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Thai-Indians offer the inside scoop on being married abroad

by Tom

The things we do for love!

By Jasnam Sachathep

Getting married is no easy task. Ask any girl. Or guy. The year(s) of preparation that go into one big fat Indian wedding is only the beginning; many of us move out of our homes overnight. All of us have to adjust to new customs and systems in our new houses, but some of us have to learn the culture and language of new countries entirely! We asked a few Thai-Indian women abroad to give us the inside scoop on life after their saat phere (wedding vows) in a new country.

Amornrat Sidhu, 29

Location: Gaborone, Botswana
Flight duration: 13.5 hours excluding transit time
Years married: two and a half
Frequency of visits home: once a year

I chose to move to Botswana, and I’m still adjusting 2.5 years later. I got a job immediately at a wonderful I.B. school, yet my work permit took nine months to come through. Those months were straining; I drastically lost my sense of community and income, and couldn’t keep up with friends achieving milestones one by one in Bangkok. I had to go completely out of my comfort zone to make new friends. I also had to adapt to my new home and family. Boy, do they do things differently.

My husband is a lovely man, but he was also tested because all of a sudden this petite and very vocal human female relied on him socially, financially, and for just about everything else, including queries like, ‘Who is a good gynaecologist to go to?’ Amidst all this, it is fun playing house with the person I love.

I have also honed new skills from cooking, to selling Thai fabric, to teaching the PYP programme! I have gone on holiday where I have woken up to a lion roaring in a nearby watering hole. There was a drastic learning curve, but essentially life is what you make it, and it is beautiful!

Ritika Anandsongvit, 28
Location: Singapore
Flight duration: two hours
Years married: three and a half
Frequency of visits home: up to five times a year

I got married in June 2016 and moved to Singapore. The amazing part about this relationship is that, despite having different upbringings, we have a deep understanding between us. We do have our arguments here and there about different issues, but we discuss them and come to a conclusion. However, moving to Singapore was quite a challenge as I did not know anyone from my husband’s side. Despite all this, I feel very fortunate to have such an amazing family, and a loving husband who always stands by me. All this love makes me feel very comfortable in my new home. Moreover, I travel to Bangkok about five times a year to visit my family and friends, and enjoy my Thai food!

Parveena Khanijou Pasricha, 29

Location: Los Angeles, California
Flight duration: 20 hours
Years married: five
Frequency of visits home: twice a year

I finally did it! My administrative credentials came in the mail! Instinctively, I have the urge to run to my mom and show her. But 13,356 kilometers is neither runnable nor drivable. I could call her! But the 15-hour time difference means I need to wait another six hours for her to wake up.

Relocating to Los Angeles for love, five years ago, has definitely had its benefits. But this change also calls for adjustments that go beyond learning to drive on the other side of the road, abandoning the metric system for the imperial system, or constantly looking to book plane tickets to visit Thailand. Despite overcoming the many challenges that come with leaving home, it is often the little things that make me miss Bangkok most.

For instance, finding a Thai restaurant that makes a decent kuay teaw tom yam is always a happy surprise, or seeing someone wearing a pagri and a kara reminds me how distinctive my faith is here. And, like most things in life, moving for love is also a mixed bag: wonderful for you and your partner, difficult for distant family, and outstanding for the airlines that pocket lots of money flying individuals like me between home and love all year long.

Rasmeet Sachdej, 33

Location: Guam, USA
Flight duration: nine to 12 hours, depending on layover
Years married: eight
Frequency of visits home: two or three times a year

When you’re married to somebody living overseas and you’re unfamiliar with your new surroundings, initially every single moment becomes a learning process.

The key in adapting to my new life, was patiently and respectfully figuring out how to find a balance between the person I was raised to be, and the family I was marrying into. The best part of this learning process was exploring who I truly am and what my capabilities are. When you are out of your comfort zone and away from all your family and friends, you are given the opportunity to discover what you value and why you do things. I think marrying a supportive husband and moving to Guam was one the biggest blessings of my life and I am enthusiastic to see what else life has in store for me.

 

[Anonymous]

Location: Singapore
Flight duration: two hours
Years married: three
Frequency of visits home: two to four times a year

Having been away from Bangkok for most of my adult years, adjusting to life in Singapore was easy. Very soon after getting here, I got accustomed to the efficiency that is synonymous with the country. There are many other things to love here – the landmarks, cleanliness, lack of traffic, and most of all, safety! There is nowhere else in the world I can walk down to a 7-11 or a gas station in my pyjamas to fulfill a midnight craving for ice cream. All that said, though, one cannot stop the heartache from missing home from time to time. I miss my family and friends the most. Seeing my dear ones going through the ups and downs of life from afar sometimes makes me wish I was there by their side physically, rather than just via WhatsApp.

Most of the women all say the same thing; they miss their friends and family back home. Luckily enough, the world is advanced and technology makes it so much easier to keep in touch and fly back and forth on a pretty regular basis. From all the stories shared, it is clear that a loving partner and supportive family make the move worth it all!

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