Limits of language

“The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” -Ludwig Wittgenstein Upon reading this I can’t help but think about learning Español and pasa Thai and how through language acquisition I’m trying to expand my cultural boundaries. But when I continued to stare at the quote I realized that language is much more…

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Chinese fire drill

The thing about being Asian in North America is no one thinks you’re subjected to any kind of racism. We’re not brown enough so no one is the wiser. I imagine some white people tiptoe around black folks in an effort not to offend or say anything that might be construed as racist. Well, I…

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Where to eat in Cuenca

On a teacher’s budget. . . I haven’t lived here that long but I wanted to put together a list of places to eat, like I did in Chiang Mai. And frankly, just a quick google search confirmed that there is not a good list out there. El Tunel on Honorato Vásquez is quite possibly…

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Our judgments

Living abroad challenges your ability to withhold judgment because you are confronted with so many cultural differences on a minute by daily basis. At home it is, of course, still challenging to not make judgments on what people chose to do or not do. It’s hard not to think that the women who looks like…

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Something to follow

I was having a conversation with a colleague about how South American and Asian countries have a tendency to follow the countries they despise. Vietnam hates China and yet they seem to practice the governmental policies as the superpower they claim to want to do nothing with. The same goes with South America versus North…

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Konichiwa

I am walking down the street when I hear: Konichiwa Ni hau Chino China Should I be offended? I know if a Caucasian person was walking down the street and a local Hawaiian yelled, “Eh haole” that would not be a good thing. Or maybe it’s more like when Brendan Fraser’s character from Blast from…

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Woman vs man

I really do like my new place better than my old one but. But my landlady who is around 58 years old seems to enjoy yelling at her 70something husband. Apparently it is very common for Ecuadorian men to have a much younger wife. Of course the vice versa is unheard of. Now coming from…

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How things work (when expat life comes together)

In high school, my brother (along with other students) were asked the question, “What makes Hawaii so special?” Everyone replied with the typical responses like the weather, the island’s beauty, whatever, but Larry replied, “If you took away the soft sand, the beautiful beaches, the warm sun, etc (enter eloquent words here), Hawaii would still…

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My parents

Here is the second half of my parents story. Their story is an extension of my story and is part of the history I share with Thailand… Depending on how old I was I have heard slightly different versions of how my parents met. I’m not sure what triggered my desire, maybe nothing more than…

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Over my head

The two times that I have been the most distraught since arriving here has been over the language. My inability to understand circumstances has catapulted the cliché in over my head to new heights and demoralizing lows. These situations mimic things that have also happened to me in Thailand. It is not difficult to remember…

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Thailand vs Ecuador

An American I met last night asked if I noticed any similarities between Thailand and Ecuador. Having been here only 6 days I told her I had. I made the move from Chiang Mai to Cuenca because I wanted a change. I hadn’t been living in CM for very long, just under a year, but…

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The other side of Thai

A fellow blogger made mention of how lucky I was to straddle two worlds, both the Thai and the American cultures. (Perhaps this can be visualized by me riding an elephant holding a bald eagle. Anyway, scratch that, I don’t know what I’d want to be wearing. Oh! Maybe a muumuu since I was born…

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Pàt tai = French fry

I always thought pàt tai was a strange name for a dish. Pàt means fry. Fry Thai? But then I thought about french fries. Perhaps not so strange after all. . . Chiang Mai food! CM Gate Market is for early risers. Working Thais grab breakfast and lunch (for later) and many other goods such…

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Sweet and sour on rice

As I look around my little Thai apartment I am filled with gratitude for this remarkable experience, my first experience living as an expat. It seems like a very long time ago when I was taking the TESOL course in Bangkok. (They used our class photo as advertisement.) I was lucky to be part of…

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Great expectations

Thailand offered free tourist visas for the past year and when I went to extend mine for another month, I had to pay for an ‘application fee’. I was pissed. I handed my two 1,000B bills to the immigration lackey, along with my paperwork and passport, and walked back to the seating area in a…

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Burnt rice, crispy pride

(*part 2 of: oh don’t be such a pad thai) If you haven’t figured it out, I was a picky eater and hated vegetables. When I was a wee little sprout I remember taking a bite of peas and looking up at my mom in repugnance. “Yuck! Do I have to eat this?” “Yes.” I…

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Oh, don’t be such a pad thai

As an Asian woman I’m pretty much expected to be a good cook, kind of like how Asian men are suppose to be a mathematical geek or Bruce Lee. I loathe the stereotype and relish it at the same time. The kitchen was my mother’s domain. And while I should have followed, could have followed,…

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The color of English

Yellow is the new black. Now don’t get excited. Titles are supposed to grab your attention. All this discrimination against the Chinese certainly has. . . I didn’t really think about it until now. You know, I was aware that teaching English in an Asian country might be tricky because of my ethnicity. And I…

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Beauty in restraint

I like Thailand. I don’t know why. I mean there is a lot to despise and be disgusted by. Like all the dog poo, exhaust and burning. The smell alone would make most people get back on the plane had they not paid so much to get here. But this morning, after another night of…

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@myself

As the New Year picks its self up from the strain of celebration, I started to think about my future and my past. I started to wonder if I had found what I was looking for in Thailand. It’s hard to think back to the girl who was so eager to have the experience of…

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CM corner poetry

Thailand for some reason inspires me to write. It inspires me to write poetry and stop in the middle of the sidewalk to pull out my notebook and jot things down. Maybe I’m just paying better attention but I usually pay attention to what’s going around me. Well, sometimes I fall down because I’m looking…

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Phases of an expat

I listen and watch expats, fellow friends describe how they feel – the phases they are going through and I think, “I wonder if I’ll ever feel that way.” Sometimes I think, “How sad, I’ll never go through that.” And then I go through it and realize I’m not that special and I was wrong.

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Two baht Christmas

I spent my first Christmas away from home alone. I was house-sitting for a friend, well technically it was a trailer in Hermosa without heat in the middle of one of the worst winters of Colorado. Since I was in the middle of nowhere and not much for TV, I decided to throw myself into…

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An Expat in Gratitude

The flavor of gratitude tastes stronger here. And I savor every bite of kindness. At first I thought when you pull yourself out of your passport country and decide to live abroad that you’d experience life differently. I couldn’t imagine how you wouldn’t. But then I realized, it doesn’t matter where you put people or…

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Pasa Thai

Sometimes I say as few words as possible to try to get away with being Thai, whether it is ordering food or getting into a songtaew; other times the vendor or mae ka will answer me in English just to let me know how badly my pasa Thai is. (Or how good their English is?)…

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A fist full of chickens

I was living at an adventure camp in Colorado where for a few years the owners experimented with raising farm animals. A counselor was on dinner duty and I tagged along. We fed the pigs with the kitchen slop and now were entering the shadowy cage of the chicken coop. Like a coward I followed…

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My fear of motorbikes in Thailand

The motorbike or motorcy as the Thais call it is liberation, freedom and tears stuffed inside a hand grenade; in its most pedestrian form, a means of transportation. But if you look at the legs of most Thais you will see the scars, marks, and damage from a motorbike accident. Everyone has a story to…

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