written by Potjaporn Joonlaoun (Garn) from Thailand
It has been a couple weeks since I arrived in America. I have met a lot of people and had many stories sharing including cultures foods languages and tourism attractions. Since the program has allowed me to live with an American family and to work with American professionals, I am always afraid of embarrassing myself in front of them from my English with Thai accent and from any possible cultural awkwardness. Therefore, everywhere I go I always begin my conversation with the same statement that ‘As English is not my first language and there will be a lot of culture differences between here and my country, please bear with me and I will try to adjust myself as best as I can.’
Surprisingly, my sincere self-defense incredibly brings further interesting conversations regarding people’s roots. My gold hearted host mother, Rose, who is addicted in Korean soapies and loves Kimchi noodles, is originally from Kenya. A smart IT man in my worksite who has a lot of good Thai friends and knows about the employment situation in Thailand very well is originally from Greece. Further to that, the warm feeling of connection with my supervisor, Mohammad Elahi, could be the reason that we both have Asian culture background as he is originally from Bangladesh. Mohammad who is knowledgeable, experienced but humble has been publicly respected for his leadership
skills and for his passion to develop Cook County.
To be honest, I have been surprised in the variety of Americans but in the same time I am so impressed in the contributions they have made to the country as citizens of America. Regardless of birthplace, here in America people appreciate in and give value to what you do more than where you were born. Additionally, instead of creating conflicts, this variety expands the understanding of cultural sensitivity and promotes harmonization.