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Testimony: Expat life in Thailand, during the COVID-19 crisis

20 April, 2020 12:00  Expat Interviews Expat Interviews

BlogExpat.com has decided to collect testimonies from expatriates experimenting the effects of the Covid-19 crisis in their host country.
Here is a "confinement" postcard from Josh in Thailand.

Josh and his bike - farwestchina.com

Have you thought about coming back to your country or have you decided to stay in you expat-country?

My wife and I have decided that it’s better to stay in our current country (Thailand) because, frankly, I think we’re doing better here than if we were to return back to the United States where we’re from.

For any expat family, there’s the idea of “coming back” is a big deal. It involves changing schools for the kids, moving all your stuff, etc. It’s not a decision we take lightly.

What sort of measures are in place in the country where you live? Is it a total lockdown? Partial? How is the population reacting?

In Thailand, we’re in a partial lockdown that includes a curfew every night. Some parts of the country (Bangkok and Phuket) are experiencing stricter lockdowns, but in other areas including Chiang Mai, it’s much less stringent.

We’re allowed to get out to go grocery shopping, but all other stores, schools, parks and entertainment venues are closed.

There are very few international flights and if we leave Thailand, we won’t be permitted to re-enter until this whole thing blows over.

What is your personal opinion on the way the pandemic is currently managed by the country?

It’s really hard to tell. I think Thailand has done the best it possibly can. I guess when you consider our proximity to China and the number of direct flights to the country (previously), it’s amazing that it isn’t as bad here as it was in South Korea, Japan or even now the United States.

Of course, you also have to consider the fact that the country hasn’t done much testing, so as with most of the numbers I hear around the world, I’m skeptical that the reported cases even come close to the number of actual cases.

Are you furloughed or do you work from home (and in that case, how do you manage)?

Because I own and run my own online security blog, I’ve been able to keep working even during this quarantine period. That’s one of the obvious advantages to doing online business, and my content is particularly important as many of us transition even more of our lives online as we work from home.

If you have children, how do you manage home-schooling?

Yes, I have two young boys, one of whom is in 2nd grade. He was attending an international school here in our city, but he is now home like most kids around the world. It’s been a challenge for my wife and I, but we try our best to share responsibilities.

The hardest part is making sure that we don’t default to just having our son looking at a computer all day. Yes, his education is now online, but we want to get him active as much as possible instead of sitting in front of a screen for hours at a time.

Thankfully, we have a trampoline in our backyard. That’s been helpful to keep them both outside and working out!

Trampoline activity in Thailand - farwestchina.com

How do you manage the relationship with your family in your home-country? Do you call them more often? And do you have more contacts with your friends? Have you put in place some video groups on social media?

We do! It’s been good to dedicate more time to chatting with family and friends back home. Our friends have also been much more available to chat than they normally would be, which is an added bonus.

We have a couple video groups, but honestly I don’t have the patience for group video chats. I would much rather have a one-on-one conversation with somebody over video chat.

Josh Summers is an expat who has lived in Costa Rica, China and now Thailand. He runs his online business, which thankfully gives him plenty of time to spend with his wife and two boys. Find more about Josh on his Travel blog TravelChinaCheaper and on his BlogExpat profile.

If you too want to give your testimony, do not hesitate to send us an email with your story (you may take ideas from the questions in this article).
Tell us about your life during the current health crisis and share your experience that we will publish on this site.

   



         
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