7 life lessons I learnt from meeting my girlfriend’s parents for the first time

Welcome back to some regular writing!

Note: This is not a relationship piece. Read on and you’ll know.

I spent the last couple of weeks in Thailand. It was my bi-monthly visit to be with my girl, but this time, it was different. I met her parents for the first time in her home town, which was about seven hours outside of Bangkok (the main city, so to speak).

I was rather nervous and shit at first of course. But what I expected to be a simple meet-the-parents session turned out to be a huge reflection on my life and life itself.

Combine the initial anxiety of meeting the parents, being in the countryside, having barely any internet, showering with over twenty mosquitoes and using a toilet with no flush, you pretty much have an idea of what I had to go through. Oh and I got a fungal infection on account of jumping in the open water when I was out fishing with her dad. I had a gross rash around my groin for a week. Yes that’s too much information, but whatever, this blog doesn’t hold back for you.

But it was all good. I loved it. It’s funny how this culmination of my relationship can branch out into so many amazing things.

Check it.

1) The way you live isn’t the way for everyone else

The thing that struck me most about staying in the country side of Thailand is how we all live different lives in this world.

It’s an obvious idea, but the thing is, how often has an idea become our truth, the way and everything? How often has lifestyle and routine make us think a certain way only when we should be opening up? As such, you have people who keep comparing with others, even shouting out how “wrong” others are because they don’t follow what they do.

People in the home town don’t live like we do in modern society. My girl’s dad doesn’t work an 8-to-5. He’s chilling out a lot at home when he’s not fishing or meeting his friends. It can be easy to ask in bewilderment like, “Whoa, why isn’t he working more? This is not how it should be”, but if you do, you’d be the only one asking then; you’d be the only one wondering how others are happy being who they are.

It is hence a waste of time to shout your comparisons. We should all look within and find out what makes us happy instead.

Maybe a little comparison with our modern lives is needed here to be more clear: Think about nice cars, a nice house, your Starbucks, fast-speed internet and/or air-conditioning. There was none of that when I was there. But nobody there is “wrong”. You feel me on this?

2) You don’t need money and other modern shit to be happy

That being said, happiness doesn’t come from money or other modern stuff. There’re real people out there in this world who don’t have the same “luxuries” as you do, but they’re happy.

Makes you wonder about what you’re doing now…

This is not an idea on the intricacies of money and how we live. It is what it is: There’re real people out there who are happy without the riches.

Makes you think for sure…

I know, I know, you’ve got your responsibilities, bills and whatever, but it’s always good to reflect on the way you live, especially if you’re caught in the race (good for you if you actually know you’re already caught). And the best way to start reflecting is to actually travel and immerse yourself in a different culture where things are run differently.

The day you meet somebody who has none of what you have and yet, that person is smiling while you’re not, is the day your perspective on everything will change.

3) Do not judge, even if it seems easy

To be brutally honest, for the longest time, I felt my girlfriend was rather lazy. Her apartment in Bangkok is constantly messy and it irked me because I’m a neat freak myself. It also bothered me to why she couldn’t just get off her ass and start cleaning up a little.

And then I went to her home town, where I had to shower everyday with more than twenty mosquitoes buzzing all over my naked body (I shit you not, twenty), where the toilet had no flush and you had to scoop water from a large pail and pour it in to manually flush your crap, where the roads are always dusty etc.

My girlfriend wasn’t lazy all along. Having grown up in the country, she was just on a new level of tolerance.

Got me thinking to whether I was the little, pansy bitch instead who was bothered by a little dirt.

So, don’t judge, even if it’s tempting to do so. You won’t ever know a person fully anyway. If you want to make some assumptions, I suggest you know where he or she is from and what that person is all about.

And notice how when I judged, I judged myself?

4) Motivation can come out of nowhere and in unexpected forms

Okay, brutally honest fact #2: I’ve been with my girlfriend nearly two years now, and I can’t speak Thai for shit. I always made up a ton of excuses like how she speaks decent English and that I had no time to learn it formally in a class, which I do feel I require.

Then I met her parents, who can’t speak a word of English. I felt bad. I had no one to blame but myself as I couldn’t converse with them to get to know them better.

That’s my motivation now. I want to get to know her family better and I want them to know me.

So, if you find yourself putting things off or not getting the results that you want, then do yourself a favour and start doing things differently. There’s no point being stuck a in rut and expecting better results when you’re approaching things the same thing. Get out there and do something different. The motivation will come unexpectedly.

5) Let inspiration override all your negativity



This right here, is my girlfriend’s niece. She’s like 8-months old and the most adorable thing in the world. I’ve fallen in love with her. And please pardon my morning hair right there.

She’s one of the main reasons why my trip was so great.

Okay so… I had a good time, and I was extremely happy with everything I seen, and everyone I met over there. It was pure happiness and it was inspiring.

Now, if you’ve been catching up on my blog, you’d know I’m an angry dude who has trouble with negative thoughts overwhelming my head. I’ve done my research and read up a lot on dealing with your issues. You know, letting go, positive thinking, finding the root cause or whatever psychological things.

But, you know what? You can back up for a second. Just back up.

When this cute little thing smiled at me in the face, I was like, “If there exists such a lovely thing in the world, then there is indeed beauty in the world and there is absolutely no reason to be unhappy.”

So if you feel like you have a lot to deal with, then just get out there and let the inspiration take over. There’s a lot of beautiful things out there waiting for you, and they’re going to make you realize how infinitesimally small your problems actually are. Besides, reflecting, thinking deeply and all that jazz is good, but I think opening up to new experiences, sights, sounds and other people alone can do the trick.

6) Discomfort is in the formula for growing and appreciation

Yet, I was uncomfortable in a lot of things. Meeting the parents for the first time, bathing with mosquitoes, thinking the boat my girl’s father built was going to capsize in the middle of the river etc. I was also rather tired out from all the travelling. Seven hours back and forth each time to Bangkok is no joke. I’ve never watched so many episodes of Fresh Prince of Bel-air in a row before.

There’re no excuses here though. You got to feel that little discomfort to really grow and start appreciating what you have today.

Stop whining over a little pain. Don’t be scared just because you heart isn’t 100%. That’s just how it is. You can’t fully be grateful with what you have until you’ve been to the other end of the spectrum. You’d also be stagnant if you’re just lazing around in that comfort zone.

Yeah I’m glad to be home for now haha.

7) The world isn’t that scary

And it’s not filled with evil assholes who are out to make your life miserable.

I wrote in my first travel piece about the idea of how people make up for an entire nation, and that I’d always believe to be true.

This trip to the country side has re-affirmed that idea.

I think this is a heavy make-or-break deal for everybody. Think that the world is evil and scary and down you go that rabbit hole, where you shun the world as you close up completely. Think that the world not so evil and you’re getting there. Think that the world is filled with understandable beauty and your life is going to be filled with inspiration.

Certainly, there’re evil assholes out there that wreck bad shit on you even though you’re innocent. But why let the bad tip the balance for you? I find it sad that we act negatively just because we think we’re “wired” that way, like we focus on the negative or read disturbing news just because.

Break out of that cycle and decide for yourself. The best way to do it is to experience it yourself. Even if you don’t have the opportunity to travel that much, take solace in my reassurance and from others that the world isn’t that scary a place. Make the positive choice.

If you’ve some cool insights in your own travels, let me know in the comments.

And share this if you think it can help your friends! Thanks!

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  1. Elpida - March 15, 2014 1:42 pm

    I love your shit! Everything you write is so raw and honest, I love it! All these points are so important but #3 has been a real challenge for me right now. I’m doing my best to really stop and reflect that judgement on myself to see where it is coming from and deal with my own shit. It’s not always easy but it’s getting there. Keep doing what you are doing, you’re awesome!

  2. Akanksha Puri - March 16, 2014 10:51 am

    Dear Dean,
    Love you loads more for all that you wrote dear. You just don’t mind as to
    What would anyone reading your blog feel, I like this attitude of yours. Also
    your attitude of being so straight forward impresses me all the same. Impressed
    With your writing and you shall progress a lot and go a long way, just one thing
    More, the Smile you have on your face for now, keep it the same forever.

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  5. Moonsparkle - March 23, 2014 9:07 pm

    I enjoyed reading this, you make some good points, especially this:

    The day you meet somebody who has none of what you have and yet, that person is smiling while you’re not, is the day your perspective on everything will change.

    Plus I love the picture of you and your girlfriend’s niece!

  6. NADIA - March 24, 2014 12:37 pm

    Hi Alden! You write well, intelligently and being true to yourself makes you powerful even if it’s not what you seek. Anyway I enjoy reading you and if one day you and your girl want to visit France (I live in a tiny village but we do have flushing T!!!)you are welcome. Nadia

    • alden - March 30, 2014 5:41 am

      Haha cool! Maybe I’ll go there one day.

  7. Celine - November 12, 2014 7:01 am

    Hey Alden,

    Chanced upon this article and I think its great- well written and totally agree with all the points above.

    I think in Singapore, because its so small and efficient, everyone tends to forget there is something else, and other way of doing things out there.

    Im now in China and I have so many Singaporean friends who tell me I dont have to put myself through this or suffer, but its been so much fun being somewhere different and not being so lazy/used to everything.

    Hope other people reading this will get inspired too!

    • alden - November 13, 2014 9:30 am

      Cool. China huh? Well they don’t know that’s why they conclude you’re suffering. Glad you’re doing alright.

  8. Khairy Farhan - November 12, 2014 8:03 am

    Hey man,

    Love the writing.

    I just think not enough Singaporeans stop to reflect and think. Why? I don’t know, but for the one who do stop and think, it’s hard to not get frustrated at them while at the same time, we understand that sometimes, there needs to be a moment where we’re… enlightened, for lack of a better word.

    Anyway, I’ve just started blogging and have been procrastinating my butt to write my first book. It’d be great if I could speak to you as a Singaporean on how you got around to writing the book and the process. I’m sure you’re definitely busy, so it’s fine either way. 🙂

    Will definitely be buying one of your books soon. Love the way you write. It’s from the head as well as from the heart. And I’ve only read this and the one about the judgement you get when you told people your girlfriend is Thai. Definitely something anti-elitist Singaporeans have to think about.

    Thanks for the writing, man.

    Take care,

    • alden - November 13, 2014 9:29 am

      Thanks man. I’ll drop you an email.

  9. Alden - November 12, 2014 11:57 am

    Dear Alden, funny how you preach all this tolerance and yet yourself are so intolerant towards transsexuals.

    eg: ““I give you three months, max” said a friend’s girlfriend to my face two years ago, which was really ironic cause she looked like a tranny herself.”

    Fuck you, asshole. Transsexuals are people too. Grow up.

    • alden - November 12, 2014 5:17 pm

      I will not acknowledge, much less debate with somebody who doesn’t dare to be themselves. How lucky of you to snag the email,

  10. SingThaiDisco - November 15, 2014 6:25 am

    Hi Alden,

    Nice article on the mothership sg website. It has gone viral with the siam kias. You been to our forum? Check out our Gong Tao helpdesk and share your thoughts.

    • alden - November 15, 2014 7:27 am

      Haha amusing place. Thanks.

  11. Reload Food - November 16, 2014 4:56 am

    thanks for sharing this long distance love article! =D

    • alden - November 18, 2014 8:27 am

      No prob.

  12. Gary - March 26, 2015 10:24 pm

    In two weeks, I will be in Thailand to meet my girlfriend’s parents for the first time. I don’t speak Thai, but her Dad and her brother both speak English. I hope that won’t be a problem with her mom, because she doesn’t speak English. I plan on learning Thai whenever I move there. People ask me if I am nervous, and I tell them “no – not really”. I met her brother on my last trip and he’s a great guy. I hope he put in a good word for me with the parents before I get there.

    I’ve dated my girlfriend in this long distance relationship for about 2 1/2 years now. Each time one of us gets on a plane to go back home, I start to cry. Both of us decided that I should meet her parents before we get married, so this is a huge step for what I hope is going to be a wonderful marriage. She has met my parents twice so far when she came over here to the US. Both of my parents love her. She’s a sweet girl.

    She wants to live here in the US for about 5 years after we get married. After that, I plan on quitting my job for an early retirement, and we will both move back to Thailand where things are much more laid back and less expensive. I love Thailand and it’s culture. Everyone I have met (her friends and family) are awesome. The only drawback I see, is getting used to the heat.

    • alden - March 27, 2015 8:03 am

      Oh yeah it’s hot as fuck there haha.

      I am happy for you. Where do her parents stay?

  13. Henrietta - November 9, 2015 12:55 pm

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  14. stephen osoko - January 4, 2016 1:03 am

    Great post!
    I can tell that you took a lot of time with this.
    I personally have realised that the world isn’t as scary and the things we find scary are usually just our minds playing tricks on us!
    Keep going.
    If you wanna know what I do, visit my motivation blog

  15. moh - July 5, 2017 6:35 pm

    Hey man, great blog!
    Just wanted to let you know you made a little typo.
    “Don’t be scared just because you heart isn’t 100%.”
    It should be ‘your’ not ‘you’.
    Have a great day man.


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