ballet flats and truck beds

Today I borrowed a truck with a “Carryboy,” a hood on the back, to pick up a piece of furniture from a village known for its furniture and handicrafts. I’d discovered yesterday that the Toyota Soluna I have been using is not large enough to accommodate my purchase – a coat/purse/umbrella rack. After making the…

closing chapters

How do you close a chapter in life? I think it’s similar to finishing a really superb book – the kind of book where you eat up every line until the last line, consuming and enjoying every word and minute. It’s the kind of book you get lost in, where the characters seem as real…

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,…

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…

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…

Kickboxing with Bonhoeffer

It’s easier to fight visible enemies. Actually, fighting enemies in general is easier. I’m not talking about Muay Thai kickboxing. Many times it is easier to try to fight the woes that ail us, thinking that our struggle will result in victory and sage-ness. With every Jackie Chan-like kick, we think we’re taking one giant…

Clean, unclean, washed in His blood

“I only do massages,” Angie* told me a few months ago. She told me that she used to work for a “clean” massage parlor. “Do you know what I mean by that?” she asked me. I nodded, slowly. The massage parlor she where she works now isn’t a clean parlor. Angie said many of the…

washed in the waterfall

“I’m so happy,” John* said, smiling and shivering a little from the waterfall’s cold water. Angie* emerged from the water with a smile I won’t easily forget. I’m still recovering from a recurring case of glorious goosebumps. Today, my two dear friends from the red light district followed Jesus in believer’s baptism. We went to…

bag defunct. bugs beware.

Are there any more bags? I asked this of the Thai man who poked his head in through the flaps that release the bags to the conveyor belt. Yes, one more, he said. My bag came out and I turned several different shades of red. The side zipper pocket of my duffel was agape. This…