Hi everybody, it’s time for my weekly daydream about times gone past. The last time that I left off, I was around 13/14 years old and was living with a family in Ban Kruat while I attended the Ban Kruat Wittayakarn Middle School. I love living and working here in Scotland but I often think back to my years in Thailand and wonder what my life would have been like if I had stayed there.
Thank you again for reading and being interested in my life story, the comments that I have received have been wonderful and have made this all worthwhile.
Lets now time travel back around 1981-----------------------------!*!*!*!
When I was around 13 or 14 years old, my school arranged a trip to take the pupils to the seaside as most of us had never seen or experienced it before. Everyone at the school was so excited, except me that is, as I knew that I didn’t have the money to pay for the bus and that I couldn’t ask my mother, as she couldn't afford it. I know that this was probably not a huge thing in life but at that time to me, it was enormous as I thought that I would be left behind.
This was a sad and worrying time for me although while on one of my regular trips to the well, I met my 19-year-old friend Sakda again and he handed me an envelope. When I opened it, I was shocked to find that it contained around 40 Baht (approx £1) and he said that this was to pay for the trip. It was a fortune to me and even until this day, I will never forget his kindness. Shortly after this and before the school trip, the family's kind daughter Suphattra, also gave me some money to spend at the seaside and I felt terribly rich.
After a few weeks had passed, the day from the trip finally arrived and we were all so excited as we boarded the bus. The Coast was so far away that the bus had to leave the School around 10pm and we drove all night, not reaching the sea until the morning. Although it was a very long journey and I’m sure that we would have been exhausted, we all couldn’t wait to put our feet on the sands and run to the water.
The coastal area that we went to was called Bann San Beach and we had a wonderful time there. I still remember being amazed at the vastness and the beautiful blue/green colour of the ocean. There were even waves and I had never seen these before.
Before we left to go on the trip, the teacher told us about the difference between the sea and the river water that we were used too. Of course she told us that we could not drink the seawater, as unlike the river water it was salty and if we drank we would be ill. Now, I know what you are thinking and yes you are right……...!!!. I wanted to taste it so that I could try it out for myself! I did and it was horrible and can still remember the salty taste in my mouth to this day!
Now I’m sure when you think about a school trip to the beach here in Scotland on a hot day (if we ever get one!!!), the children would be dressed in shorts and T-shirts.
Not us, we were dressed in our full school uniform when we boarded the bus late at night on day one, wore it all day on the beach and in the heat of day two and then travelled back, still wearing it not arriving home until the early morning of day 3!
Despite spending the full day at the beach, we all got back onto the bus to start the long journey back to our home. I still remember how hot and sticky that I felt with sand and seawater and still wearing my school uniform but it was a happy day and one that I will never forget.
It was a very long and tiring journey and I’m sure that such an epic expedition wouldn’t be allowed here in Scotland!
The rest of my days at the Middle School went by and I was relatively unscathed, other than the odd smack or two with the bamboo stick! When I reached the age of 15, the time came for me to leave the middle school but I wanted to go on to the High School and study.
I had no idea if that could happen, as my mother had never discussed me continuing at school or anything else about my future. I really wanted to go and being a rather determined person, (some may say stubborn!!!)J, I decided that I would go to the High School anyway with my friends. I told my mother this and to be fair, despite being poor, she agreed to give me a little money so that I could go, although it was going to be expensive even for a Government school.
It was a huge thing for my mother to give me some money to go to the High School as she still had to care for and look after my family that were still at home. The work that had to be done to prepare and sow the fields for the rice crop was far too difficult for a woman, so she had to get others to do it for us while still managing to keep enough rice to last the family for a year.
My mother worked very hard providing for our family and she was wonderful at producing silk and making beautiful Sarongs from it. I still have a Sarong that she gave me before I left Thailand to travel to Scotland and I keep it next to her photograph and of course my Buddha.
She produced the silk by hand by looking after and feeding the silk worms daily for a year before collecting the silk ready for preparation. In addition to this, she also did any other work that was available in order to supplement the family income and this included picking the chilli crop in neighbouring farms. During the school holidays I used to help my mother with this and the work was painful to our hands. I remember the burning sensation and of course if we rubbed our face or eyes, the pain was unbearable. Although these were difficult times for her, she always made sure that we were all cared for.
At this point, I’m sorry to say that it is time again to travel back to the present day and go back to work. I am delighted to say that I have another busy day ahead of me and I am looking forward to seeing and treating my clients.
See you all again soon when I come back with Part 7.
Posted by Noi McIntyre on August 26, 2019