Ndjerareou Journey

Before You Go, Learning Thai as a Family

Two  adults, two children, ages 8 and 1, thirty-six hours of travelling and instantly my daughter drops a thank you in Thai to the kind man at the hotel who gave her an elephant.  

We’d been in Bangkok less than an hour after gratefully wobbling into a car simply because the man was holding a sign with our names on it.  I could hardly see straight and Sophia jumped into the language with both feet.  The reaction from our gracious hotel staff was electric and proved how potently rewarding travel can be.

Thai is an intimidating language, thankfully its people aren’t.  Politeness is also a very strong cultural value, one of the many reasons we enjoyed ourselves so much.  Learning please and thank you are vital but as a family we discovered all sorts of other ways to learn a little at a time.

The Thai language is tonal, meaning the pitch of the word is as important as the word itself.  Listening to the guides became a family affair, repeating the sound and the rhythm.

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Warning, some of the guides I found on-line were much more carnal (more on this later) than anything I wanted to teach my family.  Although ‘would you like to dance?’ isn’t bad to learn, it wasn’t helpful for our purposes.

We used Audible.com and picked up several for under $10.00.  

Our favorites:

Learn Thai-Survival Phrases By Innovative Language Learning

Absolute Beginner & Word Power 101 by Innovative Language Learning

Thai Phrase 1, Unit 01 by Pimsleur

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I’ll admit the first time I tried to repeat a phrase I got the giggles.  I sounded terrible.  My toddler thought mommy’s strange noises were hilarious and would burst out in gibberish to match my ravings.  Not productive.  Thankfully, I was in the comfort of my own home and gradually the words stuck in my head.  

Lastly, I worked hard to learn the phrase ‘where’s the bathroom?’ Travelling with kids you live and die by this phrase.  In the end I NEVER used it once. Bathrooms were easy to find with wonderful universal signage.   Instead I should’ve learned do you have Pepto in Japanese but that’s another story. . .

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    Before You Go, Learning Thai as a Family

    Two  adults, two children, ages 8 and 1, thirty-six hours of travelling and instantly my daughter drops a thank you in Thai to ...
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The child of missionary parents, writing became a natural was to process my adventures across the world.

Ndjerareou means 'he who builds the road in Ngambai, Nate's tribal language spoken in Chad, Africa.

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  • "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime." -Mark Twain
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  • Not all who wander are lost. . .  in the brilliant words of J.R.R Tolkien. Sometimes we’re at home restlessly wondering, floundering, worrying if we’ll ever wander again? The time in-between adventures can be the most desolate for this mama. I struggle through the hum-drum details of a daily routine.  Auto-pilot is the danger here. I adore my family, friends and home but my nomadic heart can get lost in the daily grind.
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Thankfully, when my heart needs a taste of adventure I can wander as far as my local ethnic market. Thai, Indian, Nigerian, their colors, tools, meats, vegetables and spices can enliven any after school doldrums.  My kids get to wander the aisles and practice cultural sensitivity (Yes, it smells intense but this is the food of their culture, how do you think hot dogs seem to them?) and explore drinks, fruit or sweet treats.
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As a bonus, our finds become hospitable moments and ways to invite our friends and family into our adventures.
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For a few of my favorite recipes from my visit to Kashgar and how to make them in your kitchen click the link in profile. Join us on an everyday adventure. 
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Baking is typically too technical for me. I'm a pinch of this and a swirl of that kind of a cook. I love things you make on the stove top but I love trying to make foods from all over the world even more. .
My daughter loves to bake and was thumbing through my new Julia Child's, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. These Palmiers were her idea and I absolutely adore them. It helps that they can be made savory or sweet depending on what you mix into the pastry dough. .
Mastering a few flexible recipes goes very far in my book and I think Julia would agree. Next time we'll add goat cheese and pesto!! .
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  • Our time in France is being featured at Inside A Travelers Walls on @worldtowning blog this morning. Jessica & the family use this space to highlight different forms of global living in the hopes of inspiring your next adventure. If you're curious about a home exchange take a second to check out the link in profile.
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I've been encouraged by the Sueiro family as the share an honest take on living abroad everything from medical needs to making friends. They've turned their wandering passion into a service and support for other families or individuals who aspire to live deeper in the world. . .
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  • "I wanted to sink into the unpredictability of a cross-cultural life, yes, but I also wanted a bona-fide home. This was a season of refinement, of acknowledging there were multiple sides to me that were equally true. .
I was infected with an incurable sense of wanderlust, but I was also a homebody. I matured into adulthood when I acknowledged this truth." -Tsh Oxenrider  At Home in the World
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I knew I couldn't pick up this book, even though it was constantly recommended to me, until I was on my own adventure. Otherwise my heart would blacken with jealousy and I wouldn't give Tsh the credit she's due.  So I stuck it on my Kindle only opening it while safely spending the summer in the south of France and let her words play with my concept of home. .
Personally, I've discovered the word home is synonymous with hospitality. I don't have to have a large or fancy space but the minute our family opens our doors in whatever context we're in then I'm truly at home. Sharing our table, home, city is an important part of our daily living and so why would it be different from our adventuring? .
What's at the core of how you interact with the world? Experiencing Nature? Knowledge? Food? Beauty?
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Thank you @tshoxenreider for leading us into new concepts of home
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