-Where were you born?
-In which country and city are you living now?
Thailand. Lalomtim village and sometimes Chon Buri Pattaya
-Are you living alone or with your family?
With my Thai wife
-How long have you been living in Thailand?
About 2 and a half years
-What is your age?
"A girl never reveals her age."
-When did you come up with the idea of living in Thailand?
A day after I met Sompong, by which time we had become inseparable. She would never be happy anywhere else except Thailand.
-Was it hard to get a visa or a work permit?
No. Being married to a national is the easiest way into any country. I do have a stamp in my passport - NOT ALLOWED TO WORK - but I don't need to work anymore - see below.
-Was it difficult for you to get medical insurance before you went there or when you first arrived?
I don't know. Sompong has arranged that side of things for us. I just pay the premiums!
-How do you make your living in Thailand? Do you have any type of income generated?
We don't. To cut a long story short, if you have a net income -- (private means, pension, disability) of around USD 700 a month and USD 100k in a bank to buy a nice house/apartment (or 2 or 3) - avoid the beach front areas. They are expensive. Car, etc., a couple can live like a King and Queen here, even in the cities and allowing for a lot of money left over for a rainy day.
-Do you speak Thai and do you think it's important to speak the local language? Please add your thoughts on local customs and whether it's important for expats to respect/observe local customs.
Very badly. Thai pronunciation is extremely difficult for Europeans. I'm studying the lingo but my progress is very slow. The Thais laugh at my efforts! Their command of English is often very poor. Even worse than my Thai.
As to the Thai customs, I regularly insult - using a mixture of Thai, English and hand gesticulations - the Thais, the country (corrupt) their customs, language, Buddha (I've become a Buddhist myself). They just find it funny! A word of warning - do not insult the Royal Family. This is considered bad form. I've learnt to sing the Thai National Anthem. Which is more than many Thais can manage!
-Do you miss home and family sometimes? Describe your favorite recreational activities there or those that are available.
Not really. I have almost no contact with any of my family in the UK. Some contact with my deceased wifes family. Its been several years since my last visit. London feels stranger to me than Bangkok nowadays. Some contact with friends in other countries. Cycling is my main outdoor activity, but the way many young Thais drive I can't recommend the hobby. Astronomy is my main hobby. Internet astronmy these days. I have to know whats going on out there.
-Do you have other plans for the future?
Enjoy life. It's breathtakingly short.
-What about housing, have you bought, or are you renting a home? How much do you pay for it?
See above. Much cheaper in the country - much lower land prices. We have had a house built for us in the village. The standard of constuction and finishing is high. Be careful buying a house in Thailand, make sure you own the land the house stands on, or you might find yourself on the sticky wicket of owning the house but not the land!
-What is the cost of living in Thailand?
-What do you think about the locals?
They are all nice - crazy like myself. The Thais seem to me to be virtually free of racism. I would trust most of them with my life. If not my wallet.
-What are the positive and negative aspects of living in Thailand?
Many. One can get hypercritical of foreigners (natives) strangers ia a strange land but most of us make mountains out of molehills of difference. Taking a broad view, we are all much the same. My own situation is of course very different, since I am not a foreigner, Im British.
-Do you have any tips for our readers about living in Thailand?
It takes about a year of living in a foreign country to decide if you like it or not. If you have a good job with a large multinational company, and are posted here, lucky you!
-Do you have any favorite Web sites or blogs about Thailand?
Try - www.pattayaexpatsclub.info. I'm on Facebook - Norman Eric Foxwell. Become a friend of mine at your own risk.