Returning To Farangland
It has been quite a while since I submitted a story. Much has changed.
I first arrived in Bangkok in the Fall of 2009 and was smitten by the excitement of Bangkok. I found Thai ladies to be everything I desired in female companionship.
I had the usual farang experiences and went through many trysts and 2 serious girlfriends in my first two years in Bangkok.
I was a kid in a candy shop with more money than brains. I was working in Kuala Lumpur at an international school and was also receiving a healthy teacher’s pension from my birth country, Canada.
I would fly to Bangkok on the weekends and bar fine two ladies on Friday night, 2 on Saturday night and fly back on a Sunday night.
I had many expat friends teaching in international schools (read well-paid) and I decided to quit my job in Kuala Lumpur and move to Bangkok and enjoy retirement.
This did not mean I slowed down, but eventually I moved towards a more permanent relationship and to make a long story short, I eventually found a Thai lady I connected with (karma at play).
I settled down (somewhat, man was not meant to be monogamous), had a child (more by accident than intent), and married my lady after 4 years.
I do love Bangkok (despite the cost and pollution) and I am often quoted to state, ‘If you can’t have fun in Bangkok, then there is something seriously wrong with you!’
However, I do believe that it is important that you surround yourself with like-minded expat friends, and in my case, from many countries.
You need to be able to talk with people that share your world beliefs (politics aside) which tends to keep you grounded as they tell you, ‘You are full of shit’.
I write this story, because, after 10 years of Thailand, my family and I moved back to Canada for 6 months. We are basically there for a ‘look see’ to determine how Canada has changed and if, perhaps, we wish to live there full-time, or for a portion of the year.
We applied for a PR (Permanent Resident) for my wife and after 9 months and $8,000 (lawyer, translation fees, misc) we received notification that my wife was approved for a PR.
We are in Ottawa for 6 months and we will relocate back to Bangkok in September for 5 months as I made a commitment to coach a senior boys basketball team at an International school for this Fall.
I still feel the need to ‘pay back’ to the educational system and working with young people keeps me young. At 68 years of age, I need to stay young!
A major reason we are in Canada is that I need to re-qualify for health insurance in Canada.
A second reason, with a young wife and 4-year-old, I need life insurance and Canadian companies require me to be a permanent resident of Canada, which means I need to reside in Canada 6 months plus a day, every year. Expat insurance is too costly, at about $7,000 US a year, for someone of my age.
Many Canadian are ‘snowbirds’, living in Canada for 6 months, and migrating to the southern part of the US during the winter months.
I will be a ‘west / east’ snow bird, spending the winter in Thailand, and the summer in Canada. We have yet to decide the ratio. Maybe 6/6, maybe 9/3 with the majority in Canada.
Canada has changed in the 10 years I have been gone. I have also changed. So far, we are happy after 50 days in Canada.
Over the next few months, I, like Stick, will document the changes and discuss our life experiences.
It appears that an expat can be happy returning to their home country if they BYOGF (bring your own girl friend).
“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” Heraclitus
This article resonates with me. I closed my weekly column this Sunday with a brief comment about how my homeland had changed for the better – and I don’t doubt that is true of other parts of (but not all of) Farangland. Thailand is changing, Farangland is changing and we are changing. It might just be that the best place for someone now is not the same place they have lived the past few years….
The author of this article cannot be contacted.