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Should I Live In Isaan? - Need Your Input


fyrman

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Hello Everyone,

I have been visiting the forum for a while to read and 'soak up' what I can without doing any posting. But now it is time for me to post this topic and ask for your input.

I am an American and have been living/working in SE Asia for 5 years. It has been fine. I have been dating a Thai lady for six months, and she is now asking me to come to Phetchabun to see her home, and of course, meet her parents. I have visited South and Central Thailand quite a number of times, and have had a growing desire to finally quit working for good (I am already retired and getting a pension form my US job). I know from what I have been reading that a lot of folks here have moved to Thailand, and your experience and input would be greatly appreciated. So here are my questions:

1. Is Phetchabun considered to be in 'Isaan' area of Thailand?

2. I understand a little about the relationship between Thai daughter and Mum. I have read here that if your Thai GF/wife has a 'bad' family, then you are in a lot of trouble. How to tell if my GF has a 'good' family? Of course I have a general idea, but does anyone have any specific suggestions? There is a language barrier, so maybe is isn't so easy to tell what kind of folks they really are.

3. Any suggestions for the first trip to her house, and to meet her parents?

4. Also, any opinions/advice/info on living in Phetchabun area would be appreciated. Do the local people there accept Falangs? Do you feel like an outsider, or do you feel this is really your home and accepted by your Thai friends/Neighbours?

Well, this is a good start to my questions. I am sure with your input more questions will arise. Thanks very much for reading and helping.

Bill

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When your Lady takes you home to meet the family it will be a big occasion for them and Her. She will want to show off her Man. Taking a few gifts will please them. Most Fathers apreciate a decent bottle of Whisky or Tobacco.

Ask your GF what her Mother would like. Maybe a blouse or some silk or something. Any kids would like some sweets. You wil be expected to sit and eat with them. Get your GF to make sure that there is something you like as some of their food is a bit exotic to say the least. Smile a lot and laugh if someone makes a joke, even if you do not understand it.

Other than that, just be yourself. Have fun.

Be prepared for the early morning speaker anouncements and cockerells. You will not get a lie in if you stay in a village.

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Bill u asked good questions and i will give my answer; I too am from America, retired and moved here in 05 and have not looked back. I made 5 trips over before i actually made the move. I lived in a Bangkok condo for 2 years; my wife is from a very small village outside of Buriram and we would visit often, an English whom I developed a close friend ship with lived in the village full and each trip i made my wife village home more comfortable < the US standards, after a couple of years I enjoyed it so much in the village we sold the BKK condo and moved to Banthago full time. My English friend moved away but it remains my Valhalla and i really enjoy my live here, we go to Bangkok every three months, Pattaya for the beach and Korat is a nice place to visit. I do enjoy Thailand,

in answer to your questions

1. I do not believe Phetchabun is considered Isaan, my wife said it is not.

2. My wife has 6 sisters most of them are great, i find her mother to be a really great lady. It is true women tend to be like their mothers, be it American or Thai, If the mother "wants" u are in trouble. If the daughter is giving money to her family they will want more from the rich Forang. I have no in law problems, some one that does will answer differently.

Yes there is a big language barrier, I spend a lot of time talking to my mother in law and she to me however my Khmer language skill are poor and she does not speak English. Unless u speak Thai?Khmer u will depend on your wife's translation will she tell u the truth or what u want to hear???

3. Obtain suggestions from your g/f as what u should do about gifts. I would not and did not gifts expensive gifts.

Since I do not know if u will be visiting a village, outside of Phetchabun or in the city, i can not really answer this question, I know only small village life.

4. I feel 100% this is my home, I feel I am accepted for who I am a forang with ties to the area, i go to local school events and donate when i want to the schools.

For me it is really a great life. perhaps i should have answered with a PM, perhaps I wrote too much, just wanted to answer your questions any others just PM me.

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fyrman,

Litebeer has probably summed it up well....however I might add some comments - some of which will support litebeer's advice.

1. I don't think there is any one formula in having a successful visit, but there are norms to follow.

2. Arrive with small tokens of appreciation for being welcomed to the family home, usually entails food that isn't easily (or cheaply) accessible to the parents (dried squid is a favourite of my GF's mother - father doesn't drink so I bring him some quality coffee).

3. Be happy and try to smile a lot even if you don't understand - try to make an effort to communicate which will probably be through you GF.

4. When you are talking about "bad" parents, this usually relates to how often and how deep you are asked to put your hand in your pocket. This is good time to test your GF as to whether she stands up to her parents if they try it on or not. Avoid discussions about money if you can.

5. You will probably have to pay for the food if you go to the markets - wouldn't get too paranoid over that as most of the food will be for you as its doubtful you will eat whats normally prepared and in any event, the family will want to know what you want to eat so they can cook it for you. Try to keep it simple like penang pork, tom yum fish, etc. BTW - their rice will be the "BEST TASTING" rice you've ever eaten as they will probably pull out their "best" rice for you to eat - unless its obviously crap and wasn't dried properly before storing etc.

6. If you are staying at the family home - work out what you are sleeping on and whether your back can take it. Also probably a good idea to refrain from night time activities - if you know what I mean. Try not to be surprised about the standard of the home, if there is only a squat toilet, or you are having a shower with a hand bucket.

7. Your GF is showing you off to the family, so don't be surprised if they come out of the wood work and want to watch or know everything about you (depending on how much contact they've had with other farangs before).

8. If you are only going for 2 nights, I would refrain from having a drinking night with them and just tell them you will bring some whisky from your home next time you visit and stay longer.

9. Try to keep your GF nearby or within calling distance for when anyone wants to start up a conversation with you.

10. The biggest problem you are going to have is deciding if you are going to wai or not and to whom. Probably best to restrict that and learn up on the protocols - best answer is to wait for them to wai and make sure you note the height of their wai.

11. When you leave, its usually expected to give the parents some small money to cover cost for rice etc...probably 500 baht would be enough, don't ask your GF as she will say up to you. If she wants you to give them a few thousand baht or more, then its one of those moments that I like to think about being ..."Things that make you go hmmmmmm".

12. Don't worry about them calling you farang, but probably nice that the parents refer to you by your name and you use their name.

13. Golden rule - take it easy, be flexible and have fun. Get out and look around and show a little interest in the family life (and the extended family).

14. Don't forget to take your flip-flops/thongs.

Consider how you are going to get about, better to have access to a car whether that requires renting one or the family is prepared to let you use theirs if they have one.

Edit: I've assumed that you are visiting a moo baan which is surrounded by her extended family. Depending on where the family home is will be dependent on what your experience is with relatives etc. ClaytonSeymour makes a good point about staying in a hotel first to be on the safe side but you will need transport to travel to and from her home. if you do stay there you could always make your excuses after the first night that you have a bad back or something or tell the GF you will check the place out first and decide. Not all thai homes are corrugated iron and dirt floors but you should be able to get some idea of what the place is like and whether you have seperate sleeping room.

Edited by Isee
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Any comments or advice on visiting the family for first time would be appreciated. I know this sounds a bit stupid, but any specific advice on getting to know her parents a bit and trying to decide if they are 'good' people would be appreciated.

Any other comments or input about living in Isaan would be appreciated.

Once you've demonstrated that you're happy to stay at the family home it will be more or less expected every time you visit; if you find it's not for you then put your foot down & check into a hotel in Petchabun ASAP. It's a mistake I made & it's far easier to make a convenient excuse at the beginning, rather than wait for matters to come to a head several years down the road when it almost certainly will offend.

I don't actually live there, but from numerous, correction, too numerous extended visits, I've realised that at this stage of my life - Isaan village life just isn't for me. Whilst I wouldn't rule out eventually retiring to Isaan, I think I can safely say that it wouldn't be to the village.

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Be prepared for the early morning ....cockerells. You will not get a lie in if you stay in a village.

Aren't they just the fracken best. Some of the ones around my GF's home start off at 3am....they are in need of a re-education with an axe - at "dawn" would be fitting.

Luckily no loud speakers though.

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After a few beers or whatever most of the young men will spend ages practising their one word of English on you. Keep smiling. Do not accept too much of the local "Whisky" You will have a terrible hangover. Just accept your beer will be full of ice, you will never stop it.

That is probably a good idea to sort out a hotel room. Tell them you must have a Farang toilet as Faeangs do not know how to use the Hong Naam. As said the rice will probably be the fresh rice they worked bloody hard to grow and harvest. None of that Tesco crap.

Above all do not worry. They will be just as nervous as you. It is a shame you are American as they know all the English football teams. Always a good icebreaker.

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My wife and I lived in my Jomtien condo. It is a nice condo and we walked to the beach several times a week. I spent entirely too much time in the bars and was bored with the whole tourist thing. I missed having a workshop and toys to play with that were impossible to have while living in a condo. I like to have animals around too. My wife had a house and a little land in Loei province. We started taking regular trips up there and little by little I westernized her house. After a number of trips I decided that I liked the mountains and the farm country. We made the move. I left the condo empty for about a year to make sure I would like it upcountry. I now have many toys and plenty to keep me occupied. I highly value my privacy and that was understood by my wife. I don't enjoy spending time with the village drunks and don't enjoy having Thai visitors in the house. My wife is free to visit her parents in the next village and I am quite content to stay at home doing whatever appeals to me. I am very content living up here with my wife and have no desire to give it up. I should add that if anything were to happen to my wife or our relationship, I'd pack up head back to the farang ghetto. This life I live is what retirement is all about and what I worked for all my life.

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Some great advice in these posts.

I would also recommend buying "Thailand Fever" it will certainly cover a lot of the customs etc and is a useful aid in discussing each other's cultures.

Thats a good idea as each page is written in Engrish AND Thai.

My copy is pretty dog-eared now as all my mates have borrowed & enjoyed it.

Can be found at good bookshops and at BKK airport BTW

:o

Dave

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Everyone will have different opinions on this matter so if you are considering a move rent for at least six months first before making any investments. I for one did not like it and have since moved to Bangkok because I want a wide variety activities to select from each day not the same boring stuff.

As for meeting the parents I would not unless you are planning a long term relationship with your GF. Thai's interpret such visits far different than westerners.

I think any concerns about her family should be discussed with your GF before you make such a trip.

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Many expats decide to move Up Country but its not for me yet.I originaly stopped in a hotel at baan kruat,67km south of Buriram and its a lovely place,but the sleeping at my gf mums house is enough to make you go mad.Early sleep and only thai channels on tv.The house is brick and we have mozzie nets around the bed and our room,but i do like my mods and cons.If it rains the frogs can deafen you then when you think they have finished,the cocks start,frigging nightmare lol.Her family dont ask for anything and give us a big bag of rice,they dont drink neither and the 2 brothers work hard and bring in money.I gave money for an inside toilet,western style and when we go at least i can go the bogs in luxury.My 2 nights a week out with mates is very important to me and when you have good friends its hard to leave.Maybe one day when i am old i may think about it but not at the moment,although i do think i would like khon kaen or korat or Udon as i have been a couple of times.

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I spent a year in Isan and was bored - moved to Bangkok and life is good.

I have no interest in night life or eating out but I like being near first rate schools and hospitals for the children as well as modern shopping.

If you are retired and in great health and like a peaceful country life go for it.

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Bill u asked good questions and i will give my answer; I too am from America, retired and moved here in 05 and have not looked back. I made 5 trips over before i actually made the move. I lived in a Bangkok condo for 2 years; my wife is from a very small village outside of Buriram and we would visit often, an English whom I developed a close friend ship with lived in the village full and each trip i made my wife village home more comfortable < the US standards, after a couple of years I enjoyed it so much in the village we sold the BKK condo and moved to Banthago full time. My English friend moved away but it remains my Valhalla and i really enjoy my live here, we go to Bangkok every three months, Pattaya for the beach and Korat is a nice place to visit. I do enjoy Thailand,

in answer to your questions

1. I do not believe Phetchabun is considered Isaan, my wife said it is not.

2. My wife has 6 sisters most of them are great, i find her mother to be a really great lady. It is true women tend to be like their mothers, be it American or Thai, If the mother "wants" u are in trouble. If the daughter is giving money to her family they will want more from the rich Forang. I have no in law problems, some one that does will answer differently.

Yes there is a big language barrier, I spend a lot of time talking to my mother in law and she to me however my Khmer language skill are poor and she does not speak English. Unless u speak Thai?Khmer u will depend on your wife's translation will she tell u the truth or what u want to hear???

3. Obtain suggestions from your g/f as what u should do about gifts. I would not and did not gifts expensive gifts.

Since I do not know if u will be visiting a village, outside of Phetchabun or in the city, i can not really answer this question, I know only small village life.

4. I feel 100% this is my home, I feel I am accepted for who I am a forang with ties to the area, i go to local school events and donate when i want to the schools.

For me it is really a great life. perhaps i should have answered with a PM, perhaps I wrote too much, just wanted to answer your questions any others just PM me.

i will go to live in khon kaen in july ,but i would like to visit buriram though.my future thai. has kin in mahasarakhom province and also roi-et province

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Be prepared for the early morning ....cockerells. You will not get a lie in if you stay in a village.

Aren't they just the fracken best. Some of the ones around my GF's home start off at 3am....they are in need of a re-education with an axe - at "dawn" would be fitting.

Luckily no loud speakers though.

Hi. Tell me about it, i got used to it though. Then the GF said " mum killing chicken for eating tonight, so you choose which one" so i said " the one that wakes me up at stupid'o'clock every morning" much to their amusement they obliged.

We had the speakers too, i still dont understand why the whole village needs to know when someone has got some mail at 5am.

Lovely people though, so friendly.

This is about 3/4 of the way to Ban Dung from Udon

I had a brilliant time, met all, the family (except dad, he died about 10 years ago).

Went out "hunting for small animal for eating" needless to say i didnt sample said small animal, i was also out collecting ants eggs, im becoming an expert at that. (i always did wonder why i was the only one wearing shorts and flip-flops) :o

Enjoy yourself.

I'll be back there in April

(I will add some pics in the images thread)

Edited by spoggle
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Hi. Tell me about it, i got used to it though. Then the GF said " mum killing chicken for eating tonight, so you choose which one" so i said " the one that wakes me up at stupid'o'clock every morning" much to their amusement they obliged.

We had the speakers too, i still dont understand why the whole village needs to know when someone has got some mail at 5am.

Lovely people though, so friendly.

This is about 3/4 of the way to Ban Dung from Udon

I had a brilliant time, met all, the family (except dad, he died about 10 years ago).

Went out "hunting for small animal for eating" needless to say i didnt sample said small animal, i was also out collecting ants eggs, im becoming an expert at that. (i always did wonder why i was the only one wearing shorts and flip-flops) :D

Enjoy yourself.

I'll be back there in April

(I will add some pics in the images thread)

Hi Spoggle & :o

Glad you enjoyed your time although its 'horses for courses' as they say.

Sure some things occassionally wind me up (speakers at 5am, for instance) but I personnally try to mentally step back and remind myself it does not seriously upset your life, so let it be.

I try to be 'laid back' about things in the same way as you come accross in your post and also try to 'fit in' with my neighbours and friends.

Life is good (compared to most of the western world IMHO) :D

:D

Dave

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Hi. Tell me about it, i got used to it though. Then the GF said " mum killing chicken for eating tonight, so you choose which one" so i said " the one that wakes me up at stupid'o'clock every morning" much to their amusement they obliged.

We had the speakers too, i still dont understand why the whole village needs to know when someone has got some mail at 5am.

Lovely people though, so friendly.

This is about 3/4 of the way to Ban Dung from Udon

I had a brilliant time, met all, the family (except dad, he died about 10 years ago).

Went out "hunting for small animal for eating" needless to say i didnt sample said small animal, i was also out collecting ants eggs, im becoming an expert at that. (i always did wonder why i was the only one wearing shorts and flip-flops) :D

Enjoy yourself.

I'll be back there in April

(I will add some pics in the images thread)

Hi Spoggle & :o

Glad you enjoyed your time although its 'horses for courses' as they say.

Sure some things occassionally wind me up (speakers at 5am, for instance) but I personnally try to mentally step back and remind myself it does not seriously upset your life, so let it be.

I try to be 'laid back' about things in the same way as you come accross in your post and also try to 'fit in' with my neighbours and friends.

Life is good (compared to most of the western world IMHO) :D

:D

Dave

Hi Dave. I am new to the forum. Recently I met a very nice lady from Loei. She has a small business there. Although she speaks little English we chat daily on web cam. In May I will be visiting her. My question is what shall I expect when I go th Loei. Are there any ex pats up there? I am 61 and hope to retire soon and live in Thailand. So far I have only been in BKK and Pattaya. Cheers John

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I now have many toys and plenty to keep me occupied.

What toys do you get into Gary?

I have a four wheel drive Yanmar diesel tractor with a blade, rotary tiller and plow. Always wanted one but could never justify it. I still can't justify it with 20 rai but I wanted it.

We also have two and a half rai where the house is and it is all walled in with a two meter high block wall. Half a rai is walled separately to keep the chickens out. Plenty of room for a serious garden. Both ten rai mini farms have ponds.

I have an eight by eight meter garage/workshop with a MIG welder, stick welder, power hack saw and many other tools. I like to tinker and have the tools to do whatever I want.

I had a great Golden Retriever dog but some low life thieving bastard stole him. No more friendly dogs for me. If I ever get another dog, it will be one that doesn't like strangers and that no one would want to steal. I also like to to get away once in a while and hate to trust anyone to take care of animals.

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I lived in Pattaya for over 5 years and have been in Buriram for about 9 months now. My answer to your question is don't do it if the place where you will be is to small. Buriram is too small.

It is funny but you only miss things when they are not available but do not want them when you can have them everyday. That pisses me off no end.

We should have stayed in Pattaya. The move was a total mistake. She has reverted to village life and regressed to the village idiot status I place on most of them around us.

In other places, perhaps Surin (from what I have seen) or even bigger (where ?) might be enough. Go to the villages, real villages and it is like going back in time to the dark ages. Sleep when it gets dark, wake with dawn. Entertainment is in your house or your neighbour's house. You'll be suicidal in a week.

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Hi Dave. I am new to the forum. Recently I met a very nice lady from Loei. She has a small business there. Although she speaks little English we chat daily on web cam. In May I will be visiting her. My question is what shall I expect when I go th Loei. Are there any ex pats up there? I am 61 and hope to retire soon and live in Thailand. So far I have only been in BKK and Pattaya. Cheers John

Hi

Sorry never been to that area (yet) but I think I am safe to say it will not be anything like BKK or SinCity :o

You have found the right place to study and hopefully not get too wrapped up with the useless stuff.

If you have not experienced small city/village life, I would strongly recommend staying at a local Hotel/resort first off(at least). The rural way of living takes some getting used to, as Torrenova has touched on. It took me many visits to be sure I could live in my present locality.

Do not spoil the extended family because they all think you have a money tree in your Ferang garden but try to be respectful and look happy!!

Dave

Edited by Dave the Dude
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but try to be respectful and look happy!!

Dave

&lt;deleted&gt; that. Look miserable, angry, irrate, wise and in control. Be all those and they wont turn you over. Set out your stall and accept no shit. Rural folk take no prisoners.

:D:D:D I wish I could disagree with you Coventry, but I just cant. :o

I do agree with you about 'starting as you mean to go on'

I could not live a lonely life of a miserable,angry,irrate ferang cos that was what I left behind in the UK :D

I make no apologies for being happy,Mate

Dave

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but try to be respectful and look happy!!

Dave

&lt;deleted&gt; that. Look miserable, angry, irrate, wise and in control. Be all those and they wont turn you over. Set out your stall and accept no shit. Rural folk take no prisoners.

:D:D:D I wish I could disagree with you Coventry, but I just cant. :o

I do agree with you about 'starting as you mean to go on'

I could not live a lonely life of a miserable,angry,irrate ferang cos that was what I left behind in the UK :D

I make no apologies for being happy,Mate

Dave

D t D, thanks for your 'back up'. I don't mean to be disrespectful to Thais, as they're quite capable of capably of doing it themselves. I was told when I first came to Thailand "never trust a Thai". I wish, 4 years later, I'd paid head to that advice. I'll tell it is as I know it. If a Thai says "good morning ", check your watch. Edited by coventry
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Plenty of room for a serious garden. Both ten rai mini farms have ponds.

What do you grow in your gardens?

I had a great Golden Retriever dog but some low life thieving bastard stole him.

Maybe have a global location implant in your next pooch.

This way you'll be able to embarrass the thief.

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Plenty of room for a serious garden. Both ten rai mini farms have ponds.

What do you grow in your gardens?

I had a great Golden Retriever dog but some low life thieving bastard stole him.

Maybe have a global location implant in your next pooch.

This way you'll be able to embarrass the thief.

Bit harsh on the crims aint you, RockySTD :o

Gary, Sorry for your loss, mate

Dave

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Other than that, just be yourself. Have fun.

Be prepared for the early morning speaker anouncements and cockerells. You will not get a lie in if you stay in a village.

agree with these two bits and as to the cocks waking me up

I told the tgf to tell her mum that if her mum's cock woke me up one more time at 0400

that I would wake her at 0300 with mine (via the medium of Tgf squeeling or the bed banging the wall)

she nearly pegged it with with laughing so hard as she thought I wanted to boom boom with her

The daughter (my Tgf) went bright red as the mum told her that maybe she wouldn't be so grumpy in the morning

if she got laid in the evening and I was welcome anytime to stay in the house.

The Tgf's daughter who speaks very good english took great delight in telling me all of what was going on after she stopped laughing.

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My wife and I lived in my Jomtien condo. It is a nice condo and we walked to the beach several times a week. I spent entirely too much time in the bars and was bored with the whole tourist thing. I missed having a workshop and toys to play with that were impossible to have while living in a condo. I like to have animals around too. My wife had a house and a little land in Loei province. We started taking regular trips up there and little by little I westernized her house. After a number of trips I decided that I liked the mountains and the farm country. We made the move. I left the condo empty for about a year to make sure I would like it upcountry. I now have many toys and plenty to keep me occupied. I highly value my privacy and that was understood by my wife. I don't enjoy spending time with the village drunks and don't enjoy having Thai visitors in the house. My wife is free to visit her parents in the next village and I am quite content to stay at home doing whatever appeals to me. I am very content living up here with my wife and have no desire to give it up. I should add that if anything were to happen to my wife or our relationship, I'd pack up head back to the farang ghetto. This life I live is what retirement is all about and what I worked for all my life.

Hi Gary

Just reading your post,thought it deserves a pat on the back.

I dont mean to patronise you as I am only 33 yrs old.

Its the idea about living close to family but not to close.

We have both decided to move to thailand(Sakon Nakhon).

Her family live about 30 min drive from the city.She will be going to

university,so I have her looking for a house near by.Couldnt bear living

with all the family 24/7.

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