Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Chan poot tai mai bpen

And here I was thinking I wouldn't have any fodder for an April Fool's post this year!  Those of you who guessed it was true were right on - there is indeed a possibility that we could move to Thailand a year or two from now.

So obviously I've been thinking a lot more about the practical side of living there - starting with the weather.  Oh, the weather! And the humidity!  During my last trip, I was out on site in the middle of nowhere for a week and working in 110°F/43°C with no fan, while wearing long pants and rubber boots and no about gross. Let's just say it was a killer and I was in major need of a hose down when I was done every day.

And then it comes down to a place to live.  What is the housing like? Is there reliable internet access?  Are gyms popular?  Will I be able to adapt to the food?  What kind of budget will we need?  How will we pay our mortgage in Paris?  So I've been asking a lot of questions about how much a 2 bedroom apt would cost, where are the best areas, how do people get around, where do they buy groceries. And of course the visa/work permit question comes into play, as it seems like a pretty complicated process (although to be honest - is it ever an easy process??).

Then there's the language. At least when I started learning French, I was able to tell myself that I already knew about 40% of the language, I just needed to learn how to pronounce it properly.  That doesn't really work with Thai. My brain is pretty much already full with English, French, Finnish plus the basic communications I have learned in Arabic, Japanese, Mandarin, etc, and for whatever reason, Thai is just not sticking. I cannot seem to get past Hello (Sa wat dee kah), Thank You (Kob Khun Kah) and Water (Nam).  The words are just so darn long.

Plus there's the whole issue of tones....the Thai language uses long and short tones, high tones and low tones to change the meaning of a word. For example: "kao" can mean: nine, knee, rice, come in, news, etc depending on the tone used.  And to my farang (hey, wait, I know a 4th word!) ears, they all sound exactly the same.  Though I guess it's similar how many Americans can't hear the French nasals, and have trouble distinguishing between vent/vin/vont.

But of course Bangkok would be a great city to be based out of, and my work would likely require a lot of travel elsewhere in SE Asia, which could also mean some fun side trips for the two of us.  Plus the people are absolutely lovely - even though I stand out like a sore thumb, I feel like much less of an outcast in Thailand than I did in Bretagne. I'm also lucky to have a wonderful husband who totally supports my career and is willing to follow me anywhere in the world.  And I guess at least one good thing is that it would give me a lot of new blogging material, which has been sorely lacking as of late.

So who knows, we'll see how things play out over the next 12-18 months with our Asian market expansion. We could continue living on in France, or a year or two from now, I may need to make a blog name change to "Totally Bangkok'ed Out"...although that sounds a little dirty.  Maybe "Totally Thai'ed Out"?  or "Totally Thai'ed Down"?   A voir !

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Is change in the air?

As some of you may have noticed, I've been making quite frequent trips to Bangkok lately, and I'll likely continue going at least a week per month between now and July.  Like most global companies, mine is working on expanding East, and as the only specialist in my subject matter for The Company, this has meant an increased need for my skills in Asia. It also does not hurt that for whatever reason, despite me not being a people-person, I am quite popular with the aging bigwigs of the companies we work with, which makes them more likely to sign contracts with us.  I guess if ever it doesn't work out with C, I know I'll always be able to find a rich second husband abroad. ;)

Seriously speaking though, because of its geographical location, my company is considering possibly open up an office in Bangkok in a year or so, and given my specialty and the fact that I am part of a young, mobile (and childless) couple, there is a good possibility that if we open the office, C and I will be asked to at move to Thailand for a year or two.

All of this has had me looking at my trips there in a new light.  Like - could I really move across the globe?  I guess I've done it once before. But I've been in France for 12 years now.  And we have a good life here.  I was so much younger and more adaptable when I initially moved now we own our own home and have (high) monthly mortgage payments to make. Can I deal with the extreme humidity? And the time difference would be killer with my US colleagues....So needless to say, there's a lot for us to consider. Luckily though, C will be able to accompany me during my May trip over so he can take a look at Thailand with fresh eyes too.

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