how old were you when your family moved and how did you arrive in America?
It would have been in 1972 and I must have been 10 when we first came to America.
Did you fly straight from Thailand to America?
No, my family and I flew out of Bangkok to Iran, and we stayed there for about a week with my stepdad’s friend before hopping on the plane to come to come to America.
Where in America did you enter for the first time?
We flew into Florida; I think it was Panama City, but my memory is a bit fuzzy. We stayed with another one of my stepdad’s friends for about a month before coming to Michigan.
What were some things that you found shocking or interesting upon arriving in America?
I remember first stepping off the plane with my family and seeing lots of tall white people. All my life I’d been surrounded by shorter people with darker skin so this was a pretty big shock to me. It was really weird to see all the high-tech stuff where in Thailand we had nothing remotely close.
What would you say was the biggest culture shock upon arrival in the US?
I’d say the people was the biggest shock. I was so used to seeing people with darker skin and black hair who were small and spoke the same language. For me, everyone who spoke English sounded the same when the talked. I didn’t know much English, the only words I knew were: yes, no, and how are you, that was it.
What was the first thing you remember stepping out of the gate and into the terminal?
I can’t remember off the top of my head but I remember the transition being pretty smooth. The temperatures and weather were similar between Thailand and Florida.
What was your first experience with American food?
On the way to Michigan, we had the best food I had ever had which was Kentucky Fried Chicken. Later we would go to an A&W drive-in which was delicious and super cool. While this didn’t happen on my first day, I also have memories of catching blue crabs in the bay area and getting snapped. My dad and them also went fishing, I ended up hooking a peanut up to a fishing hook to try to catch a squirrel. I got him snagged but he broke out of the hook and ran away.
Were there any memories you had that you could remember like it was yesterday?
The first time I saw snow comes to mind. I would have been in 6th grade and the teacher had let me out to go touch it. I stuck my tongue to catch the snowflakes in my mouth just like in the movies. It was a huge experience.
This was awesome, thanks for your time!
It was my pleasure, I enjoyed taking a walk down memory lane.