“We are meant to be together, and we will be.”
Chrissie is a British citizen is married to Supon, from a Thai hilltribe. They are affectionately known as "The Macadangdangs" by friends and family.
Chrissie always remembers they first day they met, on 2 November 2008. She was returning to Chiang Mai in Thailand to catch up with friends. She was teaching an English class to elephant mahouts when Supon approached her. The first thing he said to her was "My name is, Supon and I'm a cheeky bugger". Chrissie hasn’t stopped laughing since that day.
She fondly recalls the 2008 Loy Krathong festival, when together they lit a lantern and Supon said to her "wish for something"...
Although having met in late 2008, and having visited again twice during 2009, it wasn't until New Year's 2010, with the news of a formal job offer in Chiang Mai, that Chrissie and Supon finally thought; "This is our moment".
Chrissie returned to the UK for six months, working to pay off her university debt and convincing her family that she’d be okay living and working in Thailand. She spoke with Supon every day, counting each day away until they would next see each other.
June 2010 came, one month left in the UK and Chrissie’s mum was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a really emotional time for the family and whilst Chrissie will always carry the guilt, she is grateful that her mother gave her blessings and encouraged Chrissie to follow her heart.
Focusing on making a life with Supon was now Chrissie’s motivation. They lived in a small bamboo hut with their dog, based at the Elephant camp Supon worked at. Chrissie ferried herself between work in Bangkok and Supon in Chiang Mai.
A year passed and Chrissie’s mum finally had the strength to visit. For her birthday, Chrissie’s mum said "all I want to do is see my daughter". It was a great few weeks.
November 2011 came and the couple decided to honour Supon's family and culture and marry under Karen hill tribe tradition. Chrissie’s parents and sister flew over for the wedding and things have been amazing ever since.
Chrissie’s family love Supon. Supon was granted a visitor visa in 2013, coinciding unfortunately with Chrissie’s dad being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Such a bittersweet moment.
Visiting the UK and showing Supon all the people and things she told him about – just to have him see where she came from was a massive deal. It made Chrissie realise how much she misses her family and friends. It made her realise she wanted to be there for her parents as they increasingly needed her more. She feels she owes it to her sister and family to now share the burden. She also needs the comfort of family.
However Chrissie earns £1000 less than the £18,600 required so everything is on hold.
Her wish when she lit the lantern in 2008; "If we are meant to be together, let us find a way"...and she still believes it.