Life in Laos

Are You Excited?

Posted by on Jan 23, 2015 in Life in Laos | 7 comments

Are You Excited?

It used to be that the question that stumped me was, “where’s home for you?” It took three years and a memoir, but I finally made my peace with that word home after we moved to Laos. Now the question that’s leaving me tongue-tied and bewildered is different. It’s, “Are you excited?” I’ve been asked this question at least half a dozen times this week. We’re moving, you see—to Vanuatu, in the South Pacific. We’re going to live on an island, in a town where cruise ships dock. We’re essentially going to live in a postcard. So people naturally want to know if I’m...

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This Season Of Leaving

Posted by on Jan 12, 2015 in Life in Laos | 3 comments

This Season Of Leaving

Laos is beautiful this time of year. During these three months it’s easy to forget how oppressive I find the heat during the rest of the year. But it was deliciously cool this morning as I walked through the streets of downtown. The Mekong glowed in the early light. Tuk tuk drivers shrugged and smiled as I declined their offers. I thought—as I’ve thought many times since we made the decision to move—that there are many things I will miss about this country. I know this move is a good decision for us. Mike will be taking on a Country Director role that’s a good step for him...

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Memories Of A Million Footsteps: Return To Luang Prabang

Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 in Life in Laos | 4 comments

Memories Of A Million Footsteps: Return To Luang Prabang

Last week we returned to Luang Prabang for the first time since we left, more than a year ago. Those of you who have visited Luang Prabang will know what I mean when I say it’s a special place. Those of you who haven’t, imagine a small town nestled in between two rivers and cradled by jungle-covered mountains. Imagine gold-gilded temples meets old-world French architecture. Imagine orchids and saffron-robed monks and sticky rice steaming in small bamboo baskets. We didn’t own a car during the three years we lived in Luang Prabang, so most evenings after Mike got home from work we would...

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Size Matters And Other Things To Love About Vientiane

Posted by on Aug 25, 2014 in Life in Laos, Posts with photos | 5 comments

Size Matters And Other Things To Love About Vientiane

You guys, I am driving in Vientiane. I know this might not sound like a big deal but, trust me, it is. Our driver has been very sick, so I’ve had little choice but to face my fears and tackle the rutted roads. And when I say rutted, I am in no way exaggerating. It’s the middle of the rainy season and you pretty much need a four-wheel-drive to get down the road to our house. This is what happened on our lane (three times) the other day to some unwary trucks… And while we’re showing random photos, this is a woman fishing in the rice paddies right outside our gate. In the last two days...

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Things we don’t tell our grandmothers

Posted by on Jun 16, 2014 in Life in Laos | 8 comments

Things we don’t tell our grandmothers

During one of our Skype conversations last week my mother mentioned that my grandmother had not enjoyed reading my post about our re-entry. Apparently, our re-entry tribulations were still costing my Nana sleep a week later. “If you’re talking to Nana,” my Mum said, “tell her that good things are happening. Lie if you have to.” My Mum laughed after she said this, but I’m not entirely sure that she was joking. Well, at the moment if I were selective in what I relayed to my grandmother I wouldn’t have to lie. Some good things are happening. On Friday, for example, we had the best...

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The bumpy road back: Australia to Laos

Posted by on Jun 3, 2014 in Life in Laos | 2 comments

The bumpy road back: Australia to Laos

Here are some of the highlights of our return to Laos (It’s a bit long, I’m warning you, but so was our trip. And you’ll have to imagine the soundtrack of crying children.) I wake up with a hideous cold the morning we have to leave. Get interviewed at the airport by Channel 7 about whether I’m worried to take my precious babies to Thailand given the coup/martial law/curfew situation. Missed my opportunity to say on national television that Australia could do with a good coup of its own right now. Rats. Spend nine hours on a plane with two very over-stimulated children who are...

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Sweetness and Light

Posted by on Dec 19, 2013 in Life in Laos | 3 comments

Sweetness and Light

I know I haven’t posted many thoughtful updates lately of the type I used to write. That’s because I still haven’t quite recovered the energy I need to actually think on a level that those pieces require, and also because most of my creative energy at the moment is going into behind-the-scenes work for Modern Love Long Distance. I have three or four books on long distance relationships I’d like to put out next year and I’m hard at work on those every chance I get. Here’s the cover for the book I’ll be publishing in January – isn’t it fun?? The Modern Love website will also...

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A dozen things to be thankful for here in Vientiane

Posted by on Nov 21, 2013 in Life in Laos | 8 comments

A dozen things to be thankful for here in Vientiane

Pre-Script: I wrote this post yesterday and was telling Mike about it last night, when he informed me that Thanksgiving is next week. Oh well. I’m gonna post it anyway, because things have been going really well, but I saw pickups and workers arriving at the unfinished houses next door this morning and now the sweet strains of electric power tools and nail guns are serenading us. If this becomes the new norm, then next week it might have all gone to hell in a hand basket and I’ll want to write about that, so I better get my happy thanksgiving post in while I’m still feeling the vibe....

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Intestinal Fortitude: An essay in Notre Dame Magazine

Posted by on Apr 24, 2013 in Life in Laos | 0 comments

Intestinal Fortitude: An essay in Notre Dame Magazine

I wrote this essay a month after we arrived in Laos, way back in 2010. It was bought that same year by Notre Dame Magazine. They finally printed it in their spring 2013 issue, which came out just a week before I left Luang Prabang. The piece was originally titled The Hungry Months and the editors renamed it Intestinal Fortitude. I’ve included the beginning here for you (to read the whole piece jump on over to Notre Dame Magazine). Below the excerpt I’ve added some photos from that trip to Viengkham. Looking at those shots now is a bit surreal. It hasn’t yet been three years...

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Farewell, Luang Prabang

Posted by on Apr 10, 2013 in Life in Laos | 12 comments

Farewell, Luang Prabang

Ever since I published my post discussing how I hadn’t taken time yet to think about farewelling Luang Prabang, Mike has been bugging encouraging me to write a goodbye post on things I’ll miss about this little fairytale town. He even wrote his own list to show me how it’s done, titled the document “I like LPB”, and put it in our shared Dropbox folder. Mike’s list has 36 items on it. I haven’t read them yet, because I figured that might be cheating. I thought briefly about just posting his list and being done with it, but regretfully decided that was also probably cheating. So...

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