The people we carry

First birthday in Nakhon Phanom with Mom, Xang Noy, and his mother

I’m convinced that people who come into your life never truly leave, good or bad.   They become part of your history but, more importantly, you carry them with you.  At the very least, they shape your memories; few of them will shape your opinions and world views.  Fewer still will lead you to the places you are meant to go.  Some of them weigh heavier on your heart than others and stay closer to the forefront of your thoughts.  But they all become part of you.   Continue reading The people we carry


Home is where….

I’ve been experiencing this nagging feeling the past few weeks.

It started the day my mom, Paa, and Loung Facetimed me from the Korean airport, en route to Laos.  We bought Mom an iPad so that she could “see” us when we couldn’t come home from wherever we are.  And apparently, since she is more of a world traveler than I am these days, we need it to keep up with her.   Continue reading Home is where….

5 years later: Reflections on Laos, Bombs and the UN Convention on Cluster Munitions

In 2010, I was part of a delegation from Legacies of War that joined 1,200 other participants in Vientiane to attend the first meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It was the most significant international disarmament agreement in decades and it was unexpected – that this dynamic and fast-moving international process, […]

Article 22: Buying Back the Bombs

I am not usually the type to glom on to a fundraising marketing campaign of any sort, and I think this comes from a healthy amount of skepticism that the funds are allocated in the most responsible manner.

Recently I happened across this documentary about Article 22, a distribution company that helps Lao artisans sell jewelry made out of recycled bomb metal.  I don’t know for sure if 100% of the proceeds go directly to the cause, or if a percentage is taken for operational costs.  As far as I can tell, most of the money goes towards clearing unexploded ordinance (UXO) and the rest goes into economic development in Laos.  Here are the reasons this campaign is worth your attention: Continue reading Article 22: Buying Back the Bombs

The YouShare Project

A quick note before I head off to the Shire for Pii Mai celebrations:

The YouShare Project reached out to me a few weeks ago and have published an adaption of my two blog posts, Exodus and Stateless.  This is an awesome project that provides a hub for inspirational, encouraging, and true personal stories.  Give them a read and if you have an incredible story of your own to share, consider submitting it to them for publication.

Have a great weekend, and sabaidee pii mai!

My story on YouShare



Southeast Asian archetypes: How to love an OG refugee mother

In high school, I wrote a poem about my mother that was published by the Library of Congress.  They sent it to me, screened on a plaque, with some information about where to find it online, along with thousands of other poems.  Not a big deal.

Mom accidentally found the plaque and read it.  For a week, she was upset with me.  She yelled, gave me the silent treatment, yelled some more.   Continue reading Southeast Asian archetypes: How to love an OG refugee mother

Improv spaghetti in Southeast Asia

Towards the end of our stay in Laos, my family asked me to make something “American” for dinner.  I was happy to oblige, especially considering they had been feeding me for nearly three months.  Feeding me too well, in fact – I think I gained at least 10 pounds during that visit eating mainly noodles, tilapia, shrimp, and vegetables.   Continue reading Improv spaghetti in Southeast Asia