This is probably the first post i should have written, as I always hear the same question from people when i first meet a new friend. Why Thailand? What made you decide to move to Thailand? How did you decide to move so far from home? I have heard these questions in various forms over the years, and so I thought it time to try and put to word how a country boy from Alabama ended up on the other side of the world.
The picture above was taken about a month after I started dating my first Thai boyfriend when I was a young 21. We met at a bar called the Quest in Birmingham, Alabama. I had gone out dance and drink the night away as i often did when when i was young. It was about half way through the night when I looked up from under my ball cap and noticed this asian guy staring me down from across the dark smokey dance floor. I looked a second time and tipped my hat up out of my eyes so i could smile back at him and that’s all it took. He immediately came out to join me on the dance floor, where I attempted to carry on some sort of introduction against the thundering thumping of some remixed Diva’s latest hit. We left the dance floor and went outside to the patio area to talk, and it was at this point i realized he couldn’t speak much English. He just laughed at most of what I said, which i thought at the time was cause i was charming, but in fact he couldn’t understand any of what I said and was covering by giggling at me constantly. The night progressed onwards and things went from there. We hit it off despite the language barrier problems, and started dating. After a few months we moved in together, and thus our life together progressed for the next 8 years. He was studying for his Phd at the University of Alabama and he convinced me to enroll to pursue my Bachelor’s degree a few months after we moved in together. He was in the US studying under a Thai scholarship program, so no matter what, at the end of his studies he would have to return to Thailand for good. This fact troubled us through the years we were together, and caused more than one fight as time went by towards an uncertain future.
However, in August of 2000 I made my first trip to Thailand with him to visit and explore the possibility of a life outside the US. We were on an airplane for what seemed like an eternity, and arrived in Bangkok about 24 hours later. I found the place fascinating, and every minute facet of every day life going on interested me when i first visited. Bangkok was so alive and chaotic. It was like a pleasurable assault on the senses and I fell in love with the place just as I had him so many years before. We were here for 2 weeks, and when we flew back to the US i vowed to myself that I’d be back for good. It was as alien to life in Alabama as possible, and in my books at the time, was the perfect cure to an ordinary life. I finished school and moved here in October of 2001, making my home here since.
Sounds like a happy ending right? Unfortunately, our relationship didn’t last a year living here for many reasons, but i’ll save that for another entry later. We’re still very very close friends, and he’s honestly like family. Our lives grew in different directions, and neither of us is resentful of the fact. When we separated i made the decision to stay and try to make a life for myself here in Thailand. I never look back, as i’ve always lived my life believing in moving fowards. Do I have regrets? Of course, as i wish i hadn’t burned some bridges behind me when i left the State and life here isn’t always easy. Soooo….I hope that clears up the mystery of me for some out there, and will share more as time goes by. Thanks for reading if you’ve gotten this far! Till next time….