But life in Thailand isn’t any more welcoming for couples like Maria and Itt.More than curious glances from Thais, they encounter icy loathing from foreign men.The Thai men battle their own insecurities along with everyone’s assumptions they are serial cheaters and abusers who’ve latched onto a blonde piggy bank.In malls and parks, they’re mistaken for the nannies of their own children.But similar to what Samantha experienced by just mentioning her love story, strangers and followers of Maria’s Russian-language Live Journal were vicious.“They would send me comments like, ‘You’re beautiful enough, why can’t you find a Russian man?
In Kirov, Russian trolls said Maria’s children would be ugly because she married “a jumping monkey from a palm tree.” They later returned to Bangkok.
And when I met Itt, I knew I had found my soulmate, even if I couldn’t understand what I was doing or why at first,” she said.
Yet her homesickness was too strong, and a year later the couple moved to Moscow and then Kirov. He charmed them; even making her grim Russian dad crack a smile.
Itt jokes that he was the only Thai man in Kirov (There are 10 Thai women, all spa masseuses).
“Take off your shirt,” she told him as they threw some punches. Later, as Maria Puntasu and Assawa “Itt” Puntasu, they moved to Kirov, a town 12 hours by train east of Moscow to open their own muay Thai gym.