Life can throw many things at us and often when we least expect it. The latest news in Pattaya – where I live – is that a popular expat, who is also a landlord of an English style pub, is in hospital needing to raise funds to pay for treatment and then get himself back to the UK. Years of drinking too much alcohol has caught up on him and the result is his ‘Thailand Dream’ is to end. It’s a sad story as he is a lovely guy.
During this same period another expat I know in Pattaya has also been in hospital as a result of drinking too. Both these guys are early forties – things like this should not be happening at what is a relatively early age. But, stories like this are fairly common in Thailand with expats.
They say the only constant in life is death and taxes, well change is too – but the key here is to be in control of that change rather than reactive to it from external factors. Sometimes things happen and change has to happen and this could mean moving to another area or, as an expat, returning back to your domestic country. One would hope, not like the story of the alcoholic in Pattaya that I opened this blog with.
I am back in the UK for a week on some business and it has been a logical time to reflect on a few things, I always do when I come back ‘home’. Could I ever see myself coming back to live here? I mean I have two young kids and it would solve the big expense of education that I am shortly going to have to pay in Thailand. It is a very tough question as after 11 years of absence I don’t feel I quite connect with people in terms of being part of the UK society again. I see so much self-governance and routine.
Really, the thought of entering the UK rat race depresses me, I just cannot see it happening; but who is to say there comes a point where I have no choice but to return? It does not feel like my natural ‘home’ anymore, instead I am the alien when I visit.
So can I call Thailand my home? Well in reality it is my home and has been for 11 or so years, but when push comes to shove my stay here is only welcome as long as I have my work permit and correct visa. It is most certainly therefore not my ‘natural home’ and at any point I could be forced to leave. I am indeed an alien of Thailand and treated as such too. Dealing with immigration and the 90 days check in hardly feels welcoming or ‘homely’!
So an expat in Thailand is in some ways we are nomads, we have become aliens to original home land – you know a little detached from before – and we remain aliens all the time we live in Thailand.
So change is inevitable and that means we will never always be doing what we are today. This can cause some issues for an an expat. We are guests to Thailand but that can change in a moment, and then we could be forced to return back to our domestic countries, countries – may I add – that will welcome us but in our absence we find it difficult to reconnect with.