We all have a dream of how we would like our life to be, but most of us compromise and settle for far less. I was guilty of the doing the same. Stuck in a rut. A burnt out and washed up police detective who drinks and smokes too much and was just letting life pass by, hoping one day it would all change and life would get better.
On little more than an impulse I decide to leave my well paid job in England, register my rather dull profile on a Thai internet dating site, sell my house, leave all my family and friends behind and go to live in Thailand. I must be mad, it’s a crazy gamble to risk everything but I was prepared to do it.
I met Jee, a girl half my age. She comes from Udon Thani, a place that I had never heard of in an area I knew nothing about, the Isaan area in the Northeast of Thailand, a girl who seemed to be everything that I was looking for and more. A strong quiet character who was prepared to give this old farang another chance at life.
But, and it’s a big but, I know I am experiencing a culture shock. I feel lonely, bored and unable to communicate. I’m often confused and misunderstandings are an everyday occurrence. I don’t know what I’m doing here and I think I’ve made a big mistake. The problem is I really quite like Jee.
I find out things about myself as well as Jee. I start to embrace a Thai culture that I hadn’t previously noticed as a tourist and have an understanding of ‘sanuk’ (fun) and ‘mai pen rai’ (never mind).
I know it’s going to take me longer to come to terms with some other everyday things in Thai culture, like eating frogs, snails, insects and bugs. Squatter type toilets that I’m too scared to use because I don’t know how. Driving on roads when everyone seems to know the rules except me.
This is the story of stumbling upon and overcoming many cultural differences that face any Farang / Thai relationship, but it’s also about discovering and embracing a Thai culture away from the bars, beaches and bright lights of Phuket and Pattaya. This is a love story, but as any farang in a relationship with a Thai lady will know, it’s not just about two people, it’s about a whole family and the community around them.