I met my wife in a bar in Bangkok 7 years ago. She was then 41 and thinking of working bar. She had accompanied a friend and I met her on what would have been her first day of work. She spoke no English.
After meeting her family, I know they told her not to believe I would return. But I did just as I said. Our relationship took the age old path, I returned to the U.S. and stayed in touch. A few more visits, and we did the visa thing. One week after she arrived in the U.S. we married. We married in Thailand first, ceremonially to make the date special for her and family. My friend who owned the place where she would have worked held the wedding party.
Now after 7 years in the U.S. we are in route to Thailand for good. I was able to bring her home in times of family crisis every year. She now speaks passable English, has had extensive dental work, and her family of Moma, Pappa, and five sisters have never made any request for money. Though I know Thai culture, I sent some every few months. I loved the wisdom of her father. He said, “She can go, but only if you take her, if it doesn’t work you bring her back to me.”
My Mom is 97, she is the only person who could get Mom to eat. She cooked Thai food for the 2 weeks we were there and taught my sister how to make the dishes Mom likes.
I have since retired and we are now on our way to Thailand for good, presently stuck in Narita waiting for a flight to Bangkok. We think we’ll settle in Pattaya where my friends are, but that is subject to change since I am 61 and don’t need the bar life anymore.
With the Thai community where we lived I made sure she had access to a temple and celebrated Thai holidays just as she would have here. She never asked for anything, jewelry, clothes, or any of the trendy stuff women love. For that reason I never denied her anything, she was happy being able to eat whatever she wanted. Although she wanted to work, it would have been more difficult than it was worth, besides I had a comfortable salary. Since there was no family where we lived in the U.S. it has only been the two of us, the only time apart was when I was at work.
I could go on and on but I think this tells the story.
Les and Lawan
Dear Les (and Lawan),
It does tell the story, and a lovely one at that. Sorry I had to shorten it a little. One reason that the relationship has worked is because you have been mindful of her needs, and not just your own. She in turn has looked after your needs. Open and honest relationships have the highest chances of success. Congratulations to you both.