Many foreigners have chosen and are still choosing Thailand to be their permanent homes. Something happens to many people the day they set foot in the land of smiles and the place seems to take some shifting from the system. If it can be shifted at all. Some people wander back and forth whenever they can for a system top up before returning to their homeland some just remain lock, stock and barrel.
Today I would like to introduce you to a cracking lady from Fulham, London called Valerie Wond. Val arrived in Thailand via Japan and has taught English in many places all over Asia let alone Thailand. However it was Thailand that she missed when away and always returned to.
On top of this she is madly in love with the famous Thai pop singer ” Sek Loso” which she will tell us more about in the future. Val has had a ride in a tuk tuk with the pop star Seal, (not with a seal) and met Boy George. She even used to hang out at the club my footballing hero George Best used to frequent next to Chelsea FC and often used to see him drunk! Finally Val has a massive love for animals especially dogs which she will tell you about now.
Trevor: So Val, how did you come to live in Thailand
Val: My name’s Val and I’m from London, England. I used to be a graphic designer there but quit my job and went travelling in Asia and just fell in love with the place.
I thought about what kind of work I could do here in order to stay, and that’s when I decided to become an English teacher.
My first full-time job was in Tokyo, Japan. The initial contract was for 1 year, but I loved it so much that I ended up staying for 7 years.
I would always take a break and go on holiday to Thailand and that’s how I met my husband. It was Black Moon on Koh Samui at Rocky Bay. He was Thai and had long, black hair. He thought I was younger, I thought he was older. It was a very dark night you see, no moon! By then it was too late…
Trevor: That’s a romantic picture you paint Val. I am sure that could be a book title ”Black Moon on Koh Samui”
Moved To Koh Samui
Anyway, I quit my job again and moved to Koh Samui. I was lucky enough to get lots of private work teaching the children of the big resort owners and their staff on the island. That’s how I met Khun Ying, owner and founder of Samui Dog Rescue, and also owner of Montienne House in Chaweng. She inspired me to love and care for dogs.
A Love Of Dogs Is Born
In London I had always been a ‘cat person’. My family had always kept cats as we had a small garden in Fulham. Once in Thailand, the possibility of having a dog occurred to me and what do you know if one day there was this little brown puppy knocking down my door with a ‘please adopt me” look in his eye. We called her Coco!
Kookie was the next addition to the family. A neighbour gave her to us as she had to go away on business. Nice trips to the beach in my jeep, picnics under the palm trees but all was not well with my marriage. He being 25 years younger than me was not helping things.
The Move To Singapore
I left and went to Singapore. I taught at a school called Berlitz for 1 year. Singapore was great but I missed Thailand so much. I would go to a place called ‘Little Thailand’ (Golden Mile) every Sunday and hang out and eat Tom Yum Khung.
Trevor: I know this place in Singapore Val and have eaten here also, it brings back fond memories.
Val: Anyway, returned to Thailand and my husband and this time lived in Krabi Town. I managed to get work at various government schools and private schools. But had things improved in my marriage? No!
Moved To Seoul, South Korea
To cut a long story short, I returned again to Singapore, worked at Inlingua, then went on to Seoul, Korea for I year. Hated Korea as every morning I had to go through the market on the way to school where they would keep dogs in cages ready to be made into dog soup that day. And bloody freezing! Minus 12 degrees Celcius in the winter time and snow up to my knees!
Teaching In Kanchanaburi
Back in Bangkok and met up with my husband again but he hadn’t changed sad to say. Landed a nice teaching job in Kanchanaburi teaching kindergarten. One of the most beautiful places in Thailand and some of the most lovely people you would ever hope to meet!
Trevor: I agree Val, I love Kanchanaburi.
Val: It was here that I fell in love with the most beautiful dog in the world. Little Leo!. A yellow lab retriever, given to me by my mate, Barry, another fellow teacher. I took him everywhere with me on my motorbike. Some of my best days ever in Thailand!
Sadly, he was hit by a car and is no more. I miss him so much. There will never be another like you, Leo.
At present in Bang Phli, Samut Prakan
Now, I’m in Bang Phli, Samut Prakan. My lovely mate Bill Perepelicia, from Oz, put a good word in for me and I landed my best ever paid teaching job at Nantawan International School.
Did that for about a year but quit again. It’s not easy teaching 4 and 5 year olds I can tell you!.
Now, happy to still be in Bang Phli but teaching much older kids ( Matayom 3, 4, 5, and 6) at Bangaew Prachasan High School just up the road.
As for my dogs now…I’ve been adopted by 5 dogs here in my Kar Park. I don’t know why but very young Thai men and Thai dogs seem to be attracted to me. Strange that!
Trevor: The best way to make the choice out of the Thai men, men in general or Thai dogs, is to weigh up which is the most troublesome to you. I think I might be able to guess this one.
Val: I’m a keen follower of Soi Dog Foundation and Lanta Animal Rescue, the latter of which, Junie Kovaks, my friend, is the founder and am always keen to promote their causes as they always do such good work for both dogs and cats here in Thailand. I like to do my bit by spreading the word in the hope that someone somewhere can help a little!
I have also sucessfully treated my Kar Park Dogs for mange and fleas and they cannot have anymore unwanted puppies now due to me giving them a birth control jab every 5 months.
Trevor: Thanks Val, you have been all over the place and I have complete admiration for the way you have chased down job after job and kept everything going. A lot don’t make it and have to return home, but this is a success story. Full credit also for your constant good work towards the causes of dogs and cats in Thailand.
Trevor: Final question for now Val. Would you ever return to live in England again.
Val: No, I’d never go back to live in England. Thailand is my home now forever, glad to say.
Valerie gives us an insight in to her favourite food and travel destinations in Thailand.
1) Sponsor A Dog Today
To find out more information
2) Lanta Animal Welfare
To find out more information
Relieve the suffering and pain of the animals on the island through sterilisation and care.
For more information on Thailand