Peruvian Expat Living in Thailand - Interview with Orana

Published: 1 Jul at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Thailand
Orana is Peruvian because one of her passports says so. But really she's just an artist trying to raise her kids right. Traveling and giving them experiences that her hometown neighborhood just didn't provide. She used to work as a Makeup Artist and is now searching for a different, more kid friendly way to do art. The search is on, and it's an everyday mystery that she is trying to solve. At the moment, on her "wishlist" of material things one doesn't really need is an oven to make brownies! Orana's expat blog is called Crazy Little Family Adventure (see listing here)

The four of us in a tuktuk on Khao San Road, Bangkok
The four of us in a tuktuk on Khao San Road, Bangkok

Here's the interview with Orana...

Where are you originally from?
I am originally from Lima, Peru. I was born as a third generation Italian immigrant, good enough for another passport!

In which country and city are you living now?
Right now we are in Phuket, Thailand. By way of Bangkok and Luang Prabang first.

How long have you lived in Thailand and how long are you planning to stay?
We have been in Phuket for a year now. Before that we were in Bangkok for almost a year, where our third daughter was born. We plan on staying here at least another year and then move on.

With our teen before she ditched
With our teen before she ditched
Why did you move to Thailand and what do you do?
We moved to Thailand on a whim, needing change from the normal and tedious life we had created in Lima. The exodus destination was originally Luang Prabang in Laos but then decided that to have our baby (which traveled in her 4 month belly) it was better to move on over to Thailand. Things just took their course and after a year of sabbatical, my husband found a job in Phuket and here we are. I don't work at the moment, just trying to be a house-mom which is much harder than working if you ask me!

Did you bring family with you?
Yes, my husband and I came with our 14 year old daughter and toddler of a year and a half. I was four months pregnant. A year later the teenager couldn't take it anymore and begged to be sent back to Peru and her friends. She now lives with her grandparents.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
At first I had a bit of hard time getting used to not having my live in maid that I'd had for 7 years in Peru. She was like family and she knew exactly how to get everything done just how we liked it. Having to do all that myself, and 4 months pregnant was really hard. In the end I got used to it and I'm pretty good at it now. Apart from that silly thing, transitioning is the best part of moving someplace new. Getting to know your neighborhood and the people in it is really a lot of fun.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
I have this weird feeling that I don't really get along with the classic trailing spouse. I sort of live the trailing spouse lifestyle because now it's my husband that works, but that's not how I got here. We all came here together looking for adventure as a group. Trailing spouse expats are different and I don't feel comfortable with them. I usually make friends with expats for example that are here on their own, or that married a local and own a bar or something like that. They are more my style. And these are harder to come by, specially mom ones.

Relaxing by a waterfall
Relaxing by a waterfall
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Phuket has a bad reputation, or a good one, depends who you ask. It really is the expats that know the true magnificence that Phuket can be. It's not all gogo bar beaches and sunburnt tourists snorkeling. Sure, there's a lot of that, but also so much more. What I would recommend to future expats coming to Phuket is to not rent a place to live in the touristy areas like Patong and try and find a more real Thai place to live in. It's the best way to actually experience all that Phuket has to offer.

What do you enjoy most about living in Thailand?
Ironically we aren't beach lovers so the biggest attraction is just another one of many for us. We love having Phuket as a basis for weekend trips to the mainland and beyond. The hot weather is nice, my skin is tanner than it's ever been! The food is great too. I've always loved Thai food, and street food is just so much fun.

How does the cost of living in Thailand compare to home?
Well, its definitely cheaper. But some things can get expensive, like wanting western treats and shopping for foreign goodies. Rent varies widely so it really depends on the area where you decide to live. What we can do that we couldn't do back home is survive an entire week on 50 dollars. You just have to know where and what to eat.

Long Tail ride in Khao Sok National Park
Long Tail ride in Khao Sok National Park
What negatives, if any, are there to living in Thailand?
The constant heat can sometimes get a bit boring. Phuket in particular has pretty terrible public transport so you need a car (which I can't drive, and I'm too nervous to). Getting around is definitely not as easy for example Bangkok.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Thailand, what would it be?
If you have a job at home and are thinking of leaving, save up as much as you can so that you can travel on sabbatical for as long as possible. Find some kind of online job that you can take anywhere and then once you settle here, or anywhere, check out your work options. If there aren't any, then move on. Working illegally in Thailand is NOT a good idea.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
The fact that none of my Peruvian friends have got their butts in gear to come and visit me! Ok, except one. He knows who he is.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
I'll probably eat all the home style foods possible. Do other things that are not well seen here....and then want to leave quickly again!

Magic Hour on the beach
Magic Hour on the beach
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Don't take too many clothes with you, buy along the way. No point dragging so much weight.
  2. I'm not into moving to another country with containers full of furniture. Everytime we leave a house we get rid of everything and start anew. Try it, and you'll see why.
    (ok. I have some things in storage...mementos etc.)
  3. Try and learn the language of the place you are moving to.
  4. Always buy cool postcards. You can either send them to friends and family or stick them in your journal. They really are a treat to see later on.
  5. There are never too many photos of beautiful sunsets....
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
I started the blog mainly to document all the adventures that my toddler was having with his dad. I wasn't moving so much with the big belly and then the newborn so the blog was all about him. Later it grew and I really enjoyed writing about what I was experiencing. I do some posts in prose too and sometimes I post about the art I make with the kids. It's really a expat family blog, and the kids are the main attraction.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
I can be found trough the blog's Facebook page

About the author

Expat Blog ListingOrana is a Peruvian expat living in Thailand. Blog description: Blog about a Southamerican expat family in Bangkok, Thailand and their adventures with tree kids.
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