I have taken to spending my mornings across the street from our house at the outdoor teashop, copying flashcards and practicing Thai vocab words.  I do this in part because they have tables (which our room doesn’t currently have), in part because they have tea (it tastes pretty horrible – though it is cheap!), but mostly because this is a way to get to know and be seen by neighbors, and to start up conversations in Thai.  Perhaps the real, real reason I study there, though, is because the conversations always start this way:

I sit quietly, reading Thai words under my breath and copying them down onto flashcards.

Random people of all ages come through, shout out their order and whether they want it in a glass or in a plastic bag to go, then they notice me…

They spend a minute reading over my shoulder and then…

Smile broadly

Say “Ahhh…learning Thai…”

(And then, inevitably) “Smart, very smart”

This of course doesn’t actually mean that I am extra smart, but I figure constant praise from passerbys can only help to encourage me.  Yesterday 6 different people told me I was smart during the two hours I spent at the tea shop.  Lots of smiles too, and those are always good. 🙂