Every week I talk to a Belgian who moved abroad and built a new life there. This week Reinold tells us about moving to Thailand.
1. Hi, Reinold! Please quickly introduce yourself. Tell us who you are, where you’re from, where you moved to and when/why you moved.
Hi, I’m Reinold from West-Flanders, Izegem. I am 64 years old and I have been retired for four years now, after working for 46 years of which 20 as an employee and 26 as a self-employed tiler. I have been living in Thailand for 4 years now, 2 years Chiang Mai and 2 years in Phisanulok. I am the only ‘farang’ (foreigner) living here in the mountains. I built myself a home here and got married to a very kind Thai woman.
2. What did you expect from Thailand and life there before moving? Did those expectations hold up?
I’d say my expectations have been exceeded. My main reason for moving here, was the fact that my small pension of 851 euros was simply not enough to get by in Belgium. Besides, I am terrified of ending op in an old peoples home. I would never want to leave Thailand now.
3. What’s the biggest difference between life in Thailand and life in Belgium?
Life in the mountains over here can be compared to life in Belgium 50 years ago. As long as you are friendly towards everyone and don't look down upon the Thai, life here is great!
4. What’s the best part about living in Thailand?
The fact that I can make ends meet easily, life is very cheap over here. Besides that, people are friendly, the weather is always nice, nature is beautiful and you can never get bored. There's just so much to visit.
5. What do you like least about living in Thailand?
Working together with Thai can be difficult at times. They don't always listen, en will most of the time just do whatever they want to do. If, after that, something goes wrong, they did it and don't want to be held responsible. Also, their driving is very ‘me, me, me and you will just have to wait'.
6. What do you miss most about Belgium?
Aside from my grandchildren and my friends, I miss my hobbies: finch sitting and billiard. I don't miss anything at all materially.
7. Is there something about Belgium that you don’t miss at all?
The rules that exist for everyone and everything and the ‘Big Brother-feeling' are things I don't miss at all.
8. Do you think you’ll stay in Thailand? Or is there a chance you’ll move abroad again someday?
If Thailand would for some reason banish me, I would move to one of the neighbouring countries.
9. Do you have any tips or advice for other Belgians who consider moving to Thailand?
Adjust to and respect the people that live here, if you do this you will be perfectly fine.
10. What are some tips you would give to people who are travelling to your region/city? Things they should visit or eat?
There are a lot of temples and nature is really beautiful over here. You can buy a meal for next to nothing and the shopping malls are amazingly beautiful and modern, there's nothing to compare it with in Belgium. There’s really too much to sum up.
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This interview was done by Paloma Garcia Miranda, a talented Master's Student of Business Communication who's helping Sofie out here on WonderfulWanderings.com.