Stickman Readers' Submissions May 21st, 2010

The Thai Wedding

I would like to share my story with the Stickman readers about my marriage to a Thai. I had just turned 19 when I decided to take an adventure to Thailand. I had heard so many stories about LOS from the old timers that I worked with and I just had to
go see it. I had relatively little experience with Asians and up until I moved out of my small hometown I didn't even know the difference between Thailand and Taiwan. But by now I did know that I had the fever!

I bought a ticket for myself and a friend because I was scared to travel there alone. I didn't know a lick of Thai and I had no idea that Khao San even existed, all I knew is I was flying into Bangkok and had to find a way to these places called
Pattaya and Phuket. Now, even though I had a friend who was going I was still a little anxious about the trip so I asked another friend who was into the internet dating scene to find me a Thai girl and introduce us online so maybe I could
make friends with her that way I'd have someone to get me started on my adventure. And at that time that was my only intention, her to show me around a little and then send my friend and I on our way to discover Thailand on our own.

Well I guess you can already predict this but I'll brief over it anyway. I quickly developed a relationship with a girl online who I'll call Min. She was a university law student at Thammasat, 22 years old, tiny body, beautiful with very light
Japanese like complexion and big dark eyes. She was from Nan but lived in a small studio in Bangkok supported by her parents and a job at AYC which was a private English school that held summer camps for children. Our relationship
was great and kept me occupied while waiting to go to Thailand and she did a great job of planning a whole trip out for the three of us. I knew a lot of people who had spent time in Thailand and I had an older Thai friend who was always
giving me the lowdown on what to look out for and made it clear to me that there was a good chance she was a prostitute and if not full time at least a freelancer to make extra money for her school. But I believed her that her parents
supported her and I knew she had this job at AYC because I always called her at work and she always called me from there as well. We also chatted online when she was at work as well as sometimes on the weekends that she didn't
have to go to camp with the students she went to stay with her parents and we chatted on the webcam when she was there as well. As for the summer camps we still talked all the time too because she had her phone with her and sometimes
she had limited access to internet there as well. Apart from the AYC job she had worked the previous year as a translator for Cobra Gold military exercise and she sent me lots of pictures from when she was working there as well as
pictures of the weekend children's camps for AYC.

As of this day I cannot recall any time that she gave me any reason to be suspicious. No long periods of not answering her cell, no asking for money, no man's voices in the backgrounds. None of the suspicious things that I've read about. She
spoke great English but she was well educated and even graduated high school a year early. She told me she had dated a couple Thai guys but wasn't fond of them and was more into Caucasian guys for a number of reasons. She
said she had dated several farangs in the past and she was not a virgin and from what I gathered was quite westernised in relationships. So everything was smooth and eventually the time came for me to meet her. I wont go into detail
but I was very hesitant to meet her at first and I was worried that I would ruin the purpose of my trip by sticking with one girl the whole time. But after meeting her I was immediately head over heels in love. I will say that
we slept together the first night and I thought that a little strange being that she was Thai but I brushed it off because of the fact that she had been dating farang before and seemed pretty westernised in that way. Also the fact
that we had developed a very close relationship online and over the phone we were technically bf/gf already. I mean we really had the long distance relationship down to a science and talked every day for hours on the phone and
online. The vacation was amazing to say the least. She showed us around Bangkok, took us to her apartment, AYC where she worked, on the river, all the temples, to her university and many other places. I met all her friends and
had a good time partying with them in BKK. We went to Pattaya for 2 days and she showed me all the naughty nightlife which I didn't participate in of course but my friend had a good time. After Pattaya we headed to Phuket
and then to Phi Phi on to Samui then finishing up with the full moon party before heading back to Bangkok.

After returning home I don't really feel a need to explain how sad I was. It's been adequately described on the Stickman site many times. But like many others I was in love and I immediately decided this was the girl I would probably marry.
I decided I would have to make at least two more trips in the next year to make sure. I immediately planned my next trip in 4 months and we continued our online and phone relationship. The whole four months went smooth with
her giving me no suspicions of any funny business that I can recall. On my second trip it was just me and her and this time I went to Nan where she is from and met the family. I was surprised that her family all seemed to be
middle class. Her parents had a nice 3-bedroom house two cars and a motorcycle. Her dad seemed pretty friendly but a little distant at first but her mom was very nice. Her dad worked for the government in the agriculture business
and had been for 25 years so apparently he had worked his way up as he mostly played golf and came home quite early. Her mom was a grade school teacher and I got to visit her school and see her class room and everything. I
met all her close nit family, uncle who owned a very impressive pig farm and a nice two story 5 bedroom house with tons of land and animals, another aunt who was a teacher, another aunt who owned a beauty salon and had an estranged
abusive husband. Of course I met her grandparents who were all very nice and whose husbands were apparently popping Viagra and spending time with their other younger mistresses. It seemed all the old ladies were hardly able
to walk while the old men in the family were in their prime LOL. Min hated it and her and her female relatives always gossiped and talked bad about her grandfather who apparently had more than one mistress even though he in
his late 60s. Either way in the end he did what he wanted. All her cousins had their own vehicles and were happy to lend to me and Min or take us everywhere so we could enjoy our time. But I think the most fun I had was making
charcoal with one of her uncles. This uncle lived about a mile from Min's house in a small place that had a concrete floor with a room stitched from leaves. It was actually quite cool because under the roof he had a make-shift
living room, a kitchen and a dining area. Next to this he had an enclosed room with TV and dresser where he slept and near that was an enclosed bathroom with a toilet and shower. He really made the best of what he had. Also
he had all the equipment to make charcoal with and I spent a lot of time there drinking beer, manufacturing charcoal from burned cornhusks and talcum powder and delivering it to local shops and restaurants. It was a great time
and I loved the looks I got from the locals when him and I were driving around town on the scooter with 25 bags of charcoal hanging off our arms and the bike. His story told by my wife was that he is highly educated, used to
be a teacher in the north around the golden triangle but he got severely addicted to heroin and his escapades and many trips to Thai jails had cost the family tons of grief and money because every time he was in jail they had
to pay bribes to get him out. Now he's almost 50 and suffers from diabetes and lives this meagre life supplemented by Min's grandfather (his dad). Either way, he was forever in recovery and still loved to drink which
we did a lot of.

During the trip we had a serious talk with Min's parents and she made me explain to them my intentions. I told them I wanted to apply for Min a tourist visa so she could come see the states and from there we could see where we wanted to go with the
relationship and even possible marriage. They told me a lot about themselves and how they raised Minnie and their expectations they had for her life and in the end they said they trusted me and would be willing to support
whatever we wanted to do. I should mention that during my stay I slept in one of the rooms alone and her parents might have been suspicious but they didn't know that we slept together when we weren't in Nan. Anyway
the trip was fantastic and I sadly returned to the states and we began work on a tourist visa. I hired a deadbeat lawyer who told me he would use his connections in the embassy to get our tourist visa approved. On my next
trip 3 months later after doing all the paperwork ourselves and wasting 500 dollars on the lawyer we went to the embassy for an interviews and the visa was denied (at the time I was dumb and thought because Min had a good
family and we had a lawyer that we could get approved). So that left the only option being a fiancée visa which I was excited to get started. The rest of my third trip was great and we had a lot of fun talking about
our plans for the fiancé visa and beyond. As soon as I got back home we got started on it.

Within 5 months the fiancé visa was approved and she was on her way to the states. We had discussed and agreed that she would come to the states and if things went well we would go to the courthouse and get married with no ceremony or anything. I
promised her and her parents that we would save some money and go back to Thailand in her hometown and have a traditional Thai wedding which was understandably very important to her and her parents. She had told me
about the Thai tradition of sin sot and I told her straight away that I wasn't going for it not in the least. She told me that sin sot had to be presented at
the marriage but now days it was more of a tradition and that even if I did have to produce sin sot that it would be given back to me and I was fine with that. So with all that agreed upon she made it to the

We got married at the courthouse about two months after her getting there and everything was great. I had taken her to Texas to meet my family and she got along great. Her family and mine are very very similar in our values, standing and the way we live
so I think that was a big help. My parents, friends and relatives all loved her and had a great time showing her everything in Texas. Our first year of marriage was fantastic.

Soon I was scheduled to go to Japan for my work and she was sponsored to go as well as I am in the military. We decided to have the Thai wedding in Nan, her hometown, and would take a 20 day vacation between my duty stations and my mom would fly with
us to attend as well. I cannot even begin to describe the celebration that her parents friends and family prepared for us in Thailand. She had told me that it was a big deal but damn. When we arrived in Nan
they had already been working for more than a week and the festivities were already underway when we arrived. There was a large hotel in the downtown area that her parents rented out which had a big ballroom
on the ground floor that would accommodate the 360 friends and family who would attend the ceremony. My wife and I were to stay in the honeymoon sweet on the top floor and they got my mom a room in a nearby
nice hotel that was fully furnished for the entire time she was in Nan with us. After the wedding we were to go to Phuket and Phi Phi for a week before heading to Japan, my next duty station.

The first thing I had to do was go meet a the Thai 3 star general who would open the second day of our wedding ceremony. Apparently this guy was important. Her father knew him because they are both born and raised in Nan and had asked him to open the
wedding for us. He took me to his large plantation style house where I was to greet him. At this time I was thinking it's like in the states where there's more of a separation between military
generals and politicians so I was surprised to see that this guy (cant remember his name) was equipped with a full entourage of people to include servants at his beck and call. Meeting him was pleasant enough
although he seemed really arrogant which I guess could be expected. Later I learned from Min's dad how he had made a ton of money. When Thaksin had cracked down on drugs in the north he was in charge
of taking government contracting bids for opening rehabilitation clinics or something of the sort. Although I don't remember the details but during the bidding he apparently made a lot of money on kickbacks
from private companies competing for government contracts. Anyway it was an interesting experience meeting him.

The main portion of the wedding lasted two full days and it's way to much to describe in my essay but I'll give a little detail. The first day they decorated their house and yard in Thai traditional ceremony and my wife and I were seated on
the floor in the living room with me in Thai style clothes and her in her wedding dress we had rented. Her mom had gone to the bank and either withdrawn her life savings or borrowed a huge amount of
money to represent the sin sot. It was the biggest stack of bills I've ever seen and was presented at the ceremony on a beautiful golden dish type thing LOL…I don't really know how to describe
it. The family and close friends lined up in the yard and in the living room and took turns coming in and putting our rings on our finger and giving us their blessings and best wishes. Many of them wept
and told me stories through a professional translator about Min and her growing up. They each had a string in their hands and they wrapped it around mine and Min's wrists and hands to symbolize
bonding us together and each person left a monetary gift in a dish that was placed in front of us. The whole thing took hours and by the end the dish was overflowing and our hands were covered in so
many strings that you couldn't even see them anymore. It was a very beautiful ceremony and they had professional photographers there who took a million pictures for us. I have to say when some of
her older relatives were on the floor crying and blessing us and asking me to take care of their beloved grandchild I was holding back the tears myself. She truly had a wonderful family and the first
day was nerve wrecking but a great experience. Once the ceremony was over and a million more pictures were taken everything relaxed and the party began.

The next day, second day of the wedding took place at the hotel downtown. Minnie and I arrived in tux and wedding dress early in the evening. We met greeted and took photographs with each and every individual and family who arrived! This is not a small
amount of people (more than 360) and with so many people taking pictures it was literally like the paparazzi surrounding us for 3 hours. Once everyone was in the ballroom I took my place at the generals
table while Min went to sit at another table. The general made his way on stage and then myself and my wife were brought up with him. He gave a lengthy speech of which I have no idea what he said
and then afterwards he blessed us and placed two large necklace type things made from flowers around our necks. There was also something done with candles but I can't remember what it was. My
wife's parent's gave a speech and my mom gave one as well. It was quite funny though because my mom was sooo nervous she read her speech too fast and the translator couldn't even keep
up with her. It was quite funny. Afterwards the lights were shut off and a large projector was used for a video presentation with music showed pictures of my wife growing up, me growing up and then
pictures of the two of us together. The night was finished by me and my wife going to each and every table in the ballroom and taking pictures. At this time each table prepared me a drink of 100
pipers and water for a toast so afterwards I was pretty damn sloshed. My wife had warned me that every table would fix me a drink and I had to toast them in the picture and I think they were impressed
at my ability to take down so much alcohol but later it was quite funny that my face was blazing red against my white tuxedo in all the pictures!

Anyway, we spent another day after the wedding visiting with the family and getting our things together and saying our goodbyes. My mom gave 500 dollars towards the wedding and the rest was paid for using all the generous monetary gifts everyone had presented
on the first day of the wedding. I feel the need to mention this because many people write on Stick's site about what they were expected to pay for. For me I was never expected to pay for
anything and even no matter how hard I tried as a guest I was told over and over that I would not be allowed to pay for anything including food and drinks and any other thing we did while I was
in Nan and my mom was treated he same way. I found it to be exactly the way it would be if they had come to my home in Texas. The only way I was able to pay for anything was one time my wife
and I snuck to the local appliance store and bought a new washing machine for her mom because her old one was junk. Even the sin sot that I hear so many people complain about on their postings. For our wedding my wife's parents said they wanted to take care of the sin sot because we were newlyweds and they would
rather us put our money towards our new life together and they also knew that it cost us quite a lot to get our marriage going and to take another trip to Thailand for the wedding. My wife also
said sin sot is mostly a tradition. Over the next few years the only money we ever sent to her family was 50 dollars a month payment for a small piece of land along the river we picked
out in Nan and even that was paid for from my wife's income because she worked. Within two weeks of my wife landing in the states she had a job at a Thai restaurant that paid under the table
since it took her a little while to get a green card and ever since she has always worked.

We have been married for over 4 years now and my wife has always worked. She had her Thai bachelor degree converted to a stateside bachelors degree and then continued until she completed her masters degree more than a year ago and is now working on certification
in contract management. She's not the best cook and she doesn't even like to clean that much but together we always got that done and we both work hard to make good money. I pay
all the bills and she has her own bank accounts and uses her income for anything she wants. We both contributed to savings and if we made a big purchase we put our money together to do it.
Even though our spending money is separate we were completely transparent about it and I always kept her informed of our financial standing. And our savings and big purchases was always together.
I got very lucky with my situation as I met her online when I was 19, through a friend. She was the first and only Thai girl I've ever met or dated and I really had no idea about Thai
girls or Thai culture.

18 months ago I left my wife. It had nothing to do with her. She was the best wife anyone could ask for. She was completely dedicated to me and our marriage and perfect in ever way but I found that I had become detached. I know it's crazy and I can't
explain myself and I won't try too hard explain in this essay. But I had found that I was extremely bored with marriage and no matter how hard I tried or told myself I had a dream
wife I couldn't make myself happy. The only thing I can think of is I got married way too young. It was like the perfect person and the wrong time. It got worse and worse and all
I wanted to do was be single and free and when it got the point that I dishonoured my vows and my marriage I decided to tell her the truth. I loved her dearly, more than anyone else in
the world but it wasn't the husbandly love that she deserved and that I had promised. Long story short, I did my best to explain that I was not happy and that I could no longer commit
to our marriage. She was devastated but she accepted it and was glad that I was honest with her. We went our separate ways, her to California and me to my next overseas destination. We
promised to stay best friends and I promised to support her until she had a full time job making good money. We keep in touch but at the same time keep our distance and up until now I
financially support her while she continues her education in California. She is still the most important person in my life but in the end as wrong as sounds I think I am doing the right
thing by dissolving our marriage.

So the weird thing is…that in the end and as my situation is now I am just like many other Stickman readers who got involved with a Thai. I am here and my Thai wife is thousands of miles away. I am sending her thousands of dollars every year to support
her, I pay all her rent, her car, insurance, student loans and some extra spending money and have been for almost two years but we're not even together! I do it because I feel
it is my responsibility to make sure she lives a good life and I will continue to supplement her financially until she is finished with her education and has a good job making good
money. So in the end even with finding a great Thai girl with a wonderful family I'm in the same situation, sending money far away to my Thai beloved. The only difference is
the details and good luck I had between the time I met her and my situation I'm in now (financially supporting her). And also that my situation was brought on myself, not by
her. She's almost done with school and is currently working as an intern and we are still best friends but I only hope she will be up and on her feet soon! I know my story was
probably boring but I hope at least someone can get something from reading it. Thanks for your site Stick, and btw my brother and I will be in Thailand from May 12th to May 31st part
of that time in Bangkok. I'll be keepin my eyes and ears open cause it would be f*****g awesome if I could shake the hand of the man behind this site. Take care all.

He Clinic Bangkok

Stickman's thoughts:

Wow, I never saw that coming. It sounds like she is a great woman but hey, if you're not happy together then so be it…

nana plaza