1 month in North East rural Thailand

Almost another month has passed since the last time I found a spare moment to sit down with a cuppa tea and share my next post from our time away in Thailand.

I was prompted to write this next part after we had a visitor at work who had cycled and canoed the majority of the Mekong River. It had me reminiscing about my time spent at my Grandma’s home, not so far away from the Mekong, in a small village where the heat was, at times, unbearable and the days seemed long. I do wonder how she and others have spent most of their lives living in such a quiet place, with very little to do. I had only spent just short of a month there and was already getting itchy feet. If it had been a little cooler I could have at least gone for a run but my days were spent laid in front of the fan on the cool tile floors because it was far too hot to do anything else. At one point we had to check in to a motel type room for a couple of nights, just so we had some aircon. 

Most mornings began at around 6am, if not earlier. The cockerels were our alarm clocks, along with the sound of peds whizzing past to get to market. My sister would already be awake boiling sticky rice for the day ahead in their outdoor kitchen, which consisted of a gas stove, a few pots and pans, and a tap fixed to the concrete wall. She’d also be preparing breakfast for my Grandma, my Mum would be sat outside with a coffee and I’d join her with Mali and her milk, along with a cup of Lipton tea and a bowl of cereal.

Most days were spent entertaining Mali, or shall I say, Mali entertaining us. She learnt how to crawl whilst we were there, which is something I will never forget. I did a bit of reading too. I read ‘it ends with us’ by Colleen Hoover and the sequel, ‘it begins with us’. I thoroughly enjoyed both and I would read late in to the night with my phone light because I had to know what was going to happen next. I recently read Verity too which was so well written, I couldn’t put that down either and I have November 9th on order from the library too which I’m so looking forward to starting. We also spent a lot of time on my mums ped which has a little side cart fixed to it, which was great for sitting Mali’s pushchair in and letting her get some air, albeit warm air. We would travel to the local market most days to buy fresh meat and vegetables and I would sometimes pick up a fresh coconut to sip on the journey back.

We drove to a nearby village one day to watch how fabric was made. This is something my grandma used to do but unfortunately sold her old loom due to her age and nobody taking over. It seems to be dying out which is so sad, as once it’s gone I believe it will be hard to reintroduce. I found it fascinating to watch, especially with my love of textiles.

We got to see a lot of family we hadn’t seen since pre Covid and of course it was Mali’s first time meeting my Thai family. Everyone there just loves children and it’s really lovely to see. Even the other children couldn’t leave Mali alone!

I also visited my uncle Muan’s grave who passed away in November 2020. We were still living with my Gran at that time and I remember just lying in the bath sobbing. I didn’t know him well at all so the overwhelming feeling of grief really took me by surprise. We would only see him every year or every other year on our annual family holidays to Thailand. He didn’t speak English and we didn’t speak Thai but we always had good craic. I also felt so sad for my mum being so far away from the rest of her family but I know she’s grateful for the time she got stuck in Thailand when the whole Covid thing kicked off because she did get to spend a considerable amount of time with her Mum and brother then. This time we got to see his son, my cousin Samat, whilst visiting. I always get so emotional seeing him and goodbyes aren’t ever nice. I think because of the lack of communication you just never know when you might see them again.

The best part was seeing my Thai granny and seeing her adore Mali. Old people with babies is just adorable.

Ah, the days where Mali would just stay in one spot… sometimes I miss those days.

And of course.. the food. I am now kicking myself wishing I’d taken more photos of the food my sister cooked for us cause everything she made was just delicious. The Tom Kha Yum soup she makes especially was just insane, in fact I’m making myself hungry just thinking about it… I did film her making that one though so I’m going to have to have a go sometime soon.

I counted down the days until Josh and my Dad were to join us. We ended up driving to Udon Thani and checking in to a hotel as a surprise to meet them. We picked them up from the airport and I can’t even describe the feeling of seeing Josh again after 4 weeks away from one another. I even made a big cheesy sign to hold at the gate but we ended up running late and they clocked us before we clocked them!

After another few days back at my Gran’s home it was time to say goodbye. Goodbyes are never easy, especially when we live on other sides of the world. But, what I will say is I am so grateful to have been able to have this time with her and my sister and my my mum. Without Josh’s support and encouragement I will never have got to spend a whole month with them and probably never will again. I’ve loved looking back through all the photos and even though it was only 8 months ago it feels like a lifetime ago! Speak soon, L.