“Experiences from ‘The Flow’ (9): New Girlfriend, New Life”
“It’s true that CONTRAST PROVIDES PERSPECTIVE.
…In all respects, she was different. Not only was she a tidy homemaker, great cook, and a good money manager; she was playful AND passionate too.
Rapidly, we became lovers AND friends; having fun just being together.
And I trust her with everything.”
“Prosperity: The eternal flow of all that’s good in life…”
By Carl “J.C.” Pantejo, Copyright February 2008
(Author “My Friend Yu – The Prosperity Mentor,” Copyright August 2007. Pantejo – Y.N. Vurce Publishing.)
*Below is the ninth episode in a series of real life events experienced by the author. The only deviations from the truth may be the names of people and places. These stories are also incorporated in “My Friend Yu – the Prosperity Mentor: Book II,” Pantejo – Y.N. Vurce Publishing. Release Date: 2008.
I quickly found out that Neung (Thai: “Number One”) was the ultimate “live-in everything.” She kept our place immaculate, prepared delicious, home-cooked Thai meals, and made sure that I had plenty of freshly laundered and ironed clothes to wear.
But after living together for a few months, I realized she was so much more…
– Saving Baht –
(February 2008) – Currently, one U.S. Dollar (USD) equals 33 Thai Baht.
…And Neung knew how to stretch every baht we spent.
Coming from a large family and growing up in the poor, North East Region of Thailand, Neung learned very early in life how to work hard, save money, and shop wisely.
In fact, we now live comfortably on a mere fraction of the money I used to give my ex-girlfriend just for living expenses.
Neung has taught me how to properly buy things (meaning: haggle) at the local markets, finding bargains that most Farangs (Thai: foreigners) could never find on their own.
Many times, after I’ve chosen something I want at the Mall, Neung will gently say, “Paeng maak [Thai: too expensive], tee rak [darling]. Chan bai dalat prueng nii [I will go to the local market tomorrow].”
And sure enough, the next day she hands me an identical (or better) item with a receipt showing that it cost us 30-50% less than the price at the Mall.
– No More Magic Acts –
Unlike my ex-girlfriend, Neung is always there for me. I never have to guess where she is, who she’s with, or what she’s doing.
With the ex, I’d rush home after work – only to find the house empty.
She would often pull a “Disappearing Act” with her girlfriends for hours (or even days). I distinctly remember a nerve-racking, three day period when the ex disappeared. No notes. No SMS (text) messages, e-mails, or phone calls. I was worried sick!
But when she finally returned, I went from fret to furious! Her “reasons and explanations” were blatantly untrue. After repeatedly asking her to tell me the truth, she decided to just clam up.
And with that, we entered into another mutual silent period that lasted for about a week.
– Birds of a feather –
Her friends were as immature as she was.
While I was at work, I got a call from someone informing me that the ex and her friends were at a party and the police got involved, arresting the whole lot of them. The reason? Although the ex was above drinking age, others at the party were minors – and there was plenty of alcohol everywhere. Drugs were also suspected.
After many hours of stressful waiting, she was released. Fortunately, the results of her drug test were negative. That was one of the few times she ever apologized to me for anything.
Most of the time, she would just give me the silent treatment. It was always a guessing game with her. I never knew what was on her mind (or why she behaved so sweetly one minute; then so cold the next).
– Excuse to Leave, Excuses to Stay Away –
The ex was a Lao National and required to renew her visa every 27 days.
The trip to the Thai-Lao border and visa stamp can easily be accomplished in 3 days. But the ex always took at least 7-10 days (sometimes, up to 2 weeks) to do this “visa run.”
When I asked her why she took so many days to get her passport stamped, she would come up with some pretty lame excuses (e.g., “the weather was too bad to travel” – but checking the T.V. news and internet revealed no inclement weather in Laos; “I got sick” – then another friend tells me the ex called her from a karaoke bar; “I was visiting my sick mother, sister, father, friend, etc.” – then her sister or mother would call me asking about her whereabouts).
Of course, the only time she phoned or sent SMS messages while away was because she needed more “travel” money.
One time, I had to send her money because (supposedly) a Lao Taxi driver was holding her luggage hostage until she paid his high transportation fee. Feasible? Yes. Probable? No. The ex was both a Lao citizen AND an experienced “visa run” traveler, getting her visa renewed every month – with no hitches – for the last four years.
Nowadays, I rush home and am richly rewarded with sweet, genuine smiles, hugs, and kisses from Neung.
– Friendship. What a concept! –
Here in Thailand, I used to think it was impossible to have a girlfriend who could also be a “real friend,” someone of the opposite sex that I could trust and just “pal around with.”
The ex-girlfriend was like all others that preceded her: incapable of having a true friendship with a man; and much too demanding, suspicious, and secretive.
But all that changed with Neung.
Now I enjoy a relaxed, honest, and fun-loving companionship (the antithesis of all the unfulfilling relationships I’ve had during the last couple of years).
It doesn’t matter if it’s a quiet night at home or a night out on the town, we always have fun together.
And even though most of the humor between us consists of slapstick or “weird word definitions and pronunciation gymnastics,” the resulting laughter (and her smiles) makes everyday worthwhile.
Since Neung is an ex-farm girl and not afraid to physically show her affection, any light-hearted teasing on my part often turns into rowdy, hilarious wrestling matches.
Like attracting magnets, we are naturally drawn to each other.
Whether it’s watching T.V. or reading separate books, we have some kind of constant, physical contact. It’s nice. It makes me feel loved AND liked.
It’s the closeness and affection I always wanted, but never got, from the ex.
– Communication –
Another huge contrast between Neung and the ex-girlfriend is Neung’s desire to learn my language (English) and her willingness to teach me hers (Thai).
Daily, we teach each other different words and phrases. Living with Neung, I’ve learned more Thai words and phrases in the last three months than in the previous two years!
She is both an avid learner and patient teacher.
What a change! The ex would easily get flustered if I could not instantly understand her.
And of course, since she could not comprehend most of the things I said too, her frustration lead to “mental burn out,” and she would simply give up; tolerating a constant state of “mutual misunderstanding.”
Since relationships fail mainly because of two basic reasons: 1) Incompatibility and 2) Miscommunication, I’m convinced that half of our problems would have been prevented if she was willing to give learning my language (or teaching me hers) an honest try.
Oh well. It’s a moot point now. The ex is gone. Thank God, Neung is here.
“It’s truly a ‘New Girlfriend, New (Better) Life’ in ‘The Flow’ for me now…”
…Continued in “Experiences from ‘The Flow’ (10): Falang or Thai? Some Polarized Views.”
“Until next time, find ‘The Flow’ and jump in!”
Your Friend in this Intrepid Journey called Life,
Carl “J.C.” Pantejo
Neung sounds to me like she is the sort of girl who is fun to spend a short amount of time with, not to move on!