Volunteers were warned about how different the concept of time is in Thailand. We were told things moved slower and at a more easy-going pace. They didn’t tell us this also pertains to Thai notification.
Many volunteers are finding out Thais aren’t keen on letting volunteers know when they’re about to go somewhere. I’ve heard countless stories of a volunteer happily sitting in their room enjoying the quiet when a member of their host family will come in and say, “C’mon, it’s time to go,” in a tone that also says, Don’t act surprised.
But we are surprised. There’s always the chance something was lost in translation and we didn’t understand yesterday, but our language is getting better every day and that chance is diminishing.
These last-minute field trips have become known among volunteers are Thai-napping.
These field trips are rarely trips down the road to the weekly market. While the volunteer is lounging in a t-shirt and shorts, they could find themselves an hour later dressed in all black at a funeral for someone the volunteer never laid eyes on.
This leaves many volunteers on edge. There’s no time to relax. Any peace and quiet could turn to a car ride in a matter of minutes. The Peace Corps told us our jobs were 24/7 – they must have had Thai-napping in mind.
Not only are we led to strange places at the drop of a hat, but many times we’re also the center of attention. I’ve seen numerous volunteer Facebook posts and photos describing how they led a parade during a holiday or were forced to make a speech in Thai to hundreds of people. If any of us have little ambition to keep up on our Thai-language studies, the fear of the next Thai-napping will inspire us.
Sometimes a volunte
(Editor’s note: Mr. Jackson’s post ends here. It appears he was Thai-napped and forced to assist in shaving the heads of new monks at an ordination.)