Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Obsession: silk blouses, lots of them.

 via Carnival

Back Stateside, I have two silk blouses, both from previous Mayle seasons, which I had on constant rotation.  I did not dare bring them with me to Cambodia, with all the dust and dirt in the air and shoddy washing machines. (My clothes took a serious beating in that country.)

Before I left Cambodia, I made two button-down blouses in silk crepe de chine- one in a dark evergreen and another in slate grey. 

In Phnom Penh, I usually stop at my favorite one-off silk vendor in Toul Tumpong (amazing prints) and my fabric finds dictate what I make.  This last trip, over the Christmas holiday, I asked my tailor to make a blouse in a dark rust color because I found two meters of this rich fabric.

After, I thought: stop; that's enough!

But since I've spotted this Everlane mustard silk blouse, I'm convinced of the absolute necessity of adding silk mustard to my wardrobe.  I may actually have to buy this one.

The navy one would also be a good staple.

And given that I may likely be dressing up in cooler weather within the next month (maybe, though not decided yet), this may be a timely investment.

Playing tourist in Bangkok: Wat Pho

My family visited Bangkok last week, so I put on my tourist hat.  I've never actually been to Wat Pho, which houses the giant reclining Buddha, though I have visited Bangkok as a tourist several times and now live here.  The reclining Buddha really is a sight.

What struck my family most that day, apart from the intricate details of the temple, were the smiling and seemingly kind faces of those who stood at the entrance of the temple, who blatantly tried to rip us off by telling us that the temple was closed for several hours (and advised that we take a tuk-tuk to other temples in the area).  

The temple was not, in fact, closed.   

Monday, January 21, 2013

To start the week.

I can't recall where I found this. If someone knows, do tell.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A concert in Lumpini Park and my musings on quark.

In Lumpini Park for an early evening concert.  

I live for evenings like this: a soft sunset, a gathering of friends, a sharing of food, music under the clear sky, the moon above, the feeling of grass on your toes.    

This reminds me of my summer days in Portland, sitting under St. Johns Bridge for Cathedral Park Jazz Festival, except when it happens now and here, there are maybe six nationalities represented at the dinner table/mat and a mixing of foods and accents.

Only tangentially related to dinner last night, is German quark that much better than normal cheese, or is it all in my head? 

A walk in Silom

Today, we took a walk in Silom, another neighborhood in Bangkok.  A few weeks ago, when Gayla was in town, we wandered into this part of the city, rummaged through Afghan curio shops, and tried on colorful necklaces made of lapis stones. She bought three necklaces.

The Silom area is also home to my favorite Japanese restaurants, including my favorite ramen stop, but I did not know about the Neilson Hays Library in that same area!  I love discovering new spots in this city.

Friday, January 18, 2013

2013 and what I want.

Afternoon strolls in Darjeeling and Pelling, India

It's only been in the last few years that I started the ritual of writing out resolutions to mark the start of a new year.  I think this space has been good for that and, in general, for documenting the past three years. 

It's my lunch break at work. I've just finished a Sri Lankan meal of pumpkin curry and banana leaf salad. In ten minutes, if my client is on time, I will have to start an appointment.  But for now, I'm clearing the space to jot down what I want out of this year.  Writing keeps me honest and accountable.

I didn't accomplish all that I resolved to accomplish in 2012.  While I did move out of Cambodia to pursue other work, I still grapple with balancing work and personal obligations.  Six months after my departure from Cambodia, I'm also still working out how that experience fits into the rest of my life.  I published my research in Cambodia, but I failed to complete the manuscript for the journal article that I was once so psyched about.  I accepted summer vacations back into my life and, during one such vacation to Indonesia and India, I became engaged to Ethan.  All in all, I would say it was a good year, despite difficulties.

2013 will be more flux, more change. In July, I will be married. The prospect of having a family is a notion I never really entertained before (at least, not seriously).  But for the first time in my life, it's what I want. (Being exposed to wonderful women who appear to balance fulfilling careers and aspirations, along with family obligations, has helped.)  Finally, there's the possibility that we will be back in the US some time this year - for how long, I do not yet know.

My resolutions this year:

  1. Another summer vacation - If and when I do return to the US long-term, one thing I will struggle with is having to fit back into a two-week annual vacation.  This year, I am blocking the month of July for wedding and honeymoon travels. Period.   
  2. Publish - There is one research project that has been languishing since last year and another on my desk regarding gender-based violence/persecution claims before the UN.  I want to have both manuscripts completed this year and hopefully, published or at least publishable.
  3. Push through the fear (of change, of rejection, etc) -One thing I tend to do is shrink or be paralyzed when I see all that change coming at me, all at once.  I hope to be able to push through despite my fears. One example is that, in the past two months, I've been a candidate for positions that I thought were out of reach (and very well should have been before Cambodia).  I made many excuses in my head not to try, but I eventually I did.  It's too early to tell how it will pan out, but the process has been surprising and a lesson in itself.  Most importantly, I should allow myself to dream.
  4. Cook simply - My cooking mantra for 2013 can best be summed up in this book by David Tanis.  Again, a girl can dream.
  5. Spend more time with family and friends - Three years abroad. Enough said. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Crepe cake and a new dress.

Yesterday, my colleague I brought Ethan and me to sample crepe cake at a small cafe in the Phaya Thai Palace.  I would have never found this little gem on my own - it's tucked away on the grounds near the army hospital of all places. The small cafe itself is quaint and in a well-preserved building, such a nice change from the shininess of Bangkok.

Also, I was finally able to wear one of the dresses I had made from the cotton fabrics I bought in Kolkata.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sale Alert: Ace & Jig

 via Of a Kind

I'm dreaming of cold weather, but I'm not impervious to the allure of a good sale.



Dreaming of cooler weather and jackets.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Bonne année et bonne santé!

My last images of 2012.
We've been to Cambodia and back.  We said goodbye to 2012 with a quiet dinner at Taling Pling with Gayla and then an evening on our rooftop, with glasses of red wine in hand.  At midnight, we watched the pops of fireworks on the horizon and the lanterns floating up to the sky.

The end of year is always a good reason to take stock.  2012, while incredible, was also incredibly challenging for me.  Apart from my decision to leave Cambodia, our move to Thailand, and our engagement, there have been many other encounters with change on various levels - and despite my dogged resistance, I see more change in 2013.  I surrender.

Ethan was offered a position in Burma.  A few years ago, I would have jumped at the opportunity to work in that country and particularly now, at a time where the political landscape appears to be shifting. 

But we decided against it, which still blows my mind, a little.  Navigating life's turns, the never-ending stream of options, our constantly-evolving needs, and though all this, the uncertainty has been my lesson in compromise.  Maybe that's what I took from 2012 - I learned how to compromise.
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