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….


The international legal definition of a stateless person is set out in Article 1 of the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons, which defines a stateless person as “a person who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law” […] Some people are born stateless, while others become stateless over the course of their lives.

– from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Continue reading Stateless

The tooth mouse

Singhtong (the puppy formerly known as Miracle Merle) has been losing baby teeth on a regular basis.  This morning I heard one fall out of his mouth and plink on the kitchen floor while was I cleaning.  It was a molar and I was surprised because usually he just ends up swallowing them.   Continue reading The tooth mouse

Rice dreams and ice cream

Noony flashback…

One day I found Mom sitting on the floor, at the low table where we ate all our meals, the one with the elaborate mother-of-pearl inlay of peacocks.  She bought it from one of the Asian markets in the International Village.  It sits in her house today, and she still eats most of her meals there, though she has a Western dining room table now.  When I go home, this is where she serves me eggs over easy and pho.   Continue reading Rice dreams and ice cream

The Silence Between Us

The room is always cold
when my mother turns on the light.
It’s too early, too bright
and my temper is relentless.
My voice is hoarse as I tell her to go away.
She yells back, stomps out,
and silence swirls between us
like bitter sand
until the next morning.

As time flutters through
our secret, humble lives,
my mother turns on the light
and silently disappears
before my eyes can open.
I swallow the hurts of life
before they surface on my skin
in fine lines and blotches
which only Mother sees —
I keep them hidden from her.
And then I question why the world feels so heavy
on my shoulders;
why fear stains the carpet of our “happy” home
like mud tracked in;
why love is unrequited before it even begins…

Because my mother wouldn’t wake me
Because my mother couldn’t wake me