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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Nong Khai’s Sala Keoku

Normally, I prefer to be sober. But for my latest trip outside the country, I wished I had better and heavier drugs than cough drops and cold medicine. Perhaps it would have made my visa run more enjoyable, then again, probably not. I stayed over in Nong Khai on my way back from Vientiane, and…

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Don’t call Thais short.

In the US, if you call someone fat, it is considered insulting, even if it is true. It’s more polite to say “heavy” or “big”. But in Thailand, the word “fat” does not have the same weight because it’s the height that means the most.

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What’s your comfort food?

The problem is my mom is an amazing cook so I have fond and savory memories of her cooking. I can think of many comforting Thai dishes she made that taste like home: Stuffed Bitter Melon Soup, Pork Knuckles in Sweet Dark Soy Sauce and a very simple Chicken Rice Soup that she made whenever…

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How to make your life more Thai!*

*Other Asians might apply: based on observations and real life experiences. 1. Keep the plastic on your furniture. My mom kept the plastic cover on our lampshades until I think we revolted or something. But maybe I’m remembering incorrectly, they could still be on…

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Happy Chinese New Year (Year of the Horse)

I’ve lived here too long, I fear. The firecrackers no longer agitate me. (Although, it hasn’t really gotten started yet.) But I’m good on lion dances. I’m good for the rest of this lifetime actually. And even though the calendars say the 31st is the official day of the Chinese New Year, today, the 30th,…

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8 Ways Chiang Mai is like the American South

Now, I know, you’z wonderin how a Hawaii girl like me, gonna tell you somethin ‘bout th South. But after livin there, datin’ a Southerner for 6 cotton pickin’ years, and a-vistin multiple times, I can assure you I know what I’m talkin about. So, let’s begin, shall we? 1. Using K instead of C.

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My first sky lantern

Watching the sky lanterns float in the daytime sky, from my apartment window, reminds me of the first time I experienced a khom loy or khom fai. In 2007, I returned to Thailand after being away for 18 years. It was a pretty big deal made even grander by the fact that my mom said…

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Where to Songkran in Chiang Mai

I was getting ready to post an article I had written for this weekend, when I got caught up in the latest news about 2556 Songkran. For example, Bangkok Post on Chiang Mai being a top place for Songkran revelers, and how the Chinese are making up about 55% of the tourists. OMG! The post…

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11 Ways to Meet the Police During Songkran

Public Service Announcement: New rules from the National Police for the ever growing, ever popular Songkran Festival. 1.    Don’t throw water from pickup trucks. Dangerous for pedestrians, motorists as well as the people throwing the water. 2.    You cannot sit or stand in the back of a pickup truck. Yeah, it’s not a light tank…

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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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You’re embarrassing

I went to see a fortune teller with Mia, and he told me I have more bad luck than good luck in the area of romantic love, so I had to go tam boon, or make merit, you know, to help balance out the luck. Why not? Tamai la!

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Perfectly acceptable

Sometimes we forget what was considered unacceptable back in our passport country, is perfectly acceptable here. We see it often but we walk around the motorbikes (or car) parked on the sidewalk, drive against traffic, jump the cue, or heaven forbid, pick our noses in public. We see the lack of cleanliness and we wonder, “Is cleanliness…

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Thailand teaches me body language

On the last day of class for my weekend term, I decided to have the students do a Christmas word find, which for whatever reason, Thai students love. (I like them too especially when travelling. Much more than crosswords, crosswords are not fun for me. Crosswords suck!)

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5 Things to Hate about Chiang Mai

One of my colleagues, let’s call him Ben, asked me the other day if I would ever write about things I didn’t like about Chiang Mai/Thailand. I said, “No, I don’t think so.” I mean, I have written one post in particular about it already. Then he shared his top 5 things he hates about…

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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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