After 15 years and now that I am settled here in Scotland with my husband Brendan, I often think back to my childhood years in Thailand and to how my life has changed. When I look back now I feel that it is important for me to tell my story now otherwise when my time comes, no one will ever know. My life has probably not been so remarkable but is has changed dramatically over the years and I would like to think that I have left my mark on the world and have helped others along the way.
Coming to Scotland in 2004 and to a year later adopting the good Thai name of ‘McIntyre’ !!! were massive decisions for me to make. It was also a huge challenge as I could hardly speak a word of ‘English’ never mind understanding the somewhat unusual South of Scotland dialect !
I was born in 1967, (I know that this is hard to believe ! ) in a small village located in the north of Thailand fairly close to the Cambodian border. The closeness to the border was soon to play a significant part in my early childhood memories due to the Civil War in Cambodia that took place between 1970 and 1975, during which 20% of all properties were destroyed and over 300,000 people lost their lives.
As a family, we lived in rural Thailand where life was basic and difficult, far different from the busy and prosperous city life in Bangkok. My family were poor and lived from the land and from an early age, we all had to work together to make ends meet.
I was one of 6 children, with one older sister, two older brothers, and then later another two younger sisters joined us. Sadly, my father died when we were very young and that placed a massive burden on my mother and on us as young children. I have early memories of living in our house during the raining season with the water pouring through the roof. Although life was hard, as a family we were happy and very close.
I mentioned earlier about living close to the Cambodian border, when I think back to these early years, life at times was frightening. We could clearly hear the bombings and explosions that shook the earth beneath our feet and we used to run and take cover in the tunnels under the roadways. At home, we had a makeshift shelter that we could hide in for safety although looking back to these times, it was no more than like a rabbit hutch that would blow down in a strong wind !
One of my early memories as a young child was to falling into a fairly fast flowing river and being swept downstream towards a dam or weir. I can clearly remember lying on my back with the water covering my face yet I could still see the sky above. My feet and hands were cold but I don’t really recall being too frightened but I suppose that I must have been. Despite being very young I remember thinking that if I could just stay above the water long enough that I may be able to grab onto the concrete dam.
After that, I remember nothing other than regaining consciousness with my mother standing over me. I don’t know whom or how but she later told me that someone had grabbed me by the neck and pulled me out of the water to safety.
Thank you to whoever did that for me and saved my life.
On that happy note I think that I will leave it there for today and for those of you that are interested, I will be back soon with Part 2 of my life.
Posted by Noi McIntyre on August 10, 2019