Apple Slices and Home Made Envelopes

This morning was a revelation. I actually managed to photocopy my bank book for HR! Thankfully there was no one around to laugh at my ‘office jiggle’ and rather high-pitched ‘whoop whoop’ I did however push my luck (blinded arrogance) and attempted to scan and got put swiftly back in my rightful place: ‘state of utter techno intimidation’

I therefore had to find an envelope to put the photocopy in and address it for HR. My office covers 6 floors of an office building and encompasses around 400 kind souls. This means getting a piece of paper to someone in HR is accompanied with printing, wrapping, labeling (who, department, date, time, urgency level) and placing in the correct tray.

Of course I had no idea where the office stationary was and found myself digging in the TV buyers personal cupboard by mistake. I returned to my desk with more yellow post-its and a stapler but no envelope or staples. Eventually I fashioned an envelope out of a plain piece of white paper and cellotape.

It then took me another 10 minutes to search for my contacts nickname. Everyone in Thailand has a long first name (7 to 10 letters). As a result, every single person will introduce themselves by their nickname. This is much easier as you only have to recall names like ‘May’ or ‘Anne’ but then you realize you have no way of knowing their email or phone number because these are listed under their ‘real’ names. I eventually found the corresponding nickname ‘Boat’ and wrote it on my hand-made arts and craft envelope and plopped it in the outgoing mail tray by the door.

I went to lunch with two senior colleagues who, thankfully, spoke English all through lunch for my benefit. I even learnt how to order my meal which was ‘garlic and pepper pork with steamed rice and a fried egg on top’ How cool am I. ‘Fried egg’ in Thai translates to ‘yellow star’ how sweet is that? I now know what to do with the bowl of warm stock water that comes with every dish (either sip with spoon or use to ‘loosen’ rice) and remembered not to eat off the tray but rather remove my plate and dump the tray on the table next door! All these little items help when they add up because people do stare at this 6ft (am in heels) foreigner eating off a spoon – Thai people only use the fork to push food onto the spoon so the fork never enters the mouth. Knives are nowhere to be found, cutting is done by tearing with the fork and spoon. What I find odd is how little I miss a knife….except when wanting to remove a prawn tail that is!

Returned to my desk to be handed an apple slice by a lady who promised me a pear slice later. It was delicious. I asked how to say ‘apple’ in Thai and everyone giggled as I whipped out my pocket notebook (I write everything down) and said they simply say ‘apple’ Hurrah, one less Thai word to learn!


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