Random Thoughts at the End of 2016

December 15, 2016

Time

We know that time is a relative thing. Einstein taught us that time changes depending on the speed in which we are traveling. I now believe that time also changes depending on how old we are. It is my learned opinion that now a day consists of only about 18 hours (4 of which I can sleep if I am lucky), a week has 5 days, a month about 3 weeks, and a year, maybe just 8 months now. Those 90 day immigration reporting requirements come about every 45 days for some reason. That’s the way it appears to me now that I am 70 years old.

In a few months it seems, I will turn 80. Wow! Where did the last decade go?

Youth is wasted on the young.

– attributed to George Bernard Shaw.

When I dream I am always 18 years old (which makes it a pity that I can sleep only 4 hours a night).

And when I dream:

I was eighteen, didn’t have a care

Workin’ for peanuts, not a dime to spare

But I was lean and solid everywhere

Like a rock.

 Like a Rock, Bob Seger

*****

Friends

Back when I was 18 it seems like I had hundreds of friends. I’m not talking about Facebook “friends”. I’m talking about real people; people I would hang out with, travel with, party with, get high with, dream and love with. I had time for all that because a day had 36 hours back then.

You would think that the older one gets the more time we would have to accumulate more friends. I guess that I have met more than 10 thousand people in my lifetime (I once counted more than 3,000 former students.) But now I find myself spending most of my days with myself (Pikun is outside in the garden), writing, lifting bags of manure, playing music, Internet surfing, binge watching TV shows, and never missing a Seahawks game.

I have about a half dozen friends that I occasionally take a meal with or visit, and another half dozen that I email or Skype once in a while. Living 10,000 miles away from people you know makes anything more than an email/Skype relationship difficult. But once a week I play golf with a friend I have known for 40 years. We’re not getting any better at golf but our friendship continues unabated.

New friends are few and far between.

Those National Geographic shows on the Serengeti told us how things would be.

They would start out with those lion cubs, romping around all day, playing at hunting and fighting. Then the lions grew to adolescence and they did some more serious life-practice at being adults with their ”friends”. Later they would all join and work together, colleagues, to achieve their group goals, antelopes and wildebeests beware. When the male lion was mature and at the top of his game he would lay around all day, the little ones jumping all over him as he tried to snooze, waking only to go eat the food his ladies had prepared. When he got too old to lead the pride he was left to mostly wander about on his own.

I am happy now, and after retiring probably as happy as I have ever been, and if I could sleep for a solid 6 hours I would be ecstatic.  But sometimes I feel like that old lion wandering about alone. Where did all the “young lions” go?

*****

Older

I used to laugh when stories would depict older people grabbing the newspaper in the morning and opening to the obituary section first. I don’t read the newspapers anymore but I do note when some famous or important person passes away. I never miss the part of the Oscars when they show the pictures of all the stars who have left us this year.

Before I even look to see the reason for their demise I look to see their age. Are they older or younger than I? And if they are younger, then I look to see how they died. And I check to see if I have any of the symptoms of what they died of. So far so good (as I knock on my wooden desk).

So many of my contemporaries are “less-than-well”, or worse. Just the other day, after visiting a sick friend, of which I seem to have more and more lately, I thought to myself how lucky Pikun and I are to be healthy and happy; a few aches and pains, nothing a good session of senior complaining won’t cure. But we know that the Buddha’s truths will always be with us. If we have been born then we have getting older, becoming ill, and then leaving this mortal coil to look forward to. That’s all there is, but it is enough.

We’re okay with that, but at the same time we will continue to “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”, but we’ll enjoy the light as long as we have it.

*****

Politics

I wasn’t happy with either candidate. I was a Bernie supporter and over a year ago I posted on Facebook: “If Hilary is nominated then our next president will be named Trump.

Sometimes I hate being right.

I recently posted the following on Facebook. It describes my feelings about the United States’ next presidential term.

Bizarro World: A world in which everything is opposite from the real world, down is up, wrong is right, bad is good.

Now that the president-elect, whose name shall not be spoken, has selected most of his incredibly divisive billionaire-military-general-Wall-Street-banker laden cabinet, we realize that we are living in that Bizarro World.

In this “post truth” era, a time when the truth is not important and “fake news” and fake accusations help to elect a president, and that president is the prevaricator-in-chief, then down is up, wrong is right, and bad is good. Once again Orwell has proven prescient.

How does one live in this upside down world, without rats attacking your face that is? We now know that almost every stance the Republican nominee took has been modified and revised by the president-elect, that all his promises were conditional, that even his top advisors tell us not to take what he says “literally”.  We should realized that we can believe nothing said by this administration, good or bad. It is the “post truth” era so what can we expect.

My suggestion about how to survive the next 4 years is that anytime he, or his minions say anything on TV, switch the channel. Anytime you see an article on the Internet, newspaper, or magazine, about what the administration is planning, turn the page. Don’t listen to or read any of it because it will change with the weather, and if we do, it will only make us heartsick.

In that way your mind won’t be twisted and turned by these Bizarro machination and we might come out at the other end with our sanity, although sadly maybe not our country, intact.

*****

Annus Horribilis

The horrible year 2016 is over. That’s the good news. Looking forward to 2017. Game of Thrones Season 7 will be upon us. Prediction: Cersei Lanester, the Mad Queen, dies a horrible and much deserved death.  If the football gods are with us, and our defense holds up, then the Seahawks will once again be in the Super Bowl. Pikun and I are going to Hawaii’s Big Island for my Peace Corps group’s reunion (for some reason it is the 48th year reunion), and we have some great friends (2 of the half dozen I still email/Skype) who we once shared a house with in of all places Iran, coming for a nice long visit. It will give us a chance to tour the country and do lots of the touristy stuff we usually put off.

And I just planted a cocoa tree.

If we are lucky then 2017 will be a huge improvement from this year and we will see our first chocolate harvest.

May 2017 be for you happy, healthy, prosperous, and peaceful.

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28 Responses to “Random Thoughts at the End of 2016”

  1. A disappointed former follower said

    I have followed you faithfully over the years and felt we have enough similarities (Thai wife and family, 8 years living in Thailand, many of the same experiences and feelings living in Thailand, etc.) that I would like to meet you one day.
    Then you post your narrow opinions regarding the recent elections in the U.S. While I can willingly accommodate your being a Bernie supporter, or others support of Hillary, you cannot grant us the same accommodation regarding our candidate’s success.
    Funny I don’t recall any such criticism of Obama who will go down as the biggest waste of 8 years in our nations history. Our nation is more dividdd than ever following his terms! I knew he would be a disaster from Day 1, yet the difference is that we conservatives believe everyone has the right to their political opinions and to experience the consequences of those opinions.
    I could express my disappointment in a cruder manner but let it suffice to say I see no reason to follow someone with such a narrow mindset.

    • Rrwelling,

      I have had over 32,000 visits this year. The most since I have been writing. I am sorry to lose even one reader (BTW, I make no money from this blog and write it simply to share my opinions of retiring and of life with my readers.), but you are free to feel what you like and to read what you will. As to my political opinions, they are my own and I reserve the right to have them. These were my random thoughts at the end of 2016, and it is my blog.

      My “narrow opinion” is bolstered by close to 3 million more American who voted against the president-elect than voted for him so I believe that I am not alone. As to Obama’s wasted presidency, he might have done a bit better if right after he became president the heads of the Republican party didn’t promise that they would do everything in their power to make him a one term president including opposing everything that he proposed, everything.

      And anyway, the Obama family is probably the best looking First Family since the Kennedys. So that was a plus. The Democrats have not said that they would do the same to the new administration that the Republicans did to Obama. So, unlike the Obama presidency, this new one will be given a chance, although the new First Family doesn’t look anywhere as good as the last one.

      Why do I feel the way I do about the current “Bizarro” administration? People in my family will lose their medical insurance, Social Security and Medicare will be under attack, the government will cozy up to the murderous dictator Putin, NATO will be threatened and may not be able to stop Russian aggression, the oil companies will control our environment, land in the national parks and forest will be up for sale, help for poor people’s housing will be curtailed, no help will be forthcoming for student loan debt, a woman will not have control of her reproductive rights anymore, Iran will be free to develop nuclear weapons possibly leading to war with Israel – in which the U.S. will probably have to enter, free public education will be a thing of the past, fracking and dangerous oil pipelines will proliferate, and coal, the pollution king, will produce our electricity, trade wars will start, millions of people who have been adding to our culture and economy will be rooted out of their homes and sent packing, the minimum wage will be abolished, the president will use his position to make lots and lots of money in conflicts of interest that he believes that a president is immune from, and Wall Street and the family of the president will make life and death decisions for you and all of us. (If you don’t agree with any of this please see who has been nominated for cabinet positions.)

      You are invited to respond, crudely or otherwise, I’ll approve for publication anything you want to say. Thanks for offering your opinion, but as you can see I support Malania’s campaign. I will not be cyber-bullied.

      P.S. I have seen every presidential inaugural address since 1956 when it was Dwight Eisenhower and I was 10 years old (Really, every one, proving what a political junkie I am.) Sorry to say that I will miss it this year. I have lots to do. I believe I am scheduled to rearrange my sock draw that day.

      • Rrwelling said

        Of course everyone is entitled to their opinions and to refute each and every one of yours would be pointless but I doubt that much of what you are predicting will actually come to pass. I will only pick a few pertaining to education, which I have spent much of my life working in.

        Education has never been free…ask any taxpayer in the U.S. Literally billions are pumped into the “free” public education system yet our students fall further behind the rest of the world. Why should help for student loan debt be forthcoming? Supposedly college students represent the best and the brightest of their generations and I think they willingly entered into agreements (however ill-advised) which are rightly their responsibility to discharge.

        Finally I find your comments about the “looks” of the current first family, which you think are vastly superior to Trump’s family, curious and reveal an aspect of you I would never have suspected. I think Trump’s kids are just as good looking as the Obama kids. I’ve never taken looks to be that important rather I prefer the contents of a person’s character to be a more meaningful standard of measurement.

        By the way there is a big difference between cyber bullying and a frank and open exchange of opinions.

      • Rrwelling,

        Thanks for getting back to me. I thought you had stopped reading.

        “Free” public education is the term we have used in America for decades. It is used to differentiate it from schools that charge tuition, private schools and parochial schools namely. Of course its not “free”. And I have paid lots and lots of taxes in my day and always thought that in was my responsibility to “pay it forward”. The generation that came before me helped me get and paid for my education and now it is my obligation to help the next generation. But I do agree with you that our education system could use a complete overhaul. We do produce the most Nobel Prize winners, but so many American people lack the basics. As an example, so many still think that human influence on climate change is a Chinese hoax. Very sad.

        Help with student debt. Some students are paying 6%, 7% on their loans when you can get a car loan or a home loan for less than half that. Why? Because the lenders can get away with it. Help means to lower those rates so people can get out from under them. When they do then they can buy homes, and cars, and spend money in the economy, thus benefiting the whole country. Instead of “trickle down” economics, which never worked but will be tried again by this administration, this would be “trickle up”, and the worst it would do is alleviate a lot of pain.

        As to the First Family’s looks – boy you are quite serious. I could care less about that but it was humorous, especially your response (which I have to admit you fell into the response I was trying to coerce). Our greatest president, in my opinion, Abraham Lincoln, was probably our ugliest. Just Google his images.

        And you weren’t crude at all. Thanks for sharing.

        Cheers.

    • kenneth arntson said

      Disappointed, buck up, I too am a Trump supporter as a matter of fact the election of Obama is the main reason me and my family put up our home for sale in the U.S. and moved to Thailand 7 years ago. If Trump keeps his promises and does make America great again despite all the left’s moaning and groaning they will be eating their words in the next 4 years.
      I do remember with Regan was elected president and all the winning from the left that he was a Hollywood cowboy, well that cowboy turned out to be one of our greatest presidents. If it had not been for Regan’s “Star War” Russia would still be call the Soviet Union..
      Also keep in mind that great Democratic President Lyndon Johnson that promised to get us out of Vietnam and 50,000 American kids killed. Many of my college friends heckled me since I was a Goldwater supporter guess what Johnson won, I got drafted and sent to Vietnam and all the college Johnson supporter friends ran off to Canada.
      Wonder what would have happened if Hillary had won?

  2. Pat Teepatiganond said

    I very agreed on your politic section. pat

  3. Dallas said

    I enjoy reading your posts….thanks. I am sitting here at work, just dreaming of the day I can retire in Thailand. I am 48 now and believe that should happen within the next 4 years or so. I am single and believe that 1 thing better than living in Thailand, is living in Thailand as a single, able male.

  4. willie said

    Thanks for the great post. I myself am 66 years, retired living in the United States. I totally agree with all of your comments regarding President elect Trump. The Republican party tried to hinder President Obama from day one. I see a turbulent 4 years ahead.

  5. Barbara Anspach said

    I’ve always loved your writing, ever since I found you when my husband and I were seriously thinking of retiring in Thailand. At that point I went back and read every single one of your posts, and wished I could meet you. Though we ended up choosing a small college town in Kentucky to retire to, (Berea) and are very happy about it, I still subscribed to your posts to not miss a one.

    Now, learning about how you view the president-elect and his cabinet picks, I am pleased to hear that you see it all almost exactly as I do. The only part with which I couldn’t agree was your suggestion that we ignore the news, as a way to save our sanity. Being of a somewhat activist bent, I am choosing to stay informed (admittedly risking my mental health) so that I can have a chance to resist and stand up as much as I can against every hurtful thing this new administration does. (I supported Bernie, too, and did some phone-banking and door-to-door canvassing on his behalf.)

    About aging, your musings fit with mine also. Having just moved to a new town on retiring, it seems hard to start anew building local friendships. And it’s hard to sustain from a distance the older connections, and people are dying off. . . So sometimes it’s lonely, but in general, I, like you, am mostly content with my life. Thanks for this post!

    • Hi Barbara,

      Wow! Kentucky. I wish you all success in your retirement. It will be a new life for you.

      I do read the news, voraciously. But I won’t listen to our next president because of his mendacity. See I never use the “L” word for what he does but there are lots of synonyms. You listen to con men and they can take you in with their obfuscations. Better to listen to my roosters crowing in the morning. They are honest.

      But whatever works for you. May your retirement days be filled with joy and new awakenings.

  6. Jim said

    I like reading your blogs about living in Thailand, it’s culture, and related struggles-survival-relocating, etc.. I am sure you like hearing from your readers as well. But on politics, it becomes emotional for many, no matter whose side they are on. It’s the same in Thailand too. When I was there, I tried not to wear too much Yellow or Red. You never know these days. To that point, I prefer not to get bogged down in someone’s private political view points because it might not be pretty. My opinion is that politics might be a great topic on a ‘political forum’. But if you like confrontation, then politics is a sure fire way to get it. My guess is that most people who read your blog want to hear about Thai life. They probably get enough of US politics at home. Just say’n.

    • Thanks Jim,

      Notice the title of my post.

      Just because someone leaves their home country for another doesn’t mean that they don’t still care about the country they love. That is a big part of who we are and if one is going to retire abroad keeping connected will be a big part of their lives. I still live and die for the Seahawks. It keeps me rooted even though, like more than 5 million of us U.S. citizens I live so far away from home. Letting perspective retirees know this is part of what we face living abroad is important.

      As for Thai politics, like you I am careful about the color shirt I wear. In fact, all my yellow and red shirts are in a trunk somewhere. I never get involved in Thai politics.

      And I do like a little give and take on these boards; you should see my Facebook pages. Heated discussions is a good way to keep the juices flowing. Much better than fighting with my wife.

      Thanks again for your comment.

  7. Lou said

    Hugh,
    Are you getting to watch your Seahawks live or is it a replay or podcast? I would love to get the NFL games when I am in Thailand during the football season at my condo and not have to go to the local pub everytime to watch a game. I am a Patriots fan and who knows maybe we will have a Super Bowl rematch this year!
    Louis

    • I used to download torrents of Seahawk games until I found an interesting betting site that has all kinds of live sporting events (that you can bet on). I’ll let you Google to find it so as not to be promoting a questionable practice. Many NFL games are broadcast on satellite Thai TV. NFL.com has recaps and videos of all the games. Patriots look really good this year. So we’ll have to beat the Giants and/or Cowboys first and then beat, once again this year, the Pats. I’m already basking in glory.

      Go Hawks!

  8. Lou said

    Thanks Hugh,
    Will try those sites out.

  9. Lani said

    Happy Holidays Hugh and family! All the best for 2017!

    (take it back, about Cercei, take it back.)

  10. kenneth arntson said

    Having traveled, attended a university and now retired in Thailand since 1969, I have seen many changes in Thailand. The most shocking thing that I have seen was the fall of the U.S. society and the rise of Thai Society since I first came to Thailand with a back pack and attended Silapakorn University in Bangkok. At the time that I came to Thailand, America had just put the first man on the moon, I just missed Woodstock) American’s small towns were booming (I came from Shreveport, La.), after college at LSU my job working all over the world as a construction manager for a major American oil company had me living, learning and working all over the world. but I kept some kind of residents in Thailand all those years.
    I do remember seeing Thai women and men wearing sarongs in Bangkok. I remember seeing only gas lanterns in most homes out side the major city centers because there was no rual electricity, Bangkok’s traffic was still jammed back then but with buses, bicycles and motorcycles.
    I took time off from work in the 80’s and spent 2 years in the U.S.A. and for 3 months got a job with MCI a long distance call operation to do a “as built” drawing of their fiber optic cable system between Milwaukee, Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit and was shocked to see the decline of the U.S. (rust belt) was I walked through those States doing my work, later I came back to attend my 30th high school reunion as was disappointed to see may hometown now, broke and controlled by street gangs.. Coming back to Thailand in the 90’s to work for 3 years, again I had a major shock to see how far Thailand had advanced, elevated highways, skyscrapers, thousands of factories, hundreds of thousands of new homes under construction. Central department store in 1969 was a 3 story building on Silom Road where all of the rich Thais shopped, now Central malls are all over Thailand. I can’t say that for Sears, Kmark, or Penneys.
    When I hear how backward Thailand is I have to laugh, many but then I have to remember when I first left America at 22 was at the top of the heap. I really have to laugh to myself when I hear many Americans and Europeans complain about the Thais and the country. The Thais have come a long way, and like any people there are good and there are some that are not so good. My observations is most foreigners usually meet the not so good.

  11. kenneth arntson said

    My first post was in haste and my typing and spelling skills have a lot to be desired, I thought after i made my first post that I should have made a better explanation of how I ended up in Thailand. First I will start off that I am probably the luckiest retired American in Thailand, having come to Thailand the first time in 1969 at 21, traveling with a backpack and being admitted to Silpakorn University where I learned to speak Thai. I only stayed a year that time since I had recently been discharged from the Army (Vietnam Vet) and was keen to get back to college on my GI bill and get a degree. Again Thailand came into my life at LSU were I met more than 120 Thai students on government scholarship working on Ph.Ds. I was the only American on campus that spoke Thai, had traveled extensively throughout Thailand and had a good working knowledge of Thai history and culture, needless to say I knew every Thai on the campus and many more at other Universities in the South. Later moving back to Thailand many of the Thais I went to school with at LSU became close personal friends.
    I had gone back for a degree since I had made up my mind in Vietnam that I wanted to see the rest of the world and the best way to see it was to work there. Two months after graduation I was working in Vietnam , that job lead to a job in New Guinea, then to Libya, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia , Sumatra, Thailand etc. 48 years later and at 65 I retired to Thailand. Along the way I kept a rented home in Bangkok using it as my base when not in another country working. Twice I did manage to work in Thailand managing the construction of Thailand largest paper mill and managing to fabrication work for Chevron’s offshore facilities . Living and working in Thailand gave me ample time to travel throughout Thailand to the point that most Thais have told me that I have seen more of their country than they have. I find it an excellent way to start a conversation with many Thais since most come to Bangkok and other manufacturing centers from the countryside, and I have visited or passed through many of these areas of Thailand before.
    I did not get married until I was 50 and then to a Thai girl working at a local hospital near the paper mill I was building. She was from Bangkok and a recent university graduate and working to pay back the government for her medical education. Later after we were married she furthered her education at Ole Miss getting a Master’s degree and later getting a license to practice pharmacy in Mississippi and Louisiana. Our son was born there but my wife and I still longed to live in Thailand when I retired so we took the time to get our son a Thai citizen birth certificate and passport, my wife got her American citizenship during the 7 years she studied and work in the U.S.
    My last job with Chevron put me in Nigeria for 4 years but I worked 4 weeks on and 4 off and was flown home, my wife was getting homesick and I really did not feel comfortable living in America since I had already spent 44 year working internationally so we decided to move back. Having already leaved in Bangkok I knew I would not want to live and bring up a young son in Bangkok, having worked near Rayong before I knew it had an excellent catholic school in the city and there was a big private hospital an excellent choice of housing , shopping malls and supermarkets. My wife had mentioned that she had done her internship in Rayong at the government hospital when she graduated from college and liked the city. So we already agreed where we wanted to live before moving back to Thailand, the trick was to find a house with a good location. Having traveled extensively throughout Thailand using maps I realized that a map was useless for finding a house since 50% of the streets in a Thai city are not on a map. I used Google map satellite image to find all the housing villages in Rayong , already knowing the basic layout of Rayong like where the school , shopping mall and supermarket was I was able to concentrate my housing search in those areas. This was all done on my office computer in Nigeria, we then met in Thailand on one of my 4 week breaks and spent the time looking for a house, my wife visiting her friends and family that she and not seen in 4 years. We not only found a home in a excellent location but my wife even found a job at the Bangkok Rayong Hospital . We put a down payment on the house , my wife went back to the U.S. and started packing and we were in our new home 3 months later and my wife started working at her new job as head of the hospital’s pharmacy.
    Now 7 years later our son is 10, getting a far better education than what he would have gotten should we have stayed in Mississippi, my wife having worked and practiced pharmacy in the U.S. is on constant call from her hospital group (BDMS Bangkok Dusit Medical Services) to assist them whenever they are working on international accreditation, coordinating with the U.S. Army every time they come to Thailand for war games “Cobra Gold” even assisting the queen of Sweden when she came to her hospital with a ear infection.
    My experiences of working internationally has taught me many things about how to live very comfortably overseas that I would be happy to pass on in later blogs. One tip now is “use your computer”, I read one blog about not getting good American sausage, I don’t like Thai sausage but I have found excellent recipes for making your own sausage on GOOGLE , it is far easier here in Thailand to get ground pork than ground beef (I found a solution for that too), and all the rest of the seasonings and herbs are readily available at TESCO and MAKRO, not only have I made great tasting sausage but my own dill pickles and pickled peppers too .

  12. Kenneth, Great story and info for those looking to move here. Make my own sausage? Never thought of that. Will look into it. Lots of luck to you and family.

    BTW – a story you and wife might enjoy, A friend called me about his son who had a motorcycle accident, broke his leg, and wound up in the Rayong Hospital. I got a Thai friend from Rayong to go look into his situation. Great service. He cried when he left because the hospital staff had been so good to him.

    • kenneth arntson said

      I recently found a place much like Amazon under the name Ali Express, unlike Alibaba that wants you to buy 1,000 of the same item. Ali Express will sell you one item at a time and most of the items are airfreighted free to Thailand. My newest hobby is fly fishing and was able to get every thing from rods, reel, fly line etc. excellent prices, great quality and free shipping. I then ordered a waterproof smart phone after dropping my Samsung in the lake. great price, etc. seems they have just about everything you could order from Amazon but with free shipping. but it is only sells products made in China.
      Next post I will tell you how I solved the problem of having great music on my car radio for those long trips or hours of your favorite music on your MP3 player.

  13. BruceMacDonald said

    I agree with your thoughts on th Odious One Who Shall Not Be Named. His election, or I should say selection by the Electoral College, is a catastrophe with no upside that I can see. You and Michael Moore predicted it. Congratulations does not seem to be quite the appropriate word, but umm, nice prediction (dammit!)

    SO, sigh, moving on to my real question: I retired one year ago from a career in medical social work. Most of my clients were elderly. I noted that the ones who did the best had both family and community to rely on.

    Nowadays my Dear Husband (Thai) is becoming more and more anxious to move back to Thailand permanently. We have lived in Canada for 17 years now. My concern is about having a real community of friends in Bangkok, like I do in Vancouver/Seattle (I lived in Seattle for many years too.) I note that my 94 year old Mom is doing very well despite having no family nearby. She has a great community of neighbors who look out for each other. She herself helps them too, driving (yes driving, and driving well and safely too!) some of her friends to their medical appointments. She has strangers she can meet, talk to, and joke a bit with in her small town in Massachusetts.

    I’m afraid I will have none of this when we make the big move to Bangkok. I just don’t know how I’m going to build that sense of community there. I know I have the skills to build community, to a certain extent, but I will miss deeply the 30-40 year friendships I have in North America.

    I’m curious as to your thoughts on this, as I think non-family community is a greatly underestimated factor in emotional and physical health for retired folks.

    Cheers,
    Bruce in Vancouver and sometimes (currently) Bangkok

    • Bruce, Yes, making close and lasting relationships here can be difficult. Your husband will have family most likely but that doesn’t mean that you will feel close to them. There are any number of Expat clubs and groups that might help. The only way you will know is by doing a test move. Don’t pull up stakes just yet but try a few weeks, then a few months, then if things are right you can make the more permanent move. I lived here for a short time in the winter for 5 years before making the final move. You won’t be sorry if you stagger your retirement. Lots of luck.

      • BruceMacDonald said

        Thanks Hugh. Yes I think the staggering idea makes sense. I’ve already started. DH does indeed have family here, and I’m very fond of them. But there is quite a language barrier due to my laziness learning Thai and the poor memory that comes with age.

        I will look into the Expat clubs. I’m now getting back into an old hobby of mine, bridge, so that might be a good place to start.

        And your blog here helps too! Reading yours and others’ stories gives me some good insights as to how this can all work out.

        Cheers,
        Bruce

      • I have a friend here who plays bridge 3 times a week. So that is a good way to go. There are clubs everywhere. Also, learning Thai is basically a must do. Very difficult. But if it were easy then why do it in the first place? Check womenlearnthai.com (not just for women). I contribute to this blog and am about 1/3 way from finishing an ebook on learning Thai. It will be free when it is finished but you can download the first few chapters right now. There are lots and lot of material, most free. But it will take a lot of work. Learn to speak first, read later.

        Lots of luck.

  14. Frank Fey said

    I would still read your blog even if you said Trump was the MAN! But he is not so I will make every effort I can to convince my wife it is time. Happy New Year.

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