I am on the verge of another Thai language breakthrough. I can feel it.
Last night I went on a “date” with a Japanese girl I had met at a bar. Dinner was supped on the deck of a restaurant along the Ping River. Live music, gorgeous sunset, good conversation, funny drawings of America and Japan on the backs of coasters, good food, good prices, good grief.
Afterward, I went to the night market to buy a wooden elephant. Success. I ran into some Thai friends and I followed them by scooter out into the edge of town to a tourist-free hangout that resembled a junkyard with a bar built into it. Two Thai cover bands played in the background.
I got home around 2am and stayed up until 4 daydreaming to music and waiting for caffeine to wear off.
Today I started helping a Thai friend on mine with her English in exchange for Thai instruction. Realization: English is really confusing. I can speak it real good and anything. I know when someone is making a grammar or usage mistake, but I find that it is really very hard to explain why. The many rules are now intuitive and tucked into my brain. When asked for the reason why a verb is conjugated in an irregular way or why a sentence is structured like that, I am initially at a loss to say anything better than “that’s just the way it is.” I would be a good religious fundamentalist.
She and I walked to the market and bought ingredients to cook a small Thai style meal. I made garlic, green beans, pork with oyster sauce and sticky rice. She made mushrooms and garlic. Decent meal, but really no cheaper or better tasting than going to a restaurant. But the market is reason enough: stacks of colorful vegetables and fruit, meat lying on counters with candles that are supposed to ward of flies even though flies are speckling the meat, the bustle of people, the sound of casual commerce. The heat is humid, the smells are rich and unsanitized. There isn’t an equivalent back home, just the upscale farmer’s market.
To add some fun to my lessons today, I added the words for: “I think I’m pregnant,” “I don’t want a blood transfusion,” I haven’t had my period for four weeks,” and “Cystic Fibrosis!” I want to yell these phrases when I sink a shot playing basketball.