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There’s No Place Like Home

There’s No Place Like Home

Hey everyone! I’m home after 3 months in Thailand. I had a great time there, but wow, it is so nice to be back. There really is no place like home. Unfortunately, Japan Airlines’ “Chewing” millet pasta gave me food poisoning (stomach cramps and diarrhea). I was in pain for days. After 4 long days, my stomach finally settled down and I’m feeling better. Man, isn’t it ironic? I ate all sorts of strange foods in Thailand and never had any stomach issues, only to be undone by airline food. JAL, I’m very disappointed. I flew with them many times before and never had any problem. Guys, stick with the Japanese theme, please. I sent in a complaint.

Food poisoning aside, I’m also recovering from jet lag. The return trip took over 24 hours and the economy class is back to its good old busy self. The flights back were much fuller than when I flew to Thailand in January. Back then, I stretched out on a row of 3 seats and slept quite well. On the way back, I had to sit up all that time. Ugh, I was able to sleep for just a few hours. It was exhausting. I’m getting too old for economy class. After I got home, I slept for 24 hours straight. Well, except for the frequent visits to the throne. Anyway, I’m starting to feel better after 4 days. But I haven’t left the house yet. Maybe I’ll go out tomorrow to shop for some groceries and run some errands.

My nemesis. Yes, I’m sure this was the culprit. I didn’t eat anything after this meal.

Missions accomplished

It’s good to be home. My family missed me and they’re very happy to have their SAHD back. Mrs. RB40 is tired of cooking and driving everywhere. RB40Jr is happy to have someone to talk to about video games, sports, and current events. He updates us with the latest news from Ukraine… I’m also glad to be the dad again. It was tough to stay with my parents that long and be the kid. My dad still treated me like I don’t know anything, ugh! We were driving each other nuts. Anyway, I accomplished my goals on this trip. Here they are.

1) Find a good nursing home for my mom

Finding a nursing home for my mom was the primary mission of this trip. At some point, my mom will have to go to a nursing home. If it was up to my dad, he’d stick her in the cheapest place. He loathes spending money. My brothers and I will pay for the nursing home, but he still prefers the most affordable place. Cheaper doesn’t always equal worse, but the one he likes is 30 minutes away. He still needs to go pick her up and take her to various doctor appointments. That’s extremely inconvenient. They use public healthcare and each visit to the doctor already takes 3-4 hours. Adding extra commute time on top would make it unbearable. Also, he probably won’t visit her much if the place is that far away.

I went to see several nursing homes closer to their condo and found a good one. It’s more expensive than the one he liked, but it is much more conveniently located. The place also seems more professional to me. The price is still very affordable, about $1,000/month. My brothers and I convinced him this nursing home would be better. He consented to try this nursing home when the time comes. So my primary mission is accomplished.

I kept the scope of my primary goal very focused. It is extremely difficult to change my dad’s mind. To me, this little thing is a huge accomplishment. Normally, he is so stubborn and never listens to anyone.

This was just one area. We went from one line to another in various areas of the hospital. It was somewhat stressful. I’m used to much quicker service in the US. Although, this was extremely affordable. Each visit costs just $1 for seniors, I think.

2) Spend time with my mom

I wanted to spend time with my mom before her dementia worsens. At this point, she rarely speaks. The next time I see her, she’ll probably be in a nursing home and won’t talk at all. Her condition is different from what I thought Alzheimer’s disease is like. Her short-term memory is horrible, but her long-term memory isn’t too bad. She can’t remember if she had breakfast, but she knows all her kids and relatives. She also remembers all the old family stories from when she was young. Unfortunately, her body is failing much faster than her mind. She can’t do anything by herself anymore. Soon, she won’t be able to walk at all. I’m pretty sure this is Lewy Body Dementia. It’s a mix of dementia and Parkinson’s disease. There is no cure so it doesn’t really matter, I guess.

Anyway, this was the last time I’ll be able to spend significant time with her. She wasn’t well, but she was happy to have me around. I was also happy to be there. We had a good time swimming at the pool. I was really sad to leave at the end of the trip. It’s a difficult thing to know that your mom will be a lot worse the next time you see her. Getting old really sucks.

3) Preview retirement in Thailand

Another reason I wanted to go to Thailand for 3 months was to see if I can live there after retirement. I plan to live there 6 months per year after RB40Jr goes off to college. We’re even building a beach cabin!

The answer is … maybe. I had a great time, but I was a bit lonely. I have families there, but we didn’t spend much time together because of Covid. When I move there later, I’ll need to make some friends and find some kind of social group to join. I’m not very outgoing so it won’t be easy. I guess we’ll see what happens in 7 years. Other than that, I loved it. Thailand is so much more affordable than the US if you live like a local. The housing expense is cheap. The food was awesome and very affordable. You can buy great food at any time for just a few dollars, day or night. I enjoyed it immensely.

The price tag for my 3 months trip to Thailand was $2,010. That includes hotel rooms, condo rental, food, local flights, a trip to the beach, and 1 massage. My relatives didn’t want me to get a massage because of Covid. My older relatives are all old and have various health issues. Anyway, it was a great deal for a long trip. I saved some money by using credit card points for the international flight tickets. I also stayed with my parents for about half the trip.

Bonus – Skip the Pacific Northwest Winter

Ha! The PNW winters days are dark, cold, and rainy. The nights are so long too. It’s depressing and I don’t like it. On the other hand, Chiang Mai was quite nice in the winter. The high temperature was in the 80s and it wasn’t super humid. It was great.

Portland was nice and sunny when I got back so that was a nice bonus.

There’s no place like home

Alright, I’m slowly getting back into the routine. I miss my parents and other relatives, but it’s really great to be home. We’ll just chill out for 2 months until RB40Jr’s summer break. Then, Mrs. RB40 will take a sabbatical and we’ll all go on a long summer vacation. Hopefully, Japan will be open for tourism by then. We plan to visit Japan, Thailand, the Maldives, and maybe Malaysia. This next trip should be a lot more fun. I’ll have my family so it won’t be lonely.

I’ll get back on the topic of personal finance next time.

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