Hello, my name is Lani and welcome to Life, the Universe and Lani.

Life, the Universe, and Lani
My transformation into Japanese sci-fi immortality. {Gamera vs Guiron, 1969} Thank you Eric!

In 2009, I put away my possessions and stuffed my bags for Thailand. I started this blog and began my mentorship as an American expat looking for adventure, answers (it’s 42), and an alternative lifestyle.

All these years later, I’m still here. I think I must have found it. Or maybe I’m still looking. In any case, I collect what I’ve learned and share my grand and small thoughts in this corner of the Internet.

Currently, I’m in Rayong Thailand. But to recap my wanderings, I’ve lived in Siem Reap Cambodia, Chiang Rai + Chiang Mai Thailand, Cuenca Ecuador, Huntsville Alabama, Oceanside + Chico California, Portland + Eugene Oregon, Durango + Cortez Colorado, and Mililani Hawaii (Beyond this I was too young to remember).

Welcome aboard, baby.

9 fabulous facts about me:

1. My mother is Thai, my father’s Chinese, and I was born in Hawaii. So, that makes me American. Asian American. American Asian. Not really Asian. Up to you. My identity, these days, hasn’t been so much a struggle, as it is an interesting reflection of how others perceive me.

2. I taught myself to not be so directionally challenged! No, really. If I can do it, so can you. Well, maybe. Okay. It’s worth the effort!

3. I was born in a pink hospital on the beautiful island of Oahu, a week after my mom arrived from Thailand (cause she’s crazy). Yes, she lied about how many months pregnant she was to get on the plane. Go mom!

4. I love to write. I started writing when we moved from Mililani, Oahu to Barstow, California. I was thirteen years old and devastated/bored/melancholic by this dastardly decision. Looking back though, I realize this is when I started to become obsessed with reading and writing.

5. My favorite fairy tales are: The Snow Queen and The Golden Goose. I like how in The Snow Queen, it’s the girl that saves the boy, and in The Golden Goose, it’s laughter that saves the princess.

6. My first name is Hawaiian, my middle name is Thai, and my last name is British English. Although, I should clarify that I’ve never been married and my last name is indeed my maiden name even though I’m not British!

7. I loathe clocks. I challenge you to find the time in my house.

8. In junior high, I was captain of the cheerleader squad at a private school in Barstow. Yeaaahhhh.

Shame is for other people…

9. I wrote a book. It’s on Amazon and it’s about my experience as a Waldorf teacher, getting fired, losing faith, and trust in people, and then picking myself up again. It’s called the missing teacher.

Or if you prefer an audio book, you could hit Gumroad and name your price. So much to love.


OMG. I love you, Lani. Now what?

Well, you can follow me virtually. But you can’t around town because: a) I’m very good at recognizing stalkers, b) I don’t like people walking behind me, and c) you’ll find it extremely annoying when I stop and look at you or suddenly wait to walk behind you.

Options, you always got options…

  • I’m late to social media, but I post most consistently on Instagram . I’ve been doing #365day challenges.
  • Check outΒ the scroll option on the menu bar for more gooey goodness. Or if you are looking for Thailand specific reading, go here.
  • I’ve started a newsletter called No Girl is an Island. Intrigued? You can learn more + sign up here.

Thanks for reading along,


formally Tell-Thai Heart


71 replies on “About

  1. love your blog’s title! are you a fan of Douglas Adams and the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy? I’m thinking of his answer to “life, the universe, and everything”


    1. Haha! 10pts for you! Yes. My friend Matt insisted I read it and gave it to me. I even had to snail mail it back to him when I moved up north.


      1. It’s pretty good. Humor in books is rare. I feel like we go to TV, standup comedians, YouTube and the like for our funny, so a funny book is a wonderful thing indeed.


  2. Love this post, love your blogs (just found you about a half an hour ago on Twitter, thanks to JR Riel and God), love your humor, love your Lani-verse, love you… I could keep going if you want, but I don’t wanna be a comment-space hogger. I’ll continue the ego stroking on another post. Toodaloo tofu! (Is that how you spell toodaloo? Maybe it needs some hyphens … too-da-loo … yeah, that looks slightly better … can’t be having my comments full of speling, and, grammaticul, errorz on a writeing site!)


    1. Thank you. I just want you to know (*leans in*) that I never, ever tire of compliments. Ever.

      I’m glad you found me and now I get to stalk check out your blog! So nice to make new friends.I see you and JR will be my Hawai’i connection which is nice since I live way over here in Thailand. xxoo


  3. “Shame is for other people”
    Brilliance, you’ve got such a one of a kind, wonderful personality.
    You really let yourself shine, and your blog really radiates that energy.
    I reckon the world could use more Lani’ness in it!:D


    1. Thanks Andrea. That’s really a nice thing to hear. Sometimes I feel like, “Hello, I’m putting myself out there. Is anyone listening?”

      So it’s nice to hear, not only a postive response, but a great big warm fuzzy one. It’s like a virtual hug. Cheers.


  4. I enjoyed your blog. The header image caught my eye, anyone that can put up that picture is A-OK in my book. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Mystery Science Theater 3000, but they did an awesome roast of that Gamera movie, it’s my favorite episode.
    If you liked Douglas Adams and humor in books, read the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett.


    1. Thanks! I haven’t seen the Mystery Science Theater episode of Gamera, but now I need to find it! But I’m a big fan of MST 3000. And I’ll keep my eye out for the Discworld series too. Thanks again πŸ™‚


  5. Wow, I’m so glad you found me, because now I got to find you! I’m excited to get to know you better through your blog. Interesting facts that connect us, I went to UHM, Manoa for my MFA, my husband’s family lives in Mililani, and I lived in Durango, Co for 5 years. πŸ™‚


    1. Wow, indeed. It’s a small world and this fact never ceases to amaze me! I wonder if we were in Dgo the same time? I was there from 1992-1998


  6. Love your writing. I’m on Oahu visiting family right now (I grew up here – very familiar with the pink hospital!). We share a first name, too. Happy blogging.


  7. Hi Lani, thanks for stopping by my blog. Being the new kid in the blogging world, it’s nice to get some attention πŸ˜‰ You’ve a very interesting personality and I love your writing. You are going to be one of my inspirations and I’m excited to stalk you πŸ˜‰


  8. Lani, I love your sense of humor on your blog, I will be back here to read more. I think I’m sleepy now, had insomnia, and was reading Holistic Wayfarer’s blog and then found you there. So, when I wake up again I will check this blog out. Shazza


  9. Wow, Gamera vs. Guiron! I have a vague memory of seeing this classic in my youth. The original and MST versions are on Netflix. That will be the second movie I’ll have seen because of your blog. (Lost in Thailand is the other.)


    1. 555. Just watched “A Touch of Sin” by this famous Chinese director who is well-known for capturing real life China and Chinese. Check him out if you need more movie ideas πŸ™‚


  10. The photoshopped sci fi images here are too awesome for words. Well done, Lani–I’m still chuckling at them. Their Asian influence reminds me of when I used to watch a Japanese sci fi show Ultraman when I was a kid.

    I like reading, writing, and educating, too. Cheers.


    1. Well, my friend Eric deserves the credit. He’s the Photoshop guru. I was raised on Japanese cartoons as a kid, too. I’m glad you like them πŸ™‚ and here’s to educators!!! Unite!


      1. This educator is wondering if he isn’t going to cause rioting in the streets with his books. Thankfully, educators are no longer burned at the stake for heresy.

        I did so enjoy my instructional times in the military. There’s a certain magic in seeing a light bulb go off in a person’s mind, that flash of understanding. Being a custodian of knowledge and understanding is a privilege, isn’t it?


      2. That’s a nice way to put it. Doesn’t feel that way sometimes…I understand why the ignorant are under the spell of bliss. That being said, I’m not sure if I want to be under any spell.

        No longer burned at the stake? Hmmmm. Maybe not literally, but there is still plenty of fires going on.


      3. I fear my book is going to run afoul of hard core feminist, and not in an trivial way. They are deeply entrenched in Canada, especially in Ontario. Still, there is some humour there, too, although a tad dark, at times.

        Appreciate your kind follow.


  11. Douglas Adams wrote a book “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” in which a computer came up with the answer to the big question about Life, the Universe, and Everything (not Lani lol). If you have not read it then you should. It is the only book I have ever read that makes me laugh out loud every time.

    Question, can you find decent (the bar is low here) Mexican food in CR. In CM I liked Miguels OK.


    1. Of course I’ve read it. And I agree, it’s laugh out loud funny.

      Mexican in CR? Nope. There used to be a place, but I haven’t heard or seen anything now. Ended up making Mexican food myself!


  12. Hey there! Really interesting blog and Chang Rai looks amazing!

    I just had to comment because I was born in Barstow, California!! And I never thought I would be back here, but after living in Asia for 6 years I somehow ended up back in San Berarndino county (you never know will life will lead you…).

    My parents also met during the Vietnam war (totally different circumstances from yours, I’m sure), but we’ll definitely have to swap stories sometime.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you found me. Ahhh, Barstow. The memories! True, I could end up back there – life is like that way. I was there in 2008, I think was the last time, just drove through to see my old house.


    1. Lovely! Thank you. I love being nominated for awards, Oscars, Tony’s and Nobel Peace prizes…hey, I can dream, can’t I?


  13. Hi, I found your blog through Blogging 201. It’s quite interesting, so I am now a new follower. You are warmly invited to stop by, too, and hopefully follow my blog back. πŸ™‚


  14. Hi
    You rock; Love your style and writing; Mildly sarcastic like me. My fried Tastehitch suggested i follow you as an expert on everything Thai so here I am. My wife and I are moving to Penang next year; hopefully on an MM2H visa but if you check out m blog you’ll see I just posted on new rules just enacted where they expect the US government to present letters of verificaton simply not done in the post 9/11 world. So we may wind up in Thailand. Did I mention that’s Plan B? Oh, I got laid off last year and my wife and I decided that the American work ethic and commuting sucks so we are retiring at ages 50 and 43.

    Anyway, any friend of Tatstehitch is a friend of ours so consider yourself with one more follower. Did I also mention my blog is new and I’d love for you to check us out and follow? It’s at http://www.experimaentalexpats.com

    Thanks and regards from Utopia (Northern California)
    Rob and Diane


    1. Great, thanks. Yes, I’ll check you both out (purely innocent) and I hope the retirement to Penang works out. I wanted to go there for my latest visa run, but alas it was expensive and a pain-in-the-a.

      I used to live in Northern Cal. Chico, to be exact! Cheers and see you on the blogosphere!


  15. Hi there, I am not sure if you “do” blogging” awards, but if you do, you will hopefully be pleased to know that I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award. Here is where you can read the post: http://wp.me/p4Do1g-so.

    All the best!


  16. Hello There Lani!

    I’ve nominated you for The Very Inspiring Blogger Award. But since accepting awards can be time consuming I’ve also created a logo you can display in a blog entry instead. It’s just a little token to let you know I think you’re awesome.
    Here’s the link to my list of nominees: https://essenfia.wordpress.com/2015/02/16/licence-to-ramble/



  17. Love this! So interesting to read about your travels.

    I’m looking into how other writers have held onto a paying job and kept a good balance. This seems like a great place to start learning!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just finished reading this via Kindle: WEEKEND BOOK: How to Write a Book Over a Weekend by John Allen. It’s short and inspirational and full of good tips.

      Thanks for finding me, and better yet, letting me know!


  18. When growing up my family would always, always depart from Salt Lake City, UT (to drive to Disneyland) around midnight. This always, always meant that we stopped at the train-station-themed McDonalds in Barstow, CA for breakfast. Nice to stumble into your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha. Yeah, Barstow’s claim to fame, along with the Calico ghost town nearby.

      Salt Lake is a great city. I wanted to live there, once upon a time. Nice to meet you, too πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I like your sense of humour Lani! I also just read the prologue to your book and am keen to read the rest now! It sounds like you’ve had a lot of adventures, I’m looking forward to finding out more πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Why thank you. I’m glad I found you (although I forget now, whose blog it was directly), you have a great story, too!


  20. It’s not very often that I find people from Hawai’i on here so I get super excited when I do. Thanks for the follow and I look forward to reading your blog πŸ™‚ -Ash

    Liked by 1 person

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