An Answer to a Question ...

I am interested in what a 'normal' day in the north entails for you and how you manage to mix your own philosophies and beliefs with those of your wife to form a harmonious balance that does not leave either party feeling lesser, for want of a better word.

I notice how very few farangs, from all continents, can truly let go of their past lifestyles, and excesses, to live a more fulfilling, yet to some extent humble existence, with their Thai partners, yet you seem to have done so with what appears to be a great ease!

My wife, the little vixen, had a short answer for you. She said, just tell him you are lazy and I do everything for you, so you can live anywhere, with “great ease.”

Seriously, there is more than one question in there, so let me pull out some things and answer them separately. As for the philosophies and beliefs part, that is pretty simple for us. Though I can understand how that simplicity might not be “easy” for everyone. Neither of us is evangelical, about what we believe or don’t believe. That’s it. In other words we are not trying to convert or shove something down each other’s throats.

Our beliefs are not so fragile or insecure as to be threatened by others beliefs. We are able to joke about our differences and she understands that the only things that can raise my hackles are things that causes her too much grief or anxiety. That extends even to family. She is my first priority and for me a happy wife makes for a happy life. We also stress that we are a team and don’t fight each other. We take on the rest of the world, together.

As for the lifestyles question. It has been incremental. Remember, I wasn’t even 21 when I discovered Thailand. Back then I was only interested in one thing and all the comparisons were in Thailand’s favor. I hadn’t done anything yet, so there really wasn’t much for me to “let go of.” The same, probably can’t be said, for someone coming here in their 40s, 50s or 60s.

Now for the “normal” day thing. Keep in mind, there is no truly “normal” day for us, my age, location and the wife’s assessment that I am lazy. The day starts slowly, between five and six in the morning. One of us, and there is no rule about who, will get up and turn off the streetlights, go to the bathroom and take a look out the windows to see where the dogs are and check on the weather and any activity out in the fields. Then it is back to bed for a while. I said things start slowly.

I have been known to get up and take the dogs to the dam on a cold foggy winter morning but these days I am more apt to do it later in the day. More often than not my wife gets up first, if she has a project she wants to get started on or wants to go to the market for something. For now, she is still spending way too much time on the house and yard but there is hope that will change, when things get a little more settled.

My wife likes to shower first thing but I wait until after breakfast. I usually start off by opening all the window and blinds to let in the fresh morning air. I plug in the computer and let it warm up while I grind the beans for my morning brew. Breakfast is a quiet affair and we both make our own. We take in the view and talk about what is on the plate for the day. After eating I check out the internet, emails and watch the international new on TV. Then its time for a shower followed by the daily call to my parents.

If we are not heading into town (54 kilometers) for anything, them my wife is already working on lunch after having cleaned most of the house. Often we have people working on some project so she might eat with them or go over to eat with her mother. I don’t eat lunch, so don’t join in. What I do in the afternoon depends on the weather and what help my wife might request. Which could be almost anything. Sometimes I write. I have several photographic or video projects that I could work on if nothing else takes precedence. Those kinds of things are very time consuming and the day passes quickly.

If my wife gets tired and needs a midday nap, I join her for some quiet time. We take turns during the day, checking on the progress of the workers and playing with the dogs. Late afternoons are often taken up with, gardening and watering the plants. I enjoy watching the sunset as I sit by the pond feeding the fish.

You never really know who might stop by and there is always something going on in the village, like weddings, funerals, and a multitude of village calendar events. Our front canal is full of water these days so the neighbors are usually out there fishing. I’m sure they have scarfed up every last fish but they are still out there everyday enjoying the water, anyway.

Dinner comes early. My wife does the cooking and I eat whatever she feeds me. She is not a great cook by I always tell how good the food is, often before I have even tasted it. Just another of our playful exchanges. I help dry and put away the dishes but not much more. We might watch a TV show or a DVD while stretching and perhaps giving each other a massage, or take a shower or bath together.

There is no fixed routine with us but life revolves generally around our relationship, the house, the dogs and our families (hers’ here and mine on the phone or online) and a few friends. The sun and moon, the weather, the natural rhythms of sleep, grooming, exercise and sustenance, seem to dictate the pace of our lives. Not some artificial number on a digital clock. Not everyone can move at this pace but since my laziness has already been determined, you might say I find it both easy and natural.

We are really quite laid back and my cynical side is vented here in these pages. I exercise my demons here so that my wife only sees the angel in me (with horns on occasions).