A Thai woman who has found love and marriage in America says that waiting for the visa in Thailand to live in America was the hardest part.
Katreeya (Kate) worked for a cosmetics company in Bangkok just six years ago with a brother in Samut Prakan and a mother in Nong Khai. Now is now living in Austin Texas, is
an American citizen and has a son. 'The hardest part for me was waiting for the visa to go to America. It was eight months and I thought something might happen, that he would
change his mind,' she says of her husband Tom who married her on his first trip to Thailand for a month long holiday in 2007.
Accountant in Bangkok with limited prospects
'When Tom comes to Thailand I was working as the accountant with a cosmetics company in Bangkok. I had already been in America in 2003 and I had also been to Korea,'
she says. Katreeya had a degree from Thammasat University in Thailand but decided that she would like to begin a new life outside Thailand as her prospects were limited. 'I read
a story in one magazine and heard some stories from friends. I thought like it was something I could try but it was so serious when I met Tom in the hotel when he came to Bangkok
to see me.'
Quick marriage in Buddhist temple
'When I see him in Bangkok, I think why is such a handsome man and young man not have a wife already. I did bring him to meet my friend in the company to ask him some
questions. We stayed together for 10 days on his trip and he bought me a ring and bracelet. He came back in October after this but first we were married in a temple near my home
in Nong Khai. It was so quick!'
Finding foreign husband on the internet
Katreeya thinks the key to finding a foreign husband on the internet is to be able to speak English. 'My English is good for Thai and I think this is most helpful,' she says. She says
that when she first met Tom, an American from Texas with his own business, she did not have a problem understanding or conversing with him. It was a matter of love at first sight.
'I loved the sound of his voice, my friends said that Tom is a real American, they only had to worry why this man was not married already,' she laughs.
During the wait for her visa and before Tom visited her to take her to America, Katreeya worried at times. 'There were these times when I did not speak to Tom for a few days
and I began to think this and that, all sorts of questions but the when I speak with him it was all ok again. I felt better.'
Thai wife in America
Katreeya was shocked at the difference when she arrived in America. 'I had seen America on TV before but when then I got to Fort Worth and Austin, it looked the same as
going to another world. It was hot like Thailand but so dry and the noise was so different. Everything looked shiny and neat.' To Katreeya the American people were very different also.
'I think like the woman in the space movie. Then when I went to Tom's house, it was so big and beautiful. Tom did not tell me he was so rich!' Katreeya says that that moment was
one of the happiest in her life.
'I was crying after I met Tom's mother, she was so kind to me. I feel so lucky and thinking about my mother and brother in Thailand, there was so much feeling in my heart.'
Thai wife making a success of Life in America.
Katreeya was now living her dream but she was aware of her next challenge 'After this I was facing the challenge about making a good life in America. It was easy to take care
of such a beautiful house but I wanted to help more.'
Katreeya talked with her husband and also about money. 'We had talks over coffee about money and this was very good. Tom is good about money and I am also an
accountant so here I could be good for him too. After a month or two I felt it was time for me to find a job also and I was very surprised that it was not hard. Tom was a bit afraid. But it
was also a problem that I could not go here or go there since I could not drive. So I had to learn about this. I got a job in a big US corporation in Austin and then I had a new shock.'
Katreeya was about to find out how American people work.
Busy Americans a culture shock for Thai wife
Katreeya was surprised and intimidated by the fast pace of a busy American office. 'I felt shock at how fast and quickly everything is in America. I am a good staff in Bangkok but
in America when I start work, I am slow and not sure. I was so lucky I had Tom and good friends to help me and I had experience from my job in Bangkok where I am a team
Katreeya admits that there were days in the first month of her job in America when she felt she would have to resign or that she might even be fired. However she adapted and
was coached by her American husband. 'I met many new people and some of them were so loud and some not polite at all but really it was for me to understand the people. Some
nights I tell Tom I could not work in America and I would tell him the story and he would help me to understand. Then it was a surprise that many of the people were good to me and
Since then Katreeya has been given a promotion is now a valued member of staff. 'I have not missed one day at my job and I am learning new skills on my computer,' she says.
'I am living in America now for nearly five years and already I have job promotion and we never have problem about money. I cannot believe this. I feel so lucky.'
Thai wife is an American mom.
Today Katreeya is an accomplished American with a son and husband. Her experience of America has nearly always positive. There has only been one occasion when she
was the subject of any abuse and then it was indirect: 'I was getting my driving permit but I did not hear, it was my husband who heard this.' She says that her husband sometimes
gets some disapproving looks when they are travelling together but it really is not an issue. 'I am very surprised at how many friends I can find here and who want to help me.'
Katreeya has no plans to return to Thailand for now: 'My most important thing is my family in America, Tom and my son. I worry sometime about my Khun Ma (mother) in
Thailand but she is good. I don't know if me and Tom will go back to live someday when we are old but I must not think about it for many years. Now I have a good life and I am an
American woman living the dream,' she laughs.
It is now estimated that there are over 250,000 Thai people living in America. Most of these are Thai women and there has been an explosion of Thai women arriving like
Katreeya as Thai wives married to American men. Although many Thais up to now have lived in California, the latest wave of Thai women is more spread out across the United