From correspondence saved with a beloved grandmother, journals, family snapshots and memories, Linell Joyce set out on the formidable task of preserving the story of her life as a CIA wife and mother living in six widely varied countries besides the US. This excerpt is from Chapter V — A Place to Make a Difference: Bangkok, Thailand 19779-1980
"Bill immediately returned to work at FBIS's offices in the Shell House office building, which was across Wireless Road from the US Embassy.
"And me? As excited as I was about being in Bangkok, I felt lost. This was such a foreign place, and without any knowledge of the Thai language, I was doubly lost. There is a helpless feeling that comes from being outside of one's comfort zone. The language barrier, unfamiliar foods, strange looking foreign currency, and a distinctly different culture all gave me many destabilizing moments. The heat, traffic, noise, and congestion all made me feel extremely uncomfortable. In my early days in Bangkok, I was not eager to keep putting myself into this situation.
"As I look back on this time, I know that I clearly suffered from anxiety. Things did eventually get better and more comfortable as I ventured out from the apartment building.
"I noticed there was a food market across the street, and I wanted to buy some groceries to prepare a meal for Bill and me. I walked out of the apartment building, stood on a busy bustling street corner, and pushed the pedestrian crossing button to request the traffic to stop. I remember feeling so overwhelmed by it all. So hot, humid, noisy, congested, such strong foreign smells—an assault to the senses. When the traffic stopped, I cautiously walked across the wide boulevard with many others and quickly entered the grocery store. It was a huge store with crowds of people and the rows and rows of packaged items on the shelves were all so foreign and strange looking to me. I managed to find some eggs, milk, and a kind of cheese that looked like it might make a good omelet. Bill had given me some Thai currency (Thai Baht), and I walked up to the cashier to pay for my groceries. I couldn't decipher the money's worth by looking at it, so I handed the woman a stack of bills and asked her to take what was needed to pay for my items. I don't think she spoke English, and it was obvious to her that I was a 'farang,' which in the Thai language means 'foreigner'...."