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.
I never do this, but I couldn’t resist typing on my phone, “Isn’t it strange that the Indian kid keeps yelling, “Burger, burger!”? and handed it to my b/f to read since I couldn’t very well say it in front of the family as they were sitting right next to us.
Ah, the joys of womanhood, eh? Every one of us ladies can remember our first visit from Uncle Payne and Auntie Flo. Or that time, you didn’t know you were going to have it and how you decided to wear light pink pants that day. Or that time in Bangkok, the city of grit and sweat, you saw that tourist wearing shorts soaked in her own blood and you were mortified that no one told her, so you did. It’s a really hot city.
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 I’m glad I did. Nong Khai is a border town, but unlike Vientiane, where you feel like you’re in hell’s waiting room, Nong Khai has some touristic attractions that I wanted more time to see.
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.
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 we were sick.
Have you ever sat down with a thoughtful and sensitive questionnaire on race and ethnicity? I did, and it was challenging and rewarding. It helped me explore and think about these issues and reflect on how I feel about something I live with and yet, forget I live with during the moments of my life.
1) How do you define yourself racially or ethnically and why is it important to you? Please tell us about the racial makeup of your family if you were adopted or come from a colorful family.
I consider myself Asian American, or as I like to say, American Asian. The latter description came from digesting people’s perceptions of me. Depending on circumstances, I’m either too Asian or not Asian enough. My father and his family made their way to the United States after fleeing China during the Cultural Revolution. My mother met my father during the Vietnam War when he was stationed with the US Air Force in Thailand. Interestingly, I was almost born in Thailand, but my mother boarded the plane nine months pregnant with me so I could be born in the US. Yeah, she’s crazy, but I’m thankful.
Six years later we returned to Thailand on family…
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