Today’s guest on Thai women living abroad was born in the province of Petchabun in the lower northern region of Thailand. My guest later moved abroad to Sweden in 2005 to become a Nanny, but after meeting and marrying a German man, she moved to Germany to live permanently in 2010. Nowadays her home is in Braunschweig, Germany with her husband and family. Khun Waanjai Chaai Dtaang Chaat gives us her insights and experiences about life in Germany.
Introducing Khun Waanjai Chaai Dtaang Chaat
All photographs courtesy of Khun Waanjai Chaai Dtaang Chaat
How did you come to live in Germany? What first took you there? Where do you live in Germany and how long have you lived there?
I came to Germany because I have a German husband. I met my now husband on a dating website in 2009. At that time, I worked as a nanny in Sweden and was continuing with further education as well.
We chatted via the dating website for about 8 months in order to learn about each other. Later on, my husband flew to Sweden to come and visit me for the first time. Our first date lasted for 10 days. The day before he flew back, he bought me an engagement ring.
Four months on from that and he bought me an air ticket to come and visit him in Germany. This was our second date and it also lasted 10 days. This time, before I flew back to Sweden, he asked me to marry him. I was so pleased and agreed to his proposal.
Afterwards, my husband contacted me to learn German. This was mainly in order to study and take the German language exam. This is part of the process of passing the language exam, to be able to then request the visa to get married and live in Germany with my husband.
When I passed my German language exam, I then flew to Germany and moved in with my husband. He later registered the marriage in Germany on the 1st February 2010. I now live in Braunschweig.
Could you tell us about where you were born and raised in Thailand, and what life was like there as a child growing up?
I am from the province of Petchabun, I was born and grew up there. The period when I was a child I studied in a high school in the province. During that period I chose to study arts and crafts and French language in high school.
In the classroom, I was selected to be the leader all the time, this was because my friends saw that I had responsibility towards duty. Both my friends and teachers knew they could rely on me.
At that period of time, I was a child who was determined to study. I was polite, well- mannered, dressed properly and followed the school code of discipline. I set an example to my friends at the school and became teachers pet to quite a few teachers. Several teachers were fond of me and thought of me as special. This sometimes caused problems as some of my friends became envious of me.
After I graduated from senior high school, I then moved to Bangkok to study further at the Siam University, I chose to study Bachelor of Communication Arts – advertising.
In between studying at the university, I managed to find part time work as a guide to foreign tourists. I had to take them to view the important places around Bangkok and the perimeter. I also worked on the translation of documents and the teaching of English language to children. This was therefore the starting point of finding extra income in between my studies. I helped by sharing the responsibility of expenses for the folks back home in Thailand.
The fact that I enjoyed and had an interest in several languages, heightened my interest to go and study further abroad.
After I graduated at the university and finished my degree, I applied to become an Au Pair. Whilst going through the steps to become an Au Pair, my friend that lives in Sweden introduced me to a family. I then abandoned the Au Pair project and became a Nanny to that family from Sweden instead.
I went to Sweden in the year of 2005 to be a Nanny and later on I met my first boyfriend who was Swedish. He got the documentation sorted out for me to continue my studies here. After that though, my former boyfriend from Sweden and I parted company. I therefore enlisted on the dating website and met my husband, a young man from Germany.
Afterwards, I moved from Sweden and got married to my German husband. We have now been together in Germany for 7 years and we have two children.
What work do you do you now do in Germany and what other work have you done?
As soon as I arrived in Germany, I studied the German language and completed the language curriculum set by the German government. After that, I concentrated on being able to communicate with the German people by conversing with them and understanding them. After that I tried to apply for work via various websites.
1) The first job that I had was an engineers assistant. I helped design and put together different models of buildings, homes and commercial buildings.
2) I used to work in a restaurant as a cashier for the drinks and the food.
3) I used to look after and clean the houses of elderly people.
Nowadays, I’m an interpreter. I translate various important documents, give advice on continued studies, give advice to help in passing the German language exam. Further to this, I advise with the examination to obtain the German drivers licence, help write job applications, and take those applicants to job interviews, help Thai women that have problems with German husbands, contact public service places, including connecting with the job centre.
Now, I have two boys, one is aged 4 years old called Owen and the other aged 2 years old called Oliver. I don’t just look after the children only though as I translate documents and interpret as well. At the moment, this is only a hobby, because I still look after my two young boys. My eldest boy has started Kindergarten already though.
Can you speak German? Is the language and communication a problem? Do you find German difficult to learn? Do you speak any other languages?
Yes, I can speak German. At first it was difficult for me, but I already had a liking for languages. I tried to find as much information as possible about the subject to increase my understanding.
Prior to this, my husband contacted me and sent me German language material to study. This was so that I could take an exam and get married in Germany. I managed to learn basic German or as they call ” The A1 course.”
When I spent time studying the A1 course (which is an accelerated course of 2 months study,) afterwards I went to take a German language test. The test consisted of listening to, speaking, reading and writing. I passed the exam.
After I passed the German language test, I submitted the required documents in order to make a marriage visa. When I moved to Germany, I continued my German language studies. I spent only a further 4 months of studying the language.
Later on, I took a further examination in the German language. I passed in the skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing according to the laws of the German ministry. On completion of the exam I received a pass certificate and took that with me to request a visa. I received a three year visa to start with and entered Germany.
There are a total of 7 other languages that I’m able to speak.
1. English language: I’ve studied since childhood
2. French language: I studied whilst in senior high school.
3. Swedish language: In 2005, I went to study the language further and work as a Nanny in Sweden.
4. Norwegian Language: Due to Sweden being next to Norway, the languages are similar, but the writing is a bit different. I studied the Norwegian language additionally and have ability in this language also.
5. German Language or Deutsch, which is the language I use nowadays, to communicate with German people.
6. Thai language
7. Lao language
Did you find it difficult adapting to life in Germany? What did you find were the most difficult things to adapt to.?
With regards to adjusting to Germany and German people, I think it was not too difficult. This was due to having already lived, studied and worked in Sweden. This gave me a good amount of experience in adjusting to foreigners and life abroad. It didn’t matter whether it was to do with culture, customs or punctuality, as foreigners are very usually punctual. Having already worked with foreigners before, I learnt to adjust to several subjects including punctuality, discipline and respecting privacy.
Regarding adjusting to life in Germany for other Thai women, then I feel one of the biggest problems is the language. I can only analyse a portion of Thai women that I know who come to live in Germany, but often they don’t really have a very good enough grasp of the language. If you come to live in Germany and you cannot speak the language, then it makes communication difficult. For example; finding work, getting a permanent visa or getting German citizenship, and that’s just to begin with.
If some people cannot understand, speak, read or write the German language, it will give difficulties and obstruct life in Germany. For example, if one day you are not well and must visit the doctor. The doctor will explain in detail what is wrong, but you won’t be able to fully understand him. The vocabulary that the doctor uses will be mostly in medical terms, therefore you should study various different vocabulary. Another time will be if you need to contact with various official business places and cannot communicate with the official or understand the paper work clearly. Another area, is when going shopping. If you are not able to communicate in German well enough, you may have a problem buying the actual products that you want. There may also be a problem with taking products back or exchanging them.
Is there a big Thai community in your area? Are you in contact with many Thai women as friends and do they tend to stick together? Do they all seem to adapt well to life in Germany.
The city where I live has a lot of Thai people living there, in fact, whichever way you walk, you will meet with a Thai person. The lifestyle for Thai women is of a moderate standard, but as far as I can see, the majority of them must work. There’s only a very few people that can spend life in comfort without the need to work.
The majority of Thai women that live here work as cleaners, work in Asian restaurants or at a massage shop. For these types of work, you don’t need high qualifications.
There are some Thai women that live very comfortably, this is due to their husbands being the owner of a business or the owner of several different firms. Then of course, there is no need for the woman to go to work.
There is one group of Thai women with difficulties that I see and I pity them, because they must work as prostitutes. I know of at least two women that work in this way. They tell me that their husbands are unemployed and poor. This results in them turning to prostitution in order to get money so that they can send funds back to the family in Thailand.
Germany is a free country, an open country with commerce and trade seemingly undamaged, because these people work and pay taxes as well.
The problem is that their husbands are not able to help with sending money back to Thailand so they turn to prostitution. Their husbands tolerate this for a while, but for Thai people that see this, it looks strange.
Thai women mostly like to make comparisons together with things like, my husband is richer and my status is better, and some have gold to show off. This makes some Thai women become dissatisfied and causes problems within the associated Thai relationships. They will then divide into groups of status and social class.
I get to meet with Thai people that live here every day, because I live in the heart of the city near the mall. When I go to the market or shopping in various places, I often will come across Thai people out and about. We also have a Thai temple here which is the meeting place for all Thai people. The Thai people that live here love to go to the temple and make merit. They go together for festivals and various different reasons. This is something that makes me proud. We are living far from home, but the hearts and minds of the Thais living here are as one.
This is a massive generalisation, but what are the people from Germany like? What do they enjoy doing and what are the personalities and character traits of the German people?
German people to the extent that I see mostly keep themselves to themselves. They are self – assured and have their own ideas, but they respect the opinions of others as well. German people love their families, love their friends and like to work as a team. Everyone has different duties and they carry out their duties magnificently, but they don’t dare invade the space of others though.
For example, for 8 hours per day the German people will work in a serious manner. They will not waste time talking about other subjects that have nothing to do with work. The German people know well not to open personal email, go on facebook or use mobile telephones during the working time frame.
German people are very punctual. Arriving at work late is looked upon as not caring about or honoring your contract. Whether you arrive 5 minutes late or 30 minutes late, you will be judged as a person without quality. You will be seen as somebody who lacks respect for yourself and for the organisation.
German men as far as I can see, a lot have Thai wives. This might be because German men like Thai women and Thai women characteristics. Thai women will pamper and look after their man well, they will cook and be good house wives. This is different from German women who will mostly take care of themselves and not really take care of the family. They don’t really pay attention to their husband the same as Thai women do.
As far as I notice with German women, they have a very high interest in themselves. Sometimes, it’s like they don’t really care about the opinions of foreigners. There are some German women that don’t like Asian women. This is because some think that Thai women come to Germany in order to devour free money from the German government. They feel that some don’t do any work, but just wait to receive money. This is perhaps true, there are quite possibly some Thai women that are of this type of character. On the other hand though, there are many Thai women that work hard and pay their taxes to the government. The disappointing thing is that German women speak in a way as if all Thai women sit and wait for money from the government, and this is totally incorrect.
In German society, Sunday is a family day. The department stores and shops will close on Sunday’s, it’s a quiet day. There are a few restaurants and patisserie shops open for business, but that’s about it.
The department stores and shops close on Sunday’s in order for families to spend more time together. It’s to keep the family place warm and strong.
German people live quite frugally. They take their duties seriously, have order, system and discipline, are punctual, have high levels of responsibilities, love their families, love each other and love their nation.
What is the cost of living like in Germany ? Which in your opinion are the expensive things and which are the things of good value? Could you give me three things of each, please?
The cost of living in Germany is inclined to be expensive and that’s almost everything
3 things expensive
1. House or apartment: In Germany rental property is expensive and to some extent excessive. If it’s a house or apartment in the centre, then the price will be extremely expensive. A lot more expensive than property on the outskirts.
2. Price from massage: The majority of German people prefer to go and have a massage at the massage shop. The price of the massage is very expensive … for example, a traditional Thai massage for one hour is approximately 45 euros or in Thai money 1,800 baht. If it’s a one hour oil massage the price increases to 90 euros or in Thai money 3,600 baht. (The majority of Thai women have the occupation of a masseuse as a result of income being good.)
3. Thai food: vegetables and fruit that are imported from Thailand. This is due to the large quantity of Thai people that live in Germany and therefore it causes Thai food like vegetables and fruit to be very expensive. For example, there’s papaya salad that’s 15 euros in the restaurants, that’s 600 baht in Thai money. Before I couldn’t make Papaya Salad, but when I saw the price, I was shocked. From that point on I taught myself to make Papaya salad at home.
I understand that products imported from Thailand will be expensive and that they add import tax also, unfortunately, it’s unavoidable when buying Thai fruit and vegetables. However, for Thai food that’s expensive, if we make the food ourselves it can become much more economical. It’s not possible and totally impractical to buy food for every meal.
3 things of value
1. The price of cars: Germany is a country that manufactures several brand name cars. When German people’s cars deteriorate slightly or become in need of repair they are more likely to buy a new one than get it repaired.
2. I think the price of mobile phone equipment and computers are not that expensive in Germany. When they break down or become in need of repair, they will buy new stuff. Sometimes, even if the equipment is just a little bit old, they will throw it away and buy new stuff.
3. The price of clothes: Clothes in Germany are not very expensive, if you compare with Thailand. I think sometimes that it’s more expensive in Thailand for things like sweaters, swimming suits and shoes for instance.
Could you give me three things that in your opinion are great about living in Germany? Could you then give me three things that are not so good about living in Germany?
Things good about life in Germany
1. It’s a country that’s very comfortable to live in, both the government sector and the private sector take their responsibilities seriously and do a good job. They coordinate together and there’s no corruption, no embezzlement because they will select personnel with genuine ability.
2. It’s a country that’s tranquil and organised, not chaotic and you don’t have to compete for a better position because in Germany the value of money is much better. For instance, everyone carries out their duties. You won’t find anyone interfering in private matters of each other, because the majority of people respect each others private rights.
3. Income: If you compare with the monthly salary from Thailand, in Germany the minimum wage at the moment is 8.50 euros per hour . On the other hand, in Thailand it’s 340 baht per hour. If you work 8 hours per day in Germany, then you make a lot more money a month than in Thailand.
Things not so good about life in Germany
1. The cold weather and traffic accidents in the bad conditions. Every year when snow falls, accidents occur on the motorways. This is due to the slippery roads and the majority of accidents involve commercial trucks. You must take extreme care.
2. There are no relatives from my side that live in Germany, there are only relatives from my husband’s side. When I have various different official business tasks to take care of, there isn’t anyone who can watch over or look after the children for a while. It means that wherever I have to go, I have to take the children with me each time. If in Thailand I would have received help from my relatives who would watch over them whilst I carried out the various business activities. Furthermore, if I’m sick, there’s nobody to help take care because my husband works away, he returns home only at weekends. It means that I must do everything each day by myself, there’s nobody to help.
3. The German government help large quantities of immigrants enter the country to live. This is the reason that people in Germany feel less safe now, due to the immigrants that enter the country. Some immigrants create crime in the way of theft and rape. This puts fear in to people and they don’t dare go out anywhere at night at all. Also, the German government gives a lot of help to the immigrants through money. This is the reason that caused a lot of the German people to come out and protest, because people that work will need to pay more tax . The people are paying more tax, so that the German government are able to help the immigrants.
What would you say were the main problems in a Thai woman / German man romantic relationship? Are there any similar problems or misunderstandings that relationships have? I’m talking more to do with cultural differences really.
For problems regarding relationships between Thai people and German people, there is something that stands out. It’s taking care with the spoken word. When German people speak, they speak frank and direct. This can be a good thing or not such a good thing as the majority of Thai people will speak in a thoughtful and kind way, in a way not to hurt the feelings of others.
For an example; When I go to my Mother in Laws house and they are displeased about something, they will find fault with me in front of my husband. They don’t go gossiping behind your back. When Thai people find fault with each other face to face, it can cause people to feel remorseful, regretful or to lose face. The majority of Thai people will not do this together, but will gossip behind the back instead.
Another problem in relationships between Thai and German people is the subject of time. German people are very precise with time. For example, if they have an appointment with the Doctor at 11.00 am then they will arrive 10 – 15 minutes prior to the appointment.
But for Thai people, if an appointment is scheduled at 11.00 am the majority of Thais will come anywhere between ten to thirty minutes later than time of the scheduled appointment. Some can actually arrive up to an hour later than the appointment. Some will blame the bad traffic jams or that they are excessively busy. If German people suspect that there might be bad traffic, they will hurry and be there in advance of the appointment. Arriving late for a scheduled appointment can make us look like people lacking in responsibility.
On the side of romantic relationships with German people
As far as I can see, The majority of German men will drink beer and if the partner accepts this, then there’s not likely to be a problem with anything. However, on the other hand, if the husband drinks beer a lot with friends it can create problems with the family. For instance, he drinks excessively until he doesn’t have sufficient savings that can send to the wife’s family. Having said that, it could be the other way around. There are cases where the Thai wife will go out with friends, drink, party, have lots of fun until there is no time left for the family or husband. This certainly all causes problems, no matter who is at fault.
The majority of German men are fairly shy. If nobody comes to greet them first, they will not generally chat to anybody initially. This causes people to think they are arrogant, but seriously, they are not arrogant. They have a bashful character and don’t dare go and chat with strangers beforehand.
For example, my partner. My husband and I knew each other from a dating website. I went to make contact with him first, because he looked to be a quiet person, but good looking. I tried to greet him in order that he would like me also. It looked like he wasn’t very daring, but I was brave and wanted to get to know him. I found the confidence to flirt and chat with him initially. Luckily, the response was successful in wooing him, and later he asked to marry me.
Do you still have family living in Thailand and do you miss them? Do you manage to get back to Thailand for a visit now and again? Which are your favourite places to visit in Thailand?
I still have family in Thailand. My home is situated in the province of Petchabun and I miss my family in Thailand always. Nowadays, it’s good that we have various modern technology, it allows me to contact with people in the family via free devices. Devices like Facebook, Skype, Line and WhatsApp. Thought and longing one moment can then be transmitted to a smile and the sound of laughter the next, thanks to the modern devices that we chat with. Through the contact available, it causes me to miss home just that little bit less.
The period that I lived in Thailand, I lived with my family. It’s a big family, with several people all living together and you are never lonely. It’s a whole lot different from German society. Here, every house is quiet and sometimes it can cause you to feel lonely and miss home. I miss Thailand always, especially as in Thailand, the weather is not cold like it is in Germany.
The places that I enjoy visiting the most are the seaside and waterfalls. Aside from that I like to make merit, pray to Buddha and request blessings from the Buddhas of various temples. For instance, the seaside that I like is in the province of Chumphon, it’s where my husband and I spent our honeymoon. The sea is beautiful, clear and everything is so natural. If you go on honeymoon together here, there are not many people, and it’s very private.
I enjoy taking my husband and the family to different temples to pray to Buddha for luck and prosperity in life. This is according to the beliefs of Buddhists. At first my husband professed to Christianity, but since we got married, he see’s me every night pay my respects to Buddha and listen to Buddhist recitations. From that period on, my husband became interested and told me that he he’d changed his beliefs to Buddhism.
I have the belief that if you do good you will naturally receive good and good people ought to observe the Buddhist teachings. I taught these to my children and husband, until it wasn’t long before my husband changed his faith to the Buddhist religion.
Now, my husband is of the same faith as me. He now wears a Buddha image hanging around his neck.
Every time, I will take my husband and children to make merit together, no matter whether were in Germany or Thailand because the temple acts as a support to my mind, and it’s the meeting place from all Thai people.
Have you ever felt unsafe living in Germany in general?
I did feel safe previously, but that was when I first arrived in Germany. I lived centrally and was able to come and go conveniently. I walked home at nights, and I didn’t feel scared at all. The reason is that the majority of German people maintain law and order very well. There are strict laws in Germany and serious penalties for people who break the law.
Nowadays the German government give a lot of help to foreigners. There are increasing numbers of immigrants arriving to live in Germany and it often creates problems with the German people that are against the arrival of foreigners.
Now that there are immigrants dispersed around the various towns and cities of Germany, sometimes this causes me to feel unsafe. In addition, I have children also, and this causes me to operate with even further care. However, I need to have awareness always as anything can happen at any time. Not being careless is best.
What are your favourite places to visit in Germany and is Germany beautiful?
The places that I enjoy visiting in Germany and that I enjoy taking the children to are … firstly, the biggest department store in the city where I live. The name of the department store is Schloss Arkaden. Some people look at it from the outside and they think it’s a Royal Palace, but it’s not, inside it’s a department store. Opposite this place is a building called the Happy Rizzi House. If you stopover or pass through the city, then make sure you photograph this building, because it’s a prominent feature of the city.
I like to visit the city of Berlin because it’s a historical city and has many other interesting tourist spots. I’d certainly recommend that you come to visit Germany.
I like Germany because it’s a beautiful country and comfortable to live in. I’m impressed with every season in Germany. There are four seasons; the cold season, spring, summer and autumn. All four seasons are different, but all four seasons have natural beauty. It’s well worth visiting. I’d like to recommend that you come to experience the beauty for yourself.
What are your passions in life. What are the things that you love to do when you have free time?
The thing that I love mostly is to be able to look after the children and family. Aside from that I like to make Thai food and enjoy learning to make foreign food as well. This is so that my husband can have several menu choices, according to his preferences.
For my free time; after the children have gone to bed, I will answer messages via facebook. The reason is because, there are several Thai women interested in the articles that I write. They share the posts on facebook and they write to consult and request my advice. Mostly, it’s to do with subjects regarding foreign partners, finding a foreign man, language studies, further studies and subjects to do with making visas.
Every day, I sit and answer one question after another from everybody that writes to consult with me. I’m delighted that people have confidence in me and that dare to relate various stories to me. It’s because they see that I have been successful in the subject of love with a foreign man. I’m delighted to advise, be beneficial and to be a guide in their lives.
Some Thai women think that moving to Europe / Germany means a better life instantly. What advice would you give Thai women that were thinking of living in Europe / Germany? What would you advise them to beware of? Could you give me 3 things for them to think about before moving overseas?
I’d like for Thai women to keep an open – mind in the subject of associating with foreign men, or that also known as ” farang men.” There are both good and bad mixed in together. Some people are fortunate and perhaps meet a good person, but some people are not so fortunate and end up meeting a bad person.
Some Thai women will perhaps observe couple’s that look to be successful. A Thai woman that’s been able to meet a foreigner that’s rich, who has money and can relieve the debts from back home in Thailand. Some would therefore themselves, like to get a foreign man like that in order to help improve life.
Don’t forget though, with foreigners there are also both good and bad people. Some people are kind, some people miserly and with some women hope is high to meet a foreigner that is handsome and rich in order that will enhance the quality of life. Some believe that all foreigners have money.
Truthfully, foreigners must work so that they are able to put food on the table, just the same as we do. However, they know how to budget their money and afterwards, they will have enough money to help the Thai woman. This certainly does not apply to everybody though, they can’t all or always help.
Some Thai women meet bad foreign men. Some women have to go to work and send money home by themselves as some foreign men have low incomes. Therefore, will even allow his own girlfriend or wife to sell her own body for sex, in order that they will get money to support the family.
So, if we choose to associate with foreigners, then we should choose to study him well before we agree to spend life together as a couple. I send spiritual support to Thai women in the hope that they can meet a foreigner of a good disposition and that they sincerely love each other.
As for the topic in hand, I advise that you prepare, study and practice a career, before you come to live abroad.
There are many fields that I advise to friends, to study before moving abroad. I suggest ideas such as these…..
Study massage, nail painting and other activities to do with nails, hairdressing, to cook Thai food, to cook foreign food, to make Thai desserts, study baking, sewing, study to sculpt or carve for instance.
In summary, my friends are able to study in various vocations or crafts, develop skills and can do so here in Thailand in every province. After completing the course studies, you will receive your diploma certificate in English language as well. You will have the correct documentation to be able to apply for various jobs.
For example ….
If you go and study massage and one day you get to come and work in a spa salon abroad, the price of massage is very expensive. It’s around 39 euros for a 45 minute massage and that’s about 1,560 baht in Thai money.
As a hairdresser, just cutting a man’s hair in a normal run of the mill haircut will cost 25 euros. That’s the equivalent of approximately 1000 baht in Thai money.
There’s good money in the painting and cutting of nails. In one session approximately 30 – 45 minutes, you will receive 30-45 Euro’s, or in Thai money that’s 1,200 – 2,000 baht. That’s for one time. The beauty here is that foreigners prefer to get their nails cut and painted together.
One day painting the nails of just 4 – 5 people, for the extent of 4 – 5 hours, would bring in 8,000 – 10,000 baht per day, the money is good. Whoever would like to study, I totally recommend it. I have one Vietnamese friend who works in a shop of this kind, and they told us that they get 3,000 euros a month, and that’s approximately 120,000 baht per month. This is because foreigners prefer to do their nails together. When their nails are long, approximately after 1 -2 weeks, they will return to have them cut again.
If you’re a seamstress that hems up trousers from new, the price is about 5 – 8 euros and that’s about 200 – 320 baht in Thai money. Working on other garments in need of work , you can charge as much as 15 – 80 euros about 600 – 3,200 baht in Thai.