Confused (Photo credit: CollegeDegrees360)

Here I am, three days in to my one month massage therapy course in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and I am tangeled in a verbal web of Thai, English, Spanish, and go figure, Japanese. In the first two days of my journey I learned the Thai essentials: “Hi, How are you? I do not speak Thai. How much is this? Wow, that is too expensive, can you give me a discount? and not spicy!” While I maneuvered through the endless marketplaces calculation conversions in my head these few sentences proved useful..until they started speaking back to me in Thai, half complimenting their ability to understand my pronunciation, and half making me wish I had just started in English to begin with. But here is where my Thai education stopped. I arrived at the spa school on day one with a fellow expat who had opted for the free transit from the city to the school (20 min by car, 1 1/2 hours walking). Here I expected to be met by a slew of other foreigners where we could all bond over our perpetual confusion and the extremely different lifestyle we would be getting used to living. Instead, I encountered 10 Japanese girls, 1 guy, 3 Thai teachers, and a mexican man–all which spoke Japanese excluding the ladder. I was shocked. The confusion I had prepared for had now been doubled, as they fluently conversed over lunch and break times, shared jokes, and traditional customs, that I more often than not could not discern whether were Japanese or Thai. Now my brain has the difficult task at categorizing each word I learn into its bucket…and as I am overflowing with massage techniques and sequences there seems to be little room left. For a slight reprieve, I have limited my learnng to 3 or 4 phrases a day in Thai and Japanese: first one learned in Japanese: iy tai (no idea if that is how you spell it) meaning “that hurts”…crucial when people are testing out your pressure points and such. Next on my list, “let’s go dancing!” Look at for the tale of how I took my whole massage school salsa dancing in Chiang Mai city…until next time!