Ping Ping had her holiday in Thailand today. Time to go shopping for our children, long distance relationship style. I came along by video call. The 12 hour time difference meant it was midnight for me in the United States, while it was noon in Thailand. This is our life…for now at least. In a long distance relationship something as seemingly trivial as shopping for the children can be an exciting day.
My wife had previously visited the Big C store at Fashion Island to scout out the joint. Therefore, we already knew for the most part what we would buy. Much patience is needed in our relationship. First, I need to send money through PayPal for the shopping trip. Then Ping waits 5 days before being able to transfer the money to her bank. The weekend adds 2 days to what is usually a 2-3 business day wait. Then she must wait for her holiday (or what’s called ‘day off’ in America) to have the time to go shopping. Finally, Ping sends everything in the mail from Bangkok. Eventually, our babies will get the goods in Roi Et. A lengthy process for simple shopping.
Chompool and Pancake (11yrs & 10 yrs) sent word that they wanted a soccer ball and badminton. Pancake also wanted some Hello Kitty pencils. Hello Kitty is her favorite brand. While Chompool is very school-orientated and not concerned with brands or trends, Pancake is our girly girl. I reasoned with Ping that maybe Pancake will pay more attention in school if she has Hello Kitty school supplies. After hearing that the girls wanted these items, I told Ping I would send the money for them. The amount isn’t much for an American, but can be a pretty penny for your average Thai person. Ping is just a factory worker. They make little money, while working long hours at that. Plus, I love to put a smile on the girl’s cute little faces.
Ping Ping arrives at Fashion and calls me. Thus begins our shopping trip. We first head over to the school supplies. Pancake also wanted some colored pencils, and luckily, they even had Hello Kitty brand. We also saw a Hello Kitty ruler. Surprisingly, this ruler was even cheaper than the ones without a brand. Score! Next, we throw in a Hello Kitty eraser as a bonus. Besides the Hello Kitty items, we also buy some non-branded items…pencils, white-out, and multi-colored pens. Now we go to the sports section.
The soccer ball was all that Chompool even asked for. That’s the kind of sweet girl she is. Chompool doesn’t need the fancy brands. Her concern is school, where she is the number one student in her class. I’m so proud. Rarely would Chompool even ask for something, so if she says she wants a soccer ball then a soccer ball is what she gets. Ping finds a good ball and in the cart it goes. Next, badminton. The cool thing about the badminton supplies is that the whole family can play. I imagine my father-in-law Thong, as old as he is, playing with the girls. His great laugh and fun spirit makes me chuckle inside. Our shopping trip is now finished.
Our little shopping trip may not seem like much to most. For us, though, this is as close as it gets to normal. At least for a few more months when Ping has her visa. Unfortunately, the girls still need to wait another week for the items to arrive in Roi Et. This is the life of a Thai Isaan family. This is also the life in a long distance relationship. It teaches patience for sure. I just await next week now when the package arrives. The smile on Chompool and Pancake’s face will be worth the wait.