Friday, June 19, 2009

A MAN'S HOME IS HIS CASTLE

THIS IS OUR HOME AND MY CASTLE
THIS IS THE HOUSE WE BOUGHT

The first time we saw our house it was anything but a castle , in fact, it was in really bad run down ,forgotten shape,and it was the subject of bad Karma ,so to speak. The couple that had built it had split up ,even before they had finished the house and so as far as all the village and neighbors were concerned it would just sit there empty till it fell down.When we saw it for the first time it had sit empty for eight years and the bathroom roof ceiling and part of the unfinished kitchen roof and cieling, had already fallen in and it was in really bad shape .Ciejay and me had decided just a few days before that we wanted to retire in Thailand and we had been lots of places in Thailand while on our vacation , but we just did'nt feel right about any of them , well on our last day before going back to BKK for our flight back to America , we drove down the mountain into the valley to a little village called Whang Pho and our hearts said to each other "this is the place ." We didn't get off to ourselves and talk about it, we were with two other couples, we just knew this was it.It was already five o'clock in the evening and we looked at a piece of land a friend of Ciejay's brother had for sale , but it was to far out of town and no utilities run anywhere near it, so we said we would come back another year and look around, as it was getting dark and the others were in a hurry to get on the road , well out of the blue I ask Ciejay's brother if there was a piece of land in town with a house already on it for sale , I was thinking we could tear and old house down and build what we wanted , as long as it was close to town and had water and electricity available. To my surprise he pointed up the road, fifty yards away and said that old place there belongs to a friend in BKK he might want to sell this place, because he is married again and his new wife will have nothing to do with the house and noone in the village will buy it as it is full of bad spirits and bad Karma.( they all being Buddhist of course)being Christians that did'nt bother me at all.
It was dark , the doors were locked and all the windows had bars on them and were tinted and we could not see in at all , but my brother -in -law said it had three bedrooms and two baths and a room to be made into a kitchen and a huge living room the full length of the house with the bedrooms off to the side and he drew it with a stick on the ground , Me and Ciejay walked around it and said to each other it has strong foundation and walls and the major roof is in good shape , we can make it a home with a lot of hard work . We called the man while standing there, in the overgrown yard with the car lights shineing on the front ,with a gecko telling us this was his place now, and Ciejay and my brother- in -law talking with him and in about five minutes we bought ourselves a house in Thailand , I felt like the opening lines to the movie Out of Africa , when she said"I had a home in Africa."I can remember saying to my self "I have a home in Thailand." That was one of the most emotional moments in my whole live , except when each of my boys were born.
We took a couple of pictures , it was already dark ,to take back home to America.We showed them to our friends and family and they thought we had lost our minds , and if you had seen it before we remodeled it, you would have said the same thing.We had one more year to work before I could retire with a social security check coming in every month, I knew nothing about Thailand , except what I had seen as a tourist for three weeks , and nothing about visa requirements , I thought we would just pack everything up and move to Thailand , was I ever in for a big surprise, And as I read and ask questions I found out a lot and it scared me a little to be honest with you . So we planned and saved and set our sights and hearts toward Thailand , the almost forgotten house as far as Thai's and anyone else were concerned on the other side of the world thousands of miles away in a land that I had only visited for a short time , but we did not forget about our dream , for one day, and we talked about what we were going to do everynight after dinner and things were done for the day and readied for tommorow. I made a cardboard model of the house with a removable top so we could see what we were going to do , inside and out , we put a huge calendar on the wall and begain to mark the days off . That was the longest year of my life ,but it finally did come (a lot of stuff and preparation happened in that year, but thats another story) and on October the 6th 2004 we arrived in Whang Pho and got the keys and walked into the house for the first time ,at six o'clock in the morning on October the 7th,we were shocked to say the least ,it needed more work than we thought,but we had a dream and before the day was over we had a crew cleaning the property and cutting down trees and bushes, and we found a wonderful man named Piak, that said he would make our house a home , I knew not one word Thai and He knew not one word English , him and Ciejay talked and when me and him shook hands I knew I could trust him completely.What a wonderful person he turned out to be , he told me what we needed he would go buy or order and give Ciejay the receipt and she would give him the money , five years have almost gone buy and I have learned a little Thai and I have learned a lot about Thai folks and Thai workman and labors and I can say that Piak never took advantage of us for nothing , even his final bill for all the labor and labors was well under what I was prepared to pay, five years later (almost) and we have not had to redo are repair anything he and his crew did . And I want you to know that I have read and heard so horror stories from farangs that have built houses in Thailand, (most of the time unskilled relatives of their Thai wife or girlfriend) using Thai contractors . And of course we have done a lot of work ourselves , adding a patio and gazbo and carport and a deck all the way around the house, landscaped and planted lots of trees and plants and flowers and "oh ya " built a pond with a water fall out front and got us a dog. We have made the delapadated ,forgotten , cursed house into a HOME and also into my CASTLE.
And I can say for certain, that the thing that makes this King to have a home to call a Castle is the QUEEN that lives there with him. Malcolm

9 comments:

Martyn said...

"We called the man while standing there, in the overgrown yard with the car lights shineing on the front ,with a gecko telling us this was his place now"....I wish I'd written those words, absolutely brilliant. I love writing, I've loved laying down words since I was a small kid and most of all I love the type of sentence you strung together there, sheer brilliance. A real punchy sentence, something that leaves nothing to the imagination.

The house has been transformed beyond recognition and you, Ciejay and Piak should be proud of that. Your driveway/path is very similar to the one at our house in Udon, a crazy slab sought of style. Wilai would love the trees and plants and I know when the day hopefully comes that she sees it she will have a good admiring look around.I like this type of post because I can put a definite picture from now on to some of your stories that concern your home and garden. I bet the cardboard model didn't look as good as the real thing.

Mike said...

Malcolm great story with a superb outcome. I look forward to seeing it with my own eyes when I get up North later this year.

Unfortunately I had less control over our humble abode, since it was partly completed when we bought it. My hope eventually is to start from scratch on a piece of land and build something that I can truly call my own.

I like the open plan, much less restricting than my walled area, also lets the snakes escape!

Talen said...

They really did a number on the house it looks beautiful.

I've been looking at doing something modest up country but I'm still figuring out all the details.

I hope when and if I do build that I have such a great experience.

Anonymous said...

the property looked better before

Bangkokbuddy said...

to happy memories....

MJ Klein said...

Malcolm, thanks for this very well written article. now i know the history of your home and how you came to be in it. i'm not sure i would want to go through that myself, as it sounds like a ton of work, but the result is what matters. you've got a great place now and as you say in the title of your blog, you're loving it!

Ben Shingleton said...

Thanks for sharing Malcolm, how funny it is sometimes when we stumble across our homes to be, almost as if they pick us! All the best, Ben

lizzie said...

A really enjoyable read and great photos.

thaikarl said...

great telling malcolm. my wife has an existing house. i cashed out my assets to buy the house behind hers but the deal fell thru. so i had all this cash (8k) and we had our own house built next to the existing house. we also had the old house stucco'd throughout, splash walks put in around the house, paint, stain and tiled the bathroom. quite a project, and boy, did i have some fun with contractors. (not) but it's ours, and much improved over the way the house was when first got here.