“I feel stuck,” I lamented to one of my girlfriends over the phone.
“Stuck with what?” she questioned.
“Everything in life,” I replied.
“Why don’t you start a blog?” she suggested.
Here I am, attempting to “unstuck” through blogging. I hear it can be therapeutic, so I’m going to try it out.
I was born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand. The first 14 years of my life were there and then I relocated to the United States. My parents and siblings never came here to live with me. I never returned to Thailand to reside…yet. So I still have strong ties to my motherland, while the U.S. is intrinsically home to me. I regularly shuttle between the U.S. and Thailand. Having felt “at home” at either place also means feeling unsure where I truly belong. Stuck. It’s how I feel. Stuck between two worlds.
It’s been 20+ years since I moved from Bangkok. I’m married to a wonderful man and raising a beautiful boy who possesses endless curiosity. I feel stuck, yet again, this time in marriage and parenthood, but in a really really good way. Before my little 3 year old was born, I paid very little attention to how I managed to cross back and forth over the invisible cultural divide (or the massive Pacific Ocean) or over the imaginary bridge between my two worlds. Now that my son is here, I am no longer being stuck alone between the two worlds, he’s stuck with me. The last three years, I’ve been navigating both cultures more carefully with him piggybacking on me, while dealing with the everyday highs and lows of being a parent.
I thought long and hard about the main title of my blogs. Then I thought, one of the things Thai people love to do is eat. Yes, they love their food and all the spiciness and heat that comes with it. It’s no secret that some Thais make a habit of sneaking in dried chilies through customs when traveling around the globe. Contrary to how Americans believe that Thai people add peanuts to everything they eat, Thais actually don’t consume that many peanuts. It’s the spicy chilies that they want. They put that stuff in everything from breakfast omelets to hot dogs to make it more “Thai.” With this little quirk of being Thai, Tom Yum Soup (Wikipedia defines it as “a spicy clear soup”) was aptly chosen as the first part of my title. The Soup is one of the national prides. The second part of the title, “hamburgers,” to me, is the quintessential food to eat in the U.S. Why else would anyone, in their right mind, wait in the long and tedious line at In N Out Burger? Together, the title “Tom Yum Soup or Hamburgers Tonight” sheds perspectives on my life with my family. Every day, I’m confronted with attempting to make decisions that would make sense for both cultures, especially at dinner time. A lot of moms and dads can attest to the difficulty of feeding a 3-year old. Getting my son to sit at the table and eat anything at all is a challenge in itself. On top of it, I also have to worry about whether or not he’s consuming enough of Thai-ness or American-ness today and if I can sneak in more of one or the other at dinner time.
If you have free time or are feeling stuck too, I invite you to come along on our journey through this blog. Though most of my writing and reflections will likely be about raising a child to survive, flourish and cherish his special gift of being a child of two worlds; it will also deal with the struggles and triumphs of being a mom. As we often hear about authors having writer’s block, I too, like many moms (or dads), occasionally suffer from “mommy’s block.” Mommy’s block often makes me feel stuck and question my parenting skills and choices. I’m not sure what I will accomplish from sharing my stories and experiences, but I hope that you will find it entertaining or may be even helpful.
Thank you for your visit and Sawasdee (hello and goodbye in Thai).
I’m very happy you decided to do this! As you know, I struggle with the same issues. From the very beginning. I wanted my son’t name to be Spanish but something his dad could pronounce easily. I think I’ve done a decent job, though (probably not in the cooking department). I realized this when Alex wasn’t exactly who to cheer for when Canada played Honduras in soccer. We went to the game and he had his Honduran jersey, but a maple leaf sticker on his face.
I love your posts so far and can’t wait to read more as you develop this blog. Raising a mixed race child is something that so many can relate to. You’re a wonderful writer and I love your intelligent and conversational style.
Ahhh Waen, ” being stuck” is just another way of saying that once you are a mother, when you are with your child, you want some space. Yet, when you are away from them, you are always thinking of them and can’t wait to get back. Such a conflict, one that never goes away,lol.
I just started at the beginning of your blog and I am enjoying it. Excellent writing…and I hope it IS therapeutic.