“Hey, United Nations! What’s up, Mr. CIA?” That’s what my childhood (and later) experiences were like. Maybe that’s not quite a literal quotation, but I can recall many similar things from over the years.
I grew up in the midwestern US as the son of an American mother and a Thai-Filipino father. (We had some Spanish, Chinese, and other ethnicities thrown in for good measure too.) Whether it was from my grandmother (who travelled the world and spoke many languages) or my surroundings (the many ethnic restaurants and neighbourhoods), I was always curious about other cultures, peoples, and cuisines. So, it was perfectly natural for me to want to learn more, right?
Yes, I was the kid that tried to learn a dozen languages or the one that organized cultural activities at my school. I was also the guy with a network of friends all over the world. (That’s where “Mr. CIA” nickname came from.) So, it wasn’t too big of a surprise when I told my family that I was planing to move to Thailand. Originally, I planned to take a year off from teaching to meet my Thai relatives and learn more about my heritage.
More than six years later, I’ve fallen in love with my new country and culture. When I’m not working (or sometimes even when I am), I love meeting new people, discovering hole-in-the-wall eateries, nibbling on street food, or exploring the nooks & crannies of a new district or city.
It’s always a pleasure to share my new discoveries with visiting friends, and I hope to pass on that same excitement (and knowledge) to you!