Sometimes when kids are loud, I talk even louder to try and get their attention. Really loud. Sometimes it works and sometimes it just makes things, well, louder! We spent Sunday afternoon running a short program for children at a local art school in Rayong. They were so adorable. I would pack them all up and bring them home if I could.
My responsibility, in addition to loving on all the kiddies, was to present the object lesson. But before I could get started, I had to get the attention of 12 littles running and screaming about. So, I increased my volume, which for those of you that know me know that my indoor voice tends to sound like a sporting event voice. The kids weren't responding, so I amped it up even more. I'm talking, talking, talking over the noisy ones and I look over at Susan and she's cringing. "It's so loud," she said. My voice was reverberating off the walls of a long, narrow tile room and smacking people in the head. I hadn't realized what I was doing until she pointed out the deafening decibel level. Whoops.
I started laughing. I couldn't help myself. I felt like this moment summed up many of my experiences over the last few days here in Thailand. I am loud in a country that is quiet. I am big in a country that is small. I feel like a giant here. A giant American. :) The Thai people we've been with are so gentle and kind and sweet and polite. And let's just say, I'm not so much those things.
I fill up every space I'm in. I seriously talk all the time. Loud. I laugh loud, too. I ask lots of questions. I can be kind of intense. I visited the front desk at our hotel in Rayong at least 10 times to ask about a variety of things throughout our 2-day stay. I felt like they would cringe every time they saw me coming. Many times I couldn't understand what they were saying to me and I'd have to lean in and ask (in my most polite (loud) midwestern accent), "What did you say?" Then when we were riding around Rayong with Jeff and his family, I'd find that I couldn't stop talking. I just blabber on all the time. If I wasn't talking or Jenny or Susan, it was silent.
I kind of feel like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. I kind of feel obnoxious. I'm trying to figure out if one way is better - quiet and reserved or loud and unreserved. Maybe one way isn't better, just different. Although, I can often times pick out Americans in a crowd and usually I find myself cringing at what I see. I think I might be more like "those Americans" than I thought.
I will post more details of our past few days tomorrow. To sum it up - Thailand and the people here are absolutely incredible. No matter what it takes, I will make my peg fit here!
It's bedtime now.