Lotus Tesco in Udon Thani, Thailand
Image by sama sama – massa via Flickr

I first went to Thailand in early 2003, lured by a young lady I’d been corresponding with who was named Aay Chomphoophat. She had no English — our E-mail exchanges were made possible thanks to a school-teacher friend of hers named Sujittra Pookrongjit.

Circumstances were not entirely what they seemed, as it turned out. Aay proved a huge disappointment to not only me, but also to her friend, Sujittra, as well as some other friends of theirs I had come to know, and who came to care for me.

However, thanks to the siren that Aay had been, I did meet these various people, and one of those proved such a loyal companion, guide, and protector, that by the end of my vacation, I recognized that I had grown to love her very much.

I returned in early 2004 and Jack (Supranee) and I became engaged.

And then the following year of 2005, I made my third and final visit to Thailand, and Jack and I married in the city of Udon Thani after arranging the preliminary paperwork in Bangkok.

It was the early morning of June 18, 2005, that I had to catch my return flight here to Canada. This flight, as were the two previous return-flights in each of the two previous years, was agonizingly heart-wrenching. Jack was not coming with me because she had already been denied two Visas, and we were now attempting to obtain our third.

Thanks to the marriage, she this time qualified. But it was not until May 10, 2006, that she at last exited Thailand for the first time in her life, and came here to Canada to join me — almost 11 months after we had last been together.

Although she made return trips to Thailand in 2007, 2008, and 2009, I remained here. It was a matter of economics only, for I dream still of getting back to Thailand and spending as much of my life there as possible.

During Jack’s Summer visit to Thailand in 2008, she returned here to Canada in September with her two sons, who were coming here to live with us. The oldest lad is Tho (Sirichot), who is now 15 as I write this in early January, 2010; he is in Grade X. The younger boy is Pote (Chaianun), aged 12, who is in Grade VII.

Tho wants to return to Thailand to live, and thinks that he will be doing so once he has finished Grade X. Jack’s plans are that the boys will live here until they have finished school, and thus been educated into a level of English that will be impossible for them back in their Nong Soong village. Too, she hopes to keep them from the risk of serving in the Thai military. She feels that once they have finished high school here in Canada, they can then determine for themselves what they would like to do.

How this contradiction in expectation is going to play out once Tho finishes Grade X is yet to be discovered, but I reckon all shall be known soon enough.

I am now 60 years of age, but still working — I cannot afford to Retire. I only have 19 years of Pensionable Service, and that Pension is not worth much more than $1,700 a month. But I will be doing so no later than April 1, 2012. Should a financial miracle make it possible to Retire before then, I definitely will!

But I would love to be able to visit Thailand as often and as long as possible in the years ahead before young Pote finishes his Grade XII in better than five years. Jack says she is willing for us to all move back to her homeland at that point, if it is what her boys wish to do. Being young, they may prefer to remain here in Canada for an indefinite time to earn an income that could only be dreamed of in Thailand.

All of that lies ahead.

Aay Chomphoophat will probably never know it, but she gave me the courage to leave Canada for the first time in my life on an adventure that no one who knew me could quite believe I was undertaking — a journey to Asia, and to a country I knew nothing about. A country that was home to Jack, the unwed 29-year old mother of two sons who longed for a better life for herself and for them. The woman who was to become my wife. If not for Aay, none of it would have ever happened, and there is no telling what other course my life might have taken. But Jack and I would definitely never have met.

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About — 6 Comments

  1. Hi,

    I landed on your website post (http://siam-longings.com/1people-and-places/isan-delicacies.htm). But there is some missing information as some links don’t open (404 error)specially source article page.

    404 Pages(Pages not found):


    We have published a post(www.theroyalbudha.com/blog/thai-isaan-cuisines) on “Isaan Cuisines”. Hope you will like to read it. If you find it informative, I will appreciate if you could link to my blog post or replace existing one.


    Calida Jenkins

  2. Thanks for the tip about that old post of mine, Calida.

    I certainly do not have the time to try and locate the new URLs for the half-dozen or so references I made in that post that are no longer valid, so I just rendered them all with the rel=”nofollow” attribute (as the HTML specialists describe it).

    Much changes in five years ─ I had originally made that post back in April 2010. Website owners change the location of articles or posts within their websites, or delete them entirely; and my post’s references suffered because of that sort of activity.

    I was quite new to the website game in April 2010 ─ I had only started making posts in November 2009. I knew nothing of tricks like rel=”nofollow”, nor even target=”_blank” to make the link destination open up into a new browser. I have no doubt that I lose many visitors to those older posts who click on a link, and then have the link open up into the same browser where my post had been.

    The natural tendency is for someone to close the new browser or browser tab if it is of no interest…and in doing so, there would go all connection to my website, as well.

    Anyway, I changed the links in that post so that they will all at least open up into a new browser, even if many are not valid destinations any longer. I may one day redo the entire post, but it won’t be happening in the near future.

    Heck, I was so new to posting in 2010, I never even realized that a post should not be attributed with more than one category ─ that particular post had been assigned a home in both the category of “food” and of “People and Places.” Since the actual URL defaulted to “People and Places,” I reluctantly removed the post from the “food” category even though it was more relevant for it.

    To have changed its categorization to just “food” by removing its listing at “People and Places” would have changed the post URL, and then all historical references to the post would likely turn up with “not found” and related declarations from the search engines.

    As requested, I checked out your post 5 Special Thai Isaan Cuisines to Try in Northeast Thailand ─ it’s definitely a sharper job than the one I was doing five years ago!

    Anyway, I wish The Royal Buddha restaurant success.

    My wife poured out her heart into a small restaurant called Pattaya Thai that we had bought in New Westminster, British Columbia; but despite some acclaim, it just did not have the client base required to prove viable, and she had to sell.

    So again ─ good luck in Dubai!

  3. Hello!

    I enjoy your blog about real estate available in Udon Thani. Please add our websites to your list:

    http://www.UdonCondos.com is for condo and apartment sales, rentals, and marketing.

    http://www.UdonLand.com is for land and commercial property sales and marketing.

    We serve Udon Thani, Khon Kaen, and Nong Khai provinces. We also have online auctions, which is (to date) unique to our site for owners who need to sell FAST. All information is available on each site. Thank you!

    Warm regards,

    K. Taan

  4. I will definitely try and remember to include your references!

    Thanks for drawing my attention to the websites.

    The online real estate presence for that part of Thailand has certainly grown since I first started paying attention back in 2008.

    Anyway ─ good luck to you!

  5. Hi Garnet,
    I’m the webmaster of pattaya-funtown.com. Thanks for linking to our “visa run to Laos” page on: http://siam-longings.com/12011/02/22!
    Just one question: The URL structure of that page has recently changed to: http://pattaya-funtown.com/visa_run_laos/ (no more .html in the end). As your link currently returns a 404 error it would be much appreciated if you could update the link at the next opportunity 🙂
    You might also be interested in our most recent trip report: http://pattaya-funtown.com/vientiane-revisited-visa-run-to-laos/. Thanks a lot!
    Best regards,

  6. Hello, Andy!

    Okay, I’ve updated the link reference to your website, and added a reference to your more recent experience.

    In looking at that old post of mine, I am struck by how simple it was.

    Occasionally I do refer back to an old post and rework it, but I haven’t been going as far back as that.

    Thanks for drawing my attention to it!


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