I first went to Thailand in early 2003, lured by a relatively 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 P who was resident in the countryside very near to Udon Thani.
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 had come to care for me.
However, thanks to the siren that Aay had been, I did meet these various people, and one of them ─ Jack (Supranee) ─ 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.
Jack was in fact Sujittra’s sister-in-law, for Sujittra was married to Jack’s only surviving brother. Jack had two other brothers, but one died in a traffic mishap, while another died through misadventure by his own hand. Since Sujittra and Jack share the same last name, I opted not to reveal it.
At the end of that 2003 vacation of mine, it was excruciating when I had to leave Jack in Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport to leave Thailand at the end of my vacation, just to return to my drab life in Canada, and to the job I hated so very much that I often wished for death.
Of course we communicated during our separation, but it was only possible via E-mail or else those international prepaid phone cards that are no longer very popular due to the widespread use of various ‘apps’ on computers, cellphones, and tablets that allow people to connect for free ─ even for video calls.
I returned to Thailand in early 2004 and Jack 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 dreamt still of getting back to Thailand and spending as much of my life there as possible.
After Jack’s Summer visit to Thailand in 2008, she returned here to Canada in September with her two sons, who were finally coming here to live with us. Even they had been denied visas the first time we tried to get them here.
The oldest lad is Tho (Sirichot), who had just had his 14th birthday earlier that same month of September; the younger boy is Poté (Chaianun), and he was 10 years old.
Jack and her sons eventually became Canadian citizens in September 2013:
I have never been back to Thailand since marrying there late in 2005. I have never wanted to add the additional credit debt of any such venture ─ it was more than I could handle dealing with my wife’s occasional visits to her family and friends back in the Udon Thani area.
Aay Chomphoophat will 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, a 29-year-old mother of two sons, who had 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.
Those three trips I made to Thailand in 2003, 2004, and 2005 filled me with a passion and dream to spend as much of my retirement life as I possibly could living in Thailand, but the realities of having my Thai wife and her two sons come here to Canada to live with me made that dream impossible to achieve.
I retired in earliest April 2011 at the age of 61, but I was never again to travel abroad, let alone live anywhere else. I was never a ‘big earner’, and that fact has solidly grounded me in my retirement years. In truth, now that I am into my 70s, I cannot see myself travelling to Thailand ever again. It has been too long.
I would have loved to have known and lived in Thailand in a past era when the technology of today never existed. And so it is with that in mind that I am going to use this website to vicariously explore old Siam and that area of Southeast Asia through the accounts of bolder men than I.
Perhaps some of the public domain material that I hope to find and publish here will find an audience of like minds.