My Mother In Law
My Mother In Laws
I took my first trip to Thailand back when I was hardly dry behind the ears (1981), aged 22 I landed in Don Muang with an American friend, together we worked on an American Base above the Arctic Circle….long story, but this guy had convinced me to spent 2 weeks in Thailand since it was a bit warmer then my native Denmark.
As soon as we arrived at our hotel my friend started to chat with the receptionist in fluent Thai…I was like, what the hell…he never told me he knew the language around here, turned out he knew his way around, had been stationed in Korat during the Vietnam war. So aged 22, I kind of learned my ways around Bangkok, Pattaya…learning by doing is what its called…I guess. Lots of hang overs..lots of maidens…surely a better nightlife then in the Arctic. Really a time of the 3 F's (find her, whatever…forget her).
Just as we were about to leave, I spent my last bath on a few dictionaries, just in case I would plan to return later. So I spend a few months in the Arctic, teaching myself a few frases of Thai… 4 months later I was back, this time for a month. To make a long story short, I worked 4 -6 months in the Arctic, saved the $ and went then straight to spend my 1-2 month holidays and savings in Thailand, 3 months on motorbike in Isaan, diving in Phuket and so on…oh yeah .. I forgot.. a bit ..was spent on bargirls. I learnt a trick or two, could recognise a scam and a katoey when I saw one.
8 years later (there off 3 in Thailand), I spoke fluent Thai and one day in Pattaya I had a bet with a bargirl, she told me that I could not take the cashier out as she was: 1. married to a local mafiason, 2. Her farther was pretty rich and owned the place and checked it out every night. 3. I was a farang and the cashier spoke only Thai. 4. she had a kid with the mentioned mafiason, also a Pattaya bath-bus driver.
I forgot the 5th reason, but kind of took it all as a challenge and bet a ladydrink that within 2 weeks I would have the cashier out for a dinner..no hanky-panky. Long story short, after several days of hanging around using sweet words and in proper company from a 3 star cop, I finally won the bet, and spent 2 hours sneaking off with the cashier for a dim lit dinner. Well what I did not know was that the mafia son and baht bus driver was well informed by the bargirl with whom I made the bet…so next day the cashier shows up with 2 blue eyes, swollen lips and a limp…oh oh.. big mistake, I was a fool for sure.. I never forgave myself on that stupid bet…anyway the cashier asks for my help getting away from her abusive husband, mafia son, baht bus driver.. And I must admit I felt pretty guilty about the whole thing, so I said ok, you can get away from him and all, go with me a few months in the Arctic. I will not marry you, but you will get away from him, get time to settle your stuff some place else, etc. Well her mother even came to my hotel asking me to take care of her daughter, and guilt ridden me gave off course my word.
So after spending the next few days in Pattaya, she being watched closely by local informers and my being chased around by local baht bus taxies (really, I had two taxis with the same numbers following me wherever I went) we finally left Pattaya in the midlle of the night, with police escort to Bangkok (I had my connections).
A weeks later visa and ticket ok we went to the Arctic where we kind of fell in love, got married and well, actually we were pretty happy together. After a year the mother in law calls, and tells my wife that her ex has cooled down, meaning that he no longer showed up with hand grenades and guns at their home, so my wife went back to pick up her son, we planned to bring him with us to Denmark as I was leaving the Arctic (1989, cold war was over, base closed).
I awaited her return, missed her a lot, we spoke a lot on the phone. Finally, the arrival date is there, I drove the 6 hours to the airport, and out she comes, a total changed person, no kid with her. What problem? She sounded fine yesterday on the phone. Well my mother in law, would only let her bring the kid if she paid her 400,000 baht and then a monthly amount of 10,000 baht. Well seemed like the news that money don't grow on trees had not arrived in Naklua. So my wife told me, she had to choose between mommy and me, and you guessed it right..mommy won that one.. We divorced as friends, she went back to Thailand and I went on to look for other jobs, sold our newly bought furniture and appartment and so on.
Never, ever will I go back, I wowed to myself as the day and night started to get lonely. Never will I marry again. No way, I tried and it failed, not becarse of me or the wife but becourse of a money hungry mother in law. I learned a lesson……hah ..you will see. Change of scene, 1993, I got a great job in the middle of Europe, pretty fair salary, not a thought of Thailand. I used only Thai when I occationally ate the food, I really never missed the place. But I still had a few friends who came to Europe and visited me, so finally in 1994 love drove me to go back to Thailand, actually a preachers daughter whom I told you have 2 choises…me or your boyfriend. Well need I say more, soon I was Bangkok bound.
An old friend whom I missed for years picked me up at the airport, then straight to the hotel and straight on to Nana. Well you know the story…anyway after a few days I kind of got bored. It was actually the same stuff, same drinks, same tricks same, same… So I decided no girls for tonight, I want to get rid of the jetlag. I want my peace. Well my friend came in and convinced me to go with him to Soi Cowboy. He had met a girl there the night before but she would not go out. A newcomer, fresh in from somewhere. A stunner. Hurry up he told me. It might be too late! He sure wanted her that night before any fat old farang got his hands on her. Well I kind of felt it was my duty to go with him for translations, so off we went. We had a little competition in the old days. I steal his girls and he would steal mine. I mean the ones we laid eyes on. Well here we go, into this little pissy bar in Soi Cowboy, and when I see his choose I feel sure that the old days are back. I want that one, let him find another. So we flip a coin as in the old days, I win and immediatly start to shower the totally unsuspecting girl with roses. Well all the roses that were available in Soi Cowboy that is, with my Thai conversation it pays off. No she don't work there, she is visiting her sister who is the bartender… Yeah I heard that one before… and on it goes…actually she was visiting her sister, trying to convince her to get another job, but who was I to know, how long have you been in Bangkok….2 days…yeah I guess I heard that before too…
I kind of lost interest in this lying thing.. where is your husband / boyfriend…..I don't have any…well I kind of heard that one before…so enough, you want to join me for a dinner….no way… I dont go with farang…that was a new one, at least for Soi Cowboy and on it went for hours. We finally agreed to go to a noodle shop, sister in tow.
After several days I was kind of desperate. Whe would go out with me, drink with me, but no fun whatsoever. An old trick comes to mind. Tomorrow I go to Samui. If you want to come fine, but no sister, you and me. Well you know the story, the hard to get type who waits for the big win in the end.. thats what I thought…well turned out she did not want my money at all, but she would like to see Europe. Fine with me, if you pay your own ticket, sure no problem…was I surprised? Guess so.
To Europe we went and after 3 months and the same amount of missing periods we finally married, a few days after the marriage her father calls asking for a little loan 50,000 baht to pay of some gambling debts, and if she don't pay she should not concider her his daughter anymore…. Well, she told him to fuck off… kind of rude I actually found it, but as she said, he has been gambling all his life, if we start to give him money he will just spend it gambling….thats my girl…she is so sticky that my biggest problem is to stall her when she want to complain when prices has risen in the local stores. So we get our first kid, and I ask her is it not time we visit Thailand… No I like it here. In Thailand my father just want our money, here we can spend them ourselves and for our kid…. what about your mother ( I kind of have a fear of rendevouz)… No problem, she has worked all her life. She takes care of herself..she has to as my father allways drank and spend her mone on gambling, they divorced as we left Thailand.
1996, our second kid arrives, no way will she go to Thailand, not with 2 small kids, we will wait till they get bigger and can ride elefants..she says.
We never hear from her farther, but the mother calls us once in a while. My wife never calls, too expensive she explains. But what do she care I will pay the bills. Yes but her tighntess in money matters keeps her from calling.
Finally 2001, the kids are now 4 and 6 and we go to Thailand. We call the mother in law in advance so she can take a few days off work…work.. What work does your mother have I asked her over the years…well she makes paper from bark from trees, and post cards…..how much for a postcard I asked…well depends 1-4 baht..hmm… I wonder why we never had any collect calls…strange indeed.
2 months before departure, the mother in law calls and asks if we need a car when we will spend 3 months in Thailand. No I said we will rent or travel with trains…..3 days later she calls again… She just found the right car for us – an almost new Honda…..but I don't want a car I explain to the wife..and not at Thai prices…again and again the mother in law calls and ask about that damned car and I for sure as hell don't want to feed her with a car…or so I think.
A few weeks before departure a good friend, his wife and their 3 kids suddenly deside to join us on the first 3 weeks of our 3 months vacation, no problem, the more the better I think. At least then the mother in law cannot have me killed without witnesses… Well here we go again. Mother in law calls and asks about a car for our trip, no we don't need a car and we will be 9 instead of 4. Our friends will come to… Welll then you need a minibus is the answer… oh God I think… Finally my wife tells her mother to forget it, no car basta, not a word about a car or we will be a no show…and the calls stops…finallly.
Arriving in Bangkok, wife, me, kids, friends, a total of 9 and there she is, the MOTHER in LAW. My biggest fear since I married, she smiles with a little blink in the eye. I cannot help to notice the tons of gold around her neck and wrists. Oh my God, where did she rent that I think. Hopefully I will not be stuck with the bill.
Well the family leads us out of Don Muang, to the carpark, there stands 2 new minibusses. Well says the Mother in law, since you could not deside I bought 2. Take your pick! One I need to rent out, but the other belongs to you when you are in Thailand. My brother will drive, but you have to fill the gas yourself…. Hmmm whats going on here I think… Well we have these hotel rooms reservations my wife says…. No way says the mother in law… I did the reservations as soon as I knew you were 2 families, I got some nice family rooms for only 4000 baht a night….gulp…sweating….and I paid them too she said …so off we go to her hotel rooms.
After a cold Singha, I discretly ask my wife what is going on. She buys a car for us, she pays for our 4000 baht hotel rooms, she has so far paid for the big welcome dinner, what is all this… Well my wife said I told you she takes care of herself, as we left Thailand 7 years ago she divorced my father, moved up North, started to work as a worker doing paper and post cards for 30 bath an hour, became leader of a group of 20 ladies, then a whole department and 2 years ago she was manager of the factory. Now she is in charge of 340 employees plus she has got 30% in the factory and has opened one herself.. But with only 80 employees, she makes around 2 – 3million bath a month plus.
Well recovering from my surprise I finally got in vacation mode. We travelled all over Thailand, once in a while mother in law flew in to see us for a few days and finally we visited her factories up north. She accepted me from the beginning, fed the kids with colour game boys and lots of presents, paid for our hotels and to finally give me a kick in the ass, bought us a townhouse (without my knowledge) and gave it to us 5 days before we left so that we did not have to stay at a hotel next time we go on vacation.
For 8 years of marriage, I feel like I have won the lottery. My wife is a lovely creature, my best friend and partner, our 2 wonderfull luuk-kreungs are special, speaks 4 languages, we never send 1 baht to Thailand and never will (according to the wife, also known around the house as the finance minister). My only trouble is the following…my mother in law has been lying to us, she did not buy 1 townhouse…..she bought 2, the one next door, so we can be closer together during the next vacation.
Well, I guess it is a tale to tell, but it is a true one.
Yes, I guess you did win the lottery!