Episode 3: How a journey of self discovery led to a first date hunting for rats while drinking whiskey in the rice fields of Thailand
EPISODE 3: PATRICIA AND JACK
Kanu: Welcome to Real Love Real Stories the podcast. A platform for couples to share their love stories and for singles like me to find hope. This is Kanu and I'm the host and you're listening to episode number three. In this episode I'm so excited because we've gone international. I'm talking to a couple in Thailand and I want to introduce Patricia and Jack to episode number three. So as you know both, that this podcast is about stories of love. I want to start by hearing how your love journey began.
Patricia: You know first of all thank you for having us.
Jack: Thank you.
Patricia: So this story starts in 2009 when I decided to go on a backpack journey through Southeast Asia. I'm from the Netherlands and I had just graduated from university and I didn't want to start my working career and life yet so I just decided to travel first with a friend one month and then I went off by myself. I was in Thailand and I was supposed to go to Laos the next day, I was on a super long bus journey which took forever. I was so tired so I decided instead of going to Laos the next day, I was going to wait one more day to rest and see the city that I was in. And that next morning, I was sitting down to have breakfast and there were three other foreigners there and I started talking to them and it turned out they were volunteers at a local volunteer organization. They convinced me to come and check it out because I wanted to follow as you were. But I didn't want to find it. I would see first actual a real organizations that arrive and then and then go there and see how it how it is so that's what I did. They convinced me to come out here and see his organization.
Kanu: Nice. So Jack tell me more about how that happened for you.
Jack: And the day that she decided to come and we had a party. Called a rat hunting party.
Kanu: A rat hunting party.
Jack: There are hundreds in a rice field and you catch them and barbecue them. And also with this local whiskey. With all my volunteers
Kanu: Ok so you you. You actually catch them and then you cook them.
Patricia: Yes. Oh yeah that's right. It sounds bizarre. I remember walking there. I'm not a whiskey drinker at all. But I was there. It was a full moon was a beautiful night. I was walking with my whiskey. Someone else was doing the hunting so he was drinking his whiskey and also carrying a rifle. And he's trying to call the rat to shoot them. Now we are following in the audience you to arrive because you were giggling too much real moment. I knew that or I was hoping to experience things like this. My journey not just the stories part but like I like you. This is really locals have their wrecked barbecue parties in the rice field. So in the end one of the guys shot the rat and I ate the rat.
Kanu: Wow. You're brave.
Patricia: That was our first night.
Jack: Our first date that we had. We had a good time. And then the next day to try to see the school. To see them to teach him as you saw and she like. She liked it and decided to stay.
Kanu: Nice. So the volunteer work that you do then you work with kids.
Patricia: Yes. The volunteers teach at the local schools and teach English. So I needed to redo my visa because my visa was almost expired my time just went to Laos and then came back with the idea to just teach for about 2-3 weeks. I am not one of those people who is a born teacher and naturally good with kids. So I just wanted to see what it was like,. But I really loved it the kids were so nice so friendly. The teachers at the school they were so welcoming so I just really felt like this is the place to stay. We spend time together it's really helped me a lot of the teaching and I slowly started to like him a bit more than just my volunteer coordinator.
Jack: My heart was beating really fast from the first time I saw her.
Kanu: So from like the first time she arrived you were like, 'I like this lady. Yeah.
Patricia: For me it had to grow.
Kanu: Oh I see. So it was love at first sight for Jack and for you it grew the more you were hanging out with each other.
Jack: And I'm really glad that she decided to stay in town. Yeah at that time, some of the volunteers had gone home. But she stayed and I had more time with her. We laughed and sang songs with kids. Near Christmas time is a good time. We had lots of good times together. She told me she decided to stay there longer, and it made me so happy.
Kanu: Oh that's awesome so you went and renewed your visa. Then you were able to stay a little bit longer.
Patricia: Yeah I actually went back twice to redo my visa and over stayed four months instead of four weeks.
Kanu: Wow. Wow that's awesome.
Patricia: I remember it started as a joke. One of the other volunteers said Jack said I cannot flirt. Like I didn't know how to do. Like how to flirt with other girls. So then the other volunteers said why don't you practice it on Patricia. I felt awkward. Yes. In the end, the other volunteer didn't realize that we were actually really starting to like each other instead of just this whole practice flirting thing.
Kanu: Oh that's really cute. So I'm going to put you on the spot here. You mentioned earlier that you went rat hunting and there were some rat calling happening. Can one of you guys, demonstrate how ... how do you call a rat?
Jack: [makes the rat calling noises] It sounds weird but it works. When the rat hears this sound, it thinks there is another rat fighting for another female. So they go to where the sound it coming from and the hunter shoots the rat with a spear gun.
Kanu: Ok. OK. So how many did you catch that day?
Jack: Two or three. We barbecue them then share with the other volunteers.
Patricia: Not the guy we were following because he was making that sound like a rock concert. And then we were laughing with our whiskey.
Kanu: I think if I'd been there, I would be too. Thanks for humoring me with that because I mean I didn't know. Like how would you call a rat. And that's awesome.
Kanu: Let's go back to 2009. So you went there four months total and then you went back to the Netherlands. So at this point are you guys doing long distance?
Patricia: We kind of left it off as this is is this is the end. Because we put pressure on each other to feel pressure to maybe come to Netherlands. For me to come to Thailand. I thought moving to Thailand was impossible, like that's not going to happen.
Patricia: We didn't really break it off that we didn't really say like OK we're gonna do the long distance thing. We both couldn't see how the future would work out. We really enjoyed it and for me it was still like he said it became like a summer love. And in those moments you're more able to really embrace the moment. But sometimes when you're back home was like yeah was nice. It was just because of the weather and because I didn't have a job so happy to do. Everything is nice and happy so I left it all thinking it was this might be the last time we see each other.
Kanu: So then Jack. So who then. Well you're the one that decided no we don't want this to be the end? Like. Tell me about that.
Jack: And then after she left, I think about five months. I became a forest monk in the temple.
Kanu: Oh wait you became a monk? Can a monk get married?
Patricia: In Thailand it's very normal for them. Well actually it's something every young guy does they become a monk for a certain amount of time because that's part of their growing up.
Kanu: Ok. I see a little head in the corner.
Jack: I was a monk for three months, later I quit and then come to work as a volunteer again. After that we skyped each other.
Patricia: We kept in touch with skype ad emails. But still not trying to talk too much. Like how we missed each other. Because we had no idea how we could make it work. I had just graduated. I had my master's degree and interior design. What was I going to do if I lived in the countryside. And also I wanted to focus on my career, so I didn't know how that was going to work. So we exchanged e-mails and after six months I was like No, I need to know. I cannot move on from him because I needed to know whether or not we were serious. So I needed to go back to see if we had a future after nine months like back just to see if this was real. And it was.
Kanu: That's beautiful. Yeah. So after nine months OK. And then and so talk to me about the proposal. At what point did you decide that this is what you guys wanted to do.
Patricia: So when I went back, I was only back for again another four months. I went back to Netherlands to work. And then in 2012 I moved here permanently. And when you can share about the proposal.
Jack: Everyday when she was in Thailand for the second time, she would ask 'do you love me, do you want to marry me?I want to marry you.' Every time like a joke. One day after doing that so many times,
Patricia: Well I kept saying come up with a proper proposal. Once I get it, I'll give you a proper answer.
Jack: I took her to a really nice restaurant in the city. It was an Italian restaurant and really nice food, really nice corner. I asked her to marry me and she said yes. I'm really really happy.
Patricia: And it was quite spontaneous. One of those plan it with a ring or anything. That is not normal to wear a ring in Thailand. So it was just like really came from his heart and I just decided that this time I would give him an answer.
Kanu: That's beautiful. Yeah. And so since you're from the Netherlands and Jack's from Thailand, did you have a white wedding? I mean I don't even know how the different traditions, like how does that work.
Patricia: We had both. We first got married in the Netherlands right after our daughter was born. She was just six weeks old when we walked down the aisle. It's funny that it was legally easier to get married in the Netherlands first and afterwards in Thailand. So it was just a small wedding, with our friends and family and it was just nice. And also I just had given birth, six weeks before that. So it wasn't really into a whole big party. It was a beautiful beautiful wedding. And then six months later we got married, in Thailand.
Jack: Yes it's different. So we have the whole village came to our wedding. Celebrate and party because it's the first time in the village that a Thai guy marries a foreigner. It is something special.
Kanu: Oh that's great. So everybody came and celebrate with you guys.
Jack: We had like almost 800 people.
Kanu: Oh wow.
Patricia: It was like the complete opposite of our Dutch wedding.
Kanu: So you know one of the things that I normally like to ask is that you know couples usually there's some things that you do that may annoy the other person but you know you kind of deal with it because you're in love with each other. So do you get have something that you feel like you put up with that you probably wouldn't wouldn't put up with it if you were not in love.
Patricia: You can start.
Jack: Because are both from different cultures. We have a different way of thinking and living. So I'm really an unorganized person.
Kanu: You're organized.
Jack: Every day for me is very easy. Not worrying. Saying OK I'll do it later. Make lots of mess and she cannot handle that sometimes. Everything must be arranged and everything must be planned.
Patricia: I've been able to let it, the obsessive planning and cleaning. But it's nice if things are put back in the same place. That's probably the biggest. So yeah, I would kind of nag him. I think the biggest difference is that the Western mindset is about the individual whereas the Eastern mindset is more about community. So I would pick individual over community and individual I mean just us as a family, the four us. But Jack has more of the whole community, like the extended family in front of the individual. So I think in the end where a lot of our discussions come back to you. It comes back to community versus individual. Which I think you all learn from that. Like I could put the community first more often and Jack could put the individual first.
Kanu: Yeah I know I can totally relate. Like I said I'm from Zimbabwe so it sounds like our culture is kind of the same as Jack's culture. I mean when you talked about the wedding being a big wedding where 800 plus people came. That sounds like something that would be definitely be in Zimbabwe also. So on the flip side of that question what is the one thing that you appreciate about the other partner. Like what is the one thing that you absolutely love about Jack and Jack, what is the one thing they absolutely love about Patricia?
Patricia: So I will say thing that I learned from Jack, is to really be in the moment and that is very natural for him. And that's also a Buddhist way of living. So for me, moving here, I started that journey of becoming more aware of the present moment to really live in the moment. But I think Jack has really made that transition go faster. Its really just enjoying. In the beginning I had nothing here, that was not I didn't have a job, not much to do. The first six months when I moved here, we didn't have enough volunteers. But I can say like that has been one of the happiest moments of my life because there was no pressure. Just let it be easy and just enjoying what we have or what was going on. I think that's that's one of the biggest things I learned from him. The thing that I appreciate the most.
Kanu: Living in the moment.
Kanu: I love that. And what about you Jack? What do you absolutely love about Patricia?
Jack: I think I found peace. I like her. I don't know how to explain it like when I see her, I feel happy. The first time I saw her already this woman made me very happy. I want to spend the rest of my life. So every day I feel happy and happy is like she fulfilled my destiny.
Kanu: That's so beautiful.
Jack: I had freedom of joy but there was something missing. When I met her, I knew she's the one. She's the one that was missing piece of my life. So she will be the piece.
Kanu: She completes you.
Jack: Yes she completes me.
Kanu: Yeah that's awesome. Well thanks for sharing my thoughts. So Patricia I want to ask you this because you're the one who you know you found a love while you were on your journey and you're traveling. I'm single and I'm looking for the one you know. So the whole reason about the podcast is to really hear a love stories like yours and you know remind me that I can find love when I travel somewhere and a volunteer you know like you did. So what advice would you have for a single people like me who are looking for love?
Patricia: I think the moment I really truly let go, was when I found love. And at that point I was single for about four years. I was loving it because I was in a quite long relationship as well. So I really liked being alone, but in the background I thought it would be nice to have a partner. It'll be nice to be together with someone to share these things. But it wasn't until I was in Asia where I was like, I'm not going to look for it. I'm traveling this is my time, this time where I'm going to focus on my own journey. Instead of wanting another person to complete me. I needed to find a piece of myself first. And in the end meeting him that really made me realize in an even bigger way who I was. So I didn't need him, but he showed me who I truly was and what was really aligned with my purpose and myself. So I would say let go. But also be open because if I would have used my rational mind, I would have never come back to Thailand.
Kanu: There's a common theme for all the couples that I've talked to. I'm picking little nuggets from each couple. And it's exactly what you just said is to just let go of that. I am looking, I am searching. I think one of the couples shared you know when you do that you won't find the person but have the mindset of attracting. When you want to attract a partner you're not really looking but I think it's around your energy and you know the aura that you have around you that attracts that person and you never know where that person is going to show up.
Patricia: Receptivity. Like to be receptive to whoever comes your way. And maybe that's not the person you thought you would end up with. I honestly thought I would be with somebody who took their career really serious and not like he has this super important job. But to be serious about his life plan. Jack is literally the complete opposite. There is no plan. I mean he just take his job seriously. I am not going to say that but it's like whatever happens happens. Yeah I was the opposite. Like everything has to be schedule and planned. It was interesting when I traveled, I already was able to let go of this day to day planning. I still plan ahead a little bit because you have to otherwise you don't know where you're going. But I think that letting go and just surrendering and having trust that it probably will happen when you least expect it and that's when when things happen.
Kanu: No no that's great. I am actually in that kind of a mind frame these days. I relocated from Oregon State in the U.S. and I moved to Arizona which I drove about 19 hours to get here. So I'm six months in this new city and I'm like you know what, I am doing things for me that I had put you know in the back burner like doing a podcast about love. I'm focusing on all the things that I love. I am taking time for me and not even worrying about you know am I going to meet that person. And you know and of course I want to meet that person. But I'm just like you know when it's going to have anything happen. So yeah I like that you shared that. Yeah. So what about you Jack? You know and I don't know how if you had been looking for a partner. What would you tell to a single guy who you know wants to meet his future partner? Any advice for single men out there that you can give?
Jack: Before I met Patricia I had been single for three years or three years. But I truly believe deep in my heart, that I would find someone. That would be someone that I will fall in love with and they will love you back. I was very patient and just trusted my heart. And I let fate decide. I even thought one day she will knock on my door and find me.
Kanu: And she did!
Patricia: He didn't even ask to leave this house.
Kanu: How perfect is that.
Jack: After I broke up with my ex girlfriend, I was searching a lot. I went on a dating site and then hang out with friends to go around to see. Later I learned that you need to be strong first. You need to love yourself and love enough to share with the others. Not too long for love because it will feel like love is going away from you. So first love yourself a lot and then you share a love to everybody and love you will find you. So I make myself the right one. And then the right one comes to me.
Kanu: Yeah. You gave me goosebumps because I mean literally that's how it happened. You like it when the right one to come to me and to find me. And she came knocking
Jack: Yeah believe that I believe that everybody has somebody has someone that be ready for them. So we have to also be the right one to love ourselves and to share love with the other. And then one day, they will come to us.
Kanu: Now I'm getting teary eyed.
Jack: That's how I feel. That is how I feel. I mean I met the first time I met her I was like, wow this woman is very special. I want to take care of her, I want to watch her everyday. She makes me so happy. I want her to be in my life. So yeah I keep dreaming and one day it came true. She's next to me every day for years nine years now.
Kanu: Oh my god. Yeah yeah I know. Thank you so much for sharing that. And again I want to extend my special thank you. This is a special episode because obviously I'm talking and we've gone international now and I'm talking to you guys all the way from Thailand and sharing your love story. So thank you, thank you, thank you for being a part of my podcast and for sharing your story. Thanks for tuning into this week's episode. I hope you enjoyed it. Do you have a love story to share? Do you know a couple with a love story. Send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and also follow me on Instagram and Facebook and our real love real stories. Till next time.