I have had this post as a draft since last summer – I don’t think it will ever be finished, so here it is. Things have already moved on significantly in terms of the Big Move – I have handed in my notice etc, and have some progress on a job (though it isn’t cast in iron yet!!! More on that in my up to date post).
The post below is a little down on BKK – you can look at my (sadly defunct) photoblog here for some positive perspectives on Thailand>
Time is really flying. Our plan is to leave Thailand for somewhere in Europe next July. This post has taken a long time to put together (finding /taking pics etc) and when i began it we were still not 100% sure that we’d be going. More like 90%. In the meantime, I’d say we have made up our minds. The details are fudgy to say the least, but we are going. The remaining 11 months will go in a flash. The major stress comes from the fact that I have to tell my school here my decision by January 10th. So we have five short months to bite the bullet and commit to the change, and know that we’ll have to do so before we have a clue what we’re doing or where in the EU we’ll be going.
For those of you new to the blog, the right wing UK government has tightened up family immigration routes substantially, meaning that 47% of UK working citizens could not afford to sponsor their spouse if they are from outside the EU. Women (mothers) and young people are among the largest sectors affected due to child care issues and lower salaries. Even if granted a visa, the probationary conditions now last 5 years and require that you maintain a certain level of earnings for that period or face penalisation. We might be able to earn that amount consistently for 5 years; we might not. What if I decide to have another baby? What if one of us faces redundancy? What about putting down roots? Which bank is going to lend us a mortgage if one of us is on a temporary and perilous visa?
If we go to Europe first, we don’t need to worry about any of these things. A tougher transition to the UK is worth being left in peace once we are home.
The clock though is ticking. The BBC ran an article (listen to the radio report) on couples using this EU route (named Surinder Singh after a landmark court case) and the UKBA have been alerted. If we leave it longer than this coming July, we could miss the window: This ______ (insert expletive here!) government will hold a referendum on leaving the EU. Much of the electorate has been brainwashed by the gutter press that Britain’s current woes are the fault of its immigrant component. There is much actual evidence to refute this claim; but that is not reported so loudly. The scapegoating is being used purely to win votes and sell papers, and genuine loving families are being separated – lives are being ruined. We are staying focused. This time next year, we’ll be somewhere else; I’ll be looking around my new school, or I’ll be going from bar to bar trying to get a job making cocktails. Either way it will be สวัสดีค่ะเมืองไทย
Pros and cons of leaving Thailand for Europe
Real streets! No more MALLS, and pavements you can walk /run /push a buggy on. Here are some examples of what I won’t miss about Bangkok’s public thoroughfares:
Me running home from work in the middle of the road because I cannot run on the pavement:
-Outdoor spaces. In Thailand, in towns it’s simply too hot to hang out or walk for long distances outside. It might be remedied by more mature trees, but that won’t happen any time soon. Here it’s taxis on flyovers to malls:
Here is our local Mall in its picturesque setting. Note the substantial greenery around. Ahem. (photo credit Panduan Wisata)
Effective urban cleaning and less pollution (the streets are kept pretty clean but all the much gets swept immediately into the nearest drain, klong (canal) or the river. This means that the water’s condition is, well, eye-watering):
Respect for heritage and architecture in European countries -beautiful buildings! In Bangkok, beautiful old buildings sit in disrepair until someone buys the land to build a condo. Or a mall.
(photo credit David Barlow, Barlow images)
-Accessible and respected Arts / cultural scenes in European countries
-Seasons – here it’s hot, hotter or hot and wet. I like the weather, but it’s too much after a while. I love the rain too, but not what it does to the city – you’re stuck wherever you were when the rain started for at least an hour.
-Government Infrastructures – I think it’s fair to say that whatever the laws are in Thailand, the lack of infrastructure prevents many of them being adhered to. This is attractive in some ways (mostly superficial ones), but actually hamper things quite severely.
-Responsibility for own housekeeping – I THINK* it will make me feel a better human being for being capable of running my own home.
-Things to do apart from shopping
-Return to real world
-Close to my family and friends
-No more weird smells (well, less – street food ‘clean up’ really stinks!)
-Reliable info on food origins/ farming methods/ food safety
-Shop assistants who don’t follow you around
-No more buildings covered in cages and advertising hoarding:
Weather and miserable dark winter days
Responsibility for own housekeeping
Food expensive (and will MISS THAI FOOD!!)
Loss of great shopping opportunities
Language barrier /isolation for AW?
Return to real world
Far from AW’s family
No more awesome street food for less than a dollar/euro /pound
No more affordable taxi travel in neon taxis
No more motorbike taxis:
-No more 7-11 (but they do only sell crap so not so much of a loss!)
*let me get back to you later about this!!