Un-bieber-able – Justin Bieber, a gymnast

It’s an exciting time. It’s Olympics and everyone’s going crazy. Bieber is too. Thought y’all might enjoy this interchange between my dad and I on Skype. Sometimes names are similar, too similar, as I just found out. Dad: How about surprise with Beiber girl losing to her roommate? Me: What? Dad: Women’s gymnastics Me: Oh!…

Knowing God’s Will

*This is a message I gave for a summer conference in a friend’s church a few weeks ago. I’ve removed a few key illustrations for security reasons. Decisions never leave us in life. Crossroads can creep into our lives without warning. Other times though, the crossroads are more like the final exam that looms in…

oh oswald

Oh Oswald. I love how Oswald Chambers always has just the words I need to hear. It’s really not him, it’s God and the Holy Spirit using the daily bits of wisdom to speak to my heart. April 29th’s entry is about gracious uncertainty, and boy, did I need to hear (or in this case,…

Caught in translation

I’m dog sitting for a friend for two weeks and I’m staying in her apartment. This morning, I took Maybelle out for a walk and a young guy came up and sheepishly introduced himself. “I’m sorry, I don’t believe we’ve met,” he says, extending his hand for a handshake. Handshakes aren’t too common in Thailand…

white as snow

They are white as snow. I wish I could say I was talking about my friends in the red light district. My Thai friends recently knit beautiful white scarves for me and my friends as a present. I wish I could say my Thai friends were also white as snow – they are workers in…

When a heart breaks

She walks out of the massage parlor with the sun-glassed man. Japanese, I think. He leaves quickly. She sits down on the bench, avoiding eye contact. Everyone around knows what’s just happened. As I’ve sat and listened to my friend teach English the past 30 minutes, she’s been upstairs in a room with this man,…

call me rude

Rihanna’s “Rude” plays in the background of a darkly silhouetted bar. Western men lean in to whisper dirty nothings into the ears of petite and scantily-clad Thai women. These women work in Thailand’s sex industry. Many come from eastern Thailand to find work in the city. Some come under false pretenses. Some know what they’re…

sleep deprivation, sports and social media

Calling all sports fans. “Go my favorite sports team!” (Brian Regan, for those who’ve missed his hilarity.) When you’re a sports fan living in Asia, you’re called to make some sacrifices. I’m specifically talking about sleep sacrifices. If you want to watch your favorite sports team, many times it means waking up early or staying…

Art of Misunderstanding

It’s easy to misunderstand. This is especially true when your home country isn’t the one you grew up in. There are a lot of things about American culture that I don’t know about having lived in Asia most of my life. Going to college was enlightening for me in many ways. There are still many…

Promise of unconditional love

Americans wear rings on their left hands, right? To show you are married? Last night I went down to the red light district to visit my friend John.* His grandmother wants him to get married and have children so she can have great grandchildren. John is gay and I don’t think his grandmother knows this….

Moon cakes, Little Mermaid, It’s a Wonderful Life & Agatha Christie

Tonight I bought a moon cake from a mermaid. Though I wish I could say I bought this traditional Chinese pastry from Ariel from Disney’s “Little Mermaid,” that isn’t quite true. I bought one with a coffee filling from Starbucks. The Starbucks mermaid was imprinted on top instead of Chinese characters. Today is the Chinese…

twin grievings

Ten years ago I was in Chiang Mai, Thailand, just like I am tonight. I was 14 on September 11, 2001. Now, I’m 24 (I’m great at math, can’t you tell?) and I am back in the Land of Smiles on September 11, 2011. I was getting ready for bed when the planes hit the…