Legal Alien in Thailand Part 1
The first years in my new “home country” I lived a life of happiness and party. There were no limits to my freedom, everyday was a big party. I did not think of the future that I should be making, I lived from day to day. I even did get a job. It was paid well and I did meet a lot of people and saw a lot of this beautiful new country. Everything was so different as in my old home country. And all the people are so friendly. Now after almost 10 years I still live in my new home country. And it feels like my home now, I feel like I am HOME like I was born here. But .... I am not born here and that is written on my forehead or actually on the color of my skin. I have another skin color. And after almost 10 years I am still a guest of this wonderful and friendly country. And I will remain to be a guest until the last day I live here.
Never I will become one of “them”. Whatever I do. Of course I should have started 10 years ago with learning to speak, understand, read & write their language. But why? With my English I could go everywhere.. OK outside of the big cities it was getting a bit less easy, but with hand-signs you get quit far. And like a kind of an-alphabetic you are starting to learn all kind of tricks to overcome you handicap. In the years to come I started to learn the language and being able to speak & understand it a bit changes a lot in the way I am living here now. But the difference between “us” and “them” will never change. We both grew up with different values, different religion, different music, different jokes and most of all different way of respect and freedom. But of course a big part of being different is that fact that I did not learn their language. I can talk about small & easy thing, but I can not have a nice conversation with my neighbor. First of all we have different interests and I do not understand the language good.
I do not live in a foreigner enclave like the most guests of this country. I live with and between the local people. I eat almost the same food and yes I enjoy my life here. I think that I have made the beginning of a new life here. I say the beginning because even after almost 10 years I am still a guest here. Every year I still have to apply for a visa, I need a work permit to work and a lot of jobs are illegal for me. Actually they can kick me out any day they want. I arrived here almost 10 years ago as a guest and I am starting to realize that I have become a “third ranks citizen”. OK, maybe a “second ranks citizen” but never local. Yes I feel home here, yes I feel welcome (although many foreigner here do not feel welcome). But there is something missing.
Going back? I always think I can, but I have changed so much that I would be a “outsider” in my old home country also. In the years to pass I lost all my social contacts and adjusting to the rules and way of life in my old home country would become very difficult. Of course my sister thinks that one day I will become normal again and come back. But I think I have past that point of return without knowing it. I am here and I am nowhere .... because the opposite is also true.