Readers' Submissions

Returning To Farangland Part 3: Double Take

  • Written by Jimmy
  • April 22nd, 2019
  • 4 min read

Double Take

The most amusing thing of our arrival and life in Canada is the double take. It happens daily. If an older man is seen with a much younger woman and a young child, it is usually assumed to be a daughter and her child. However, in our case, Thavorn is a visible minority (an asset in multicultural Canada) and therefore the ‘daughter’ label does not fit. The next glance is to Jaidan, 4-year-old boy, who does not automatically register as a visible minority. The glances bounce among the three of us. It does not matter whether the person is male or female but usually only occurs with the over 30 crowd. Young people don’t register any incongruity.

All in all, it makes for a good laugh. Our young boy is striking and often gets labelled as ‘doll-like’. However, unlike Thailand, people do not reach out to touch him, which he prefers.

The two most amusing situations is when we applied for an OHIP (health card) for Thavorn and the middle-aged woman referred to her as my daughter and when I corrected her, she immediately pivoted to her ‘Uncle having a much younger wife’.

The second event occurred when Jaidan pulled the shiny red lever in the hallway outside our condo while he was waiting for us to put on our boots. The resultant loud ‘bbbeeeeepppp, bbbeeeeepppp’, of the fire alarm sent me scrambling! You don’t see many fire alarms in Thailand, and I can understand why he pulled it. However, what do you do? I stupidly tried to put the lever back in to position. Duh! Then I told all the people exiting their apartments not to worry, ‘My son pulled the alarm’. I then ran to the admin office, which was closed, and then back to my condo, weaving between the people exiting the building (winter time in Canada). I thought, call 911 and tell them it is a false alarm, which was my first good thought.

The person who answered said she would inform the fire-fighters that the alarm was false, but she said they would still arrive. I went back downstairs with my son in tow and arrived outside, just as two large firetrucks (ladder and hose) pulled up. Out of the first truck appeared a huge firefighter (6’8” and at least 280 pounds) and he appeared very stern ☹ I explained that my son, who is only 4 years old, pulled the alarm and I told him I would show him where the alarm is. He sent another firefighter to the alarm panel to turn the alarm off and then followed Jaidan and I inside. The folks standing outside (freezing) followed us back inside.

When we arrived at the alarm, an older Asian lady (about 55) arrived in the hallway at the same time and the firefighter asked, is this the mother and I said no and pointed to my wife and the second double take appeared. The fire-fighter said nothing other than to tell Jaidan that he was never to pull any fire alarm unless there is a fire. Jaidan’s lips were quivering, his legs shaking and he replied, ‘Okay’. This guy was huge! I was shaking, but only because I suspected I would get fined for a false alarm. He finally smiled and said, ‘Thanks for calling 911 about the false alarm’. We got off with no fine.

We now call Jaidan ‘Beep, Beep’ 😊

Thai women are quite frugal. If your Thai lady is not frugal, then I suggest you look elsewhere, as that is a huge red flag in Thai-Farang relationships. Thavorn has fallen in love with ‘Winners’, a brand name discount store. The inventory changes weekly and we have to visit weekly, but we usually get out with under $50 spent on ‘basic goods’, well maybe not the $24.99 Guess sunglasses. Frugality has its limits.

Two things are essential to making a Thai woman happy in Canada. The first is access to her types of food and TNT (Asian) stores fill that need. The second is a good internet connection so that she can share with family and friends. There is also a Thai presence in Ottawa as a group of Thais were doing the ‘Songkran’ water stuff, but we have yet to figure out how to contact them. The next step is probably the Thai embassy here in Ottawa.

I have given up trying to find food that Thavorn would like. She has informed me that ‘spicy’ does not mean ‘yummy’. In fact, her favorite Farang foods are Tim Horton’s Breakfast Sausage Sandwich on a biscuit, and New York Fries Pulled Pork Poutine. Go figure.

This weekend is Easter and we are spending Easter dinner at my sister’s and this will be Thavorn’s first turkey. She does not know much about Christianity (or Buddhism for that matter) other than we Christians say amen. Most Thais give me a blank stare when I mention the ‘Wheel of Life’.

The Bhavachakra, the Wheel of Life or Wheel of Becoming, is a mandala – a complex picture representing the Buddhist view of the universe.

So, we are almost 3 months into our Canada odyssey, and we are happy and are looking forward to hitting 20 degrees for the first time this Easter Monday. Thavorn has informed me that it hit 44 degrees in her village. One room is air-conned (courtesy) of me, but they don’t turn on the air-con as they don’t want to pay the electricity cost. Did I mention that most Thais are frugal (at least the ones I know).

Until next time …


The author of this article cannot be contacted.