Hi everyone, its lovely to be back with you again with Part 14 of my story. You may recall that when I left off, Brendan had just unexpectedly returned to visit me after New Zealand had been hit by terrible flooding. We again spent a lot of our time together just getting to know each other.
Brendan had already seen how popular Thai Massage was in the cities and tourist areas in Thailand and how much of a very big business that it was. When visiting my family in my home village however, he saw at first hand just how important that it was the Thai people as part of their everyday life in a rural area. In addition, he could also see just how much it meant to me personally. In reality, few tourists ever have the opportunity to see how important the art of Traditional Thai massage is in our rural communities and to our culture. When I was young, I remember that Massage in our village was never carried out for business reasons; it was only to help our families and neighbours.
Although my mother was never trained in Thai Massage, I regularly saw her give my dad a shoulder, neck or back massage when he returned home after working all day on the farm. This was common practice in our villages. Most of the young children, including me J, had to walk up and down our parents backs in order to ease their aches and pains after a hard day’s work n the land. Now I regularly do that as part of my Traditional Thai Massage treatments in the Thai Massage Room & Spa, so now you can see where that originates.
I also remember from a very young age, seeing an older lady from our village regularly massaging other villagers and she even helped ladies who were giving birth.
Natural remedies were a huge part of our lifestyle and I can remember my mother boiling various plants and herbs and then the mixture would be given to us to drink if we had a sore stomach.
It was also normal for my mother to give me and my brothers and sisters a head massage if we were having difficulty in sleeping and I am sure that these remedies and treatments are still being used in many parts of rural Thailand today.
I was always amazed at how ‘Farang's’ (don’t worry, the explanation is coming soon!) were intrigued with how natural Traditional Thai Massage was to us in our rural village life compared to how commercial that it was in the tourist areas in Thailand where many premises offer Massage services.
Sadly again, all too soon, the time came for Brendan to leave Thailand again and fly on to Hong Kong where he had arranged to continue his holiday. I really hoped that he had not arranged to meet up with anyone from the Dating Website there.
After he left Thailand, we continued to be in contact with our regular emails which obviously were yet another bonus for the interpreter who by this time had probably earned enough from them to retire!
However very gradually, I began to understand more and more English although I have to say that the same didn’t happen with Brendan, as even to this day, he still understands very little Thai!
Perhaps I should now consider this to be a bonus, especially when I am angry with him and he has absolutely no idea what I am saying to him!
Within a few months however, I was delighted when Brendan decided to return again to Thailand to see me on another two occasions. We really got on well together, no doubt partially due to our shared interest of walking for thousands of kilometres!!!
On his third visit to Thailand, on the 24th September 2004, we decided to secretly get married in a Registry Office and we agreed not to say anything to our respective families.
However at that point our relationship still had to remain long distance, as I still had to apply and be successful for a Visa to travel to the UK. We knew that this would be a long and difficult process.
During our time together in Thailand, we again discussed what I would do when I eventually arrived in Scotland, particularly when he was working offshore. As I had always been interested in Traditional Thai Massage so Brendan kindly gave me the 30,000 Baht so that I could go to the famous Wat Pho College inj Bangkok and formally train in the art of Traditional Thai Massage. The money that he gave me not only paid for my course but also for my accommodation while I was there. Now that was really kind of him. J We planned that eventually this would my career when I eventually managed to move to Scotland.
As I mentioned earlier, I had little or no money of my own and I still owed my elder sister that money that I had borrowed from her to take Brendan around Thailand. I am delighted to say however that I have since repaid her kindness many times over.
During my Massage training, for the first time ever I truly realised that massage and helping people was what I really wanted to do and base my future career on. I was absolutely delighted when I eventually qualified and couldn’t wait to start my new life and new career in Scotland.
As we predicted, despite us being married I had extreme difficulty in obtaining a Visa to allow me to enter the UK. After I completed my training and while trying to get a Visa that would allow me to enter the UK, I returned to live in my ho0me village with my mother and life really carried on as it had been before. However on my second attempt to obtain a Visa, I was eventually successful.
Arrangements for my travel could then be made and soon the day came in November 2004, when I was to leave my family and say goodbye to my dear mother.
On my last night with her we had a lovely day together and we spent real quality time in each other’s company. I gave my mother a lovely massage that day, which she really loved and we chatted freely and openly with each other. My mother was always a beautiful woman and as she was only 40 when my father died, I asked her why she had never married again. To this day I remember her replying that with six terrible children like us, who would have taken her! In truth she loved my father so dearly that no one could ever replace him.
When it was time for me to leave, we were both very upset and she said that if things didn’t work out for me that I was to come straight back home to her. I agreed and said that if things were ok in our relationship that we would return to Thailand and have a traditional wedding at home. Of course, she didn’t actually know that we were already married!!!
Like any mother would do she said that if things didn’t work out in Scotland then I was to come straight back to her. Although I knew that she had diabetes and a heart problem, little did I know that this was going to be the last time that I saw her.
Before I left my mum for the last time, similar to what a mother would do here in Scotland when their child went off to school with a snack box, she gave me a lot of sealed bags containing all of the spices and herbs that I could use when cooking, just in case that I wasn’t able to get them here in Scotland when I got there.
Looking back, I suppose that neither of us realised that most of the common things that we would use in Thailand are also easily available here, either in the Supermarkets or in more specialised Asian shops.
My mother also asked me if I would like anything from her and I chose a beautiful Sarong that she had handmade from the silk produced from our silkworms and she had worn for over 20 years. I chose this because I was able to smell her from the silk. Even to this day I have it with me in the Thai Massage Room & Spa in Scotland beside her photograph. Whenever I travel anywhere on holiday I take the Sarong and my mothers photo with me, as I know that she is with me and I am sure that she will always keep me safe.
As I was leaving I was upset and in a panic about leaving so the very last thing that I did was to grab a handful of soil from the farm so that I would always have a small piece of my homeland with me. I hoped that when I finally arrived in Scotland, I would be able to scatter them in my garden so that a small piece of Thailand would always be close to me.
As I had very occasionally kept in touch with my former partner Ian, I arranged with him that he would take me to the Airport to catch my flight to Scotland as by that time he had left the UK again and had returned to stay in Thailand. There was absolutely nothing between us at that stage but it was kind of him to agree to take me to the airport.
Now on that note, I think that this is an appropriate time to leave you again and get to the important issue of my business in Scotland. Looking forward to being with you with Part 15, next week…. Will it be a good flight or will it be an eventful journey???
Posted by Noi McIntyre on October 22, 2019