Learning to be vulnerable in writing and life

“Do you ever have dark thoughts?”

My best friend from high school looked at me, paused, and then said, “Yes.”

I nodded. That’s all I needed to know.

Continue reading “Learning to be vulnerable in writing and life”

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.

Continue reading “Reflecting on the windows I’ve known and loved”

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.

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

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.

Continue reading “What does it mean to be Asian American?”

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.

Continue reading “Can you use chopsticks?”

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.

Continue reading “Pain, struggle, and the stories within us”

balloon seller in Chiang Mai

Life sucks until it doesn’t anymore

I feel good.

However, if you’d have told me what my life would be like if I moved back to Thailand before I did it, I’m not sure I would have returned.

I know now why we can’t see in to our future – doing so prevents us from ever meeting up with it.

Continue reading “Life sucks until it doesn’t anymore”