Dan about Thailand is all about sharing experiences from myself and others with regards to Thailand. I am delighted to have been sent an article from Scott Mackay who wanted to share the experience of relocating his Thai wife back to Scotland. What is particularly interesting is how his Thai wife adjusted and accommodated the shift from the ‘Land of Smiles’ to an altogether chillier environment of Scotland.
“My wife Kanda and I married in Thailand on the 17th of January 2017. At the time it was pretty much a secret as I knew exactly what would be said by people who didn’t know her. Sure enough, when we started telling people all I got was “be careful”, “are you sure it was a good idea”, “they are all the same”.
Are all Thai woman the same? What does it mean exactly? Are all British woman the same? It really annoys me when people stereotype when they don’t know the person personally.
I will admit, I was nervous, however I think I would have been exactly the same if I had married someone from my home town. I knew she wasn’t with me for my money. We had been seeing each other for 3 years prior to getting married and I was only able to give her very limited money due to having my own mortgage etc to pay for in Scotland. The subject of a dowry was brought up prior to marriage, however the figures her family were looking for just wasn’t possible. I remember my wife saying at that time, “I will give them when I start working”. I was more than content she was with me for the right reasons.
Moving to Scotland wasn’t without it’s challenges
We applied and were successful in getting a spouse visa and Kanda moved to Scotland in March 2017. She settled in very quickly although it didn’t come without its challenges.
The hardest thing without doubt is the food. She misses Thai food so much. We live in the North East of Scotland so it’s probably a lot easier if you are in central London but finding real Thai food is a challenge. A lot of the so called Thai restaurants are run by Indians who don’t produce genuine Thai food. She doesn’t enjoy Haggis and Irn Bru, which I still can’t believe if I’m being honest. We don’t argue a lot but if we do it’s normally about food. At times I think she is being unreasonable. At times when eating in good quality restaurants she will come out with statements like “I feel nothing”. If she doesn’t get her daily fix of rice, quite often I will hear “no rice no life”. As funny as it sounds it gives an insight into how important Thai food is for a Thai national.
One thing that has surprised me is that she loves the weather, not once has she moaned about it being cold, although on the rare day we get hot weather in the summer she will refuse to go outside as it’s too hot. The Scottish locals basking in the hot weather downing cans of tenants whilst she is inside as she doesn’t want “dark skin”.
At the start of 2018, Kanda was able to get a job as a cleaner in a nursing home. She was very quickly offered the position of a carer. At first we were both unsure if she could do it as her written and reading of English isn’t that good. Never the less she tried it and she loves her job. She is very often on the end of racist remarks from the elderly residents but laughs it off as she understands it’s a generational issue.
One thing that stands out is her sense of pride that comes with the job. She has told me that to get a similar job in Thailand she would have to attend University and obtain qualifications and the money she earns is way more than she would get in Thailand. I guess it’s a huge positive for her and she genuinely does love working with the elderly. It also helps you understand that the system in my opinion is broken in Thailand. You are in a situation that so many want to get themselves a good job however they can’t afford to get themselves to a good school to give them the qualifications.
One thing of note was when she started paying National insurance, she couldn’t understand why. I tried to explain to her it was in the event if she ever needed treatment from the NHS. My wife still argued that this was stupid and in Thailand, their method was better.
Life can throw up curve balls
This mind set was all set to change in December 2018. Kanda fell pregnant, however she had a miscarriage. On Christmas Eve 2018, she was rushed to Hospital due to complications. I remember sitting by her bed and her turning to me and saying “how much will this cost”. I explained to her it costs nothing due to the National Insurance payments. The level of treatment she received was absolutely wonderful and she has now set her sights on becoming a nurse. In a total reverse of opinion she now believes the British Health Service is the best in the world and personally I will be forever grateful for the way they were with her at such a hard time.
I still love Thailand and it’s our goal to retire and live in Thailand. I am in a fortunate position in that I can retire with a good pension at 55. I still love going to Pattaya and I think it’s changing for the better. Some people refuse to except that it’s changing and will be the ones to miss out on a fast evolving city.
To summarise, my wife is loving life in Scotland, she loves attending football games in Scotland and are lucky enough to have a good friend who has given us tickets for Old Trafford.
My wife and I are loving our time in Scotland however very much look forward to being back in Thailand for our holidays in February. ”