I got some scary- sad news at work today. It wasn’t about me, I am just fine, but I heard about two friends and the hell they are going through while on my lunch break.
I couldn’t call them, email was worthless at the moment and I couldn’t clearly explain the situations and share with my coworkers. Instead, I explained clearly to my boss that I needed a longer lunch, but I had to leave for a bit.
I walked out of the office and cried. And cried and cried as I walked the nearby streets, trying to make sense of the horrible situations my friends are enduring. I prayed and I pondered as I cried and worked out my frustration in walking. After fifteen minutes I headed back, calming as I went. By the time I arrived at the office I had been gone about twenty-five minutes, looked red-eyed and sniffly, but was on my way back to professional.
The moment I walked into my shared office the questions began, “Are you okay? What happened?! Are you sick?”
I explained that I was perfectly fine. Healthy, unscathed. I just was berg sad for several of my friends, so I cried for them – maybe out of fear.
“But…you are okay?”
“Yes, just sad and overwhelmed.”
“Not to me, to my friends.”
“And you are fine?”
The circular questions continued. In the end it was clear, as kind as my coworkers were to me, they could not comprehend being so upset or crying over another person’s well-being. Our cultures were clashing in complete confusion. Again and again someone would pull me aside to make sure I was okay. Again and again the conversation became awkward and impossible when I explained I was not personally hurt.
Thais may be excited, but they are NEVER publically upset.
I support no such habits.
What a strange my upset my emotional personality and expressive culture caused amongst the Thais today.