When In Uniform
-White shirt buttoned up all the way, black skirt to your knee, black belt, and a collar pin- thats the dress code. In college they are making us wear a uniform. It is Alabama summer hot every day and will be for months, and we have to wear a button up shirt. You could feel the discontent from everyone as we tried on uniforms and purchased them our first day in Thailand, and you could hear the moans of complaint as our uniforms were soaked through with sweat after our 15 minute walk to class.
But what it took us a few days to realize was the difference in the people around us. When you’re in uniform, you aren’t some western tourist on a trip to Thailand, you are recognized as a local student. Sometimes you’re met with a pair of raised eyebrows, confused to see a ‘farang’ in CMU dress, but always with a smile, maybe a little more genuine than one when dressed in street clothes.
And by the end of day three, I loved my uniform, uncomfortable belt and all. It means that I’m apart of their community, not just their tourism business. It means that people can get to know me and expect to see me buying pad thai or notebooks from them again. It means that I’m home.