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Elzear

How to live with Isaan wife in respect of culture

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1 hour ago, FruitPudding said:

There aren't any good schools

Total <deleted>.

Debate on the standard of general Thai education aside, there are many schools in Issan on a par with those in Bangkok.

Edited by puchooay

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:crazy:Re: post #302

 

Quite agree old chap.

 

:laugh:

 

 

If I wrote what I really thought of your post, I'd get banned, no doubt.

 

I

 

 

 

 

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I found this book very useful for understanding the Thai mind:

Living in Thailand ... Finding Serenity ... Forgetting Principles. On Kindle. The author, Alan Reeder-Camponi, has several  books out.

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On 10/29/2019 at 10:49 AM, Gecko123 said:

A foreigner moving into a small village is actually in a pretty vulnerable position. Many people don't realize this, but there is often next to no inbound migration into many small towns and villages. It's all outbound migration driven by urbanization and the search for employment and educational opportunities. For example, in the small village I have lived in for 16 years, I can't think of a single adult individual who has relocated here except for a tiny handful of people who maybe grew up here, and maybe returned to the village after they stopped working, but even cases like these are few and far between. As a result, everyone who lives there has a lifelong relationship with everybody else, while the newly arrived foreigner doesn't know a single person. You have no idea who is related to whom, who is friends with who, who you can confide in, who is trustworthy, who you should steer away from. Even if there happens to be other foreigners in the vicinity, all of them are married to Thai women who are almost always the foreigner's main confidant. In other words, anything you tell to a foreigner is likely to be repeated immediately to his wife, and God only knows who she in turn might repeat it to. Before you know it everyone in town knows your personal business. And by the way, it won't be long before everybody knows your personal business. It's just the nature of the beast.

 

The initial euphoria of moving to a new village does dissipate, sometimes surprisingly rapidly. The excited tittering and finger pointing of kindergarteners when they spot your approach does not last forever. Prices in the grocery store you frequent can suddenly increase raising suspicions that you might be being overcharged. Unkind remarks can make their way back to you. Yes, there is a peaceful rhythm to rural life which can be appealing. But it's important to recognize going in that there are some harsh realities as well, not the least of which is poverty and the vicissitudes of farm life. It is not a 'Andy of Mayberry' or 'Farmer in the Dell' existence, and trying to romanticize life in rural Thailand, in my opinion, is a mistake.

 

The biggest thing I want the OP to know is that in the girlfriend/new wife's home village you are extremely vulnerable to being manipulated. You have virtually no way to independently verify what you are being told is going on around you. "People are laughing at my parents because you haven't married me yet. My parents lose a lot of face because sin sot so low. People say you are just use me, screw me, have no intention marry me. People don't think you have any money. They say you Cheap Charlie. Laugh at me. People ask why Thai lady with farang husband only ride around on a Honda Wave. People say other farang with Thai wife drive Fortuner SUV.'

 

If a prospective wife with ulterior motives thinks that a huge windfall is right around the corner, feigning a love interest for a few years is a small investment in time. Just think about what you might do if you earned 10K a month and thought that if you played your cards right, you might soon be reaping millions of baht in property? And that not only goes for the extended family anticipating ripple benefits, but it can even extend to the wider village. The wife has the power to keep everyone in town, especially shopkeepers and vendors, in line because they know she controls the purse strings, or at least has influence over where Mr Money Bags spends money. So it's not that difficult to orchestrate an ever-smiling, ever-good-natured welcoming committee if the incentives are there. Without any language skills, your ability to pick up on much of this is going to be severely impaired: for all practical purposes you are going to be like Jake Sully on Pandora.

 

The truth is that in the vast majority of cases, the foreign guy's only source of information about his girlfriend is his girlfriend. Nine times out of ten, the guy knows next to nothing about her background or history, whether it be medical, educational, employment, marital, sexual, credit (debts), or criminal, or her reputation in the village. No one is going to pull a foreign guy aside and give him a heads up about his love interest's sordid past. They're way too fearful that you'll only turn around and snitch on them back to her. After you break up with her and leave town, they'll have to contend with her wrath forever, so why take the risk? I would pay very close attention to how well the girlfriend is liked and respected in the village and be alert for any clues that she isn't well liked or respected. I would also pay attention to who the girlfriend is friends with in town and whether you think they are likeable and solid individuals. Do her friends seem wholesome with well-cared for kids, or do they seem a little shady with neglected kids? I would also try to make a family tree diagram to find out exactly who is in the extended family, find out who and where all the siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles are, and try and meet them to get a better feel for the family. You could learn a lot from that exercise.

 

The OP said a few pages back 'I've known this girl for 3 1/2 years, isn't that enough?' My answer would be: 'Maybe yes, maybe no.' Have you been living with her this whole time, or has it been a long distance relationship, characterized by long giggly Skype sessions where nothing really gets said because of the language barrier? Were your visits to see her periodic honeymoon-type trips to island destinations where you've been staying in top-end hotels and eating in fancy restaurants? Is there a big age difference between you and her? To what extent have you given this girl the idea that you: (a) have a lot of money, (b) are willing to pay a large sin sot, or (c) have expressed a willingness to spend money on land, real estate, farm equipment, personal autos, or give her a generous personal allowance after you marry? I expect the OP isn't particularly eager to share candid answers to these prying questions, which I totally understand, but if the answer to any of these questions is affirmative, you may have put yourself at risk of being duped despite the length of time you say you have already been together.

 

It used to be that out in the boonies you could sashay down to the local school and get hired on the spot as an English teacher. Teaching was an excellent way to make inroads into and gain status in the community. I taught for years in my village, mostly on a part time basis, but these days, with all the immigration crackdowns, I'm scared to even set foot on the school grounds out of fear of getting deported, and I routinely turn down requests for private tutoring for similar reasons. Teaching used to be a good way to become known and build goodwill in the village, but that avenue really isn't open to foreigners anymore, unless you manage to get a work permit, which few schools are willing to help you apply for. Which means that informal opportunites to earn income are pretty limited in rural Thailand, unless of course you're talking about some digital nomad option.

 

While I actually like the slow pace of village life, and have rarely suffered boredom in 16 years here, there are limits in terms of activities here.  I have managed to piece together a fairly satisfying patchwork of activities like bicycle riding, gardening, language study, Thai cooking, etc. Mental stimulation can come from e-books, the internet, Netflix, cable TV, travel, but there are limits to this. You can also learn to raise fighting roosters, how to build a chicken coop, forage for edibles, how to make charcoal, rebuild a tractor engine, birdwatch, play with your pets, become an expert on Thai botany. Are you starting to understand what I meant when I said there are limits in the mental stimulation department?

 

While we're on the subject of learning languages, I've said it before and I'll say it again: I've never known a single foreigner to move to a small village and pick up the language from a cold start. It just doesn't happen. If the OP thinks a small village is going to provide him with a "total immersion" language study environment, that's not really how it works. Few villagers have either the time, patience or teaching skill to help a novice language student learn the basics of the alphabet, pronunciation rules or grammar. Villagers in remote areas often talk in very rustic vernacular and incorporate regional dialects into their speech which can be quite confusing to a novice student, and study resources geared to a non-native student won't be of much use as a platform for a Thai villager trying to teach the language. Put simply, the thought of a foreigner moving to a remote village with zero Thai language skills, sends a shiver of concern up my spine. Someone wants to give it a shot, so be it, but I personally think the risks of social isolation, and concomitant risks of alcoholism and depression should be carefully considered before taking the leap.

 


 

This is to much to take in for most, and Im sure you are spot on in most, that can happen. But on the other hand, if you start to hear gossip from your gf or other members of the family, make sure you have a plan b, and leave that village as soon as it starts. I havent experienced any alike yet, but my gf mother, said my 500cc bike looked skinny, so I bought a new 1000 😉 

 

 

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I started and got halfway through an essay on village life but in reality two things helped me

 

First - my wife, strong and patient, important to withstand the external pressures created by village gossip, I think she always knew I would be there for her, so I guess giving her that confidence was important too

 

Second - We have always managed to move forward a little every year, it is the Rural way, sure there has been regular questions aired on why things were not moving faster!! but as long as things are moving - as in, yes we might be doing that in the future, but first we are doing this, is acceptable as an explanation. My wife and I have many projects in the pipeline and one by one we keep rolling them out and crossing them off, it is fun, it's an interest,  and the cost has been spread over many years.

 

Village life, benefits of a close community, which in turn ensures you will be a topic of conversation on occasion. So concentrate on providing fodder for good comments!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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