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Two so different cultures
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  1. #1
    Guest
    Im new here, so I thought I would take the oppertunity to say a little bit about myself and my life.

    Im a 16 year old girl living in Norway.My mum`s from Thailand and my dad`s norwegian.It can be hard sometimes,growing up "between" two so different cultures.In Norway you get thought to speak your mind,have your own opinions,and so on..Teenagers here usually don`t have that much respect for the elders, don`t take school that serious, not afraid to "stand up againt" they`re parents.etc.But then In Thailand your eccpected to act in a totally different way.You have to have very big repect for elder people and it`s absolute not a good thing to bad mouth your parents...Another thing is that it can be hard to decide who you really are.Am I norwegian or thai?..Im born here in Norway and lived here my whole life.But on the other hand my mum tought me to speak thai and speaks thai to me every day.She teatches me about thai culture, and that I should be proud to be thai.And I am proud to be thai!Well at least half..I have two sisters that`s 100% thai(we have different dads).When im with them we speak thai,we make jokes in thai and talk about "thai stuff" and I feel like im thai,I really do.But then the next day i could be hanging out with my norwegians friends,just having fun together..And then I feel like, im defently norwegian..It`s hard to explain,but it sometimes feel like I have two personalities,one norwegian and one thai.Its just always been like that and I don`t feel like any of them is "fake",it`s just who I am,I know that..But I admitt I get a bit confused at times.
    It can be a bit hard sometimes,specially in Thailand.
    People are so eager to talk to you and get so impressed that you can speak thai,but in the same time they make sure you know that YOU ARE NOT THAI .It hurts to know that people think that way,because I am thai,HALF OF ME IS THAI.
    And then theres a totally different problem here in Norway,here everyone just seems so sure."Yoù`re born here,you speak norwegian,have norwegian friends,act norwegian,then of course you`re norwegian".Ah...Life`s not easy
    Don`t get me wrong here,it`s not only negative things about beeing half.There`s lots of positive things too!
    F.eks you learn an extra language,get to learn about and get to know two different cultures.And a thing I defently like is that I get to travel a lot!All my norwegian friends are always green with envy everytime they know we`re going to Thailand..again
    Well,that was the end to my "story".
    Im just hoping I hav`nt bored anyone to death

    Thanks for now,bye bye!

    -Jenny-

  2. #2
    delawang Guest
    Jenny, I really appreciate you posting. My wife and I are thinking about having more children. She has a seven year old daughter who is *so* happy growing up in Thailand. I have been worried about taking her away from her perfect world, and also about how to make sure children do not lose their connection with their Thai culture. Your story really makes me feel better.

    You are both Norwegian and Thai, understand both cultures and have Norwegian and Thai friends. Have your mother and sisters also been able to make friends in Norway? Iíll bet it helped them a lot having you around.

    Thanks again for posting

  3. #3
    Guest
    Im glad you you appreciated my post,at least someone did
    Im not quite sure if I got it right,but you`re married to a thai woman and live in Thailand,right?..Well,If it`s like that, I can understand that you`re worried how your wife and her daughter would cope with moving to America.I would guess that they would feel pretty "lost" in the beginning,have to remember that the american life is very different from the thai..Would probably take some time for them to adjust to all the changes.Almost all my thai friends wanted to go back to Thailand the first 1-2 months after they arrived here.They met a totally different culture from the one they were used to,they did`nt understand the language and they were afraid they would never be able to fit in here and to get friends.But as soon as they learned the language and also got new friends,they all now don`t wanna go back to Thailand,they feel like Norway has become they`re home now.

    If you do decide to move to america,I really hope your wife will try to at least keep on speaking thai with your daughter.
    I think she would be greatful for that when she gets older and maybe wanna move back to Thailand again.
    My mum think it`s vey importent for me to learn as much thai as possible,speaking,reading and writing so I have private thai-lessons 2 hours a week.It`s hard,but im learning more each day

    You asked about my sisters and my mum and how they felt about living in Norway.Well both my mum and my sisters have all "setled" in here.My sisters never had any problems what so ever, and they learned the language fast.Both my sisters did`nt have any problems getting friends here,and they`re both actually married to a norwegian guy.
    But I think it was a bit harder for my mum since she was alot older and had a harder time learning the language.My mum now have lots of friends,but her closest friends are mostly all from thailand.

    I don`t know if this answears your question at all,but I tried

    Good luck with everything.

    -Jenny-

  4. #4
    delawang Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] (Jen_ny_ @ June 06 2003,00:13)]Im not quite sure if I got it right,but you`re married to a thai woman and live in Thailand,right?..Well,If it`s like that, I can understand that you`re worried how your wife and her daughter would cope with moving to America.
    Yes, thatís correct. I have been in the US since March trying to get a new job and my wife is coming over in August. After she decides America is safe for children :-), we will bring our daughter. Or maybe not, we are actually quite far from deciding where to live. There is one thing I have decided over the last three months: If we stay in the US I am going to try to bring over more family. I really miss them. It is weird living alone.

    I really appreciate your advice on speaking Thai with the kids and the idea about the private lessons. When out daughter gets here I will get a tutor for sure. As for my wife feeling lost when she comes here, I am sure that will happen too. We expect the first few months to be difficult, and my wife is not really looking forward to coming here. She is doing it because I said it is important. I think after a few months everything will be OK, but it is going to be an adventure. Any tips or suggestions on that would be appreciated!

    del

  5. #5
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] (delawang @ June 06 2003,11:46)]Any tips or suggestions on that would be appreciated!
    When it comes to wanting your daughter to remember the thai language, your wife could probably teach her.But my honest opinion would be that it`s best to get a private tutor.
    Before I got a private tutor my mum tried to teach me,but it did`nt turn out quite well.You probably know how it is.."mum im just gonna watch tv first" "Im hungry" "We can do it tomorrow!" and so on...You wont do that with a person you don`t know,at least I would`nt
    It can be very hard for her in the beginning,having to learn a totally new language and still have to learn thai.
    My two cousins(9 and 15 years old) moved from thailand for around 8 months ago, they`re getting really good with the language.But on the other hand they`re starting to "forget" thai,after only 8 months .It`s understandebul though!Because they came to a new country and HAD TO learn the language,they put all theyre consentration into learning norwegian that they kinda forgot thai.That`s why I think it`s importent for your wife to remember to speak thai with her.
    And if you could speak american to her,she would probably learn to speak american faster.That`s how we do it at home,mum speaks thai with me and my dad speaks norwegian to me.

    If I were going to give you any tips to help your daughter to hold on to her connection to Thailand..If she knows how to read thai you guys could maybe once every second week or so buy her a cartoon/magasin/book in thai.Or maybe once in a while let her have some thai cd, of her own choice of course...If there`s a thai restaurant near where you live you could go out to eat there sometimes.And if there`s some thai festival going on,take her there!Both your wife and your daughter would get the chanche to meet other thai people and be able to celebrate together,probably the nearest thing you`ll come to Thailand,when you`re actually not living there ..Another thing is that If you have the opportunity to get a satalite and get 1-2 thai channels, that would be good...Kids love to watch tv,and they`ll probably pick up the language as well I sure have!Im addicted to thai soap-operas now

    It`s just the small things that i`ve mentioned to you that helps ME to keep my "connection" to Thailand...

    If you wonder about anything else,just ask me

  6. #6
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    I like to add my little bit about different cultures and a bit philosophical and a little ideal in 'hopelessly' practical world. I know a colleague of mine who I used to work with onece, who happens to be from Denmark and I am from India. This person is such a gem of a person that he defeats all cultural definitions. By that I mean, I can easily assume him to be as much from my own country as another. And after meeting this person and few others, I have come to realise that when people are 'good', in whatever world, they are they are the 'same'. Not all of us are gifted to live a proper life, but I think whichever road we take the end result is the same. I am also taught to beleive that whether you spend your life meditating in your mind and searching for 'nirvana' or you go walking around the world searching for external truth & love among plants, people, science, circumstances... whatever- the result finally is a common end.
    Never hit someone below the belt; for you are not the creator.

  7. #7
    delawang Guest
    Really good stuff!

    I have read the way to raise bilingual children is to have one parent always speak one language and the other always speak the second language. My daughter is learning Thai at school and from me (a frightening thought when you consider how bad I speak). She speaks Lao with her mom and friends. I donít want her to forget Lao because she should always be able to come back to this amazing place and hang out with her friends and cousins. Um and I only speak English when we play games, but I can try to switch to English with her. It will not be easy.

    The tutor experience really points out that teaching a language is a special skill and the relationship with a language teacher is different than the relationship with a friend or family member. My wife doesnít try to teach me Thai often, only if we are really bored. She never corrects my Thai and I never correct her English. We just talk :-) I really wish I could go to school or get a tutor who would not let me say things worng the way my Thai family does.

    I will look into Thai TV tomorrow. Excellent idea.

    One more question- how did you learn such good English? Can you speak German as well? I have only been to Norway once. When I was there, I noticed that like Seweden and Denmark and Holland, many people speak such good English you think they are from the UK. They can effortlessly switch between English, German or French, then go right back to their own language. How do you guys do it? Why is English instruction so much better in Europe than it is in Asia?

    T-gram, you are right. Some people do fine where ever they go. Wish I was like that

  8. #8
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] (delawang @ June 07 2003,00:15)]One more question- how did you learn such good English? Can you speak German as well? I have only been to Norway once. When I was there, I noticed that like Seweden and Denmark and Holland, many people speak such good English you think they are from the UK. They can effortlessly switch between English, German or French, then go right back to their own language. How do you guys do it? Why is English instruction so much better in Europe than it is in Asia?
    go. Wish I was like that
    Hm...I would`nt really say that the English instruction is so much better here in Europe, then what it is in Asia.Most of our English teachers don`t even speak fluently English,sometimes it ends up with us correcting our teacher... :laugh:I remember that I started learning english in School when I was in 3-4 grade,but now they start teaching the kids already in the first grade.I don`t really feel we get to much out of the english classes we have (2 hours a week),if there were something it would probably just be the grammar.
    But mainly I think the reason why people in Europe are so sturdy in English is because we get it through all the media.
    Tv,Music,Magasins++ are like 70% in english. Almost everything on tv is in english and with norwegian underground text.But if you look in Thailand,every tv show is thai,everyone speaks thai.And also the music we mainly listen to here is all english/american.There you can also see that in Thailand they
    mostly just listen to thai music.At least I feel that I`ve got most of my english skills from watching english programs on tv...Amazing is`nt it what you can learn from watching Ricki Lake everyday Funny..people here in Norway usually think that all the people in America are like the people that are on Ricki Lake.That`a nice first impression,would`nt you say

    I speak Norwegian,Thai,English and French fluently, I also speak Spanish and German(it`s not really that different from the norwegian language)but not fluent.

    T-gram,nice thoughts

  9. #9
    delawang Guest
    And here I thought it was first class education techniques. Hope you keep watching Ricki Lake Ďcause it is working!

  10. #10
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    Gor Gai

    Quote Originally Posted by [b
    Quote[/b] ]Hm...I would`nt really say that the English instruction is so much better here in Europe, then what it is in Asia.Most of our English teachers don`t even speak fluently English
    Hmmm... I have a different opinion on that. I began studying English in Central Europe, and the teachers over there had a very strong command of the language, even though they weren't native speakers.

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