Delightful Farangland: Waiting For My Asian Wife
We have said goodbye at the airport one more time. Now she's over there again, while I try to adjust back to normal life Farangland. We said goodbye at the airport one more time, yes.
I BLOODY HATE GOODBYES AT THE AIRPORT!!!!
Over the years, I've had too many of those airport goodbyes. I don't know where it is worse:
You get places like Phnom Penh or Saigon, where your girl cannot even enter the building with you. She stands outside with her sad face against the glass, watching you X-raying your bag, fishing for your ticket, checking in, stuffing boarding cards somewhere, fishing for boarding cards again because you have to pay airport tax at the counter, all that. She is still behind the window, crying now, the glass around her foggy – why doesn't she go? You mouth her sweet words, she mouths back something…
…or you get the Thai variety, like Bangkok, Phitsanulok, Hat Yai, where your girl may step a few inches into the building before the time to part has come…
…and you get the lax Euro version, where you hike to check-in together and you only have to unload your goodbyes under the eyes of the security people. Better?
Where is it worse to say goodbye to your lady? I can't say. It sounds bland, I know, but what I can say is that those goodbyes at the airport are like little deaths for me. Always. I feel it. My heart crumbles. I feel it.
I BLOODY HATE GOODBYES AT THE AIRPORT – ANYWHERE!!!!
We had goodbyes right on the tarmac, under the roaring jets of a domestic AB6 landed at Don Muang, when several THAI vans waited to shuttle us to our respective international connections. There we stood, right next to the airplane's front wheel, the pouring August rain gracefully camouflaging our embarrassing goodbye tears, with a bunch of THAI employees and C.I.Q. passengers watching us with empathy and no anger about the delay caused by a romantic east-west couple in super-slow-motion goodbye mode. Yes, great movie scene, but still
I BLOODY HATE GOODBYES AT THE AIRPORT!!!!
I am not sure if I got the point across? We have now chosen to put an end to those airport goodbyes. It seemed an easy decision for her, but difficult for me. But now I fully support it. I finally agreed to it and didn't regret it one single moment.
There will be no more goodbyes at the airport in the near future. There will only be one more hello at a certain Euro airport we both know very well. This time, our airport hello will not ignite a countdown that leads straight down to the next airport goodbye. Things have been arranged, fees have been paid, papers prepared: Right from that certain Euro airport, we'll proceed to the registry office of my home town.
We will marry.
Shy On The Phone
But as of now, again we've been apart for some months. When we talk on the phone, she sounds shy. Sometimes even timid. She is kind of in my hand now, and that makes her unhappy, I feel: All the time it had been clear that she wanted to marry. But being the good demure Asian girl that she is, she couldn't simply stand up and say, hey, Pothole, I want a ring! All she could do was a very low unobtrusive whisper, maybe after making love: "I want to stay with you forever." About once a year, easy not to hear. That was already quite courageous for her: What if I declined?
I had been the one hesitating. For years. She met me, she followed me, she slept with me over the years against all the rules of her society and her family, against the advice of influential relatives.
All her family, all her friends, no, all her province now know about her next trip to Europe and what will happen there. Finally!! They marry!!! OMG!!!! And guess what, I am expected in SE Asia later, for another whopping local wedding party. Oh dear.
Some of her female relatives have already bought appropriate dresses for that auspicious day in the far-away future! Guest lists are being pondered, edited and re-edited all over.
If I now let her down, if I return to my putting-her-on-hold, if I step back one more time, if I fall back into my old indecision, this will be a major face-loss for her in the family and in town. It will be a face-loss for all of her family – she would have to jump down State Tower.
I guess that's why she sometimes sounds a bit shy on the phone.
In my country, what have I paid for the wedding formalities so far:
– deposit for the upcoming request to the high court, if or not we may marry; some of this money may be refunded
– deposit for panel solicitors in her country who will check through her original papers and through five contact people she had to name; this investigation is required by my government, ordered by my registry office and finally handled by my embassy in her country; some of this money may be refunded later
– for three different registry office papers that are required to start an international wedding
– present for a local sworn-in translator, a friend of a friend of a friend, who had been officially required to translate her statements at the registry office when she was here
– translations of her birth certificate, marital status etc. by another sworn-in translator
Next wedding pick a Euro gal.
No money no marry: They need all this money from me before they even ponder our case. Who knows if they will decide against us. Just like at my embassy in her country: She had to pay 40 USD for the last tourist visa application. This is NOT refunded if no visa is granted. She saw applicants who paid and got no visa.
Of course my district government also needs a proof of my income over the last years. They wouldn't prepare the wedding if they knew we couldn't afford all the fees. I've paid over 1300 USD in fees so far, but still they want to know what I earn – with detailed papers to prove.
Apart from that, I don't lose money from fees only, but also from losing work time. It is such a hard job. There are whole days when I close my office and do nothing but "work wedding". We have to fulfil the requirements of registry office, alien's office and my embassy over there – requirements that are not always clearly explained, requirements that are handled differently by different persons, different districts or different institutions; requirements that are handled one way at the alien's office and another way at my embassy in her country. There are whole complex websites and forums about how to bring your third-world-lover to my country – and what can go wrong. I shuttle between registry office and alien's office, I juggle with original documents, notarized translations and photocopies, I carry clear plastic folders and heavy files like a busy lawyer. Fortunately I don't have a boss and I am in control of my time; if I was a hired worker, I simply couldn't manage our wedding preparations.
The people in the offices here are neither helpful nor obstructive. I can't complain, and I can't enthuse. But the regulations they follow are clearly made to deter you from marrying a poor third-world gal. Of course I don't give up, but I know:
Next wedding buy a photocopier.
My Business Lady
Now this time she sounds happy on the phone: "Pothole, today, together with brother I bought land. Very cheap, can sell with big profit later!" At our last meeting, I had given her 2000 USD; that was to arrange her wedding papers, to buy "cold time dress" and an airplane ticket towards her prospective hubby. "I did not have enough money alone, so I bought land together with brother! From your money!! Later good profit!"
I have no idea how she will now pay for airplane ticket and dresses. I feel a bit, well, irritated. Is this a "one strike, out"? No, I am not overtly concerned. I know and see these things:
– She did not ask and will not ask for more money. She had been shy to take any money from me so far, and she had been shy about the 2000. Actually, after discussing some greedy stories from stickmanbangkok.com, she clearly knows I'd never top-up
her initial funding.
– She and her family are great business people. Whenever they start something, it's lucrative to the point that it gets overwhelming – when they sell it with a profit. I have seen it from three generations of her family. I have no doubt this land is good opportunity, I never saw them doing any stupid move. I see they are doing fine, and they never ask me for something, except if I could take another piece of fish please.
– I see she is preparing for an income independent from me. In a few years, she may have several thousand USD profit from selling this land. This is money she can use freely for herself without any questions and obligations to her bizarre Farang husband – now is that wonderful for her and me or not?
We both don't want to talk on the phone everyday, still it's nice to stay in touch.
She doesn't like e-mail, but SMS is fine for her.
I like e-mail, but SMS I can't stand: In need 10 minutes for a mere 160 keystrokes on the shaky cellphone pad, horrible. <You and me both, I HATE SMS! – Stick>
Finally even I discovered: You can send text messages to her mobile phone from the PC! There are services for that. It's a small, easy, dedicated software. It starts within one millisecond after clicking. It's real local software, no web-interface.
– sending her a message via PC is less work than sending it via my cellphone.
– sending her a message via PC is even less work than sending an e-mail,
– sending her a message via PC is cheaper than sending it via handphone.
See, now I type a new message for her:
My dear! How are you over there? Everything
ok with you? Today I talked to alien's office
and registry office, and I got some new
information about language courses starting
next year. I will send you all the papers for
wedding visa next week, before that I will
call you. Seeyou, my dear : )( :
The software says, that's 295 keystrokes, and the software will wrap it into two separate SMSs. See, now I click her handphone number, now I click Send, there is the status bar and the message:
SMS successfully transferred to server.
I don't know if she receives it right now, I only know the central server takes care now. But sometimes she answers real fast. What I do know is, I can hack long stories into the software, it will wrap my spiel into several messages with 160 keystrokes apiece – it works, we've tried it. Maybe I should message her this submission for a double-check on her Nokia?
Hey, you hear it? That is my cellphone, she has already sent an answer. So, I press OK, Inbox, Read New Message, there she goes:
Thanks my dear,
i am fine +verry
well here. Not
sad now and
feel warm from
Now can say
i am is
But a European girl would be so much less "fun".