I have spent the last 30 days in Canada, purportedly, one of the best countries in the world. It was, and is home, but then again Bangkok is also home now. After much thought and discussion with friends and family as well as my business partner in Canada, I think my best course of action is to spend 6 months in Canada and 6 months in Thailand, each year.
My reasons are varied and to understand them you need to know I am a 66 year old in very good shape with a 30 year old Thai wife of 4 years and a 3 month old son with my Thai wife. My sources of income are all Canadian, an old age pension, a government pension, and a retired teacher’s pension, all of which are indexed to the cost of living and very secure. I also have a business in Canada that I share with my Canadian business partner which pays me dividends. All in all my pension is $90,000 CDN a year. My income gives me many, many options.
I am applying for a spousal sponsorship for my Thai wife which will get her permanent resident status in Canada and a Canadian passport and citizenship in 5 years. From day 1 of the permanent residence she can work in Canada and is eligible for free health care. She will have dual citizenship as will my son who already has both. I become the poor cousin with only a Canadian passport.
Canada has much to offer both my son and my wife. My son will benefit from the Canadian educational system which the recent Pisa evaluation listed as the 10th best in the world while Thailand is 57th out of the 65 countries that were tested. My wife will receive free ESL courses at an adult high school and will finish off her grade 11 and 12 for her Canadian high school diploma.
After 3 years she will be highly employable in either Canada or Thailand. Most Thai people have very poor English language skills, even their university grads! In Canada, my wife is a visible minority and gets preferential treatment in job hiring. In Canada, it is actually an advantage to be a ‘farang’.
If my wife works for at least 10 years in Canada, she qualifies for a government pension that she could easily live on in Thailand.
As for me, health insurance is becoming prohibitively expensive and at this moment I am self insuring. I have been out of Canada for too long and will have to live in Canada for 3 months to re-qualify and then spend 153 days a year in Canada to sustain the free health care. I also have access to secondary health care through my retired teacher’s health plan. I will also be able to purchase life insurance at a reasonable cost for the next 10 years which means my Thai wife and my boy will be looked after if I die during that time period.
So why not live in Canada full-time? Well, you really have to experience a Canadian winter to understand why. Ottawa, where I have mostly lived has a temperature range of 30 degrees to -30 degrees and is the second coldest capitol city in the world, next to Moscow. That is one big reason.
The second big reason is I love Thailand, the people, the food, and my Thai wife has family, including other children here. She does not want to go years without seeing them, and I would not ask her to do so. She also likes her Thai friends while also liking what she hears from her Thai friends living with farangs in England, France, and Germany.
It is difficult to get 6-month furnished apartment leases in Canada while very easy to do so in Thailand. Ideally, we would live in a cottage on a lake or river in Canada from May through to October that I would purchase and then in Thailand from November to April which gives us the best weather in both countries. However that messes up my son’s education which starts in September and ends in June. However, I can always home school him for the first 5 years as I am a fully qualified teacher at all grade levels.
However, I have told my wife that we must stay in Canada for a full year before we make our final decisions. She has agreed to do so and we will enrol our son for a full year of 4 year old kindergarten. I am looking forward to the first snowfall and the wonderment in both their eyes as the flakes fall gently from the sky.
Life should be an adventure and it will be for my wife and son, as it has been for me for the past 5 years in the LOS.
As always, home is where your loved ones are, whether they be friends or family.
You’re in a strong position financially which gives you many options. Well done on planning and having the discipline to make that happen.
I think there is a lot to be said for splitting one’s time between their homeland and Thailand. You get the best of both worlds that way.
The author cannot be contacted.