Saturday, 26 November 2011

Home Sweet Home

Hi all,

Well, its been a long time since my last post and has felt like a long wait.  But my wife and I finally arrived back into the UK together a few days ago.  After a couple of busy days she's having a snooze so I thought it would be a good time for an update.

I flew out to Thailand just over a week ago to help my wife pack up.  I decided to make the trip over and travel back together as my wife is a nervous traveller at the best of times, never mind flying half-way around the world alone for the first time.  Not only that, but it also gave me a chance to say a little farewell to Thailand as I think it is going to be a while before we can go back.  Not the cheapest way of doing things but was the best way for us.

bye bye Thailand

So on a bright sunny Thursday lunchtime we arrived into Newcastle airport.  Another reason for me wanting to travel back with my wife, was so that I could be with her if she faced any hard questions at the border.  After hearing about some not-so-nice immigration officers at the London airports we were a little nervous about what she could expect, but no such issues at Newcastle.  The staff manning the queues were very friendly and helpful and said it was okay for me to join my wife in the non-EU line which wasn't long anyway.  When we reached the front we went up together and to my surprise it was I rather than my wife who faced the questioning.  I was asked how we are related, about my job, how long we have been married and if my wife intends to work here.  That was it, stamped in and all very pleasant and friendly.  My wife wasn't asked any questions at all or asked to produce her TB test certificate.  So from landing, clearing immigration and collecting our baggage was under thirty minutes.

Back home, Janny's first priority was to get everything unpacked, arrange all of her stuff and re-clean the house from top to bottom which I'd done just before leaving anyway.  But it has helped her to settle in and feel at home straight way.  The cold has been an issue and she's wearing several layers of clothes to bed but she is taking it all in her stride and I'm sure she'll get used to it.

After unpacking and getting sorted the last thing we felt like doing was going out and doing the shop, luckily there is an excellent Thai takeaway just a few minutes walk from our house and that drew a close to our first day together in the UK.

Our next priority will be to get Janny added to the council tax, registered at the doctors, dentist etc etc.

We'll keep you posted with our progress in the UK.  After all it's still only the beginning of a long journey for us.  But for is good!!



  1. I have been following your blog on my reader and was surprised to see it pop up today with a new posting. I am very happy to see you are together at last. I lived in Boston when my Thai wife joined me and I found for the first month I had to turn the heat up to help her adjust. Best of luck to you both.
    Mike living n Taipei Taiwan ( I've made it half way to Thailand!)

  2. Thanks for the update Steve, great photos! Made me chuckle to see Janny in all those layers indoors! :-D

    I hope that she settles in quickly, I'm sure re-arranging the house has helped her to feel that it's her home as well as yours.

    All the best,


  3. Congratulations on your safe return.

    Its always funny to see how Thais react to the cold, my wife loved it but we have other friends who, like your wife, dress for an artic day even when inside.

    As your wife is still a dependant and non permanent resident you do not need to pay council tax for her, you are legally entitle to claim single resident for the first 6 months.

    I took out private medical cover for my wife to cover the first 2 years visa period to avoid the likes of having to register for medical services, it gives my wife the freedom to seek a level of care she prefers other than the local NHS doctor, who may or may not understand the nuances of a Thai woman ;-)

  4. @Mike thanks for your comments. The heating is certainly taking a hit but I think she's starting to adjust pretty quickly.

    @Biff thanks, yes I agree arranging the house, cleaning etc has defo made a difference. "feathering the nest" if you like :)

    @Lloyd Thanks again. I'm going to put my wife on the council tax as evidence for the next visa (ILR) more than anything else. We need to start collecting evidence straight away showing that we live together. Same goes for registering her with the NHS, joint bank accounts, her own bank account etc etc. We need to show letters addressed to both her individually and with joint names spanning the two years when it comes to applying for ILR.

  5. Congratulations Steve on a safe arrival with your wife to the UK, the pictures are great and it will take a few weeks for Janny to adjust. My wife Nacha came to the UK back in March on a VV for a few months and we returned together to get married. When she arried she was very Cold and had a woolen hat on her head inside the home...but it soon came off after she adapted to our climate.
    We are submitting our Settlement Visa application next week and reading your blog has helped me a lot....Many Thanks to you and the best of luck to you both.

  6. I am sure this first six months will be a roller coaster of emotions for your wife. Make sure you step back from all the goal oriented behavior from time to time and try to really listen to her.

    Being Thai, she may be unable to be direct in communicating her true feelings and in an effort to please you she may gloss over things that are really bothering her. It is a tremendous responsibility removing someone from all they know and transplanting them to a foreign land. I hope it all works out.

  7. @Richard - thanks for your comments and good luck with Nachas settlement application. The processing times have come down to days recently so hopefully you won't have to wait too long

    @VF - I hear what you're saying, good advice and again thanks for your wishes


  8. Steve, its very interesting for my wife and I the level to which you plan so far ahead and like VF put it have a goal oriented behaviour. I guess as I have travelled and worked "abroad" so much from an early age I do not view visas and their requirements to the same degree as many people, this has obviously rubbed off on my wife to some degree as she is also somewhat "relaxed" about matters like the ILR requirements. Where theres a will theres a way :-)

    FYI when I first moved to the UK I was only given a 1 year British passport, I was then required to prove I was born on a boat that departed the UK and gain citizenship "the hard way" I had to submit roughly the same documentation your wife will in 2 years and I never once had a permanent residence in the UK for the full period yet met all criteria in one way or another.

  9. Hi Lloyd,

    I guess it's just in my nature to be more organised. Having worked as a Project Coordinator, amongst oher things for key accounts in a sales role for the past 10 years this has probably had an effect on how I approach areas in my personal life.
    But it really just comes down to a fear of being "caught out" when it comes to subsequent visas. There have been many a thread on the Thai forums where people are desperately left running around trying to gather whatever it is they need at the last minute, mainly due to ignorance of what is required. I'd simply rather have it all in place as we go along.

    As for any "goal orientated behaviour", it's true when it comes to the visa situation I am...but I keep it to myself and don't let my wife see that side of it and so it doesn't affect our day to day relationship. My wife had little to do in preperation for her settlement visa as I did the majority of the work myself from the UK. When putting the application together I tried to "protect" my wife as much as possible from all the jumping through hoops and the same will apply for subsequent visas.

    I just like to have a plan. Some people like to go with the flow, which I would agree with in general day to day life. But when it comes to dealing with the UK government and the fact that they are constantly "moving the goal posts" I prefer to do as much "arse covering" as possible.


  10. Please don’t take this the wrong way but in my opinion you need to pay careful attention to your wife’s Thai needs during this initial introduction stage. Without some real emotional attachments to the place she could end up an emotional wreck crying to return home. It is not only Thai food and warmth that she needs.

    Personally I would drop all the paperwork and bureaucracy for a while and focus entirely on showing her a good time here in the beginning. Your need for order and planning needs to acquiesce to her somewhat different needs.

    I think we are all hoping that you are a lot more fun than all this project management leads us to believe. Remember you need to sell your country to your lovely new wife. She needs Thai reasons to “want” to stay. She needs fun, friends, happiness and familiarization, to compensate for and take her mind off the loneliness, homesickness, climate, strangeness and relative isolation.

    You are probably doing all this but your writing doesn’t show it so I thought I would risk a little reminder that her needs are different from yours.