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BANGKOK 22 March 2019 02:44


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About Saltire

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  1. I used to be whizz at languages, An 'A' student in high school in French and Russian for 5 years. Visited France often but never got a chance to try my Russian, other than a trip to Hai Nan where I had to translate names of fish at a market for a tourist, and help an African friend in Wuhan pick up Russian girls in the sole expat bar. I moved to China for 2 years in 2003 (turning 50 while I was there) and was determined to learn Mandarin, thinking it would be a breeze. I sadly did not take into account 2 things - 1) the age factor which is huge, and 2) meeting my second wife a week after I got there, so it was a combination of memory degeneration and laziness, letting her do all the talking. When returning home in a taxi from the above expat bar, 4 of us tried to tell the taxi the street name (He Ping Dadao) and it took us maybe 10 minutes of all having a go to get any recognition from the driver). It was easier in the long run to give left, right, straight directions. In 2011 I moved to Cambodia and decided Khmer 'must' be easier than Mandarin, not being tonal unlike my Mandarin failure, and no spouse in tow. However in Siem Reap the majority speak english so even though I tried, I didn't get far in 5 years. Fast forward to today in Thailand getting on for 3 years. Still have the desire and determination to learn the local language. This time the 'local' language is only 20% Thai as I am the only farang in the village surrounded by Mon/Myanmar and Laos locals. However I am still trying and now am definitely improving, albeit slowly. As my Thai wife constantly encouragingly says - don't worry in 10 years more you will have big Thai! I will be happy just to be alive and still enjoying life then. [Try this memory test: When out for a walk, look up and straight ahead and try to remember what you are wearing - not so easy eh? ]
  2. Hua Hin is I hope my eventual destination in a few years. I haven't been everywhere in Thailand but Hua Hin is my favourite, regular escape from my otherwise rural happy life. It's like a smaller-scale, friendlier Pattaya for me. At the moment I could never contemplate returning to live in the UK. Unfortunately I agree - like the USA it's never going to be the same as it was 20 years ago. I feel fortunate to have a smaller. friendly immigration office and can honestly say I have never been made to feel unwelcome. Maybe many smiles are insincere, but mine will continue to be. Good luck to the OP.
  3. Brave decision. I can't comment on the schools or kids as I never had any, but 14 years ago I lived in China with my Chinese girlfriend for 2 years. I was also 51 then and had no plans ever to return to the UK (Scotland). I made a mistake and took her to Scotland for Christmas and New Year, next thing I was going home! The job market was the problem for me. As a maths honours graduate with 30 years of unbroken senior IT/Programme management experience in the UK, I was deemed 'too old' although no one was allowed to say that. My g/f was on a spousal visa which allowed her to stay for 6 months in which time if we did not marry we would have to return to China. Fortunately I got a good IT Management job 5 months in which allowed me to get a better one after a few years. It was very hard work and a lot of rejection to deal with. Another aspect for you to sort out is registration for you all with the NHS, which I am told is not cheap. Possibly only applies to your wife but you and the kids are unlikely to get anything free for 6 months as non-residents. Not 100% sure about your kids sorry. I have no idea what the job market is like right now as I left the UK (never going back this time!!) about 7 years ago after an amicable finish to the marriage. Visa issues excluded, I plan to see out my retirement in Thailand. I wish you good luck, I am sure it can be done, just don't think of yourself as 'old' just yet. And anyway you can always return to Thailand.
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