mae gnat house boat chiang mai

Reflecting on the windows I’ve known and loved

“Desirable views have a hint of mystery. We like to understand and enjoy what is happening around us, and to imagine that if we traveled from where we are into the unknown we would meet with pleasant surprises…” – Psychology Today

When we first arrived back to Thailand, the skies were muddy and grey. They didn’t possess white bright clouds that you wished you were rolling around in. This was late January.

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Can you cook Thai food?

Upon learning that I am half-Thai, folks want to know, “Can you cook Thai food?” When I was younger, the answer was no. As in why on God’s green and blue earth would I want to? My mom can cook wonderfully though, thank you.

As I got older, I became annoyed by my mom’s badgering.

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There’s nothing wrong with asking for help (and why concepts like greng jai need to die)

There’s a Thai word “greng jai” that has always annoyed me. It’s basically used to describe a person who doesn’t want to be an inconvenience to anyone. They don’t want to be a bother, and it’s supposed to be a positive trait. We have this same idea, too, in American culture, but I feel it does more harm than good.

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May Day, Mililani Waena Elementary

What does it mean to be Asian American?

Sometimes I feel like an anomaly. I’m a 45 year old American Thai-Chinese woman who was born in Hawaii, who has lived on three continents, and who was raised by a Thai immigrant mother and a working class white male. I can’t squeeze into an “ism”. My dress size is small in America, but extra-large in Asia. I’m too American in Asia and not Asian enough in America.

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Can you use chopsticks?

I remember the first time I used chopsticks. We were at Aiea Chop Suey (HA!); it was my mom, my younger brother, and me. We were not given any silverware, just those horrible off-white plastic set of sticks.

“Uh, I said. “How are we supposed to eat this?”

My mom was already eating. She laughed.

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How has living abroad changed you?

Honoring the dead: Gin Salat, Lamphun, Thailand, 2012

My friend, who is somewhat newly moved to Thailand, was reflecting on what it’s like to be an expat: the culture shock, and then the struggle of not wanting to complain and feel culture shocked. As I walked to work, I thought about how much I had changed since living abroad.

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Pain, struggle, and the stories within us

I’m binge watching Season 24 of America’s Next Top Model (don’t laugh). In fact, I’ve watched every season (not every episode though) because I’m a wannabe model. Funnily, I take really bad photos, but counteract this by making goofy faces, and accepting the fact that I’m not photogenic.

But what has struck me, as I watched the girls in the house interact with one another, is how many of them carry pain inside them. At first, I thought it was ironic as heck that some of these stunning young women grew up being told they were ugly or funny-looking (this is a repeat theme throughout the seasons), but there’s more to this than just this.

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