Darren (from the UK)
So begins the tale; there are many girls of Thailand, and there are plenty of me, bored 30’s+ Englishmen laden with a toiling hard posture, threadbare educational paperwork, and a sense of something or someone else. There was, and she was 4 hours north of Bangkok...
Having spoken with the new ‘she’ online through an unemployed year, I eventually got a pay-check and instantly a plane ticket; I contacted her telling her of my sudden arrival in the Kingdom. Bangkok gave me bad skin and food poisoning within three days, so I was glad to be standing in a bus station in bay 19-48 or, judging by the terminal building, it may have been the year. Either way, I was clutching my backpack, an inflatable monkey head, and a ticket to meet one of the many girls of Thailand.
After three hours Nakorn-Something-Wan disappeared behind the bus and Notting Hill came up on the massive TV, stolen, I think, from an 80’s Russian hospital. The inflatable monkey head did the rounds of the entire bus, pictures upon pictures giving it a star complex, like an inflatable whore. A snooze and then a tap on my knee, I looked up and the cheery conductor drew out a passionate ‘Yoooooooou’. I was here, now to find ‘her’. Upon egress the people waved to me and to the monkey head, who were these boys and girls of Thailand, they are so cheerful and friendly.
I climbed some stairs to cross a bridge as, in my western mind,
crossing an eight lane motorway seemed an insane thing to do. Oh, how I
laugh now. I saw her, I also saw her annoyance at being made to walk up
the stairs. I also saw a Doraemon tee-shirt. This wasn’t going well. A
big albeit nervous smile put paid to the frisson and I got my first
taste of the famous ‘wai.’ A traditional greeting. I tried and failed to
return the gesture so in the midday heat of rice-field Thailand on top
of a crusty bridge holding an inflatable monkey head, I ended up with
the fall-back but lame ‘hi’.Three days later she moved in, and I mean in, not just toothbrush but
her and her stuff. The girls of Thailand had shed another lonely
creature. My condo room filled with weird plastic blue bags and a sense
of woe, what had I let myself in for. She was loving in levels never
seen before, pouring my drinks and cleaning after me. I wanted a sassy
chick, not a housewife, what was I to do. I did what any awkward Brit
does, say nothing and shake my newspaper.
I also felt weighed down and judged by the 50 odd years of arseholery that must have proceeded my arrival. We holidayed in the tourist spots and I constantly apologised for the behaviour of my brethren as did my girlfriend for hers. Holidays were not something my GF had had, nor had most girls of Thailand it seemed, a 6-star hotel in Samui rendered her speechless, but it also stumped me, I was also living a life I’d never known, and that was the whole point. I grinned at the edge of the infinity pool, like never before. We walked out to my (read our) brand new pickup truck delivered from the car-park, this was it, this was bliss, for the day anyway.
The next day I had to visit a sullen office for another passport bullying session. There were three people in the relationship, and I felt prejudged. My love was bound by the calendar of an alien organization that can build super buildings to house the paper mill of foreigners, but have never heard of the internet and the people that work on it. I was to live the rest of my time here based on this schizophrenic and often opportunistic dance. Visa runs were made into little weekend breaks, they had to be. My work online grew and I spent and spent on my sweet girl and my pleasant life. I rented a house and set up with her, even buying a dog, who is still well loved to this day. A mini family was blooming in the greened landscape with its pinked sunsets.
The ‘moving in after three days’ thing reared its ugly head and I moved to the mountains. A backward move but forced, I needed to be the guy that was excited by seeing my sweetheart. This repeated twice more, plus extended trips away for business. Having not married I am sort of outcast by now; her loving family just want their baby girl happy and comfortable and, for the most part, I provided that in spades.
The Bangkok riots and the turmoil that followed saw all my friends leave, and three businesses that I worked so hard on stolen or crumbled. This strained the relationship and, for the first time, money was an issue. And being a foreigner here was blatantly geared to surrendering efforts and profits to the girls of Thailand. I no longer had anything to surrender. My heart was the first to go, but for me love is not typeface on a paper document, or a percentage of this and that, it is an organic explosion a great mystery, or gods will, either way it shouldn’t have to be proven in a court of shiny shouldered someones.
I had spoken with her many a time about how I could help her grow and be self-dependent. I could not provide for her on the levels of some of her friends, wealthy retired gay guys splashing the cash and other friends having the USA green cards. My gentle and part-time life was being mocked. I just wanted to meditate and write, I had to live the dream as well.
At the time of writing, she can speak English fluently, she earns 5
times what she did when I arrived and has a brand new house, quite a lot
more than most Thai girls can
hope for. And more than most girls of anywhere she got it herself, I
just pointed, advised, and acted like a good-luck charm; having a
foreign boyfriend was all the rage. I just have not delivered on the
paperwork or proof of my love, my dedication to living with her just
didn’t wash with angry old Thai’s judging me through age-old impressions
of the white man.
Better to have the ingredients of a good marriage than just the box. Oh apparently not then.
Can be loving and also repressively loving. Don’t knock a good thing is a great quote, but a weekly weird comment like, ‘Why you change the password on your phone?’ ‘Well, I always change it given the security fears…wait how do you know I changed….never mind.’ Then comes the jealousy, which on a weekly basis was tiring. ‘Who is that woman in that picture?’ I gave up explaining after a few years, it seemed girls of Thailand equate love with ownership, it seemed she would be jealous of the wind if it blew on me for long enough.
I helped and encouraged her in her job, and a highly paid job in Bangkok beckoned. Bangkok took its toll on her. It wasn’t long before the new and apparently horrific job took over her life and mine as she could not drive in Bangkok and I was bound by love to play limo man, I love this country but corporate car parks are not my thing, this loving role ate at my soul.
So, after 6 and a half years, like a rubbish game show contestant, I am leaving with what I came with, a backpack, a muddled brain and a sense of there is something else. Something with fewer minivan rides and paper stamping. I loved one of the girls of Thailand, I just guarded my flanks at all times, and this tired me and bored everyone else. I will get a new inflatable monkey head soon I’m sure.
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