When I was a little girl, I used to say things like, “I’ve eaten that before, in Laos.”  It seemed to be one of those “kids say the darndest things” moments that always made my relatives laugh. They told me I had never been there, but I was not entirely convinced.

The processes of the mind can be unsettling at times – one hears things repeated so often that they develop into surrogate memories, infiltrating the genuine bits of one’s subconsciousness.  Essentially, I can’t remember what was told to me and what I actually experienced. Continue reading Familiar


Ode to Noodles

Anyone who knows me fairly well knows that I am obsessed with noodles. I don’t discriminate.  I like Asian noodles, Italian noodles, made-up-recipe-noodles, fancy noodles, cheap noodles, wet and dry noodles.  I am especially partial to pre-packaged, spicy noodles that contain 300% of your daily dietary intake of sodium.  (I refrain from drinking all the broth, and this seems like a reasonable compromise to me.) I am your stereotypical, chopstick-wielding, broth-slurping, Asian noodle head. Continue reading Ode to Noodles


Nakhon Phanom refugee camp, 1982

In 1975, the Kingdom of Laos dissolved after 20 years of pressure from communist rebels. The resulting unstable political atmosphere drove thousands of families, including my own, to disperse across the world. It would be decades before they saw their country – and the loved ones they left behind – again. Continue reading Exodus

Writing about writing

I have often heard that a silent person is either apathetic or ignorant.  So many people get in trouble for the words they choose, yet no one gives any credit to the silent observer.  I have this crazy thought that the less you speak, the less likely you are to offend someone.  Eventually, I know this type of approach will probably bring me to a boiling point but so far, so good. Continue reading Writing about writing