Stickman Readers' Submissions October 6th, 2014

A Lucky Man?

I see you are a very lucky man, was the greeting from a tall, bearded, turbaned man.

Yes, I replied, I am, because I already know what bovine excreta will emanate from your mouth, and I further suggested to him something involving sex and travel.

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I was sitting on the front steps at the farm recently where there was the faintest breeze to cool me, thinking about my personal situation in LOS. Having read submissions recently concerning the relationships with Thai wives and the need for both parties to be considerate of the other's culture, and to learn to accept and adapt to the Thai ways as much as possible. Wives also have to accept foreign ways and try to adapt.

On the way to the farm on this occasion, wife said something that sounded like "road pig".

"What?" I asked.

Road pig, she said, pointing to the other side of the road. Now I know about the driving habits of the local people and I have come across many road hogs, but road pig was a new one.

"There, there!" She pointed to a cart set up cooking spit-roast pig.

My wife’s pronunciation leads us to some funny situations like this and we usually have a good laugh about it. She accepts that I am trying to help her with her pronunciation and she is the same way with me.

Other times she will change subject mid sentence and expect me to follow the conversation with her. Usually this means me asking her to start again from the beginning so that I can keep up with her. Always a good laugh afterwards.

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The other morning I was supposed to go with her to a school meeting. When it was first arranged, the start time was 8.00 AM. Now who in their right mind has meetings for school parents starting on Sunday morning at 8.00? Knowing it must be at night, I arranged to be busy diving that day. She accepts that it was a misunderstanding and I only got the silent treatment for 1 day.

So, here I am at the farm thinking about what brought me to this situation. It has been entirely of my own making and it was a conscious decision to be here.

My wife’s parents are farmers not with any financial accumulation, so when the rice was not paid for I assisted with funds for the next crop of corn. Maybe I will get the money back….eventually.

Fast forward about three months.

On this trip, one of the first things I saw at the farm was a house block section at the main road side on the parents’ farm which had been filled ready for the construction of a house. It turns out that wife’s brother's 'wife' has plans to build there. The problem is that he is not officially married and she intends to build with her own money. She does not own the land and wanted to lease the farm. When the ramifications of this were explained to Mama, she was shocked and has said that the house will not proceed.

I was asked to help papa move some of the irrigation pipes from the paddocks where the corn was ready to be harvested. Along with this and some other tasks, finally I am being accepted as a useful addition to the family and papa actually gave me a hug when we left.

I seem to have been writing this forever.

We recently purchased a house. A nice place in an older estate but in need of a lot of tender loving care and many small changes. Bare live wires were only some of the things fixed. We painted the entire inside of the house, correction, wife did the painting and I helped. While this was going on, we made a second trip to the farm to get mama and papa to come here for a break and to look after the boys.

Papa likes to indulge in the local firewater and it has been affecting his health so this break he did not drink at all and started to eat properly. He left after 2 weeks by bus to head back to the farm looking much healthier.

The house is almost finished when we move in with great ceremony from parents and then it is time to take mama home.

On this trip there has not been any change in the farm and they are waiting for the rain to start before the next planting.

Next to the farm is another plot of land which I mentioned would be nice to own. This was relayed to mama who made some enquiries and found that it was actually for sale. Negotiations have been conducted and a price agreed. 3 days later we are told that another offer has been made and we need to increase our offer. I think this is a ploy to get more. Agreed to the increase with the proviso that they pay all transfer and registration fees and that this is our final offer.

Settlement day for the farm land and I have to get cash for when the title is exchanged. Bank cashier cheque is not acceptable. Many bundles of notes from the bank and we are off to the local office near the farm for the transfer.

It is at this point that we find out that parents’ neighbours have been trying to find some way to get money to buy this property for years, but their daughter's husband has refused to come up with the money. This is expected to cause friction between the families for a while as they have been renting the farm recently to grow rice.

Now the parents have about 150% more land to farm and produce income, and hopefully will not be so reliant on my ATM.

We have settled in to the new house and met most of the neighbours. It is predominantly a Thai area with a mixture of Buddhists and Muslims. Everybody is friendly and there are lots of kids around.

Life has been good married to a Thai woman and yes, I AM A LUCKY MAN!

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