Trying to make it in the US | Bangkok Post: learning

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Trying to make it in the US

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When Chatchawan Chawengkul left the US army in 1987, he did not just settle down, get a 9-5 job and start a family. Things were a bit more difficult and uncertain. 

Chatchawan Chawengkul

As you might recall, Chatchawan Chawengkul  is a Thai who moved to the United States to live in 1979 at the age of 20. He has been telling his story and you can read the first two parts here: ,

The highlight of his early years was probably his four years in Germany with the US army. That was the subject of last week’s story. This week he continues with his life in the US over the next eight years. As you will see, he did not just settle down, get a 9-to-5 job and start a family. Things were a bit more difficult and uncertain.

Click button to listen to Chapter 3 and rightclick to download

Living in America

Chatchawan did not live out the American dream in Los Angeles, California. Life was not smooth and easy there.

Chapter three: My return to the States (1987-1995)

After I got out from the US Army, I went to see my mother and Eddy in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Eddy retired from the US Air Force and settled there.  Eddy was born in Little Rock, Arkansas and he has properties there.

Then I moved to Tampa, Florida.  I have friends there.  I worked as a waiter and attended college classes at Tampa Metropolitan College.  I studied to be a commercial artist, or graphic artist.  I received the winning logo design award for a local radio station in Tampa while I was in college. I graduated in 1989 since it was 2-year program. 

I applied for a job in Los Angeles, California at a Thai language newspaper.  I got a job there, but things did not work out well.  I ended up working as retail manager for a chain of electronics stores called Radio Shack.

I returned to Thailand for a vacation in 1993, and visited with my family.  My father wanted me to become a monk as is the tradition in our family, and I did.  Afterwards, I toured the southern part of Thailand.  I went to Phuket and Pee Pee islands.  I visited a friend whom I had known back in California.  He had returned to Thailand and started a shrimp farm business in Krabi.  He stays in Thailand for good

I returned to Los Angeles in 1994.  When I arrived back in Los Angeles, I worked as a cook at a Thai restaurant to save up money.  I was very broke from spending all my money on my vacation in Thailand. 

In 1995, I moved back to Florida.  This time I lived in Miami, Florida.

Miami, Florida will begin in Chapter Four (1995-1999). I hope you enjoy reading and following my journeys in America.

highlight – the most exciting, impressive, or interesting part of an event เหตุการณ์สำคัญ, จุดสำคัญ
settle (down) – to go and live somewhere, especially permanently เข้ามาอาศัยอยู่
a 9-5 job – a job where you work regular hours, e.g., 9am to 5pm.
retired – no longer working because you have reached the age where you are officially too old to work เกษียณอายุ
property – land owned by someone ที่ดิน, อสังหาริมทรัพย์
waiter – a man or boy who brings food and drink to your table in a restaurant or café บริกรชาย
apply for a job – to formally try to get a job by filling out application, going through interview, etc. สมัครงาน
retail – to sell directly to the public for their own use  ขายปลีก
tradition – a very old custom, belief, or story ประเพณี, ขนบธรรมเนียม
for good – permanently; happening or existing for a long time or for all time in the future อย่างถาวร 
broke – to have no money ไร้เงิน

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