Since our American names are very difficult for most Thais to pronounce, my friends and I have each been given a Thai nickname to make introductions easier. So now we are the ones tripping over our own names! The Thai language is tonal; there are several different meanings associated with one word, depending on the tone you give it. Each of our Thai names also has a meaning, such as lotus, coconut, sugar, etc. My name in Thai is “Bai-kao” (pronounced bye-cow) which means rice leaf. I am told it has a very significant meaning in Thai culture but have yet to understand what that is, exactly. Yesterday we had our debut on Thai cable television and one of my friends used an incorrect tone and accidentally introduced herself as an insect rather than a doll! I guess all we can do is keep practicing. On that note, back to class!