Asia Confusion*

*Phenomenon when one uses the mannerisms and customs of Asia in a non-Asian country with embarrassing and unusual consequences.

Ways in which I’m experiencing this phenomenon: 

1. Upon using the toilet, I look for a place to dispose of the toilet paper not in the toilet. Upon entering the toilet stall, I’m shocked that there is toilet paper.

2. When showering, it feels wrong to just swallow whatever water that happens to enter my mouth instead of spitting it out immediately. I feel like I did something regrettable.

3. During my travels in Germany and France (in which English is not the first language), it was instinctual to thank people with a curt head nod (one step shy of a ‘wai’). It was also instinctual to say “kha” instead of “yes” or “yeah” when receiving directions or instructions from a local.

4. Though I studied French in high school and university, when trying to communicate with a French person, it was easier to call to mind Thai words sometimes in addition to French words resulting in . Thai words were like a fungus that had covered all the French grammar and vocabulary beneath it in my mind.

5. In the beginning of my time in Europe, I couldn’t help but notice all the foreigners only to realize a beat later that they aren’t foreigners here.

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