Thailand Is For Families

March 22, 2011 4 Comments by afamilyinmotion

One Can Play Outside In Thailand

Three Girls Walking In The Rain.  Not common in Thailand

In Portland, raincoats are required to play outside 8 months of the year.

Photo Courtesy of Mastin Studio

Thailand, The Land Of Smiles

Hello, I’m Daddy.  I’ll be posting once in a while about our move to Thailand, but most of what is written here will be from my wife….plus I’m not nearly as eloquent as Mrs. A is.

Okay, so this is my first attempt at writing something for others to read.  Will anyone be interested in our experiences of trying to leave the US for Thailand?  Doubtful.  Perhaps my daughter will want to read this some day and find it either entertaining, useful, or just plain interesting (anything but boring).  At the very least she will have a better understanding of what her parents were feeling at the time they decided to make the move.  From this blog, she will see how difficult it was to extricate ourselves from the country that had become our home and head toward something unknown.

Why We Want To Move To Thailand

I had what I believe to be an idyllic childhood.  In some ways, it seems like my childhood was straight out of an Indiana Jones adventure.  I am saddened when I watch my three-year old daughter play indoors because of the six months of continuous rain here in the Pacific Northwest.  I don’t want her growing up watching TV or playing video games.  I believe children should be outdoors, exploring their world, getting dirty, screaming, yelling, laughing and sometimes falling down.

And truth be told, I’m saddened by the self-righteousness and entitlement I witness on a daily basis here.  Americans seem isolated, and many people I meet seem to lack an understanding of any culture other than their own.  I don’t want this blog to be an outlet for me to rant about the US and its negative aspects, and I promise to keep politics out of any future posts.  Besides, Thailand will come with its own set of problems and headaches, some of which you’ll be able to read about here.  My point is simply that I want my daughter to be a citizen of the world, and I want to expose her to as many new (and good!) experiences in my power.

Playing near a very deep well in Saudi Arabia

Looking down a very deep well in the desert

Photo Courtesy of John Van Slyke

One Can Play Outside In Thailand

When I was about five, my family left the US for the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  We ended up staying there for about 10 years.  I made many great friends and, thanks to Facebook, have been able to reconnect with many of the kids I used to play with.  From the perspective of a five-year old, I don’t remember any concerns or worries about the move to another country.  I have one slightly unpleasant memory of being told that I would have to leave all my toys behind.  I remember the very long flight to Riyadh–it was on British Airways.  I remember being given a new toy by a pretty stewardess.

Once there, I only remember how wonderful it was to live in Riyadh as a young child.  I had immense freedom to explore: the desert, construction sites, ancient Nabatean ruins, the wreckage of the train that Lawrence of Arabia blew up.  I spent most of my childhood outdoors, swimming (I practically lived in the outdoor pool), playing chase and touch football, catching scorpions, riding my bike, and climbing the compound walls.  I attended an international school, quite large and very well run.  I started kindergarten in Riyadh and attended school until eighth grade.  Some of my best friends were from all over the world (Canada, England, Denmark, Lebanon, & Thailand of course), which afforded me the unique position as a child to gain a wider perspective than I otherwise would have in my small hometown of Anacortes, WA.

My Mom Is From Thailand

What I didn’t know at the time was how my parents were coping with the change and the move to another country.  For my mother, the move was a godsend.   She was living in Anacortes, WA and was one of maybe two Thai women living in a small fishing village in the San Juan islands.  She describes her experience in Anacortes as stifling, full of racist incidents, and extremely isolating.  Once my mother settled into her new life in Riyadh, she was able to connect with a large Thai ex-pat community.  I remember we would often visit other Thai families working in Saudi Arabia and attend the Thai celebrations, such as the King of Thailand’s Birthday.  There was always delicious food, kids my own age, dancing, and, of course my favorite, Muay Thai Kickboxing.  It was at one of these celebrations where I first discovered the electric guitar, and have subsequently spent a lifetime working towards playing in a punk rock band.  (As a side note, AC/DC was my original musical influence, which later evolved into various forms of punk)

Little Drummer Girl

My Little Drummer Girl

Photo Courtesy of Mastin Studio

Punk Rock In Thailand

I finally fulfilled my dream of playing in a rock band a decade ago while living in San Francisco, and will fondly look back on that experience while I continue to make loud music at home today.  My three-year old daughter always yells at me from the top of the stairs down into the basement, “Daaaaaaddy, it’s too loud!”  I always yell back, “Baby, if it’s too loud, you’re too old!”  My wife just bites her tongue and lets me live my rock star fantasy.  She’s a good wife.  She’s embraced the idea of moving to a country that is completely foreign and a little intimidating.  I think she’s really brave, and for that I am so thankful.  One of my dreams when we finally get settled in Thailand is to start a Thai punk band that melds traditional Thai music with punk aesthetic.  It should be a fun time and a great way to break in our new house and to learn the culture of Thailand on an intimate level.  I can’t wait for our daughter to yell down the stairs in our new house, “Daaaaaddy!!!  It’s too loud!”  That’s when I know we’ve made a home there.
Post: Thailand Is For Families | Moving To Thailand

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2 Comments

  1. briita
    6 years ago

    My husband is applying for a job that would let us learn a new language and move to a new country. We have to make a list of where we might want to move to, should he get the job. Tonight I am researching Thailand and where it should go on that list. Very excited that I found your blog, and that you are speaking right to my first concern: is it a good move with kids, as we have two young boys. Excited to get reading! Thank you for creating this blog!
    Briita

    Reply

    • adrienne
      6 years ago

      Thank you so much for your comment, Briita! I hope that you find our blog helpful and that you enjoy reading it! I have been slow to write new posts in the last couple of months, as our life here in Thailand has accelerated a bit, but I hope to write more soon! If you have any specific questions for me, I’d be more than happy to try and help. Good luck with your move and congratulations on your decision to have a great adventure! Sincerely, Adrienne

      Reply

2 Trackbacks

  1. By Why Thailand? | | A Family In Motion on April 26, 2011 at 2:46 am

    […] I was born in Bangkok, Thailand to my Thai mother.  My father is American, and my parents decided to move back to the US almost immediately after I was born.  Subsequently, I was never issued a Thai passport or Thai ID card, yet I’ve always wanted the opportunity to register as a Thai citizen.  After some unreliable internet research (facebook group discussions and the like), and a trip to the Vancouver Thai embassy (link to BC post), I am hopeful that I will gain my citizenship fairly painlessly.  Once I have mine, Little Miss is eligible for dual citizenship…which sets her on her way to becoming that world citizen I talked about earlier (Thailand Is For Families). […]

  2. […] I was born in Bangkok, Thailand to my Thai mother.  My father is American, and my parents decided to move back to the US almost immediately after I was born.  Subsequently, I was never issued a Thai passport or Thai ID card, yet I’ve always wanted the opportunity to register as a Thai citizen.  After some unreliable internet research (facebook group discussions and the like), and a trip to the Vancouver Thai embassy (BC post), I am hopeful that I will gain my citizenship fairly painlessly.  Once I have mine, Little Miss is eligible for dual citizenship…which sets her on her way to becoming that world citizen I talked about earlier (Thailand Is For Families). […]

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