What is home? (a nomad reflects)

Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. – Matsuo Basho I’ve done a lot of moving in my life in attempt to discover where I belong. I’ve moved from Portland, Oregon, down to Chico, California, then further still to Oceanside, California. And when we were fed up with the West Coast,…

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How has living abroad changed you?

My friend, who is somewhat newly moved to Thailand, was reflecting on what it’s like to be an expat: the culture shock, and then the struggle of not wanting to complain and feel culture shocked. As I walked to work, I thought about how much I had changed since living abroad.

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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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How has your name impacted you?

I remember in the sixth grade when this new kid came to class. He was one of the few black kids at our school, and on his first day he answered Mrs. K’s questions as best as he could. “Your name is Filet Mingon?” “Yes.” She said it louder and slower, “Your name is Filet…

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I’ve been discontinued.

So, I signed this petition (I’ve been signing petitions lately.). This one is by 18 Million Rising because American Girl® doll cancelled their only Asian American doll. 18MR basically wants American Girl® to create another doll that looks like us.

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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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Stupid travels, too.

Don’t assume travelers are smarter, more worldly or better than those who stay at home. Stupid people travel too. I know this is a bit unfair to say because I live in Thailand. I hear foreigners talk to Thais in broken English and I want to “go hit you” in the face for perpetuating bad…

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American Football, Family and God.

I like American football. I have fond memories from childhood, when the rest of childhood was more complicated and slippery. People are often surprised to hear that I like American football. I suppose because I don’t announce this, I don’t seem like the type (???) and because after college, I’ve never dated a guy who…

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Why expats (outsiders) are good for a community

Growing up in Hawaii offered many wonderful experiences that, as a child, I wasn’t even aware of. Sure, I didn’t see snow until I left, but I lived outside, in the sunshine, the warmth, the play that many children seem to be deprived of nowadays. We didn’t know seasons, really. And I never owned an…

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When I knew I would travel…

I just read Vicki Pott’s (@ redheadedtravels) about me page which has inspired me to write this long overlooked and overdue post. Vicki’s first sentence is, “I can remember the exact moment I got the travel bug…”

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Influences

I was starting to freak out a bit. You see, for my 39th 29th birthday, I decided to cut my long locks short. Students would give me compliments. I went through a series of perm, straight, bangs, transformations and then students started to cut their hair short. A-lai-wah?

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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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Why are Americans so loud?

I remember when Bush Light was President and my friends went on holiday to SE Asia. They told everyone they were Canadians. And I remember, seeing the Canadian flag sewed on to backpacks, bouncing on sweaty backs whenever I was in touristic quarters. Yes, Canadians are proud, and they also don’t want to be mistaken…

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Thailand is the Wild Wild West.

Thailand is like the American Wild West. This is my epiphany. Trying to explain why I like it here has been an exercise in watching, wondering and patience. Since I have spent many years contemplating the perfect place to live, I have discovered that the cost of living, the friendliness of the people, both the…

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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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The problem with holidays, evolution

A recent comment about tourists having shallow brushes with Thai culture made me wonder about my own experiences. Take Songkran for instance, this Thai New Year celebration of block party meets water fight probably doesn’t hold much religious significance to the passing tourist, expat or non-Buddhist Thais.

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Does Thailand lack originality?

When I went to Vang Vieng Laos during a Christmas holiday, my friend and I saw something truly original, a row of street vendors selling the exact same thing. Four or five ladies with their carts very close together selling French baguette sandwiches on what appeared to be a darkish empty street devoid of anyone…

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Celebrating similarities

Celebrating diversity similarities Post TEDxDoiSuthep, my friends and I were discussing the overused bumper sticker of a phrase: Celebrate Diversity. And then it was brought up, Why don’t we celebrate similarities? Afterall, the news already does a nausating job of pointing out cultural differences and all the valid reasons why we have wars and conflicts.…

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Why Thailand

What makes Thailand unique? In other words why is Thailand the Hail Mary pass of tourists and expat destinations? My last post on Should Thailand be like US? along with the frequent power outages at work, Bangkok Reality Smackdown’s smackdowns, and my own mother telling me via Skype that “the party is going to have…

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Should Thailand be like US?

The thing about anthropology, like economics, or any discipline for that matter, is it can be applied to anything. When I was searching for a college major, a family friend suggested I take an anthropology class, so I did. This coincided with a World Religion class I was also taking by an archaeologist turned community…

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I am man hear me roar

Recently a friend of mine gave me Louis Theroux’s Weird Weekend episode: Thai Wives. (Highly recommend: hilarious, disturbing, riveting) and Bangkok Podcast just released a Thai Online Dating episode. This neatly coincided with my brother sending me a link to an article titled: Where Have the Good Men Gone? Maybe this is just the month…

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The left-handed motorbike

If you’ve ever tried brushing your teeth with your non-dominate hand then you understand how weird it feels. You end up moving your head side to side to compensate for the lack of control and strength you have for this fine-motor skill.

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Why I expat

Perhaps it had to do with visiting Thailand at six years of age. Or maybe it was that German woman who visited us when I was a child. She cooked potato pancakes that were mighty good. I remember flipping through her English/German language book with delight. I thought flugnummer (flight number) was so much fun…

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