Awkward is Okay.
Being back in Thailand after 5 years away feels very different from the first time around. In a really good way. When I first came to Thailand right after college in 2008, it was a whole new world and I had no idea how to interact in it. I was awkward! I didn’t know how to talk to people, or to order food at a restaurant or get what I needed at a store. I didn’t know how to visit a temple, a school, or someone’s home in the proper Thai manner without offending anyone. But most of all I didn’t know how to carry myself as I walked down the street or was seen around town as that Blonde Foreigner without feeling terribly uncomfortable.
And now, that singular greatest difference this time around in Thailand. I don’t mind being awkward. I don’t mind asking for help, or struggling to communicate. I don’t mind when I feel totally out of my element and have no clue how to behave. I don’t even mind when people shout at me, flashing the few English words they know like a banner as I pass.
It feels awkward, yes, but it doesn’t necessarily feel bad.