I had been in a war in Viet Nam and I fell in love with Asia. Even in the middle of a conflict I found the people exotic and interesting.
I arrived in Thailand with friends and like most young men I was there to relax and enjoy the beautiful women. We were on holiday between contracts. I walked into a clothing shop where handmade tailored apparel was quickly produced. My first sight as I stepped through the door was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. All my dreams of an Asian beauty were culminated in her. She looked up from her work and our eyes locked. Being a stumbled-tongued young man I could only stare as my brain shouted, “Talk to her!”
Her English was poor but better than my Thai—since I spoke none. Her first words were, “Do you need a tour guide?” “Yes,” leaped from my lips and we arranged to meet that night. I had no idea what to expect but I knew I would agree to anything she had in mind. She admitted later she had never done anything like that before- but could see my heart was good.
We spent a month touring all of the beautiful places in and around Bangkok and the nearby sea. My friends were off to the nightclubs for fun while I visited temples, street markets, and places of Thai history. She began to teach me Thai and I was determined to learn so I could express myself to this beauty.
Later I often wondered how we got along so well. Neither of us could do more than speak in broken language, using our hands and smiles.
She took me to the sleepy little village of Pattaya—which is now a major resort area. At the time there were a few hotels and one nightclub that I remember. We spent our days walking and exploring and even hired a fishing boat to take us to the outlying islands. It was magical and I was completely in love with the country and this exotic beauty.
Thailand then and even now is a bit like going back in time to a slower pace of life. The heat requires one to slow down as it seeps into one’s bones and relaxes.
I had to return to the Marshalls and all I could think was how much I would miss Thailand and this rare flower that had captured my heart. I spoke the words I had never said to anyone before. Fear of those words was somehow ingrained in me not to say aloud. I told her I loved her and tears came to her and I thought I would be lost in her eyes. She spoke in Thai and then in English, words I never thought I would hear. She loved me! We made pledges and exchanged addresses—no email in those days—and I prepared to leave.
I returned to the beautiful Pacific but my heart stayed in Thailand to be nurtured and held close. We wrote often and I had never put so much energy into writing words of love in a language that was so foreign to me. I had an English-Thai dictionary and two book on learning the Thai language. She had similar but also had a number of letters translated to English. Later we would laugh at my attempts but it was the effort she loved.
Julee, my exotic beauty, became my wife and I brought her to my world with hope that we would one day return. We visited a few times and she went with our young children several other times while I had to stay home and work. Our children endeared me to her family.
We have been married thirty-five years and have lived in Thailand for the past seven. My writer’s life would have not been possible if not for my exotic beauty!
Search of a Soul – A Sea Adventure
Hill’s Decision – A Young Adult Adventure in the
World Prairie, A Fantasy adventure coming later this year.
For a look at this upcoming book go to my website.