The full story
My name is Noeke. I’m a (half) Belgian girl living in Uthai Thani.
Let me tell you how I got here in Uthai Thani :
My husband, when I started dating him at the age of 27, said to me “If you want to start a relationship with me, you will have to move to a different country someday”. Most girls would think it is a ridiculous thing to say when you start dating, but I fell in love with him even more at that moment. And it’s not that he is an impulsive guy neither a blabbermouth, or something like that. He wouldn’t have said that to any other girl so soon in the relationship. But we knew each other for a really long time. We were each other’s first lovers at the age of 15 till 17. After breaking up we kept being friends, so we were very comfortable with each other 13 years later,when we started dating again. I love the man that he had become. He knew what he wanted to do with his life and I respect that.
So at the age of 29, we got married, sold our house and moved abroad. Why Thailand or Uthai Thani? Lots of people won’t ask that question, because it is a beautiful country and people are so sincere friendly. But that is not the only reason we chose Thailand or Uthai Thani.
As my name reveals, I’m not completely Belgian. I was born in Belgium. I have a Belgian father and a Thai mother (born and raised in Uthai Thani). That makes me a Eurasian.
When I went to school it wasn’t easy to have a different skin colour. Now I see it has become more common. But back when I was younger, there were not many “foreigner” children. I started to think of myself as a foreigner, as I was constantly pointed at and called “Chinese” and other things children say at that age.
As I got in my twenties, the teasing of looking different stopped (partly because there were more foreigners) and it switched into becoming interesting to be different. People around me started to compliment me on my slightly asian looks and I became more to peace with myself and my Thai roots.
I got approved as a Thai citizen and received a Thai ID, that opened opportunities for us. We bought a house in Uthai Thani, my mother’s hometown. As freelance web designers we are now able to combine working daily (not in a 9 to 5 schedule, but as it fits our program) and discovering a whole other part of the world. And for me discovering my roots.
I do realize now, that I will get the ‘Where are you from?’ in Thailand as well as in Belgium (wherever in the world actually) and being pointed at, because the Thai people see me as a ‘farang’ too. But I learned that I can benefit the best of both worlds.