Lebanese Expat Living in Thailand - Interview with Ghada

Published: 9 Feb at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Thailand
Ghada Karam is a first-time mom who lives in Bangkok with her husband and her two-year old daughter. She enjoys gossiping about being a mom and about her daughter’s tantrums. She thinks tantrums are great. They spice-up her day. You can follow her latest news on Confidential Mommy Talks. Ghada's expat blog is called Confidential Mommy Talks (see listing here)

Here's the interview with Ghada...

Where are you originally from?

In which country and city are you living now?
Bangkok, Thailand

How long have you lived in Thailand and how long are you planning to stay?
We moved to Thailand in October 2015, so we've been living in Bangkok for four months. Thailand is a beautiful country and we're absolutely loving it. It is very different from all the other countries we lived in and I'm taking the time to explore it from different perspectives: with my daughter, as a couple, by trying its cuisine, discovering its history, enjoying its great nature.

Why did you move to Thailand and what do you do?
We are hoteliers, so it's part of our lifestyle to move around from time to time. Before moving to Thailand we lived in Dubai. My husband got a job offer in Bangkok and we both loved the idea of moving to this beautiful country, so we jumped at the occasion and immediately said yes to the offer. We've been many times to Asia for tourism and business, but this is the first time we live in an Asian country.

Did you bring family with you?
My husband and I moved to Bangkok with our two-year old daughter.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
We are used to living in foreign countries. We've been expats for a while now and moving to Thailand was a very easy transition as it has a large expat community. One thing I absolutely love about Thailand is that everything is easy around here. The language can sometimes be an issue as the locals don't speak good English, but they always try to help as much as they can, and when they absolutely can't communicate in English, they always find someone around them who can assist. Thai people are very welcoming and that's where the country gets its reputation.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
People in Bangkok are friendly, and there are many great sites that expats can refer to, to discover the city and find their way around it. Some sites offer the chance to meet new people (both locals and expats) that share the same interests, so yes it's quite easy to meet other expats around the city.

What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Thailand is a very rich country that offers a wide range of activities. Whether you love history, food, shopping, nature, sports, night life or animals, there is always something for you to do in this country, and Bangkok is a great representation of Thailand. It's one of those cities that has it all. I think it's very hard to get bored in Bangkok. My recommendation for future expats moving to Thailand, is to find the expat websites that cover their interests. For instance, finding kids' activities was very important for me, and I got to find a couple of sites that are great in suggesting different activities and events for young kids.

What do you enjoy most about living in Thailand?
My favorite part about living in Thailand is how relaxed people are. I haven't experienced the hot or rainy months of the year yet. Since I moved to Thailand the weather has been great, which means that we get to spend a lot of time outdoors. I love the public parks where we get to spend some time with our daughter, and she absolutely enjoys feeding the fish and birds.

How does the cost of living in Thailand compare to home?
Thailand is known for being relatively cheap: all local products and services like transportation, food, clothes, massages, can be found everywhere and at good prices. However imported products (food, clothes, electronics, etc.) can be found at much higher prices, so it really comes down to what you're looking for. The good part is that we have a wide range of brands to choose from, whether local or international, so we get to make the final choice on what we need at the end of the day.

What negatives, if any, are there to living in Thailand?
One of the main challenges of living in Thailand is the language. However, as I said above, it is possible to overcome it. Thai people are very welcoming and helpful.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Thailand, what would it be?
There is no need to stress about moving to Thailand. Things are easy over here. One thing that I would recommend to any expat around the world would be to find the expat forums and websites that would help them settle in as smoothly as possible. This was a great method that helped me adapt to Bangkok, and I strongly recommend it to any expat.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
I'm not sure I can point on a particular aspect. My experience has been positive so far.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
I'm not sure about that either... I love exploring new countries, and it would be great to move to another destination in Asia, if that would be possible; so for the time being I'm not really considering our repatriation.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Benefit from technology as much as possible: find the sites that can help you settle in as fast as possible and make use of your smart phone too (I find google maps to be very efficient when moving around the city).
  2. Don't compare the country you just moved in, to other countries that you've lived in previously
  3. Depending where you live, if English is not a widely spoken language, it would be helpful to learn some basic local words
  4. For someone with kids, I would recommend finding the good indoor and outdoor locations that could keep the little ones busy, as early as possible
  5. Enjoy the local culture as much as possible in all its different aspects (food, architecture, music, history, habits, etc.)
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
My blog is dedicated for moms of young kids. It is written with great humor (and sometimes sarcasm). I enjoy being a mom, it is a great adventure but sometimes I just feel that my head will explode. So the blog is a great way of taking it all out.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
You can find me on Facebook where I share my daily gossip. It is great, you should check the page: https://www.facebook.com/Confidential-Mommy-Talks-1844880635738453/?ref=tn_tnmn

About the author

Expat Blog ListingGhada is a Lebanese expat living in Thailand. Blog description: Ghada Karam is a first-time mom who lives in Bangkok with her husband and her two-year old daughter. She enjoys gossiping about being a mom and about her daughter's tantrums. She thinks tantrums are great. They spice-up her day.
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