What do you miss from home?

When living in the developing world people always ask about the things I miss from home. However, that list is surprisingly short. I have the occasional bagel or salsa craving, but hot showers, TV, and reliable internet are all things I have easily adapted to life without. My appreciation for potable tap water has grown immensely, though. Like toilets, this is a luxury most westerners don’t fully appreciate.

Isn’t it incredible that we, in the U.S., get this stuff drinkable from the tap?

Yesterday, Oliver, one of the seven farang living in Kuraburi, decided to drive to Khao Lak for breakfast. Khao Lak is an hour and a half trek – one way! Oliver misses proper English fry-ups, something unavailable in Kuraburi. On his way, he stopped by the Andaman Discoveries office to see if there were any western treats we wanted. Immediately Kathy, Karen, and I demanded “cheese!”

Hot commodities in Southeast Asia.

I adore Thai food, especially the super-spicy-make-your nose-run stuff. Even as I am sobbing uncontrollably the food is still delicious, but there are definitely times when I desire a flavor unavailable in Asia.

My taste-buds underwent a little reverse culture shock upon my return to the U.S. Everything tasted really bland. I was delighted to discover bird’s eye chilies in Durham.

In search of cheese on one of my first supermarket trips in Asia I was confronted with a wall of jellyfish options. Wedged into a corner were two pitiful cheese options, both of the individually-wrapped-sliced-plastic variety. It was a very sad day.


This past weekend, one of the local English teachers threw a little party. It was all anyone in Kuraburi could talk about for the preceding week. There is not a lot going on here. A bunch of South Africans came up from Phuket, and made a potjie. After four hours of monitoring the coals and debating the proper amount of braai salt we got a scrumptious chicken stew. “Lekker bru” and “Ohh, this is amazing” came from the westerners. Zander, our South African host, turned to the Thai attendees who were poking at their bowls and occasionally taking small bites. “Howsit bru?” The Thais shrugged, uncertain how to respond. Zander nodded. “I get it. Mai phet, mai aroi måi? Not spicy, not delicious?” They laughed and nodded.

Brewing the potjie.