Moments.

There are moments in my life that I will always remember.

My brothers and I playing in the park as children.

Walking to school with my mum, holding her hand, chatting and singing.

The day I first saw Ed.

The day I got married.

When my daughter was first passed to me wearing a hat.

and that moment, when I came home, blissfully happy after being at a friends house all day, 7 months pregnant, huge, happy and in need of sleep. That moment, alone when I saw the email, when I opened it…

and saw; visa rejected.

The strength left my body, I fell to my knees and moaned a guttural cry, the heartbreaking pain seared through me. I held my stomach, my baby and the prospect of bringing her into this world alone. That moment crippled me.

I sobbed.

My husband rushed home, picked me up off the floor and looked so incredibly sad.

Yet we were the lucky ones, we had time to reapply to the home office, even though it meant I had to wobble over the Thai/Cambodian border to extend my visa for the extra 2 weeks in Bangkok.

It resulted in costs of over £1,000 and all for a 6 month tourist visa to the UK, so my husband could be there to hold my hand and see the birth of our daughter.

Here I am exactly 2 years later, alone. Experiencing more moments.

Like the moment I found out mum has breast cancer.

The moment we decided I should move back to England, with my daughter, to be with mum and without my husband.

A moment I never expected. A decision I should not have to make, between my precious mum and my dear husband. More on that here

I am sorry darling daughter that you now see Papa on the phone, I miss him, I miss our little family together, I miss seeing you play with papa and going on adventures to chat up the neighborhood. I am trying so damn hard baby girl and using every, single ounce of my strength to hold onto love, faith, hope and a future with us all together defying the odds.

I just hope it will be ok and although I have no idea of the next moment when we will see daddy.

That moment will come.

IMG20170423173639

Pure Love

 

 

 

The price of Love

On Monday I had decided to stop checking Facebook everyday as it is distracting me from my studies, but this week it exploded with pages I follow and the impending verdict from the Supreme court ruling on the minimum income requirement for a non EU spouse.

Read more here

Wednesday I found out Buzzfeed wanted to interview me to appear online and BBC 5 live would like to feature me talking about the verdict. To say I felt overwhelmed and nervous was an understatement.

So I appeared on Buzzfeed with Eddie on our wedding day looking blissfully happy, I really was. My face ached from smiling that day, I was on the island with my friends who had all brought a dish, I had H&M dress that I bought with mum for a tenner that hid my growing belly and Eddie was my husband. I was and still am completely and utterly in love with him.

screen-shot-2560-02-26-at-15-03-16

He is from Thailand

I am British

Had I any idea of how hard it would be for us to have the freedom of both countries, none whatsoever, as do most people I talk to. Yes he is my husband but he has no rights to be a family with us in the UK unless I earn £18,600.

This is not a problem for me fortunately being a Londoner although according to the facts, there are estimated to be over 41% of the working population who would not be able to meet this threshold.

I mentioned this on the radio, but what I didn’t mention was that there are other ways to get home.

  1. £64,000 in savings we could ‘buy’ a spouse visa. So if we were rich then Eddie’s foreigner status would be ok. Smell a Tory government much?
  2. I could use my salary here for 6 months pro rata- although I have a shortfall or £3,000 a year. So we need £16,00 in savings to make up that £3,000 but wait there’s more, there exists a really great calculator that someone dreamed up of how to work out my salary here and the shortfall which would mean we actually need £23,500 yep £23,500 to make up the £3,000 and I would need a contract of work upon touchdown in Heathrow.

What I did mention was after an emergency C section I was unable to go back to work without my husband as he had to leave when our daughter was 3 months old. I remember that day vividly, standing by the kitchen sink holding onto the side for support as my world crashed around me. I knew that pain well as I had it previously kneeling clutching my bump when Eddie’s first visa was refused, I was 7 months pregnant. We had been refused on the basis of not having an itinerary, to have a baby… (I’ll just leave that there)

I feel punished by my country and yet I still feel desperate to be back there, something about becoming a mother, wanting to be with my mother drinking a cup of tea in Holland park. Some may wonder why I don’t just put the babe into childcare, get the job and get on with it, because I want my daughter to be taken care of by either me, my husband or her nanna.

Emma Barnett asked me on the radio (1:40 minutes in) about chain immigration, a term I was not familiar with and if I had been my reply would have been something along the lines of hahahahaha (laughing) Eddie’s parents are both deceased, sadly and his brothers run successful businesses with families in Thailand with no desire for a UK visa. So that squashes that idea Emma.

So I will do my best to find a job for £18,600 so that we are in no way a burden to the UK taxpayer GOD FORBID (even though I still pay voluntary NI contributions and have done the 5 years I lived in Thailand) My husband does not want benefits either, but he has no access to them for 5 years anyway on a spouse visa. These are all facts that get ushered under the carpet (he cannot access public funds) so the public are happy there are no more immigrants taking their precious tax money. There is good new tax payers of England as a family we will spend about £7,198.29 to the Home Office during the years to get Ed a visa. Yey.

We are still left as family wondering how will we manage and facing a separation, the home office wants 6 months of payslips and then with processing time and Eddie’s English test looks like we’ll be apart a year if I’m realistic. This is why many women are staying in Thailand and hoping for a change.

Lastly can I mention how much I am enjoying the pressure of all of this. That it doesn’t keep me awake at night at all, add to my homesickness as we have 0 freedom, shape decisions that we make and leaves me feeling utterly miserable and disheartened, not one little bit.

More on Buzzfeed about my reaction

The holy grail of Thai cooking

img_7982

I did it, I cooked REAL Southern Thai food.

I was getting moderately put out by a certain person’s comments that “you have to really understand” to cook “It’s not easy” and getting demonstrations of how to stir food in a pan. Like Thai cooking was this fabled, unreachable golden crest of cooking.

I’m always up for a challenge and have recently become OBSESSED with sataw or what are ‘un’kindly referred to a stink beans. I bloody love ’em!

Sataw and the dry, spicier then chillies on the sun curry called Khua Kling. Hubby now knows if they are selling it at the local restaurant to buy two bags one for lunch and one for dinner. So thanks to the absolute legend’s on Mama Ferang’s group I found a recipe, I laminated it because that seemed sensible, I watched the demo on Youtube and last night I made it.

It was absolutely great and quite spicy.

Today I kid you not hubby was trying to keep the leftovers away from me at lunch so he could eat them!

The best part about this story as it is not a food post, I will not be taking beautiful pictures of food and showing how I made it because I have a small person who clings to my legs while cooking and most of the time I’m not fussed. Curry is cheap here. The best part is all  the ingredients (except the meat) we picked up outside our door!

We got lemongrass, Kaffir Lime leaves and Chillies just on the street while chatting to a neighbour who keeps chickens and started shoving leaves in my mouth to try.

We also picked up Basil leaves to calm the spice, a star fruit which we have no idea what to do with and a rose because it smelled good!

img_7977

The recipe recommended 3 tablespoons of curry paste and thank the curry Gods I only used 2 because this is proper made in Nakhon si Thammarat paste that would take the enamel off your teeth!

img_7981

The recipe was very thin sliced lemongrass, kaffir leaves and chilli. Fry the paste, add the meat and bits while choking on the fumes and sneezing a lot. Done. We ate with rice and sataw and some egg fried with random green leaves that hubby made. Next week I plan to make Tom Yum soup because why not go from making the simplest curry to the most complicated, 50 ingredients soup ever.

Please feel free to mention any of your favourite Thai foods and I will try and make them, because I will never admit defeat!

Link to the recipe

Suzi logo

Stereotypes

It was a lovely Sunday morning visit the pool when I was ambushed by an Aussie man and his first words to me… “haha that’s what happens in Thailand” I asked, “excuse me, what happens in Thailand?”

“You get knocked up and have a baby!”

O.K deep breath Suzi.

He wouldn’t let it go and being we were both white, felt the need to talk to me. Referred to my husband as ‘that man’ and said “well yeah I suppose a baby is at least an 18  month commitment” Let me add he was an older man, with two children in Thailand he sees for 3 months a year as well as his 4 children in Oz, not that I’m stereotyping.

To say he made me angry was an understatement and led me to think, not for the first time about what people think. The stereotypes we are branded with and assumptions made just by looking in on our little Thai/English mixed family.

Thai men are lazy
Thai men are all cheaters
Thai men don’t care about their children
Thai men will take your money
Thai men smoke pot and drink too much
Thai men don’t like to work

I married my husband for love, purely, and simply because spending time with him felt easy  (I also think he’s really handsome) We got married on Koh Lanta and had a small gathering of friends, a pot luck and a view of Kantiang Bay. I am excited to grow old and grey together (although we’re already doing well with the grey)

IMG_1951
I did try with English and Irish men … who never wanted to commit! I was fed up with men when I hit 30 and took off to travel, then I fell in love, never for a moment thinking 5 years down the line we’d be living in a 3 bed in a Thai city, with a gorgeous little girl.

My mum, a good Irish woman with 5 children always asks on a scale 1-10 how are you. I always say 8 and those last 2 are because I haven’t slept a full night in 10 months. I am happy.

My husband looks after our daughter with so much love. He perseveres with cotton nappies, somehow always managing to make them clean again, I would’ve given up a long time ago! He feeds us, although I know the importance of good nutrition I could easily live on soup, homous, rocket and apples. He makes coffee and porridge and remembers every morning to unlock the gate and my bike knowing in my rush I’d get frustrated and start dropping stuff. At 7pm he prepares hot water for baby bath time as its got a few degrees cooler here (just a few now) he carries bags, babies and without fail tells me I’m beautiful at 630am after a night of broken sleep, teasing me that I have another man. Not sure when exactly would I have time for that?

That saying about love not seeing colour it’s true,  I forget we’re foreigners to each other.

I asked the women on the Mamaferang Facebook page have they faced cultural stereotypes and got some hilarious responses. Husbands who people assume are tour guides and there are those who are seen as the drivers, touts and playboys!

The most frequent judgement I hear is that he’ll take all my money. What money?! I currently work a teaching job and when he sells a leather bag he can earn what I make in 2 weeks!

Not forgetting the day I was told to check his I.D card as he was apparently lying about his age,  I was told I was snatching the cradle (he’s 4 years older) Where is the world would that be ok to question, would they do it in their home countries? I somehow doubt it.

Essentially men and woman are different the world over and in the melting pot of life there are good, bad and mediocre. We chose our partners for so many reasons, those reasons are personal and sometimes just feelings we have that we are unable to articulate. Just because I have chosen a man from another country does not mean our relationship can be scrutinised, but sadly it is and will continue to be.

I try to hold on to that saying “what other people think is none of your business!”

Suzi logo