, then walk back to the BTS station, or the store, post-office, etc. That is a lot of sweating for one day, folks! Quite frankly, it is exhausting!
Add in the fact it is all done in a still foreign-to-me culture and a foreign language, and you have, well…days that feel longer than they are. Put all that together and you have a sometimes reluctant student!
Sometimes, it all becomes too much and I being to wonder why I even bother going to school. I should just hire a tutor to come to my house, and life would be easier. Then I remembered something we were taught at BBTI and by our pastor. Every exchange, every outing, every minute of observation is a learning experience.
Taking a taxi gives me a prisoner person that has no choice but to listen to me speak Thai. I get to practice giving directions, and seldom do I not learn a new word. In the market, I learn the words for my favorite food, and I can also learn how to cook unfamiliar ones…just by asking. Being out and about allows me to see monks, Thai dancers, smell food carts, get used to the crowds, hear the language, interact with people, and try their food. If I stayed home, I would miss all of this! I love walking because I am constantly exposed to things I would never see in America. All the walking I do has been a huge help in adapting to this new home, because I can choose to experience things from a distance or up-close, and my walks provide ample opportunities for culture watching. (I just made that phrase up, but I think it is self-explanatory, right?!) Plus, the exercise is good.
In the end, I realized as long as I DO NOT stay holed up in my house, I will always be a student. That makes me excited to make the trek to school, and anywhere else I need to go!
Hi! My name is Rachael and I am a child of God. I was saved from sin and all its bondage at the age of 21. I am married to an incredible man. He constantly challenges me to grow closer to my Saviour. We have three beautiful children that love the Lord. Currently, our family is preparing to go to Thailand as missionaries.