I Didn’t Mean It To Happen, But It Did Part 2
Part 1 : here.
After arriving back into England I settled down into my new job. My new surroundings and extra money I found myself with were keeping me occupied from thinking too much about her. I’d also found myself another Asian to keep me occupied, a 1994 Japanese Import Celica GT-Four WRC which was taking up a lot of my time.
Thanks to the joys of MSN and Skype we kept in touch and spoke most days or fired emails backwards and forwards.
Over the new few weeks I could see her settling into her new life in USA and she told me how much she was enjoying herself. She would tell me about new food she had eaten and things she had seen or done. She was enrolled at a local language school and had befriended people from various countries, instead of just sticking with the pool of friends she came over from Thailand with, although she did meet up with them when she needed her som tam fix.
A couple of months down the line our new exciting lives slowly became the normal day to day as the initial excitement slowly but surly wears off. I decided I needed a holiday and obviously as I had promised her (we even shook little fingers on it!) it seemed only natural I was going to be booking a flight over the pond to visit the USA!
Her English was improving over time which made conversation much easier on the phone; it surprised me how quickly her English improved. One day I asked her how her day was and the reply was “it sucked”. It seemed ‘Americanisms’ were rubbing off onto her. Not only had her English become Americanised but her waistline also, she told me how she had put on 3 kg since moving to USA and was keen to join a gym! Haha!
She was also slowly learning to deal with western kids, when she had worked with kids in Thailand talking softly to them would usually calm them but she was totally clueless what to do when her kids in America were running riot – she wasn’t used to shouting and found the host parents idea of “time out” and putting them on a naughty step frugal. The minute they stepped off the naughty step they were back to causing trouble. She explained to me how she wanted to hit them with a stick as this would stop them from causing trouble and crying. Strangely enough my muay thai instructor told me something similar about hitting with sticks. “Hit for learn, NOT for naughty!”
Eventually I booked the flight. 6 years ago a good friend of mine moved to L.A so I decided to kill 2 birds with 1 stone and visit her on the East coast, then fly across to the West coast to visit him. We both made plans about what we wanted to see and do. I’d visited America only once before and that was to visit Disneyworld so I was very excited to see more of America.
After telling a few friends about my plan some of them thought I was mad keeping in touch with this Thai girl, the usual banter and jokes erupted which I was used to by now. Such things as did I still have to pay for her as it was in another country and was I going to “import” her afterwards. I just took these comments on the chin and laughed them off as I knew there was no malice behind them but deep down it did make me wonder how it seemed to others about having a Thai girlfriend. I wondered what my family would think about if something serious did happen in the future.
The big day arrived and my bag was packed. I would be in America for 17 days and I would be visiting the east coast first with a fully packed itinerary of seeing New York, Niagara Falls and Boston, then I would be flying across to Los Angeles to visit my other friend from high school and check out some west coast.
Her host parents had emailed me to kindly let us know we could use their car but didn’t want to insure me as we they were really worried about my driving as we drove on the left hand side in England so would only insure her. I didn’t want to point out this was the same in Thailand as their kids were being driven round by her most days. Hah!
I arrived at JFK airport and noticed the differences straight away from Suvarnabhumi. There wasn’t people hissing and trying to get my attention to get a cab. My hotel was on 59th Street and I had no idea how to get there! I spoke to tourist help and the very helpful man explained clearly and concisely my options. I could get a cab for a flat rate or I could take New York’s subway system which he told me was much cheaper. I decided for the latter cheap option and he gave me clear details on the best way to get to my hotel. No attempted rip offs, hard sell, scams and no bullshit. It was a nice change.
I was meeting up with her after she finished work that night around 7 PM. I went straight to the hotel and chilled out as whenever I fly I always feel groggy for a good few hours after.
That evening I met her at the local subway station. The minute I laid eyes on her and saw those eyes and smile I remembered why I had missed her to much. The minute she spoke I was amazed again at her improved English and joked maybe she was going to turn into a westerner, to which she contested “No no, my heart always Thai.”
We both loved New York and did all the usual tourist attractions including the boat ride round the statue of liberty, Rockefeller Centre, 5th Avenue, Central Park and Times Square. I loved the craziness of New York, it felt like London on steroids, so vast and never ending. The attractions I had to pay for (Rockefeller Centre and the boat ride) I felt were reasonably priced and good value for money. I also liked the friendliness of people whenever I asked for directions or advice.
One night we went to Chinatown for a look around and to try and find a Thai restaurant. She spotted a shop with a huge Thai flag outside and on going over to investigate found it was a shop which specialised in Thai products. She was so excited they might have chilli clams in a tin that by the time I’d blinked she was inside the shop scouring the aisles. The inside of the shop was covered in pictures of MH The King and various Buddhist amulets and pictures. It also had a huge Thai flag on the wall and behind the counter was the 2 most Thai looking Thais I had ever seen. One of them spoke Thai to the other and my girlfriend looked at me with a most surprised face and said “They are talking Thai!”
After getting a recommendation for a Thai restaurant in the area we decided we would visit. After finding it and sitting down, we placed our orders, deciding on 2 starters and 3 main dishes so there was some variation. When the food arrived I couldn’t believe my eyes, vast piles were placed before us. I really couldn’t get over the portion control in restaurants. By the time we were both bursting at the seams it looked like we hadn’t even touched our plates of food and instead had just poked the food round the plates.
Once we’d finished our short stay in New York we caught a train to where she lives and I met her host parents and the kids she looked after. We didn’t stay there long as we had our first mission, a 4-hour drive to some middle of nowhere town in New York state to continue our journey up to Niagara Falls.
After the 4-hour drive, we stopped off at a cheap motel. We woke up early the next day in some motel in the middle of nowhere and ate breakfast. I had also bought over a huge amount of documentation so we could try and secure her a tourist visa to visit England for a 2-week holiday. I had read the various forums about obtaining a visa and it seemed with her working in the USA it shouldn’t be so difficult, but I thought better to be safe than sorry and had copies of emails, MSN, phone calls, photos and various other documentation that the UK government makes you produce. The paperwork was about an inch thick. After getting all the relevant photos we found a local post office, got it sent recorded delivery to the UK Embassy in New York and crossed our fingers.
Niagara Falls was really nice. I wanted to visit the Canadian side but unfortunately due to the visa requirements we couldn’t go. We did the walkway under Niagara Falls and ended up absolutely soaked. I loved Niagara Falls for how clean it was and enjoyed just walking round taking in the scenery and the sounds.
We stayed at a hotel in Buffalo and I fancied trying Buffalo wings. While in Rome and that! While at the reception asking where the entertainment area was a group of 6 transsexuals walked past, the main one being nearly 7 foot in his / her heals, black and very muscular! We both laughed at how manly they all looked and both agreed the katoeys in Thailand at least attempted to look like women!
After a short walk we found a micro brewery pub, which seem very popular in America. We ordered Buffalo wings which were available in various flavours. We chose ‘psycho hot’ and when they came we were both disappointed at them. Very tasty but not very spicy. The waitress looked like we’d just took a turd on the table when we told her this.
Also I order a ‘pint’ of one of their micro brews. When it came I said “this isn’t a pint!” to which the waitress replied, “Yes it is sir”.
I looked again and repeated myself, “No way is this a pint!”
She looked very confused and said “Sorry sir, that’s what we serve as a pint.”
Fair enough I thought feeling pretty cheated until the penny dropped and I remembered that American pints are smaller than UK ones. When she came back I apologised and explained. She didn’t realise this either. Amazingly when I ordered another
beer she bought it back in UK-sized pint glass (568ml) and charged me the same price.
I can’t remember the name of the pub, but I would highly recommend it. It was on the corner near a tram line and was 4 stories high! The downstairs basement they had live music, the 1st floor was a restaurant, the 2nd floor was a pub / bar room with a balcony all the way round the outside and the top floor was a club. If anyone can remember could they please email me and let me know.
After leaving Buffalo it was time to venture across to Boston. Arriving there I could see why they call it New England. It reminded me very much of the closest big city to my home, Birmingham. We loved Boston <Did you visit Dana? – Stick> as well and walked round non-stop and took a trip to the Sea Life Centre which was superb. Quite expensive from what I remember but really good. I joked to her that Asians had to pay double on the way in which she wasn’t too impressed about until she realised I was joking, hehe.
I loved America and we had a great experience together I will always treasure that week in my memories. I hope to visit again one day.
After a long drive from Boston back to New York we spent our last night together in New York. I felt really sad inside but I had a glimpse of hope that I would be seeing her soon if her visa was accepted for England. It felt strange knowing I had to say goodbye to her again and that we were together in another city instead of Bangkok.
I boarded my plane to Los Angeles and turned round to see her rubbing her teary eye. A lump appeared in my throat and I thought about that letter travelling to the Embassy. When would I see this girl again…
You make me want to go back and visit the US again!
Do send in part 3 soon!