Chinatown, Hawaii

Visiting Hawaii meant not only visiting memories, but places where those memories are contained. Chinatown is one such place. Honolulu’s is one of the oldest Chinatowns in America and probably is one of the smelliest. So, I find it rather amusing that tourists come here and based on their 3 star reviews, visitors possibly find…

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My Ubon Ratchathani story

Have you ever chased a dream? And if that is too dramatic to say, have you ever chased down something that didn’t hold much of a chance, but you decided to give it a go anyway? Because that is where my Ubon Ratchathani story begins, with a pursuit.

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Latchkey kids (or latchkey kids make pizza)

Left alone hungry At night We make a pizza In the oven it goes Out the kitchen I leap Age 8 and 5 Stuck to the TV We enjoy Clint Eastwood’s Every Which Way But Loose Rapture The alarm screams We scream Kitchen running Thick smoke goes up out The wall is black I can’t…

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Swearing.

Swearing was not allowed in the house. But then again, swearing was on the cable TV and in the rooms and behind the words of everyone in the house. I remember the first time I swore in front of my mother. I must have been about 15 years old. We were in the garage, getting…

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Wonder Bread Chop Suey

Family. It’s not that white people don’t love or care about their families, it’s just you are much more likely to hear that a Caucasian friend is estranged from their family than you would an Asian, or Latino. I blame it on culture.

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5 Things You Should Know About Thai Culture

In order to cope with the intense and glorious situation that is traffic, tourists and construction in my little world, I’ve been using the analogy of a “fish in water”.  I keep telling myself that I am a fish in water, a fish swimming and gliding, and it helps me because otherwise I think I…

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Punchbowl Cemetery

For last week’s poetry class, we had to write about our favorite place. And because I had done a similar exercise in high school theatre and for my L7 English class, my favorite place was readily accessible. We wrote for half an hour. This was my in the moment scribble, my pen to paper fantasma.…

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Moo-gata Sunday

Last Sunday was a day well-spent in Lamphun with my family. My cousins had the genius idea of having moo gata or “pork in a pan” at our house, so we started off, as we always do, stopping by my aunt’s store to pick up my aunt and her daughter and then off to go shopping…

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Before and After Thailand

I love milestones.  I’ve been so busy with work lately and it’s because I signed on for another year, my third year teaching in Thailand! OMG! Before Thailand (hereafter referred to as BT), I was in a committed relationship. My social network was small and I found myself having a difficult time relating to popular news and…

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Practicing Generosity

When I see beggars on the street, I never know what to do. But then I remember my mom, and watching her when we came to Thailand in 1989. Before we visited family in Lamphun, we were in Bangkok enjoying Mahboonkrong or MBK Center in all its shopping glory.

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The gift of first generation American

What can I say? I was lucky. I am lucky. To all those first generation American kids: yeah, our parents are different but they are such a gift. You’ll have to trust me on this one. Whatever perceived flaws you might find in their traditional ways, will probably be your allies and strengths in the…

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How Hawaii prepared me for Thailand

I was blessed to have been born and raised in Hawaii. I didn’t realize this until I left to go to college in Durango Colorado where, after answering, “Where are you from?” I was greeted with, “Hawaii! What the hell are you doing here?” or “Wow!” or “OMG. Pack me in your suitcase!” or my…

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Girls like me

Growing up in the US during the 80s, I hardly, if ever, saw girls who looked like me in the media. This was something that lived unconsciously in me, but I certainly noticed it when I got my Chinese Barbie. I cut her long straight old-fashioned hair into a more fashionable bob. Although, I think…

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The holidays

On Thanksgiving I called my mom. It was a day early for her in Hawaii but I wanted to call her all the same. She told me that she bought some hair dye and that tomorrow she was going to visit my father then dye her hair. I smiled.

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What does love have to do with it?

Lately it seems I keep getting the question, Do you have a boyfriend? When I giggle and say No, they look at me as if I’m trying to sell them a bridge. When my mom asked me and I said No, I don’t. She said, “Don’t lie to me Lani!” Huh? I started to wonder…

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Dr look (mŏr doo) หมอดู

I’ve been looking for a psychic ever since I got back to Thailand. My interests in the psychic/metaphysical arts goes way back to childhood, waelaa chan pendèk. After my father’s death, this archaeologist in the making went digging for clues for who he was. And when I found his old books I scrutinized his collection.

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Asian invasion

When I started Thai class (yeah, AGAIN) I was surprised by the men to women ratio (aka “too many dicks on the dance floor” syndrome – Flight of the Concords). And I was surprised by the other Asians learning Thai. The latter got me excited. This means that more and more Asians are not only…

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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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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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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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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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