How i met my wife.
I get asked frequently how i met my wife. the quick answer is "i met her on the internet" and people nod their heads and smile. i know they are thinking it was "mail order brides.com" or some such, but it wasn't like that at all.
i started traveling around 2001. europe, india, thailand. i'd been to thailand three times, and enjoyed it immensly, but i wanted to meet "native" people, not just the ones who are accustomed to tourists in the shops and hotels. i wanted to meet regular folks - people who just live there.
this was back before facebook, myspace, twitter or any other social networks. months before my next trip to thailand, i started looking in the directories in the popular messenger sites: ICQ (remember them?), yahoo messenger, AOL messenger etc. i'd look for people online in thailand, cambodia and vietnam, as those were the places i was going to visit. if i saw someone online, man or women who was about my age, i'd message them "Hello from america!" if there was no answer, or strange characters, they didn't speak english and i'd keep looking.
through this process, i met and had ongoing conversations with a number of people in each of those countries. there were three people, one in each country that were consistently online, spoke enough english that we could converse, and seemed to be open to friendship. i met a guy in cambodia named alee, another young guy in vietnam named Lun, and a women in thailand named Tok. Tok and i conversed most, because she had a friend who had and internet shop, and she could get online frequently. our conversations were quite platonic and friendly. well, occasionally a flirt here and there, i am a man, she a women. i wasn't looking for a girlfriend or even a date, so i wasn't approaching things from that direction. i was just hopeing to make friends online BEFORE i went overseas, and perhaps i could visit my friends and see their life.
i went over in december, for a friends wedding. when i got back to bangkok, i was thinking i should goto cambodia/vietnam now, or goto phuket island in thailand. on a whim, i went into a travel agency right where i was standing, and they hooked me up with a mini-bus ticket to Siem Repp in cambodia. so i went that way first. which put me in vietnam when the sunami happened, else, i would have been right there on the beach area of phuket that got hammered in places.
i met Alee in phonom penn. it was really cool, he was a motorbike taxi driver and took me all over the place, killing fields (uffff) shooting range, markets and other fun places. then i went to saigon and i met Lun. he was also really cool, showed me around, introduced me to his friends, took me to a birthday party, borrowed his sisters motorbike to take me to see sites. awesome!
then i went back to thailand. Tok was going to her family home for four days over new years, and she said i could join up with her and goto her village. Perfect! a chance to experience real thai country life. i met her at the Mochit bus station in bangkok, and we took the 6 hour bus ride up to her home near Lom Sak. she was really sweet, tho a little wary, she didn't really know me after all. she introduced me to all her relatives in the neighborhood, took me with her to go shopping at the markets, everything.
after four days, she had to go back to her teaching job in south east thailand, we said good bye at the bus station and i went to pattaya. and i missed her. havning met her in person, i found that i really really liked her. she was pleasant, interesting and sweet. so i rang her up and asked if i could come visit her in her city where she worked. I took the bus to Cantiburi in south east thailand. she'd found us a nice little hotel and we had a pleasant weekend. she showed me around, ordered food for me, told me about the place.
i was going to phuket next, to join up with a danish guy i met there the year before. Mr. Bo and i had a good time hanging out the last year, and he wasn't going to let a little tsunami put off his holiday. i asked Tok if she could get time off and go with me. so we spent a week in phuket. the tsunami had really messed up some areas, but two weeks had gone by and they'd bulldozed a lot of it into big piles and were starting to rebuild.
we had a good time. we had a few talks on the bus back to bangkok, and my whole reason for life had changed.
we got married a couple years later, and my life is all about caring for her, her mother and her daughter, and our life here in thailand. i miss her terribly when i have to go back to the USA to work, but that's just the way things are, for now. we figured out that in the 7 years we've been together, we have only been in each others presence 3 and 1/2 years. hope that changes someday.
meeting her changed my life, and just about everything in it. i wasn't looking for it, and if you would have asked me, i would have said i didn't even want it. i'd pretty well given up on the "girlfriend/wife" thing.
but i consider myself a LUCKY MAN none the less. and i tell her so.
A beautiful story of love in a time of disaster.ReplyDelete