Sunday, 14 August 2016

Thailand travel and wedding videos

Ok, so I have been a bit slack on getting on with posting on here but I thought I would take a moment to give you all a link to where I have some videos.
Well, I wouldn’t say been a bit slack but I have been flat out busy and together we have had a bit of a change in where we live and what we do through the days. I will post about this a bit later.
I have some videos from the first few days in Bangkok where we went to the Bobae night/early morning market and a few tuk tuk rides.
Also there is a few videos from the wedding and I am loading some more up in the next fe days.
So pop on over to my channel 

Feel free to comment and let me know what you think. Also if you have a few questions I will try my best to answer them too.
I hope you enjoy.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Traditional Thai Wedding

So, we managed to survive having our wedding in Bandung in the North East of Thailand, and so did our friends that came along for the ride.

I'm grateful that we have some family and friends come along too, and they all commented on what a great experience it was.

The weather didn't exactly treat us too well in the evening and we sort of bucked the trend of a normal wedding by having it kick off later in the day. Reason being was that we didn't want everyone to be shitfaced drunk before it was dark. Later on it clears up enough to enjoy dinner and the fireworks and the go go girls so all were happy ;)

We started with a short procession from a few houses down from my wife's house and there was lots of yelling and singing and a really good sense of family involvement.

After making it to the house, it was hot and my mum went up to the bedroom to get my wife and start the more serious formalities led by one of the respected men of the family.

It went on for sometime and the guys were getting hot in the suits we had. Luckily some of the family could see the discomfort and wiped a few hairlines and got rid of all the sweat.

When I saw my wife for the first time, she was looking great !! I had never seen her dressed up as much as today, and the makeup sort of made me wonder where my wife was !! haha

In all I had 8 friends and family come from New Zealand to the wedding and it was great that two of them had not been married before. One of the traditions associated to the wedding ceremony is that the two offsides of the groom can't have been previously married. Luckily I had two of them ;)

Anyway, I have loaded a few videos up onto youtube and if you want to have a lot then jump into here and you can see some videos from the wedding and a few others from before and after the wedding by clicking on my channel.

Overall a really great experience and if you ever get a chance, something that has to be experienced .!!

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Immigration Matters

So, you have met a girl from Thailand, (or boy) either in there or here. I met my now wife when I was in New Zealand but some of you may meet your partner in Thailand and decide to spend some time together in New Zealand. In other words you want to sponsor her to New Zealand to spend more time with you. Sounds simple right?
Well it can be and there are of course a few nightmare stories on how you go about getting your partner into New Zealand. I am going to attempt to debunk some myths and set the right course for you towards happiness. This of course is the same no matter if you met your partner here in NZ, or overseas, and there is no real limit to what country your partner is from, the same principle applies.
There are two scenarios I will look at .....
Your partner is already in New Zealand - This is by far the best start you guys could have and it it the least expensive also. Say you have met your girlfriend or boyfriend here in New Zealand and you have decided to move in together. The next step in any normal relationship to to plod off to work and save your pennies for future activities like dates, travel, maybe even getting to the serious point of buying a house or getting married. If like me, you want your partner to have some independence and be able to work, then you will try to get some form of employment for you partner.
Work visa application. In New Zealand there is one real good option that will allow your partner to work for any employer in any profession (except the sex industry) and it is called a work visa based on partnership. At the moment these applications can only be made to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) in a paper based form and you will need to provide a certain amount of evidence to prove you are in a relationship. For my wife and I, we went down this path after we had essentially been living together for 2 months.
Your partner will be able to fit into this class of work visa if he/she is the following:
  1. A partner of a New Zealand citizen or residence visa holder;
  2. You are living together in a genuine and stable relationship; and
  3. You being the partner will be in NZ for the same period of time, meet the minimum requirements of partnerships, meet the character requirements to be a sponsor, and is an eligible partner under residence category instructions.
Breaking this down a bit more....
A partner of a NZ Citizen or Residence visa holder is someone who you are either legally married to, in a civil union relationship with, or in a de facto relationship with.
Living together in a genuine and stable relationship is defined as being a relationship that has been entered into with the intention of being maintained on a long-term and exclusive basis, and is likely to endure.
You being the partner will stay in NZ for the same time as your girlfriend/boyfriend.
Minimum requirements for partnerships mean you are both 18 years or older (or 16-17 with parents consent), have met before the application was made, and are not close relatives.
Meeting character requirements for sponsorship means, no convictions for domestic violence, not currently serving time in prison a d a few other minor things.
Being an eligible partner means not previously sponsored and been a serial sponsor for may partners in the past. You can only ever sponsor two partners for residence in your life.
I know it gets a bit confusing and there are many rules out there but I like to say there is a form of natural progression when it comes to getting your partner to stay with you in NZ long term and by doing it right at the start, it sets you up for success later.
Moving on, you will need to provide alot of evidence to INZ to show that you are living together in a genuine and stable relationship and I have some tips for you.
  1. Get a joint bank account with both of your full names and the same address obviously;
  2. Use this joint account for all things related to your daily spending as a couple like shopping, movies, travel, and bills (we did this by putting money in every week and going from there);
  3. Change the power bill to both of your full names;
  4. Other utility bills like pay tv, internet, phone etc, change these to both full names;
  5. Book a weekend away in another town or city, if you have to fly there, use your joint account and keep the booking confirmation and boarding passes;
  6. Meet your parents and get their support; and
  7. Take photos... if you have the ability to put date stamps on your photos do that too, get photos with friends, family and out and about travelling.
Evidence wise, these are a minimum to provide to immigration to avoid any hassles and I have seen people miss out these or not have a joint account that have trouble proving their relationship to immigration. Take my word on it, the stress of not knowing or having visa issues can take its toll.
After you have compiled this evidence you will need to prepare an application and write two letters, one from you and one from your partner to immigration explaining who you met, why you want a visa and what you plans are for the future. You also want to get a letter of support from some friends, and your parents if possible.
Once this is done, you make your application and sit back and wait. If you feel it is all too daunting, then you can hire an immigration adviser like me to assist you.

Your partner is still overseas and you want them to come to New Zealand - This is a little more tricky and INZ will want to see some level of commitment to the relationship so it is best that you have met in person on more than one occasion. Again, take photos, meet the family, and think about bringing him/her to NZ as a visitor first.
I would suggest you visit them a couple of times, and make a decision about if you will want to spend more time together. It is also important to look at the intentions of your partner and I hate to say it, but you need to be wise about what it is your partner seeks from you moving forward. There are some truly horrifying stories out there of guys that have sponsored their partners to NZ, and soon after that have empty bank accounts so make a wise decision and don't rush into anything.
Immigration will also look at the age difference in your relationship and if you are in your 60's for example and wanting to sponsor your 21 year old Thai girlfriend to NZ, you may strike some difficulty so be prepared.
Of course in most cases you won't be able to apply directly for a work visa and this is because one of the preconditions of getting a work visa is that you must be living together. This is a bit difficult when you are in different countries so soon after arriving as a visitor then he/she will fall into the above now in NZ category and you can follow my lead up there.
A few tips.....
Always be honest in how you met, and your plans in NZ
Be prepared for some set backs
Keep all your documents and communication between each other for evidence
Seek professional advise if needed.. don't listen to friends and family because every case will be different
Good Luck..!!!
This episode was prepared for me by a licensed Immigration Adviser from New Zealand. Many thanks to Matt at for his good oil.

Almost Wedding Time

So, it is the month to be jolly so to speak and later towards the end of the month, I will be heading up the the North East of Thailand with my wife to participate in the more traditional Thai culture wedding.
I really didn't know what I was getting myself into when we decided to do a wedding in the Isaan province and I tried to search as much as I could but there was really not too much online also. There was a couple of old YouTube videos floating around but these are well outdated and show an event in what looks like the mid 80's but I could be wrong.
I really need to understand what we will be doing over the time in Thailand but I have decided that I will put up here as much information as I can.
One of the great mysteries that will will probably get my wife to explain is the Sin Sod... this is similar to a dowry but a few differences or complications that will be hopefully explained in more depth in the next post... so please keep an eye out for that one !!
I have added some videos to youtube, now that the wedding has finished, there are wedding videos and a few others from around town.

Travelling to Thailand

So, when dating someone from Thailand there will most likely be many trips that you will make to her or his home country and there are many options for travel.
We live in New Zealand so we have found there might not be as many options as one would like for cheap travel to Thailand compared to say Australia for example.
The options we have are Air New Zealand, Qantas, Jetstar, Malaysia Airlines (good idea to update your will for this one), Emirates, Thai Airways, and the new service from Air Asia ex Auckland.
The prices can vary depending on when you are looking to travel, and we normally book to go back to my wife's place on or around Songkran festival so we try to keep a good look out for cheap flights.
I find it pretty good to regularly check each airlines website and investigate dates for travel and as long as you can be a little flexible then you should get a good deal.
For example, I have seen flights from NZ to Bangkok return for $600 NZD which is really good but I like to have a little service on my flights and seem to book through other airlines.
For our next trip (when we have our traditional thai wedding), we originally looked at Thai Airways but the flights were about $3500 return direct for the both of us. This was getting up there, we we opted for which ending up saving us well over $1000 !!!
We do however have to transit Hong Kong on the way up there for 9 hours but neither of us have been to Hong Kong so it will be a good experience shooting into town for the day before flying onward to Bangkok. The flights ended up being booked through Thai Airways anyway and we get a direct flight home so I'm happy with the savings ;)
So, it does pay to shop around when looking for flights and just keep an eye out on the deals.

Be Prepared to date a thai girl

So you are like many around the world who are dating a Thai lady and you are not sure of some of the ins and outs?
There are a few little tips that have helped me, and most I have learnt on the way either the hard way or the easy way but if you know what you are getting into before you take that extra step then life will be easier.
Calling home - Thai women love to call home and chat alot with family... let it be and don't say a word, just enjoy the alone time for these chats can go on for hours. Normally to more than one person. I think it has alot to do with the close family values Thai people in general have. Just accept it.
Money - There are two types of Thai, ones that think everything evolves around money, and others who are very money savvy and down to earth thinking that money is not everything. I think I am lucky with my now wife being the later type who is very smart with money matters and not hungry for every little bit of green. I have heard and seen stories where Thai women have needed money for a "family emergency" and received a great deal of money from boyfriends to help out the family back home. Be careful of these situations. Many back in Thailand will be asking your girlfriend or wife for money, but look after yourselves first and make that point clear in your relationship.
Spicy food - Thai women will get grumpy if they don't eat something spicy every couple of days. They will think that your western food, no matter how good a cook you are does no have any taste unless drowned in chilli. I often joked about developing a spicy tea flavoured drink with is like a mood adjuster for Thai women. I'm still working on that with my wife... she never wants to drink it.
Som Tum - This is a traditional dish made from a mixture of local ingredients and my wife uses carrots, tomatoes, noodles, chillies, pla (which looks like black sand), and fermented baby crabs. It looks a bit weird for most westerners but I have been assured it is really nice. It is super spicy and the smell lingers for a while. Just get used to it and try a real one at your own risk.
Gossip - As with most cultures from different countries, when someone moves to another country there is always groups of friends that all know different people and there are strong communities from different countries. Thais especially like to know everyone's business and tend to talk between themselves about what is going on in other peoples lives. Just be aware of this and if there is something that you don't want others to know, play your cards close to your chest and don't talk about it. If you do, then be prepared for everyone to know very soon. This is also relevant when it comes to getting advice on immigration matters and study options for your partner to stay in the country of your choice. Everyone knows someone that has been there and done it. Get solid and professional advice and don't listen to the community.
Thats all for now, I will try to elaborate on more as time goes by.

Second Time Around

So, truth be told, this is my second relationship with a woman from Thailand and in both situations I met said woman in my home country.
The first one was many years ago and it was a unique relationship that sort of started out as a pick up in a bar. One thing lead to another and after some flirty texts we ended up dating a few times and became close.
She was here studying at university and living with her Aunty who "adopted" her from the North East of Thailand and for one of a better word, provided her with a very good life compared to back home. Her new family was rich and she enjoyed the finer things in life, and of course she was extremely good looking with her fake boobs and all.
Not bad for 21 yrs old.. and we had this sort of on again off again thing going for a few years and by the time she had reached 27, we decided that we should have a real serious go at things. And we did, although it didn't last too long.
Long story short is that she was getting restless and wanted to make money now that she was slightly more independent from her Aunty and Uncle. She moved to another city and opened a Thai Massage business and went gang busters on the flirting and partying and provided a few extra services and although she quickly made back the money she used to open her shop she was becoming popular as the place to go for a cheeky feel and a snap job.
In the end.... it ended and ended badly after i found out... and later found out the true extent of her lack of commitment to our relationship. Although it was long distance and we saw each other very often (racking up those frequent flyer miles), I'm glad now that I didn't end up moving to stay with her and I learnt some very valuable lessons about stereo types when it comes to Thai women (will explain later).
Now, well... some would say I foolishly fell for another Thai girl, but I would say I luckily fell for another Thai girl. It was the start of a new beginning....