I Didn’t Mean It To Happen But It Did
After being made redundant with a fair pay off I decided what better way to spend it than to spend it in Thailand. I had gone a couple of months prior and had the bug for going back. My plan originally was going to be similar to my trip before, spend some time in Bangkok training Muay Thai at a gym just outside the city and then travel about a bit, maybe see a bit of the north which I hadn’t visited on a previous trip. I’d planned to go for around 5 months but a job interview I had just before I went ended up landing me in a job so I had to settle for just under 3 months in the end.
It was one Friday afternoon, just a typical day at the gym. Training started later as a bunch of Thai kids from another gym were coming to train. All were teenagers. Half way into training a girl appeared. I guessed she was around 18; she was petite – even for a Thai girl. She had typical Thai features, long thick dark hair, and a slightly dark complexion but lightened using those creams, oval shaped eyes and a huge smile. I couldn’t help but think how cute she looked. She was dressed impeccably smart and although my grasp of Thai is non-existent when she spoke Thai I enjoyed listening to her as she was softly spoken and I could tell from her mannerisms and body language how polite she was.
After training I asked one of the boxers who she was. He told me her name and told me she was a teaching assistant from the local school and was helping the younger boxers with their English. I summonsed the courage to go and talk to her.
I waited until she had finished with the kids. I wandered over and a horrible feeling of butterflies appeared. As I walked close to her I said “hello”, she turned round and gave me a confused look, and then she mumbled something although it wasn’t clear what she had said. I asked how she was; I could see she looked nervous, shy and a bit confused. She didn’t look at me but looked over my shoulder. I asked her name and introduced myself and she mumbled something again, but this time I managed to make out what her name was. I thought to myself considering she is teaching these kids English her English is almost non-existent!
After a little while of awkward small talk her English improved slightly although she still mumbled a lot but the conversation didn’t really flow. She told me a little about how she had never been to the gym before and was just helping them as a one off for an upcoming exam. I asked for her telephone number and said could I SMS or call her, she smiled gently and replied “sure, why not ka”.
I walked away with my cell phone in hand and my face beaming like a Chesire cat. It then suddenly dawned on me, I’d just finished training, I’d been wearing the same boxing shorts and Singha vest all day and I probably stank!!!
After I’d finished showering and getting dressed and doing the daily routine of putting antiseptic cream on my blistered cut feet and massaging the bruises out of my shins I heard the annoying beep of my mobile phone. Her written English was very good and she apologised for her bad English. After a few messages backwards and forwards I asked her if she wanted to go for dinner. I patiently waited for a reply, it seemed to take forever to get a reply, although when my phone beeped I couldn’t get to it quick enough, I opened the message to see a reply of “yes”.
We arranged the meeting place to be Emporium. She said she knew a restaurant in the area and it was an easy place to meet. I got there around 7.30 which was the meeting time, I couldn’t see her so waited for 15 minutes, and she never appeared. I started to think she had stood me up. Another 10 minutes went by so I called her phone. She answered straight away and it seemed she was at the other end of the Emporium. When I finally saw her, she looked cuter than I had seen her earlier. She had curled the bottom of her hair, was wearing a really nice dress, nothing over the top but it suited her cute looks perfectly.
We went for dinner where her English was very broken and she mumbled a lot. After the night went on her English improved a lot. She seemed to relax and her body language had gone from nervous and uptight to more laid back. What amazed me is she didn’t ask the same boring questions again and again. I had been out with a few Thai girls before including those of dubious employment and although I’d found them amusing it always seemed they were clones, with boring questions about what I’d eaten or something equally mundane or when answering questions slightly out of the ordinary would always answer “I don’t know!” The other thing I noticed straight away was how polite she was. She would always say thank you which was a lot more than could be said for the small amount of other Thai girls I’d been out with before.
Over the next few weeks we went out an increasing number of times and we became very close. She took me all round Bangkok after and introduced me to a few of her friends. It went from feeling like a holiday romance to something more. I really enjoyed spending time with her, and when I wasn’t with her I would think about her a lot. Sometimes I couldn’t believe I had got into this situation, after all I’d read about Thai girls on various forums and the stigma I would faced back home with my friends of having a “Thai girlfriend”.
We spent most afternoons together after she’d finished work and I’d finished training. We talked for hours upon end about things. I used to enjoy sitting in Benjasiri Park and talking, learning about each other. I never got bored talking to her. Her mannerisms were so gentle and her positive outlook on life was something I always admired. We had a similar sense of humour and although sometimes I found her ways a little childish I also knew she was very switched on and could have a serious conversation. I grew very close to her, although part of me was worried and nervous, what was she after exactly? Partly from all the stuff I had read on the Internet and also because I knew a future between us would always be difficult, why would I want to keep this relationship going. A few times I nearly decided not to see her again, but I never did, if something feels right, why change it?
One morning she called me after training to tell me she’d had some news; she’d been telling me for some time that she’d been applying to become an Au Pair in America. I’d helped her fill out an email reply for it a few weeks previous. She had been paired with a family in America. I was really happy for her; I knew how much she wanted to see America and how much she wanted to visit a western country. She explained that she would have to wait for the visa to be applied for but if all went ok she would be leaving Thailand with the next batch of Au Pairs in around 4 weeks time! Although I was happy for her, inside I felt gutted. I was planning on leaving Thailand in 5 weeks and I wished her Au Pair scheme was in England and not America.
We spent a lot of time together over the last 3 weeks; she handed in her notice to work a week earlier than she originally planned so we could go to Hua Hin and Cha-Am for a week. 2 days before she was due to fly to America her Grandma, Uncle, Aunty, Mum and Dad came to visit Bangkok to see her off. She invited me to meet them and go for dinner with them. I was really nervous about it. I had asked her if she had told them about me and she said not exactly, but it would be ok.
We were meeting them at an apartment of her parents' friends and when I turned up in the taxi I could see the look of confusion on her dad's face seeing his daughter turn up with some pale skinned, blonde haired boy. As I got out the taxi he looked me up and down with suspicion and I could feel his eyes piercing through me. I wai’d him and said Sawadee Krup to which he nodded back. I helped get the cases out the car and loaded them into the lift. I then spotted a shop in the lower apartment block and ran in and bought 4 big bottles of Singha. I thought this would be the perfect ice breaker and would probably give a good impression! Haha.
On entering the small but modest apartment I wai’d all her family and said sawadee krup again. Her mum I noticed first. I could tell it was her mum from her smile as she beamed a perfect set of teeth at me. The same couldn’t be said for the grandma whose remaining teeth had seen better days. The entire family seemed slightly bemused for this unexpected arrival, except for her dad whose face had remained unchanged since he’d seen me in the taxi!
None of them spoke English except for her uncle who spoke it pretty badly although it didn’t stop him from trying. Luckily most of it could be translated as I was bombarded with various questions about where I was from and what I was doing in Thailand. On finding out I was training Muay Thai her uncle sprang up from the sofa and started pretending to be a boxer making the whole room laugh except for his wife who you could tell seemed embarrassed from his actions. It kind of reminded me of my family back home.
I gave the bag of Singha to her dad and he nodded to me again and placed the bottles in a cooler box next to him. He said something in rapid fire Thai and the next thing I know a glass was placed in my hand and he was filling it up with Singha with a slight smile on his face. It looked like my plan had worked! As the day went on more questions were asked and more food seemed to keep appearing, her mum always worrying if it was too spicy for me. “Ped mai” was a phrase I could now understand. Also her mum kept going on about she was worried because she had never seen a “farang” who looked younger than he was before saying we always looked older. Although I’m not entirely sure why she would be worried?! My glass was never empty of Singha and I learnt more about her family. Her dad was ex army which explained his seriousness and suspicious and her mom was a teacher although she was planning to retire soon. I was made to feel very welcome and I tried to remain polite and smile a lot although I wished I could speak better Thai so I could talk to her parents. As the day went on I knew I had to get back to the gym. As I was leaving they invited me to dinner the next day. I accepted the offer and was happy I could be included in another family occasion.
The next day I woke up early and went to Siam Paragon to buy a present as I knew she would be leaving for USA that night. I settled on a teddy I had seen her looking at a week or so before and then I went to the food court and bought a small cake. I arrived at the apartment just before midday. Her dad was watching the boxing on channel 7 and sat down to watch with him, shouting Ooowayyy whenever a boxer scored cleanly on another.
After dinner I bought the cake out which the restaurant cut up and shared out, although I couldn’t eat it, it was so sickly sweet and mixed with the bitterness of the continuous flow of Singha I gave it a miss. I gave the present I had bought. Fortunately she liked the present and said she would take it to USA with her. The teddy I had bought was a traditional style teddy which was dark brown, straight after opening it her grandma asked why I bought the teddy with the dark skin. Something which always makes me smile when I think about it.
Then it was back to the apartment for a few hours before going to the airport. Her mum had bought me 2 bottles of boxing oil and a collection Poy Sian sticks which I thought was really nice gesture. Her mum also told me she didn’t want me to go back to the gym and she didn’t want my face marked or scarred. They invited me to spend sometime with them, but the lack of English, and the 5 hour return bus journey put me off.
She told me I couldn’t hug her at the airport and just to smile and wave, which would be best. She told me she would call me as soon as she could when she arrived and that we could always stay in contact via MSN and email. She made me promise that I would go visit her in USA and put her little finger up to “shake” on it.
After the airport and waving her off, I caught a taxi back to the gym, I felt sick inside and lonely. I had a lump in my throat. Although I’d had to wave girls off in previous relationships it was due to parting ways from university / circumstances. I felt really helpless that a girl I cared so much about was going to be so far away from me and I couldn’t do anything about it. This was the first time in my life I’d ever cried over a girl.
I called my friend and asked him to join me for a beer or 3 in Sukhumvit but he was training for a fight and the gym owner had him on strict instructions not to drink due to trying to lose weight. I sat on Sukhumvit alone and watched people walk by. I felt deflated. The beer didn’t taste good and even the noise and chaos of inner city Bangkok couldn’t distract my feelings. I wondered when I would see this girl again…
If there is a part 2….I look forward to reading it.