Thais Abroad: From Udon Thani, Thailand to Toulouse, France
We ask Rose about her experiences & thoughts on life in France
This post continues with the theme of Thais Abroad, Thai people who have made the move from Thailand to live in other countries around the world. Interview one came from Venice in Italy. Interview two came from Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina and interview three was from London, England.
Interview four comes from Toulouse in the south of France.
My fascination in the interviews comes from a combination of three sources; culture, personality and experiences. My objective, with the help of my guests, is to gain insights into essentially some of the cultural differences and their stories.
Introduction of Today’s Guest
Today’s guest was born in Korat, but raised in Udon Thani in the north-east of Thailand. At the age of 14 she moved with her parents to start a new life in France. A lady who gives frank opinions and can’t live without music.
Introducing Miss Rose Kwlr
What first took you to France?
(Rose) I grew up here really as I have been here since childhood. I came here with my mother and father at 14 years of age. My father was a Colonel in the French army and he returned to retire in France.
In fact, my family has a strong link to the services. My older brother is a sergeant in the army and my younger brother is also in the army. If having two brothers in the army is not enough, then my other brother is in the Marines. My Mother has never worked.
(Rose) I left Thailand at 14 years of age and did not understand anything here in France at all. I did not get a choice in coming here and at that point I couldn’t speak or understand French. I arrived the first day and by the second day I began to study French. I didn’t want to waste any time as I was already a long way behind. I started studying immediately, even though in actual fact I was still jet lagged. I studied non stop and was by the end of the first month speaking French naturally. I hadn’t really realised the progress I had made as I was so totally immersed and focused.
However though, I was gradually forgetting my Thai language. There were no Thai people staying in the room where I studied and further more there were no Thai people in the city either. In fact, there weren’t any Thai people anywhere. As time went on, I became a French person and was not aware of anything other than things French. After all, this is where I grew up and studied every day. I did not want to, but unintentionally I had forgotten Thailand, it was a process that happened over time. I just thought I was French. My friends were naturally French.
Rose with friends
This continued until I reached age 20 and over and then I really started to miss and think of Thailand. I began to study Thai language and Thai culture by myself. The languages and cultures as you know are miles apart.
Where do you live in France?
(Rose) I live in Muret which is about 29km from Toulouse in the south of France. Toulouse is approximately 750 kilometres from Paris and is a beautiful city near the mountains and the sea. It’s a place for ” rockers, ” a city that has lots of rock concerts all the time. The climate is warm here and mostly really hot because we are not far from Italy and Spain.
Muret – south of France
What do you do for a living in Tolouse and have you always done that type of work?
(Rose) At first, I studied to work as a hotel receptionist. It was very hard work and the hours were long. However, I liked this work and it’s why I studied it, but you just paid way too much tax. I just couldn’t carry on with this profession paying that much tax and had to leave.
Then after that I studied electronic-Aeronautics. I worked in this industry for 3 – 4 years. Life here is very expensive and you pay a lot of tax and I decided against this career as well.
Now I have changed work again. Right now I work late night shifts in a Chinese restaurant. When you work night shifts, you don’t have to pay tax. This is why I work at the Chinese Restaurant as it’s the only restaurant that you can work the night shift. Life in France now is very difficult and not the same as before. In here we pay a lot of tax. I work on my own and there are many costs. There are payments for house rent, water, electric, telephone and car insurance. The monthly salary is almost not enough to cover these expenses. I have to work so hard to live in France.
French people work 35 hours per week here … this is law. If you work more than 35 hours per week then you have to pay much more tax. Although you work so hard you still cannot be a rich person here. If you work hard here, you will just end up exhausted and still without much money. If you are single like me it is so hard to survive.
I looked for night work in order to take care of me and my son. If you work at night then the state help pay the rent. On the other hand you must pay excessive tax and give to the government. Hey … This is France.
A lot of Thai people that I know believe that it’s a paradise living in a foreign land, but it’s not true. I grew up here, studied here and know the culture.
What do you do in your free time? What are your passions?
(Rose) My passions are sport and music, but my main passion and the thing I absolutely love most is going to rock concerts. In my free time it’s anything to do with music. I play guitar and bass, I sing and I constantly listen to music.
Rose and guitar
I learnt to play bass and guitar when I was young and have loved it ever since. Although I say that I love rock, I also love many other types of music. These include rock-pop, punk-rock, Hard-rock, reggae. country music and blues music.
I also love fitness and I run for one hour every day. It all takes up a lot of time, but I need to do that. I make sure that I look after myself. This is why I am still single, because the things I love doing take up all of my spare time and there’s no time for anyone else …. laughter.
Another thing I love to do is meditate. I like to include meditation into my vacations and will do this for a few days. I like to meditate for 20 minutes a day. Every day. For my vacations it will be longer. I think everyone should try meditation, it’s very good for you. I am busy because I love to take care of me and my happiness when I have spare time.
My final passion is teaching. I teach Thai language and Thai boxing for two hours after work to those who want to learn.
My dream however is to return to Thailand. I want to live my life in Thailand now.
Are there many Thai people living in your area and do they settle in to life in Toulouse – France well.
(Rose) There are a few Thai people living here, but not that many. In fact all over France, there aren’t really that many Thai people. It’s because life here can be dreadful at times. Thai people choose to go to places that are good like Switzerland. I don’t think you choose to come to France. Even the French people themselves flee France..laughter. However, I did not have a choice as my Father and Mother brought me here.
I would say that there are not in excess of 100 Thai people living here in Toulouse including the students. It’s basically just Thai women that have French husbands really. They mostly work in restaurants as there aren’t many other opportunities available to them. It’s different for me because I studied here. It’s not the same for these Thai women though as they didn’t study here and have little choices. Many, if not working in restaurants will perhaps clean the houses of customers.
The bridge in Toulouse
Mostly though, the Thai people seem content with life here. For me though, real life is Thailand.
In Toulouse we do actually have Thai temples. It’s mostly Laos people that go to the temple, because there aren’t many Thai people. There’s a lot of people from Laos and there’s a lot of people from Vietnam and Cambodia as well.
Town Hall, Muret near Toulouse
What are French people particularly fond of doing in their spare time? What’s the character of French people like? Could you give me an idea of the character of French men and French women – all through the eyes of a Thai national.
(Rose) French people love the sea and especially sunbathing, but mostly they like Rugby. If we are talking about sport in regards to southern French people, then mountain sports like skiing are a firm favourite. Of course, I almost forgot they love coffee, cafes, eating and drinking as well.
(Rose) French people like to be envious and they like to speak only in French. I think men and women here are born with a jealous mentality. They are jealous when you have more than them, jealous if you have a nice car, if you are smarter than them or if you are prettier than them… it never ends. I find the men are very selfish and try to take advantage whenever possible. The French women can be very envious.
On French Women
(Rose) The majority of French women are jealous of each other and this comes strongly in to play throughout the working environment. I don’t particularly like working with women here as there is always a lot of jealousy involved.
French women are good mothers and I would say that at least 20 percent of French women don’t work after they are married as they would rather take care of their children. French women love fashion shopping. They are sexy, but are still faithful like most women in our world.
Images of France
On French Men
(Rose) I’m afraid my opinion about French men is not good. French men just don’t respect women, but they like women to be sweet, kind and do everything for them. Oh yes, to start with they are sweet and will wow you until you trust them and then they turn into monsters. They lie a lot, are selfish, jealous, macho and aggressive. There are no in-betweens with French men. When they love someone – they love so much and when they hate – they hate forever. In my opinion there are not many good or nice French men.
Could you give me three things that in your opinion are great about living in Toulouse / France? Could you then give me three things that are not so good about living in Toulouse / France?
(Rose) On the Good
1) I love the weather in France
2) Toulouse especially is not far from the mountain. You can hike and ski until your hearts content.
3) Toulouse is a Rock City, all the great bands come here to play. It’s a city of rock concerts and it’s fantastic. Toulouse is also known as ” Airbus City. Airbus building is what’s put Toulouse on the map.
(Rose) On the Not So Good
2) House rent
3) Appliances – especially food appliances as really expensive because of the duty.
In fact, anything you care to name from A-Z is inclusive of tax. Ten years ago it wasn’t like this, but now everything has deteriorated.
Could you give me 3 other places that you like to visit in France. Where in France do you find fantastic and where should I visit?
1) Toulouse (of course), it’s very nice
3) Nice and St.Tropez – very beautiful
(Rose) The photos of the police woman and police man on the horse are from Nice. I like Nice, I have been there on a couple of occasions it’s a pleasant city and near Monaco. I have been there for a visit and to attend concerts. It’s bout a 5 hour trip from Toulouse to Nice though.
You didn’t mention Paris – we all love Paris, don’t we? Tell me why Paris doesn’t get a mention and give me some quick-fire opinion on a few other topics suggested please.
(Rose) I don’t put Paris. I hate Paris as the people their are not very nice, they rip off tourists, the metro is crap and everyone’s stressed out.
Toulouse has one of the best climates in France and the French people like this region. The people are also much more open and approachable. If you were lost and needed directions, then you could ask them. This is not the same in Paris, the people don’t answer you. In Paris they stress so much and the majority don’t speak English… or just won’t…. laughter.
Louvre – Paris
Quick – Fire Opinions
On Foreign Languages
(Rose) To be honest they don’t speak French in the South of France either. Lots of people speak Spanish or Italian, but that is because we are located near Spain and Italy. Some people here originate from Spain and Italy also. To round it all off, they don’t speak much English in the north or west of France either…. only French. The French people are too lazy to learn another language or to evolve. They don’t evolve. Things are changing though as the young French people speak and understand English because of online social life and internet games.
Way of life in Toulouse
(Rose) The way of life here is similar to the Spanish I believe. The people here they love to eat and drink and mostly to eat, but are lazy for sporting activity. At the weekends they spend their time with friends or family, eating and drinking too much… laughter. French people are mostly miserly because life in Frence is so expensive…. yes, everything’s expensive in France. Toulouse is nice but the only problem with Toulouse is the horrific traffic jams you can encounter.
Traveling to Toulouse……. Slowly
On relationships between Thai women and French men
(Rose) With regards to Thai women and French men; I’ve never seen Thai women happy with their husbands in France. Some Thai women don’t like French men. Thai women mostly like and love a gentleman who respects them. For the most part and at the beginning, Thai women are taken in by the French charm and happy ever after promises. Later on, they are left in tears and unhappy from false promises and lies.
French men love and want to be with Thai women, but that is for one thing only in my opinion. They think that Thai women are sensual and sexy. When French guys talk about Thai women, the first thing they think about is sex and sensual erotic massage. In their heads a Thai woman’s purpose is for sex and nothing else. They never think anything good about us though, I don’t like this or them.
Muret, near Toulouse, south of France
More on French women
(Rose) Many French people are single. The women live without the men. Many people live alone, this is normal for us. This is why I live alone and so many of my friends do as well… laughter. The French men are never happy and nothing is ever enough or good enough. They are lazy and profit from the woman if they can.
Where I am based, French women mostly like Spanish men. Some like Italian men and men from Switzerland, but it’s mostly Spanish. This is because location wise we are near to Spain, Italy and Switzerland. For me though, I like English men. I like everything to do with the U.K and I love the English language. I like German men too, but I don’t speak their language.
My son is the man in my life. I never got married. My ex boyfriend (my son’s father) is 50 percent Spanish and 50 percent French and now I’m not fond of Spanish men either … (Rose laughs). I am 50 percent Chinese and 50 percent Thai so my son has four origins and that’s why he’s so handsome. My son is 18 years old and he is a nice guy. I am very proud of him. He is a real musician and plays in a band. He can play drums, guitar and Bass guitar. He’s very versatile. He is also very sporty and doesn’t drink or smoke. I am very proud of him.
Son and proud Mum
On Respecting Other people
(Rose) This is the kind of thing I absolutely hate and it shows a total lack of respect for others. One of my neighbours takes my car parking space all the time and this has been occurring on and off for a long time now. It makes me mad. I return from work, I’m hungry, tired and I don’t have anywhere to park. Finally, I had enough and decided that I would get as close as possible to my parking space and block him in at the same time – my car is on the right. This makes me so angry and exactly what I mean – no respect for other people.
Car Parking Issue
The outcome was that he couldn’t go to work. He starts work at 7 am and I don’t start until 10 am. He was very angry. I hope he will understand and park somewhere else next time. Of course there was no apology though. I’ve no doubt that the parking dilemma will continue as he didn’t look or sound very happy … laughter. I must go back and meditate… Calm down.
Do you have any family still living in Thailand? Where were you born in Thailand and where in Thailand did you spend the first 14 years of your life. How often do you manage to get back to Thailand for a visit?
On Family in Thailand
(Rose) Yes, I still have family in Thailand. All my family live in the north east of Thailand. My mum has lots of brothers and sisters and many cousins. I have many cousins in Thailand. I am not that fond of them to be honest. They think we have money and are rich but this is not true. We are just normal people living a simple life. It’s just because we live in Europe that this assumption is made.
On Childhood in Thailand
(Rose) I was born in Nakhon Ratischima (Korat), but we moved to Udon Thani to be near my Mum’s brothers and sisters.I went to school in Udon Thani. I had a lot of friends at school and I was a good student. When my mum said that we were moving to France, I said I did not want to go. I wanted to stay here at school and be with all my friends. My mum said that I could stay here and live with my aunty. I was so happy to hear this, but my father said NO and made me go to France.
Udon Thani, North – East Thailand
On Adapting to France
(Rose) I was sad and hated France. I don’t know why. Perhaps it was because I was so young when I arrived here. When I arrived first – oh my God, freezing cold. Not only that but the food was totally different and in fact everything was different. It only took about one month to adapt and step by step I made the transition. Now, I am French in my head, my physique is Thai, but in my heart I am 100 percent Thai.
On Returning to Thailand
(Rose) Yes, I get back to Bangkok for visits and I want to live there as well. I have a lot of friends in Bangkok and they have work I could do immediately if I was there. I have everything there ready for me, but I can’t return just yet. I have my son here in Toulouse and I must take care of him first. I care about him greatly, I live for him and couldn’t just leave him here. He is my son, my boy, my friend and my mate. I will wait until he is independent and secured. I love life in Thailand though. I love the wonderful fruits and all the delicious foods. I am not so fond of the heat I must admit though. In France I love the winters, but I don’t like the taxes anymore.
Trevor: I can officially announce, just in case anyone has missed it that Rose does not like the taxes in France.
When you do get back to Thailand, which are your 3 favourite places to visit ?
(Rose) My favourite area for visiting is The Andaman Islands, especially Phuket and Krabi. However though, I want to live in Bangkok.
Some Thai women think that moving to Europe / America or wherever means a better life instantly. Some think that the streets are paved with gold. What advice would you give Thai women that were thinking of living in France? What would you advise them to beware of? Maybe if you could me 3 things for them to consider before moving to France or overseas.
For me, Thai people are lucky with what they have. In Europe and America it’s not paradise – Thailand is. That’s why so many people who have been to Thailand love it there and dream of living there. Thais have it all really, but they don’t know it.
Living in a Thai paradise
This is the world of the Thai woman; they would like a foreign husband, but they don’t know anything about him. No one is perfect. The man is the man – wherever he is from. I have advised them on these matters on each occasion that I have returned to Thailand.
They have to be aware of the foreign men – they lie too much. Thai ladies think that foreign men have money and can give them a better life, but they are often very wrong about that. I know it’s hard for them to understand because it’s their dream and what they believe. There is no rainbow, no pot of gold and most don’t have a lot of money. I am sorry to destroy your dream. Make money by yourself, take control of your own life and don’t rely on others. Otherwise, in the end you could be in a foreign land, very unhappy, in tears and regret it all very much.
In my opinion, paradise or the better world is not a place but ourselves. Working on making ourselves better is the key. When we develop ourselves then we become happier and do better in life. Paradise is not a place. It’s within us already. All we have to do is develop it.
Happiness is not a foreign man … laughter. However, if you do want a foreign man then that is fine. Just make sure you stick with your man and don’t keep changing him as he is just a man. They are the same and none are perfect.
Time to vote for Rose
Give me an idea of your Ideal day. Time and money are no problem, you can do exactly what you want. Where would you be and what would you do with those 24 hours. The time is all yours. (You can exercise, play guitar, block somebody’s car in… laughter. The choice is yours.
(Rose) Go to the gym is important , but that I run everyday is very important.
I like to visit friends, but mostly I enjoy spending my moments with my family. My brothers, sisters – we love to sing karaoke together.
I’d play music constantly like rock music, hard rock, punk rock, pop rock, some blues, reggae and country music. I love all music with the sound of guitar bass and drums. When I hear the sound of these instruments combined my heart beat pounds faster with excitement. I can’t live without music, it’s a big part of my life – especially rock music.
Ready to rock
I love with all my heart going to rock concerts. This is totally me. I know well that I don’t fall into the normal woman category – I am a rocker and I love heavy metal music. French men are afraid of me and keep clear… laughter. I don’t mind as I’m not fond of them either.
I’d like to thank Rose for giving me her forthright views on life in France and the Toulouse area essentially. Rose speaks her mind, but has shown her determination in life, adapting to change on many occasions. Whether country changes, employment changes or language changes she has met them all full on. The main thing I got though is that Rose has the music in her. Rock on Rose.
I loved this quote that she came out with whilst advising Thai ladies about finding paradise living overseas.
” In my opinion, paradise or the better world is not a place but ourselves. Working on making ourselves better is the key. When we develop ourselves then we become happier and do better in life. Paradise is not a place. It’s within us already. All we have to do is develop it.”
I totally agree Rose. This is sound advice for anybody. Thank you.