Hi everyone, its only me, Noi the ‘time traveller again with the next chapter of my life story. You may recall from where I left you in 'Noi's Journey From East to West’, I had just arrived in Scotland and I was feeling that everything was a bit strange and totally different to what I had been used to in Thailand….
Particularly the weather as it was in the middle of the winter here in Scotland!
My life had changed dramatically and I was feeling a bit lonely and homesick due to the different cultures and of course the language barrier as my English was very poor. Before I travelled to Scotland, I knew that my new husband Brendan would be regularly away from home, working offshore in the North Sea Oil Industry but now that I was in Scotland and the time for him to leave was getting closer, I was dreading being left alone in the house.
When the day finally arrived when Brendan had to go back to work offshore again I was really worried about how I would cope as I was going to be all alone and in a country that was all very strange to me. I couldn’t even really speak to anyone due to our language differences and I was embarrassed to even try to speak English. I was however lucky however to have the company of Brendan’s 2 dogs, Rowan and Rosie and I walked them every day to the River Urr and back and soon became very fond of them both, although Rowan the Cocker Spaniel was to become my favourite.
Brendan left me some money so that I could buy food for the 2 weeks that he would be away but I had no idea of how to budget or how much food would cost. I had also made a promise to my mother when I left Thailand that I would send her money to help to clear the debts that she had after my father had died but as I wasn't working or earning I couldn’t see how I could manage to do that. I decided to try to live on the food that was already in the fridge and freezer and save the money so that I could eventually send it to her.
As luck would have it, only a few days after he left to go back to work offshore, all of the electricity in the house went off and I was left with no lights or power and I had absolutely no idea what to do.
Feeling very confused about this, I didn’t think about asking anyone to help as I thought that perhaps I had done something wrong and had caused the electricity failure. I remained alone in the house without electricity for a couple of days until Brendan's father eventually called in to visit me in order to see if I was OK. Brendan had been trying to phone me and although it appeared to him that the phone was ringing at his end, with no electricity, the phone wasn't ringing in the house, so he called his father asking him to check on me.
When his Dad arrived, I explained to him what had happened and he merely went to the electricity control box, flicked up a switch and as if by magic the lights came back on!J It was a simple task for him but as I was alone and this was all a new and worrying time for me, I had had no idea what was wrong or what to do.
Looking back to that time, it was a frightening experience for me as it left me feeling even more isolated. Please excuse the unintentional pun about the lack of electricity leaving me feel so ‘isolated’... that was shocking but also very current!!! …..
See, my use of the English language has improved.
Now that I had regained the use of the electricity in the house, I still managed to keep in very regular email contact with my family in Thailand but I still missed seeing them all so much.
I was regularly in touch with my Niece in Thailand, as she was the only one in my family that had or could even use a computer. She printed out the emails that I sent her and read them out to my mother. I told them what my new life was like here and they were delighted yet amazed by the differences in or culture. She also passed the many messages from my mother but sadly, I no longer have access to that email account, as I would love to read these emails again.
Earlier I explained how all of the household appliances such as the washing machine were so new and confusing to me, well I forgot to tell you about one terrible and frightening appliance. It was the Vacuum Cleaner, or as they say here in Scotland, the Hoover! At home in Thailand, we didn’t have floor coverings so when we cleaned; we just swept the floor with a brush.
Not here in Scotland though, as we had carpets and rugs on the floor, I had to use the 'Vacuum Cleaner' and it made a horrible loud whining noise and had a hose attached that had a mind of its own, sucking in everything in sight! L It took me a long to get used to and trust this apparently dangerous thing although even to this day, I’m still not too keen on using it. Well that's my excuse anyway so that Brendan will do the cleaning!
Back to December 2004, when Brendan was away from home working offshore again in the North Sea and I was left alone in the house. Not too long after I arrived in Scotland, I spoke to my mum on the phone and she reminded me if things did not go right for me I was just to get a flight and go straight back home to her.
I told her that everything was fine and that I was settling into my new life and I remember her saying to me, ‘that’s ok then, I don't need to worry about you any more’. This was said in Thai of course!
Feeling very alone while Brendan was working away from home and being in a foreign country, when going outside, I noticed another difference between the Scottish and Thai cultures.
In Thailand when we saw a ‘Farang’, we would speak to them and make them feel welcome. In Scotland however, the people were far more reserved with me.
Perhaps now that I have arrived in Scotland, this is a good time for me to explain exactly what a ‘Farang’ is! This is what Thai people call white people, either male or female and no matter what country that they come from.
This was not a derogatory term in any way for us, as we considered white people to be taller than us, with slightly larger noses than ours and far more advanced and successful than we were.
Anyway, back to me feeling alone and isolated! L As I said, in Thailand, it was our custom to be warm and welcoming to visitors from other countries but in Scotland it appeared that if I had not already been introduced to a person, I felt that they tended to ignore me. I also felt that I was being stared at as I walked past although I appreciate now that this was probably just my perception at the time, however it did make me feel even more remote and lonely.
I remember being alone for my first Christmas Day in Scotland and I decided to go to the local village shop for some groceries. When I got there, I couldn’t understand why the shop was closed and although I saw the owners inside and they obviously saw me, I was left standing outside. Feeling rather confused at this I had to return home without being able to buy anything. It wasn’t a long walk to the local shop as it was less than 50 meters away but I suppose the exercise did me good
At that time off course being a Buddhist, Christmas meant nothing to me, as we didn’t celebrate it and I was not aware that in Scotland it was a national holiday. Even to this day, although I love to receive Christmas presents of course , we tend not to celebrate it to any real degree.
In general, I was surprised by the food that everyone tended to eat in Scotland as in Thailand; our food was based around rice. I was also amazed that everyone appeared to eat potatoes here with their main courses as in Thailand; it was used in desserts and puddings.
Well, with all of the talking about food is just making me hungry so I so I should eat something before my next customer arrives, at the Thai Massage Room & Spa for their treatment. I must keep my energy levels up!
Looking forward to seeing you all again soon in Part 2 of ‘Noi’s Destiny’.
Posted by Noi McIntyre on November 15, 2020