Welcome Ceremony: Same Same?

Bang Sean Beach--20 min Songtao ride
My Soi (Street)
So we arrived. The city is much like Valpo for those of that visited/saw pictures of my time spent in Chile. Not sure if it is the easy access to coffee or the fact you can buy good 80% dark chocolate, but I like the city better than Valpo. I loved my time spent in Chile, but the lack of good food was hard for me. And we've already had fantastic meals since we've arrived in our city.

Punna Mansion: My New Home!
Food is for sure the time when the language barrier is noticed the most. We know a few food words: chicken, spicy, not spicy, fried, noodles and rice--but that can only get you so far.  Yesterday we kind of all hit our max. I spent the morning in my new favorite coffee shop: Dee Cafe (Good Cafe). There is AC, a seat toilet, and even TP in the bathroom--which is unheard of! A cute little old man owns the cafe and it is a much different ordering process than in American. No long lines, you just go to the counter place your order (black americano over ice has been my drink of choice--amazing!). You don't pay then, because they are probably working on a million other peoples orders. You find a seat and wait probably 20 minutes and then they finally bring your coffee to your table and you pay then. Kinda like it--much less of a rush rush rush mentality.

Songtao Ride
So I do want to tell you about my city, but I also want to tell you about our welcoming ceremony: su kwan or Baci. I really can't remember the word they used, but it was the same concept. So to paint a picture of orientation imagine 100 westerners (farang as we are now called..) tired yet antsy and told that we must sit, write, listen, eat and repeat. Our brains hurt after 1 day of Thai lessons and our heads almost exploded after two. And then it was done?

What? We still only know the word for spicy (pet), stop (yut), sorry (KhorThot Kah), hi (swat dee kah) and thank you (Khob khun Kah) and never mind/no worries (Mai Pen rai kah).

So this is how a typical conversation goes:
hi, thank you, nod, point, smile, sorry, shake head & say spicy, sorry again, never mind, thank you, sorry and bye. But then you have me, that gets them all of them confused so I ask for a coffee, smile and say "sorry" instead of "thank you" and then bump into some one and say "thank you"? haha (or as they say here 5555). Stupid farang (foreigner)...

10 minute walk form Punna: Chonburi waterfront!
But back to the welcome ceremony. During the welcome ceremony a white thread is tied around your right wrist (white symbolizes purity). We knelt down in front of our Thai staff/teachers that lead, taught, laughed and guided us throughout a roller coaster of a week. The room was dark, candles flickered and one by one we wai-ed (palms together and bow) and received our welcome into Thailand. Traditionally the string must stay on for a minimum of three days. After three days you must ask someone else to untie (not cut) the string and it is considered the best luck if you let it fall of on it's own. If worn all the rules are followed the string will represent:  peace, harmony, good fortune, good health and human warmth and community.

What an amazing and powerful way to be welcomed into a community. This afternoon we are going to have the best welcome ceremony ever: Thai Massage, Man & Pedi all for less than $15. One thing I love about Thai women is that they LOVE to pamper themselves.
Cheers to Peace, Harmony & Good Luck.

1 comment:

  1. So close to the waterfront! Perfect for the Charleston girl. We did the string ceremony too and I loved it. Fun fun fun