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



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

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


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