Going back, again, to the writings of my wife, when she was first learning English in the United States. I've added photos from that time:
How I Came to the USA -- by Thiphawan Gault-Williams
One day I picked up a Thai newspaper. I saw an ad about seeing a man from outside Thailand to marry to be friends. I went to the agency because everything was almost for free except for translating the letter from English to Thai and from Thai to English. That cost about $4 for two pages.
At first they took my picture and then my address. They sent my picture and address to another agency called Thai American Service in the USA. They posted my picture on the Internet and then sold my address.
I had a couple of people write letters to me but it didn't work well because I didn't have much money to play for translating their letters. It took me a couple of months before I found the right one.
In June 1999 I got a letter from Malcolm, who is my husband now. We wrote to each other for about four months. He decided to visit me around my 28th birthday in October 1999.
After we had spent a couple of days together he seemed to be nice to me and we got along very well. He wanted to visit my family in my hometown in northeast Thailand. At first I couldn't say yes, because in my village if you bring a guy with you, people will think you are married, no matter yes or no.
I asked him to marry me in a couple of days if he wanted to meet my family. I don't know how I asked him to marry me either because it was the first time we had met. At that time my English was so poor, but I did ask him for another thing. It was to pay a dowry for marrying me. He paid a dowry of about $7,000 for marrying me.
He visited me a couple of times and then we got married on March 23, 2000 in my hometown. On March 31, 2000 I got a visa to come to the United States. On April 4, 2000 I left Thailand. My trip was so long. It took me a day of sitting on the plane. It seemed to be an adventure for me because I came with a man I only saw a couple of times and only two weeks each time. Many people in Thailand talked about if you went outside the country with someone at first you had to be careful because it might be very dangerous. No matter what, I trusted him a lot.
My first day n the USA was startling. LAX was so big to me and I didn't understand the language very well. Most people spoke English, but I spoke Thai. That is how my new life in the USA began.