As planned, a few days later we headed back to Ubon to try and finalise everything for the take over of Peppers as well as some personal things that needed to be taken care of.
Before we did this though I had to make a quick trip to Bangkok. The trip came about as a result of my meeting in Nakon Nayok the previous week. I had orginally planned to drive as I thought I would have to go to Nakon Nayok as well as Bangkok but in the end only Bangkok was needed so I swapped the car for a plane which suited me fine! I drove into Ubon and caught up with two friends for lunch before one of them dropped me off at the airport and took my car back to his place. Upon my return the next day his girlfriend picked me up and took me back to my car so I could return to the village.
The very next day at sun rise Seerung and I were heading back to Ubon with one extra who needed to be dropped off at the hospital. We had organised to stay over night if needed and very quickly we realised that it was necessary. Once again Seerung and John got pushed around and around, it really was a total joke yet for some reason no one was laughing. Imagine going to the taxation office and finding out that they do not have a photo copier that works and you need to walk around the block to find one every time something needed copying. I kid you not.
I on the other hand had a great time by myself as I managed to do some shopping as well as get to the dentist for a clean and check up.
That night we stayed at the Pan House which was where we had stayed almost two years earlier when first setting up Peppers. It is still just as clean, friendly and great value for money as it was back then. The next day was more of the same and it wasn’t until darkness fell that we were able to head back to the village and some very excited kids.
All that was left to do was pack up and say good bye. The hardest goodbye in the village was to Seerungs Auntie who is very sick and we are not expecting to see her again. Everytime she heard a car go past she would ask someone if that was us leaving Thailand without saying good bye. She was so excited to see us and we had a great laugh over a few hours. To say I didn’t have tears in my eyes when leaving would be a lie.
I knew however that the hardest good bye would be to Seerungs two sisters and their families. They decided they wanted to all come to the airport so tears were averted for the time being.
On our way to Ubon for the final time I came across a magnificent sight. In my 8 years of visiting or living in the village I was yet to see Buffalos working traditionally as the iron buffalo (tractor) had well and truly taken over. To see this sight just a few kilometres from the village warmed my heart. I stopped and watched for ages much to the amusement of the full car. These ended up being the last photographs I took in Thailand and now the last that will be published on this blog and I think it is rather fitting.
The trip to Ubon was uneventful after the photos were taken and we had a lovely last coffee at Peppers and were surprised with an unexpected farewell from some friends who were waiting for us.
The airport good bye at Ubon was a real tear jerker and both of Seerungs sisters and 3 nieces got very emotional. I had booked a 5 star suite in Bangkok for three nights so that we could relax and catch up with a few friends ahead of our flight to Adelaide in Australia which was a great decision we soon found out as would you believe it, all of us got sick! At lease we were comfortable! Marisah was the worse and I ended up taking her to BNH hospital as her fever would not go down and had cracked the 40.0 degree mark. I had planned to call the airline company the following morning to change our tickets but the medicine they put her on worked so well that she woke up with a smile and we knew that the flight was back on. It was still a miserable flight but it could have been so much worse.
So here I guess ends my tale of our “Life in Rural Thailand”. What started out as just an extended visit to finish our house and allow my girls some time with their Por Yai ended up being two years of village as well as city life. There were plenty of ups and downs along they way but over all we are very glad that we did what we did. As a result we are all better off as individuals as well as a family.
This blog began as a personal diary for family to keep in touch with what we were up to ended up being read by people from all over the world. From just 30 or 40 readers per day at the very beginning to over 15,000 people per day during the peak of the red shirt protests. 318 entries and over 1,500 comments are now on permanent record and I can’t wait to read back through it all some time in the future.
The village as well as Ubon Ratchathani will always be our home away from home and we will be back often. Once the kids are a little older we may even move back more permanently. Only time will tell. We have made good friends in Ubon and look forward to catching up with you again soon.
I am also very happy to announce that just a few days ago we visited our local hospital and got confirmed the news that we were hoping for. Our third child is due to be born in June!
Thank you so much to all the readers out there, especially the regular ones. This blog has allowed me to meet either face to face or via email with many people from all over the world. It has also helped quite a few people with information about Ubon and Thailand. I intend for it to be accessible for as long as possible and will try and update bits if I believe they have become out dated so please keep the comments rolling in.
Perhaps a blog about life in Australia will follow shortly but for the time being, this is it.
All our love
Andrew. Seerung, Ariya, Marisah and ???