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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How to travel around Chiang Mai like a pro

Getting around a new city can be an interesting challenge. And depending on your personality, can either make you break down curb-side or saunter down the sois like a local. Here you will find a brief guide on directions, catching a songtaew (red truck taxis) and riding a motorcycle around town.

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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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Pôot paa-săa tai dâi nít nòi

(or: speak language thai can a little) I stopped my formal learning of the Thai language when I stopped taking classes. I stopped at Thai 2 and the classes go up to Thai 7 or 8. We were getting into reading and writing so I was introduced to the basics but haven’t touched any of…

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Daytrips + things to do around Chiang Mai

Normally this is not the kind of stuff I write about, but there seems to be a lack of this kind of information. Which surprises me since Thailand is supposed to be a cliche. So where is all the information about traveling in country? Most likely buried deep under the archives of How to Tell…

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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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Siam I am

I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel about being Asian. Asians aren’t supposed to be persons of color. We’re supposed to be like pork: America’s other white meat. And because we have a grimace and bear it attitude we let stereotypical and racist remarks fall on us to be locked away under the file,…

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What is culture?

In Anthropology 101, you’ll learn in the simplest terms, that culture is a way of life. But it’s also a set of assumptions and living within a new culture is learning a new set of assumptions. I’ll say that again. Being in a new culture is learning a new set of assumptions. There is a…

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Intensive Thai

I signed up for an Intensive Thai language class last week. Then yesterday I was told that there has been a mistake in processing my paperwork. Somewhere between the Foreign Language Center and the Office of the President someone read my application and glanced at my photo and decided I didn’t want to sign up…

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“Culture shock”

Right about now I’m having a hard time remembering why I wanted to move to Thailand. It seemed so exciting, so daring and just like me to move halfway across the world. But honestly it’s a lot of hard work. It’s funny, when you read about traveling you read about the adventure! or the spiritual…

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Living in Thailand

Living in Thailand is not what I expected. I expected it to be easier. I expected to live more comfortably than I do in America because my currency would stretch further. I expected it would be like an extended holiday with the benefits of picking up the language. I know. What was I thinking? While…

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Ground control

In Thailand you have to look down at the ground. You want to look around but you must look down. You have to look down because the ground is uneven, and in Chiang Mai you must skirt the cow dung as well as the dog poo. And unless you want to step on a mess…

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(my original) About Me

Sitting between Calamity Jane and Typhoon Mary, or in this case Swine Flu Joo and Red Shirt Nam, I am wondering what I have gotten myself into. I am a first generation American living in Thailand. The new Asian American: the ones who haven’t been taught the language, the ones raised in duplicity, the ones…

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