Challenge: Sitting Down and Studying Thai

When I was in 7th grade, classmates in my English class passed around a petition to ask the teachers to give us less homework. I was the only one who signed the NO side and I also thoughtfully added the reasons why I thought homework was important.

Luckily, despite this, I actually had friends and never got beat up or bullied. I mean, thinking about it right now, I even want to bully myself. Seriously, 7th Grade Megan? Good grief.

I was ahead of my time: I was a nerd before it was cool to be a nerd.


Hipsters now pay hundreds of dollars for this look. I was a visionary!


I have successfully completed 19 years of school with very good grades. I have studied Spanish and French, and I can be passable in both if I need to be. My point is that I’m fairly intelligent and I like school, I like studying, and I’m maybe a teensy bit above average with languages.

When I moved here, I wanted to be able to at least ask where the bathroom is (mission accomplished–I’m done!), so I started taking Thai classes almost 4 weeks ago.

I usually start out the morning feeling very optimistic, which is pretty much the complete opposite of my regular personality. Still, every morning I wake up thinking that this will be the day I finally speak Thai in class without going, Ummmmmmmmm…no, that’s not right….umm….wait, I gotta look it up….

This is how I feel when I get out of bed–well, not right when I get out of bed, because at that point I am usually extremely grumpy and upset, so maybe when I’m on my way to the train station–


Yes, I WILL get over this insurmountable barrier in my way! I can DO it!


This is how I usually feel after an hour or so of Thai class–


Why is it so HARD? **


**Yes, that is a picture of me.

I usually feel like this is totally my own fault. I come home determined to study and end up taking a nap, then I get sucked into the internet and bad Thai music videos, and before I know it it’s 11:30 p.m. and oh crap I didn’t even crack my books and I don’t even remember how to say 11:30 p.m. in Thai because that’s one of those things I was supposed to go back and review and never did and how do you say, “I can’t remember” in Thai, anyway, because that was also one of those things I was supposed to go back and review and never did and…oh, screw it, I’m going to bed. I’ll listen to the lesson in the morning on the way to the Sky Train.

I’m going to let you decide what the odds are that I actually listen to the lesson on the way to the Sky Train in the morning.

The thing is, I’m really enjoying my Thai classes and when I force myself to study I do much better. Duh, right? Good thing I got that master’s degree in teaching, which I will be paying off for the next 10 years! Smart-like!

I think I’m having problems because Party Megan is bugging me again.


She's starting to get kind of annoying.


The worst part about Party Megan is that all she wants to do is sit around in her underwear, eat food other people have prepared, and talk about herself in the third person. It’s not like she wants to do stuff, like actually party.

I guess my brain is just taking a break to focus on other things, but I’m urging it to get back on track soon. In the meantime, I’ve actually learned a lot of Thai and have had successful conversations with taxi drivers, grandmas at the market, and Noodle Lady. I just have to forget incidences like this:

Me, wanting to ask how much the soup is: What are you doing?

Person, confused because she is obviously selling food: ??

Me: No, no, I mean, what are you eating?

Person, too confounded for words, as she is clearly selling food and not eating it: ….

Friend from class: Um, you want to ask “How much is it?”.

Me: Dear Brain, it would be great if you could start working again, thanks.


Final Score:

Studying Thai: 1   Megan: 0

Look, I know all the theories, okay? I know perfectly well that I need a routine and that I also absolutely cannot come home to study because I will immediately fall asleep on the couch. Studying Thai, I’m determined to beat you! I just need to check out what the LOL cats have been up to first, and there’s this new Thai movie I want to see the trailer for…



Filed under Daily Challenge, Thai, Thailand

23 responses to “Challenge: Sitting Down and Studying Thai

  1. You and I should seriously get together and practice our Thai. If nothing else, we could be very confused together and if we add a bottle of wine or two…be very happy!

    PS. Nerd? You’re lucky you had 2 eyebrows!

  2. I don’t know why it’s so hard. It shouldn’t be; really it shouldn’t. However after five years I still regularly tell taxi drivers I live here because my husband works here and that I have a 16 year old boyfriend and a 14 year old girlfriend.

    I do that because I learned son and daughter on the same day I learned boyfriend and girlfriend.


    • Oh man, too funny. You know what else is funny? I have a mental block on the Thai word for “work”. I just realized that–I cannot for the life of me remember it. Coincidence? I think not.

  3. Hi Megan, I have a terrible history with languages. I wasn’t like you in school; I hated homework. The national language in my home country is Irish; it is compulsory subject in school. I managed to not only fail this subject but I also left school unable to speak a full sentence in this language. When I was back in Ireland last year there were two people on a bus speaking in a language that I thought was Dutch – it turned out to be Irish.

    I also worked in Saudi Arabia for a short while and had to walk around work with a piece of paper with all the important words like ‘how are you’ for the duration of my time there.

    I have done better with Thai but I would have expected more for nine years. I can read Thai fairly well and my comprehension is good but I don’t really enjoy speaking it. Now that my son is born we only speak English at home.

    • Well, I understand languages fairly well, but I always have trouble speaking them. My Spanish and French comprehension is decent, but speaking it? Forget it–I spent 10 months at a French university and still had troubles. Mental block! If you can read Thai, I’m super impressed. It looks like a bunch of squiggles to me right now. Will your son speak Thai when he goes to school?

      I also didn’t know that Irish was a compulsory subject in Irish schools–interesting!

  4. Hi Megan, my wife and I thought about it a lot and we decided that we will just try to speak English at home. He will get enough exposure to Thai elsewhere. He will be starting school next year and it is a bilingual program; half English and half Thai language.

    I’m not sure about the case now but I know Irish was cumpulsory when I was growing up; even though only a tiny fraction of the population actually speak it fluently.

  5. Amusing post. Thanks for this.

    All the best, Boonie

  6. Oh Megan, Megan, Megan, you crack me up. Your posts put a smile on my face.

  7. Michael

    Hi Megan, I spent 6 weeks in Thailand this year. It was great and I made some good friends. I tried to understand and learn some Thai but think I am more confused now then when I first got off the plane. I will be comming back at the end of the year and would really like to communicate better in Thai. Any sugestions. Also where are you taking your lessons.Thanks for the read Michael

    • Hi Michael–putting on my second-language-teacher’s hat to tell you that it’s totally normal to feel really confused. Your brain is overloaded with new input and it’s trying to sort it all out, which it will, eventually. Probably. I think if you’re willing to put in the time to study, you’ll be great. I also find that the way I put those short-term things I learned in class into my long-term memory is to use it–with taxi drivers, market people, etc. I’m going to a school called UTL in the Times Square Building in Asok–I really like it!

  8. jess

    In my senior year of high school, my history teacher came into class on the day of our final and put the exams she had made for us on her desk. She said we didn’t have to take them because she was upset that other teachers had a policy where, if a student had an A average at the end of the semester, she didn’t have to take a final (some senior year privilege thing) so if THEY weren’t going to care about pedagogy, SHE wasn’t going to care.

    So who stayed and took the final?

    Sometimes I look back at myself and just slowly, slowly shake my head.

  9. Kristin

    You are adorable. Now I’m thinking I should studying Spanish before I head to Puerto Rico.

  10. What is it about Thai homework that is so difficult to get to? Because I’m exactly the same – I get up in the morning and promise that as soon as I wake up, I’ll get to it. But before I know it, it’s afternoon, which is not conducive to study either. Sigh…

    • Oh gosh, it’s just rough! In grad school, I would get up, drink a cup of tea and immediately sit down at my table to work. Otherwise, I was lost. Same with going for a walk–sit down for one second and I’m lost. Ugh.

  11. Hi Megan,

    That story brought back horrible memories of the 7th grade when I had just transferred schools and didn’t know anybody.

    The homeroom teacher warned us all not to talk before she left the classroom, but of course everybody was jabbering away as soon as she left.

    The din crescendo-ed to a soft roar by the time she returned, and of course she was mad. She asked anybody who hadn’t talked to raise their hand, which I did because I didn’t have any friends to talk to.

    She then tells the class, “everybody except the new kid has detention.”

    It did wonders for my popularity of course.

  12. Pingback: October: Look Who's Talking About Learning Thai | Women Learning Thai... and some men too ;-)

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