A Woman Learning Thai...and some men too ;)

Learn Thai Language & Thai Culture

A Year’s Worth of Women Learning Thai… and Some Men Too ;-)

Happy First Birthday

Blogging birthdays come but once a year…

A year and a month ago, on June 4th, WLT launched.

Sigh. I know, I know. It is already July 4th and I’m running late (it has been that kind of a month).

Aaron this manyAnd while a blogging birthday is not the same as your firstborn turning one, it is a cause for celebration.

When I came up with the idea for Women Learning Thai, I had set aims in mind. A given, I wanted to improve my Thai and increase my understanding of Thailand and Thai culture. But along the way (just to be difficult), I also hoped to upgrade both my writing and photography skills.

Confession time: In the past year I have not improved my abilities equally, but I have improved overall. And while I am quite chuffed at my progress for some, it may take yet another year before I’m out of one stage and into another. For all.

A bonus that I did not take into account is the online Thai community. Bloggers or otherwise. Expats and locals included. A nice surprise, the friendships gained since launching WLT are as equally important to me as my intended aims.

To celebrate, I decided to share the bloggers in my small Thai community, as well as those responsible for helping me succeed. And a given, I’ll include WLT’s highlights for the past year.

Apologies. But you first need to wade though the highlights…

Top posts on WLT…

In the sidebar are WLT’s most popular posts. Truthfully, they should be called resource-intensive content but as the title popular posts is shorter, there you go.

Learn Thai Online for FREE
Thai Language Phrase Books: A Mega Review
Google Books: Thai Learning Resources
Top Thai Language Learning Resources
The Easy Way for Beginners to Read and Write
Thai Language Cheat Sheets
The Thai Alphabet Poem
Thai-English Readers with Mp3s
Byki Thai Language Course
Thai Typing Tutors: aTypeTrainer4Mac
Recording the Thai National Anthem
Google Translation & Thai Dictionaries

Thai phrase books…

After purchasing 99.9% of the Thai phrase books on the market, I tried to make sense of them all. I’m not sure that I succeeded, but it was fun trying. The island trip I took during the process was trying too.

Travelling with Thai Phrase Books
Using Thai Phrase Books
Thai Language Phrase Books: A Mega Review
The Monty Python Phrase Book
Thai Phrase Books with a Twist
Pictures: When They Can’t Speak Thai…

Quick and Dirty…

My very first book review was Myke Hawke’s Quick and Dirty Guide to Learning Languages Fast. After tracking Myke down, I went further. Much further. And I’m not done yet.

The Quick and Dirty Guide to Learning Languages Fast
Quick & Dirty Thai Language Learning with Myke Hawke
Interviewing Myke Hawke: Quick and Dirty Guide to Learning Languages Fast
FREE: Quick & Dirty Thai Vocabulary Download

Thai alphabet cartoon…

The Thai Alphabet Cartoon was cleverly created for adults. And not all adults, as I soon found out. And boy, was this series ever an experience into Thai language and culture!

Thai Alphabet Cartoon: Part One
Thai Alphabet Cartoon: Part Two
Thai Alphabet Cartoon: Part Three
Thai Alphabet Cartoon: Part Four
Thai Alphabet Cartoon: Part Five
Thai Alphabet Cartoon: Part Six

Thai bumper stickers…

You can’t drive around Thailand without noticing bumper stickers everywhere. And as stickers are filled with real Thai, an ongoing series is a must.

Thai Bumper Stickers 1
Thai Bumper Stickers 2
Thai Bumper Stickers 3
Thai Bumper Stickers 4
Thai Bumper Stickers on Taxis

There are many more posts in my growing archives so please have a look around.

WLT guest posts…

Opening the conversation to include subjects that I am not able to write about in detail is important, so I am especially grateful to those generously sharing their knowledge and experiences.

Tina Gibbons: The Most Effective Way to Learn Thai and Why Learning the Thai Language Needs to be More Than a Study of Words and Grammar

Tony Wright: Let’s Talk Thai: How the Brain Learns

And stay tuned for a Thai learners series from Rikker of Thai 101!

A big blogging community thanks goes to…

In the past year I’ve met many bloggers in the Thai community. The six below not only throw comments my way, but they share time behind the scenes as well. In alphabetical order…

Expat Women in ThailandAmy: Expat Women in Thailand (no longer online)
Amy is married to Golf, a Thai translator. She blogs about the day to day expat living in Thailand. The information Amy gathers is not just for women, but for men too. For those heading to the land of smiles, she has put together an ebook – The Expat Woman’s Guide to Living in Thailand.

The Thai PirateBen: The Thai Pirate (no longer online).
Ben married into Suphanburi, where he now lives, works, and plays. And sometimes blogs. And except for when he’s playing around in the UK, his subjects cover all things Thai living.

To peruse: Driving in Thailand (no longer online), How far will 1000 Baht get you? and The Best Thai Blogs.

Beyond the Mango JuiceMartyn: Beyond the Mango Juice
Martyn works in the UK for most of the year, but as soon as he can, he hightails it to the wonderful Wi. Wi keeps their beautiful home running smoothy in Ban Norn Chad (thanks Wi!) With a humorous twist, Martyn posts about all things Thailand. His monthly reviews are a godsend for our busy community.

To peruse: Thailand Country Life – A Survival Guide, Always On My Mind and Giving a Little Bit Back.

FrogBlogPete: FrogBlog – Thaidings
A wonderful photographer and writer, Pete lives part of his time in the sunny south of France and the rest of the time in Changmai. He writes thought-provoking posts about the cultural and political aspects of living in Thailand. Btw – do you twitter? Pete does too.

To peruse: Thaivisa: Founder of Thailand’s largest online community answers the critics, Thailand’s tarnished image abroad: Thai tourism in decline and Brash Bangkok, culture-hound Chiang Mai, pornographic Pattaya, innocent Isaan – which one is your Thailand?

Thai 101Rikker: Thai 101
Rikker lives full-time in Bangkok. He is one of the few expats with in-depth knowledge of the Thai language. And while Rikker does not comment often, he does share his know-how on Thai 101, as well as via emails, forum posts and twitter. Starting next week, Rikker’s learning Thai series will launch on WLT.

To peruse: Thai jokes category, Farang Stuff and A look at the Ramkhamhaeng script.

Thailand Land of SmilesTalen: Thailand Land of Smiles (no longer live) Talen lives and works part-time in the US, but as his heart and the lovely Pookie are in Issan, he spends as much of his time there as possible. Talen has a good eye for a story, so we are often regaled by real life experiences from northern Thailand and elsewhere.

Note: While I am in contact with other fantastic bloggers, to keep this post a reasonable length I stopped at just six. I promise that the rest will be discussed at another time, so please do not send any bad mojo my way.

Photography, writing, book collecting and more… I owe… I owe…

Writing: I’d like to send a special thanks to two writing coaches: Joanna from Confident Writing (no longer online), and Paul from Bangkok BC Writing Services. Joanna released my writing fears, while Paul gives monthly tips on grammar, sentence structure, and more.

Photography: Gavin and Jackie from the newly formed Bangkok Photography School took my photography out of the 90’s and ran it straight into 2009. I’m still playing catchup, but I’m not having to run quite as fast as before.

Book collecting: When it comes to tracking down obscure books dealing with Thai culture and language, Danny at DCO Books is a lifesaver. Danny’s varied knowledge about Thailand has brought even more subjects to my attention. So much so, that I’ve ordered a new bookcase. Where it will fit, I don’t quite know.

Thai learning: As for my long suffering Thai teacher, she deserves an award for her patience. At times she calls me her best student, but I believe she means that in a special sort of way. I flit here and there, dragging her into technology and subjects far away from her regular curriculum. And she holds steady on for the wild ride. Bless her.

Programming: Oh, and I can’t forget my amazing programming buddy Jay, who puts up with a zillion frustrating emails about cacca code. Yeah, I owe, I owe. Hey Jay, even more chocolates are on the way!

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My passion is promoting the Thai language. Fullstop. Oh, and traveling. I'm passionate about that as well. And photography too.

21 Comments

  1. Catherine,
    Firstly, congrats on the 1 year mark. Believe it or not most bloggers never make it to that point before giving up. Those that do clearly have a passion for their subject and that is most evident in your writings.

    You’ve tackled a subject head on that most of us in the Thai blogging community touch on but, at least in my case, find myself in the deep end of the pool rather quickly crying for mommy. The Thai language is one of the hardest languages to learn and understand but you bring it to life in this blog and even more importantly you make it interesting and fun.

    It’s been an absolute pleasure getting to know you and I hope this pleasure lasts for many years. I hope your second year blogging proves to be even more successful and rewarding.

  2. Thank you Talen. I remember the first time I read your blog as I immediately thought that you’d be a wonderful person to know. I was right.

    It has been an interesting year blogging about learning the Thai language. I can understand why some give up, as researching as well as writing can be extremely time-consuming. But what keeps me going is a combination of not being even close to being done yet (my drafts folder is overflowing), and the close Thai blogging community I discovered along the way.

    Reading your blog is important to me as it helps me to understand more about Thai/Western relationships. I especially thank you for the series you wrote about your experiences coming to Thailand for the first time, then eventually meeting the beautiful Pookie.

    And one day, I hope to meet you both! And maybe some little Pookies and Talens as well ;-)

  3. Cat, My first stop next trip will definitely be Bangkok because we have a lunch/dinner date!

    We are lucky that we have a great community to blog within…it’s definitely never boring! My blog wouldn’t have even been a blip on the radar if it wasn’t for all the other great Thailand bloggers out there that are continually thought provoking and make me strive to be a better blogger. Yours is absolutely one of those blogs.

  4. Talen, I’m looking forward to finally meeting up! Do you know when you’ll be coming to Thailand next?

    Eehh… you got that right as our community is never ever boring. And the more I read blogs in our community, the more ideas I get.

    Often times I keep notes on the comments I leave, hoping to enlarge them into full blown posts of their own, then linking back to the original post in return. Around and around it all goes.

    I was just reading through your posts this morning (to make sure I had the right ones linked above) and came across one where you were writing about a book that is totally new to me. I’d already drafted up a post on the subject and I seriously thought I’d done a good job researching. Apparently not!

  5. Happy Birthday to Women Learning Thai…and Some Men Too. You have come a long way in one year and as far as the charts go it’s nose bleed territory for you and I’m sure you’re heading for the top 10 before your second birthday. Thanks for the BTMJ plug and I appreciate the advice and tips you have given with your comments and via mail. Have a good birthday drink and best wishes from the UK.

  6. Cat, happy blog birthday to WLT! It’s been so much fun to follow your progress here and see just what can be done with this medium. The combination of learning, writing and photography is a heady one indeed :-)

    But it’s you I hear, feel and see and that’s what really brings the blog to life… your perspective on the place you live, people you meet, words you learn, stumble over, love…

    Thanks for the mention at the end. I’m very proud to be included.

  7. Congratulations on your (baker’s dozen) first year. :)

    It’s been fun to see your site turn into an amazing resource. Helps take a bit of the pressure off of others. You deserve (and get, in the form of web traffic, I’m sure) huge props for compiling so much information on so much of the known universe of Thai learning resources.

    Here’s to many more…

  8. Martyn – alexa.com has been kind to me, that’s for sure. As for getting to the top ten, I’d first have to topple someone else and they do look awfully entrenched! Maybe if I just nudge them a wee bit…

    Joanna – I could not have attempted this site without the help you gave last year. Of course, neither of us knew at the time that WLT was even a thought. Whooosh it came and here it is.

    Rikker – yes, a baker’s dozen :-) And while I cannot give Thai language advice, I knew that I could at least compile the advice available. Your coming series will be another fantastic addition to the resources available to Thai language learners.

  9. Yes folks, she really is a pain in the b…t – everything peice of code she touches, she breaks… but I luv her anyway! LOL!

    A BIG HAPPY BIRTHDAY WLT! May you have many more and
    CONGRATULATIIONS CAT on a job well done!

    Bravo!

  10. LOL! Thanks Jay. I don’t know what it is with code and me these days. Everything I touch (except for the latest) seems to fudge up.

    Ah, fudge… that reminds me… the man is flying back to Belgium tonight (it’s a pot thing) so he’ll grab more chocolates to go with the ones in the fridge I got for you in May.

    So if I can get my act together, I’ll ship them out with the t-shirts and other blessed bits I picked out for you months and months ago… last year actually…

    Hmmm… thinking… it might just be quicker for you to come out here and pick them up yourself :-D

  11. Cat, your blog has come so far in one year. The content is always valuable each and every time. No filler for Women Learning Thai!

    How many people can say that within one year their blog has made it as a go-to resource for information on any particular subject? It’s incredible and you’ve risen to the challenge beautifully. Here’s to many more successful years ahead!

  12. Happy birthday WLT, albeit slightly belated. Congrats! You’ve put together an amazing body of work in a short time. You deserve some cake. :-)

  13. Thanks Neil. It’s been a blast.
    And now for my next trick – learning Thai ;-)

  14. >> And now for my next trick – learning Thai ;-)
    And how goes that?

    The other day I tried to teach a friend of mine how to tell his [Chinese] wife that she’s very pretty. It didn’t go well. Sounded more like he had marbles in his mouth. :-P

  15. It’s going… it’s going… :-)

    Oh dear. I wonder what he really did say in the end?

  16. Haven’t heard back from him. Odds are, he chickened out. They’ve been married for a number of years and he doesn’t speak a word of Mandarin. Can’t even say “hello.” I can’t understand that. I dated a Taiwanese woman for only a few months and learned enough to made an utter fool of myself. At least I can say some basics, though.

  17. Did you ask him why he doesn’t speak any Mandarin? Maybe he’s tone deaf… or even hard of hearing? I ran into a guy just this week who is trying to learn Thai but his hearing is bad. I wish him well as it is going to be very difficult to make out the different tones.

  18. His hearing is fine. From what I could gather, his wife is doing the American thing and teaching him Mandarin wasn’t in the cards. Also, she doesn’t use her Chinese name. She says too many people were screwing it up. He didn’t seem too interested in learning it either. I think, for him, Mandarin was simply too overwhelming and he couldn’t get his head around it. For a Westerner, Asian languages are about as foreign as they get.

    Too bad, though. I think it would be great to have live-in tutor. :-)

  19. A live-in tutor would be pretty useful. It’s not going to happen for me, but I have thought about how much quicker it would be. Of course, I can just walk out the door and get all of the Thai I could handle and more.

    So for your friend’s wife, she’s got her live-in so she’s doing well :-)

  20. Happy Belated Blog Birthday Cat! Here’s to a marvelous 2nd Year and very much looking forward to keeping up with WLT. Let me know if you’re ever in the Suphan area so we can have an iced coffee. All the best, Ben

  21. Hi Ben! Thanks :-) It went so quickly, I was surprised to find that it was a month over the first year. I’m now scratching around to see just where I take this site from here.

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