7 wonderful days in Penang

Penang Malaysia was one of those places that I constantly heard good things about, but never had made it to. But this year, I set my jets to see it. I planned months in advance to get a good ticket price and timed my hotel reservations, too. I’m so glad that I did. Penang is…

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Living with lizards: a love story

If you ask SE Asians what they are afraid of, they will most likely say: ghosts, snakes and lizards. Since I grew up in Hawaii, I can certainly understand why ghosts would be a legitimate concern. Ghost stories are very much part of Hawaiian culture, whether this be a modern development or something that spans…

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Day trip to Kulen Mountain!

Just like Tonle Sap, I’ve wanted to check out Kulen Mountain for some time. But it can be expensive, so I’ve been waiting for the right opportunity. And said opportunity finally came a’knockin’ on my front door this month when my friend’s sister was visiting. Gotta love visitors!

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Celebrating 7 years abroad

It was Facebook that reminded me that the milestone had passed. Otherwise, I’m sure I would have continued to scroll past this moment, drinking my coffee and eating my banana. I posted, “I signed up for Intensive Thai, but based on my photo (with my application) I was enrolled in Intensive English instead.” Now, normally,…

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Starting the #365grateful challenge

You’ve seen these kinds of things before #365grateful, gratitude journals, how to be more grateful articles, etc. And while I think it’s a good idea, especially if the practice is new to you, I’ve refrained from participating publically. But for my 43rd birthday, I’ve decided that the time is right, the timing is now.

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How I dress + pack for SE Asia

When I was doing my TEFL training in Bangkok in 2009, I noticed one of my classmates, Kim always wore jeans. “Why do you always wear jeans? Aren’t you burning up?” “No, I’m used to it. When I lived in the Philippines all the teenagers wore jeans. I don’t even think about it now. They’re…

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How’s my driving?

Cambodian traffic is something to behold. (Is behold the right word?) This is because you pretty much can drive in any direction you please. Now, in Thailand, I thought it was crazy when you saw a renegade motorbike going against traffic, hugging the shoulder and occasionally I did it, too. Sometimes it makes sense, especially…

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A quick visit to Phnom Penh

Whenever I asked my colleagues or students what they thought of Phnom Penh, most replied, “I don’t like it.” But I knew I had to go to Cambodia’s capital to get my passport renewed, so I decided, why not make a little holiday of it, and judge for myself. Phnom Penh, once known as the…

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Do you speak broken English?

Despite the fact that I’m an expat in Asia and I hear broken English all around me, and struggle to communicate just as much as the next foreigner navigating these poorly maintained roads, I don’t speak broken English. And this isn’t because I’m an English teacher and I have my nose in the air, it’s…

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Should you become an expat?

I’m regularly asked about moving to Thailand (and now I’m being asked about Cambodia). There was a point when I was emailed so often I considered creating a standard reply, but in the end laziness reigned supreme. Interestingly, I’ve made friends though these initial inquiries. I’ve met up with a few and one time I…

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What’s your relationship with television?

Watching television is like taking black spray paint to your third eye. – Bill Hicks Television is chewing gum for the eyes. – Frank Lloyd Wright All television is educational television.  The question is: what is it teaching? – Nicholas Johnson I knew 3 siblings in high school who were not allowed to watch TV.…

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Why not Battambang? (and things to do)

“Battambang is famous for being the birthplace of Cambodia’s most famous artists and musicians, but during the Khmer Rouge era the art scene was virtually destroyed when most artists either fled or were killed.” – Canby guide, Nov 2015 It’s been six months since we moved to Cambodia, and last month I felt like I…

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Swimming

Swimming is a confusing sport, because sometimes you do it for fun, and other times you do it to not die. And when I’m swimming, sometimes I’m not sure which one it is. – Demetri Martin Can you swim? It’s an interesting question in an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) classroom and one that…

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Identity, what is it good for?

“We don’t really learn anything properly until there is a problem, until we are in pain, until something has failed to go as we hoped. Though we can, of course, use our minds without being in pain… we become properly inquisitive only when distressed. We suffer, therefore we think and we do so because thinking…

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Asian American American holidays

American holidays overseas don’t take on any extraordinary meaning, if anything they seem to diminish in specialness. And that’s okay. I think what really helps me is I’m a first-generation American, and what that means is, holidays as a child were perfunctory and often awkward occasions.

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