When “There’s someone out there for you” and “It’s their loss” just aren’t cutting it

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Every girl’s head turned when Trey came into the room. He was new in town, which gave him an air of intrigue we hadn’t quite nailed down yet. But it was what he was carrying that made everyone’s heart skip a beat.

Piled in his arms were a dozen chocolate roses, and as he went around the room and placed one on each girl’s desk, we blushed and looked away as if he had picked that rose just for us. Trey’s mother must have been some sort of genius, because sending him to school with that simple gesture endeared him…

How to stop equating learning with performing

After living in Baton Rouge for nine years of my childhood, my parents informed me that we would be returning to my birthplace — Bangkok, Thailand. This was problematic for your normal why-are-you-ruining-my-life pre-teen reasons, but also because I never had any interest in learning Thai. So equipped with only how to say “bathroom” (hong nam) and “not too spicy” (mai ped), I was enrolled in an international school in Bangkok where classes would be taught in English. …

Summer didn’t get the memo that we have a global pandemic on our hands

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

I am a bit of a packrat. Some of it is due to the creative frugalness of my childhood — when printer paper doubled as toys and scraps of food could be repurposed into delicious inventions. Some of it is due to my sentimental nature (which I never regret more than when it comes time to move) — ticket stubs, bits of shell from beaches I can’t remember, unused gifts I feel badly getting rid of, candles I’ve collected and have been saving to burn.

A few years ago, I read an article in passing that stuck with me like…

Why celebrating is more important now than ever

Photo by Eddie Kopp on Unsplash

“Fairytales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.

— Neil Gaiman

Celebration is not always easy or natural. It is often crowded out by to-do lists and worries. Doing it well often requires some forethought and effort, and who has the time? And on top of that, we are not always sure when is the right moment to celebrate.

As humans, we lean heavily into rhythms to tell us when it’s time to celebrate. Holidays like Thanksgiving or…

When did down time become so exhausting?

Photo by Zany Jadraque on Unsplash

But someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” — C.S. Lewis

Figuring out how to rest wasn’t always a challenge for me.

When I was little, summer afternoons were spent living out my fantasies of being a little pioneer girl. Obsessed with the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, no one could have convinced me that being a pioneer wasn’t the dream… that in reality, I’d likely go hungry when some blight overtook our crops, that I’d worry about now-common diseases wiping out my family, or that I’d be trapped inside cross-stitching for months…

Some things to be thankful for while sheltering-in-place

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”

Helen Keller

Today we got a parking ticket. Here we are, living in a horror-suspense-thriller movie, with picked-over grocery shelves and everyone barely hanging on….

…and it’s the first Thursday of the month. So of course there’s street sweeping in our neighborhood.

Getting this ticket was an oddly comforting reminder, a relic of what life used to be. That when our laundry mostly consists of sweats and pajamas and we can’t remember what day of the…

Photo: Clem Onojeghuo

How to know which relationships are worth investing in

Up until the age of ten, I thought it was completely normal for dads to sleep on the couch. I didn’t learn about the concept of relational “boundaries” until halfway through college. And I thought a successful relationship was defined as one that didn’t end.

Disney ruined me early on with its picturesque happily-ever-afters where there’s a handsome prince and a beautiful princess and all they have to do to get together is defeat a dragon or an angry town mob. This is love, I thought: beautiful, perfect people finding each other in a hopeless place.

And sometimes that’s just…

Why you should stop letting other people decide what you think

I am the kind of person you’ll find at home on a Saturday night because I hate crowds. Bodies crammed into any sort of restaurant, venue, bar are a surefire deterrent for this girl. I experience that uncomfortable proximity with groups of strangers every day on my train ride home, my head so close to a stranger’s armpit that I could kiss it if the train were to break suddenly (a disturbing visual for you, I’m sure, but I want you to experience the true joys of my daily commute).

A few nights ago, I woke up and before falling…

Why we ought to break bread instead of breaking ties

The woman who taught me that food can forge connection

No one warns you group psychology is covered in second grade curriculum. I learned an invaluable lesson as I pulled seaweed-covered rice crackers out of my lunch box: similarity wins friends, and difference earns contempt. If you are different, you can’t eat with us.

My childhood dinner table was not filled with your average fare. A Thai immigrant growing up in the suburbs of Baton Rouge, I inherited the best of both worlds when it came to food.

My mother spent hours on Sunday afternoon preparing earthy curries and sour…

Patreeya Prasertvit

Bangkok-born | Baton Rouge-raised | California-grown | www.patreeya.com

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