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Dreams meet reality

We’re off to sign off on our completed house today. An hour long flight to Khon Kaen, the closest big city with an airport, followed by a drive of just under 2 hours. We can’t wait.

There is only one flight a day due to covid so rather than heading up early morning and coming back later tomorrow evening we have to go up around lunch time and come back around the same time tomorrow. It’s going to be a quick trip.

Also, completed house date has not been met. It is nearly finished but from what I can see there is a fair bit to go. That means today will be a bit of a reality session for the builder and they need to pull the proverbial finger out quickly, as on Saturday evening we’ll arrive with two truck loads of furniture that needs a place to go. I expect there will be a few days of graveyard shifts to finish things off. The original completion date was May 25th so we’re already a few weeks behind. A mix of slow progress, not having a good plan in place and a long break over Thai new year delayed that date. Since then, heavy rain and a few wrong moves from the builder have caused further delay. Walls were painted the wrong colour and the wrong floor tiles were bought - and laid. When it’s done it looks to be done well, but we’ll see that for ourselves today.

How the pictures said our house would look

The architect and builder are a small company and that brings benefits as well as issues. It’s run by a young husband and wife team and they are great people and keen to please, but while they come trumps in enthusiasm, they lack in organisation.

Most of their work seems to be in the local area, and we are 5-6 hours away from their base, and I don’t think that’s helped either.

But for every times they’ve not expectations, there’s been others where they’ve been really impressive. On balance, while frustrating at times, we’ve had a lot less build issues than others stories I know where the owner has been on-site. Maybe a case of what you don’t know (or see) can’t hurt you!

Saying that, our local family have been terrific. Sanya, Hana’s brother, has been good at speaking to the building team and checking what is going on. He’s been our eyes and ears at the site.

The floor plan

As well as the odds and ends to be finished, which I think is mainly our outside area, we have also gone for a western kitchen and IKEA delivered all the fittings and fixtures last night. We are hopeful that we can have a full kitchen in by Saturday. We’ve managed to get the building team to help us, and while IKEA furniture is not difficult, it’s also going to be the first time any of these guys have seen this kind of work. And two things Thais sometimes have difficulty following are maps, and instructions. I’m a little nervous about our kitchen build.

After our flying visit today and tomorrow we drive the 8 hour road trip on Saturday with a couple of truckloads of furniture. Hana will be moving lock, stock and barrel but after staying for a week in the house i’ll come back to Bangkok for another couple of months. I’ll be working from home next week, while also doing things get registering the house, and I’m keen to see how easy it is. In future I hope to be able to continue working from house while living at our new place, so we have a few things to sort out to make that happen.

We have an exciting and busy week - and year - ahead. And even though we’ve been packing up some boxes in Bangkok ready for the move, I don’t think it has quite set in our minds that this is happening. Being so far away from the house being built has made it seem not real.

I expect that will all change today.

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