A common frustration that I experience with my Thai language learning is the huge inconsistency with how well I can use the language. Honestly, there are some days where I feel great and can read signs easily, and even form some sentences in Thai without too many problems. However, there are other days when I seem to suffer from amnesia and forget all my Thai, and the language once again simply becomes the unintelligible noise when I first heard the language for 2 and a half years ago.

So what happens?

Well, the language certainly doesn’t change, it’s just my perception of it does. This is a really important part of any language learning process, or even any learning process in general. The attitude that you have towards something determines if you will see it as a challenge or a chore.

Look at this picture of a glass of water. Is the glass half full or half empty?

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This classic pop psychology question determines whether you are an optimist who is positive and sees the good in everything or a pessimist who is just looking for ways to feel negative and see the bad in everything.

Recently I was hanging out with another foreigner here who has had a Thai girlfriend for about 6 years and I found out that I am at around the same level of Thai language as him. He’s been coming to Thailand a lot over the past 5 years. I’ve been here for 10 months. So it was a fantastic confidence boost and I felt great! The next day in my neighbourhood I was stringing sentences together with the street seller who I buy my food from and even making some small jokes in Thai. It was fantastic and I had a lot of fun.

Yesterday I was hanging out in a restaurant with a group of Thai friends who have known each other for many years, and I simply could not keep up with listening to their conversation, let alone join in and contribute.

After the restaurant we went to a bar, where I literally couldn’t understand a single word of what was being said for pretty much the rest of the night. At first I felt bad, but then I started to focus on what was good about the situation – that I had even been invited along, there was a good live band, that there were some cute girls around and also more importantly that I have a new goal to work towards with my Thai language learning.

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