A Bangkok Wedding

PiLee and PiChai’s wedding that year was a sumptuous affair. From wealthy European investors to Thai pop stars, Bangkok’s high society drifted into the downtown hotel and gathered around the pools in dazzling gowns and tuxes. PiLee’s lacy designer gown was form-fitting and flattering. PiChai’s father, a lifelong advisor to King Bhumibol, toasted the coupleContinue reading “A Bangkok Wedding”

The Breakup

As my love of Thailand grew, so did the glaring evidence of the problems in my relationship. I often woke in the morning to find Top already gone, leaving me to go sightseeing with his brother Bop. When Top did bring me along, everyone told him in Thai how beautiful I was, and he glowed.Continue reading “The Breakup”

Thailand

Top had booked his first visit home in three years, and I went with him. I had learned so much living above the Thai restaurant. And yet I had learned nothing at all. Thailand, I thought. Asia.  More than 9,000 miles away.  I expected freedom. I expected healing. For my relationship with Top. For myself.Continue reading “Thailand”

PiMam

About five months after I moved in, another woman joined us upstairs. PiMam*. She was another relative of the owner, and she too hoped to make a name for herself and earn a profit. The family voted to grant her an equal share in the restaurant’s ownership, and she was given a room towards theContinue reading “PiMam”

The Thai Women

I was crap at waiting tables. I was even crap at bussing them. I spilled water on cell phones and purses. I stumbled into my coworkers. Eddie, one of Top’s cousins, shouted at me regularly. Look where you’re going, girl. I could not, for the life of me, memorize the menu, even though I ate fluffyContinue reading “The Thai Women”

One Month in Bangkok

I had my first encounter with immersive language learning when I lived in Thailand for a month. I was 23 years old, I had just graduated from college, and I was eager to attain fluency because the man I was dating was Thai. So far, I could fluently tell Thais that their country is beautiful,Continue reading “One Month in Bangkok”

Politics as National Temperament

So apparently there was a truce today (December 3) between Thai protesters and the police. When protests go down in Bangkok, there is always an eventual—if temporary—truce. Since the post-World War II era, Thai politics have been inflammatory and unstable, with regular cycles of military coups and popular revolutions. There’s nothing endemic to Thailand aboutContinue reading “Politics as National Temperament”