Hi everyone, it’s me again, continuing with my life story from where I left off the last time. Hopefully you will recall that I was just about to make the move from the middle school in Ban Kruat to the Phattharaborphit High School that was in the Buriram Province. This was still around 68 kilometres from my home village of Khoranang, in the Khao Khok District, so it was still too far away to stay at home with my family.
(Please do not try to pronounce these names as you may do yourself an injury!!!)
At that time in Thailand, it was fairly normal for teachers to have school accommodation to live in and to provide lodgings for pupils. It was arranged that together with a friend, I would stay in the teacher's house with him and his wife who also worked in the school selling food.
In order to help to pay for our keep, before school my friend and I had to get up early every morning and help her set up and prepare the food for the pupils arriving. We were also responsible for the housework including toilet cleaning L At lunchtime, we had to go back to help her sell the food again and we were given a small plate of noodles in payment for our work, although we had to eat it quickly before rushing back to our classes. After school, it was back to the housework and cleaning again but at least we were kept dry and fed.
When I was around 17 years old and in my second year at the High School, a rather unfortunate incident happened in the teacher’s house. My friend and I were sitting in our room chatting and reminiscing about our time at the Middle School in Ban Kruat. During our chat, I talked about my friendship with my then older friend Sakda, who had always been so kind to me and had given me money. During our conversation I said how much I liked him.
The teacher’s wife had obviously overheard part of our conversation, including what I had said about Sakda and came running into our room, shouting at me and then she slapped me on the face. She had obviously and mistakenly thought that I was talking about her husband who by an unfortunate coincidence was also called Sakda!
Thinking that I had feelings for her husband, which I did not!!!, she would not reason with us or listen to my explanation and ordered us both to leave the house that night. Fortunately we were able to move into another Hostel that was nearby, which was still close enough for us to walk to school. Despite being unfairly thrown out of their house, I still had to work for her every day preparing and selling the food so that I could still get my noodles at lunchtime. This was not a comfortable situation!
During the time that I was away from home and at school, I knew that my elder brother was also away somewhere studying but I had no idea where it was. At that time of course there were no telephones or mobile phones…………
How did we manage to survive without them???
Because of this, I lost touch with him and rarely saw him other than when our paths briefly crossed when I went home to visit my mother but only if by chance he was there too.
My brother eventually qualified at college and started to work for the Agriculture Department with the Government and I remember that he looked very smart in his white uniform. Because he was working, he was then able to send some money home to my mother and this made things a bit easier for her, after she had struggled financially for all of these years. He was also able to give me a little money to make my life a little better and easier at the High School.
Towards the end of my High School years, I must admit that I did become a bit rebellious and started to stay out late at night as I had met a man! His name was Rung and I thought that he was very handsome. On occasions, I stayed out so late that I had to sneak back into the Hostel by climbing through a window.
Now I bet that none of you obedient people out there have ever done that! J
Sadly, but I’m sure that it still happens today, as soon as a man (or woman!) comes into our lives, we tend to drift apart from our friends as we spend more time with our new partner. This certainly happened to me and slowly I had less and less contact with my friends that I had been so close to through both Middle and High School.
Eventually, I moved out of the Hostel and into accommodation in the town, as I wanted to be nearer the nightlife, although I still travelled to school each day by bus.
After I had moved there, my mother arrived unexpectedly to visit me one day, tracked me down and found me sitting having a meal with Rung when she arrived. She was so shocked and furious to find that I was involved with a man, as I had never mentioned anything about our relationship to her.
Still very angry and before she left to go back home, she told me that she wanted nothing more to do with me. I was very upset by this and pleaded with her to change her mind but she refused. I did however manage to convince her to let my younger sister to come and stay with me so that she could go to the Middle School in that town.
Looking back, I think that Rung may have then felt a bit trapped into our relationship, now that my mother had apparently disowned me. Not long after that, together with my sister we moved into the army accommodation with Rung. I do however remember it feeling a bit strange having to go through the army security gates to get to the house while still wearing a school uniform!
I continued with my High School education until it finished and also supported my younger sister with hers. In order to earn some money and to be able to pay the bus fares for my sister to go to school, I did ironing work for the army and could do up to 10 complete kits every day. It was hard and hot work! Rung was only a young Soldier at that time and his pay was low. He was deployed away from home regularly for many weeks at a time and I continued to do what I could to make ends meet.
We had some land with the house as it was an end terrace, where I cultivated and grew various vegetables. I also had hens and ducks, which I kept for their eggs and I even built them a house so that they would be safe at nights.
Although we used some of the vegetables and eggs at home, I sold what was left around the army base and this again helped me to bring income into the house to help support us.
After a couple of years Rung and I were married although he was still working away from home a lot of the time. Being a young man, he wanted to have a life of his own and enjoy himself when he could when he was at home.
On that note, it seems like a good time for me to return to the reality and normality of my life here in Scotland. Looking forward to being with you all again soon in Part 8.
Posted by Noi McIntyre on September 02, 2019