Being German by birth (stop making fun of my accent while reading this!) I do come with a few typical German traits attached to my personality. I think most of you can relate in this regard. Not necessarily with being German but with having some traits that we might not even notice when living at home but that become obvious once we leave our cultural comfort zone. When thinking about those traits and how my personality changed ever since moving to Thailand I realized that I, more or less, lost a few of those traits. Here are my top 5 lost traits ever since moving to the land of smile.
I don’t necessarily like you, but that’s not problem. Is what I would say to a person I, well, don’t necessarily like but can still tolerate and work together with. Here in Thailand that’s probably nothing you would want to say to anyone. Nobody here is ‘direct’ or ‘straight forward’ in their approaches. Even if they really want/need you to do something, it will always be phrased like ‘it would be nice if you could’ and if you really don’t want to do someone a favor, you will still say yes.
The most interesting part in this regard, at least for me, is that professional criticism at work is also not well received if it is too direct. While I wouldn’t mind if you would give me some professional advice or tips here you could only do that packaged in some really nice and positive words.
German rules & organization
One thing that Germany is famous for, besides beer and BMW, is our obsession with rules and regulations. Thailand doesn’t need to hide in this regard though. The paperwork assigned to every single task (visa, work permit, University applications, etc.) is insane! However that does not mean that those rules will be followed and that the organization in general depends – or even counts – on those rules.
So while there might be a rule for everything here, most of those rules won’t be really enforced or considered ‘important’ and if a rule is not ‘important’ then why should it be followed? Just look at traffic lights. Merely a suggestion rather than a rule.
The same goes for organizational structures. They exist in theory but in real life don’t necessarily play that much of an important rule. In fact, organizing something in theory might be done way tooooo much but then those plans might never be executed.
German over insurance
In Germany most people got insurances for / against everything. Every. Thing. I wouldn’t be surprised if there would be an insurance for beer damage done to your shoes during the October Fest in Munich. Here in Thailand I don’t have as many insurances. In fact I pay most medical bills straight with the hospital as the private sector seems to have bigger influence within healthcare than compared to home. Maybe that’s also thanks to the language barrier that I didn’t really bother finding insurances for every little thing, but it did work out rather well so far (let’s hope I didn’t jinx anything by writing this) and took the burden of going through thousands of insurance policies and comparisons of my shoulder as I always hated to do such things.
While personal space is, most commonly defined, to be around 0,5 meters, for Germans it’s usually more like 500 meters. If you want to come any closer, metaphorically and literally speaking, you need to be good friend – otherwise we like to keep our distance. Good luck trying this in Thailand, Bangkok specifically. There’s simply no space for a lot of privacy and you’re much closer to everybody else by default. Also walls are thinner and people seem to have less problems sharing their every day life with their environment. I can probably even tell you when my neighbors last consummated their marriage (yes walls are thinner here too). Also, but that’s no surprise in the “Land of Smiles” people are just more open in regards to smiling and offering you their ‘service’. If that’s something entirely positive or negative is something that everybody else has to judge. I do think that I learned to be more open towards others though which is, for me, a good thing!
German Love of nature
First thing most Germans do when they arrive somewhere new is having a stroll around and check out their vicinity. That’s not so we know how to blitzkrieg but rather to figure out what’s happening in our new neighborhood and so we feel more comfortable in our new surrounding. We love to walk, spend time outside, open windows whenever possible (even during the winter at night, thanks grandma!) and try to breath ‘fresh air’ at every possibility.
Once in Bangkok…
Let’s just say I learned to appreciate shopping malls and free air condition, a lot.
How did moving to Thailand change you? Shout out in the comments!
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