Simple Joys

About two weeks ago, we launched Oimei Co. campaign on Startsomegood.com and I tell ya, it’s nearly consumed every waking moment of my days and even in my sleep O_O !!

Lessons learned so far: in order to stay motivated and inspired I must: do something else, really just hang out with friends AND most importantly….step away from the computer (I know this sounds like a no brainer but it’s been a huge challenge for me). After all, the whole purpose of starting something is to enjoy work. So, aside from all the campaigning, planning, e-mailing, creating promo material, reading, researching and number crunching, I’m still enjoy the little things 🙂

Like getting a hair cut in Laos.

Back in Laos for the third time in the past 5 months because my Thailand student visa has expired and I had to leave the country to apply for a Thai Tourist visa which will grant me another 60 days in Thailand.  Looks like I’ll be home for the holidays this year, and snow boarding! Definitely looking forward to this.

After completing my Visa documents at the Thai embassy, I wandered around and decided that I will finally get myself a hair cut after nearly 8 months without one; and I must say, I’ve never appreciated a hair cut more than this one. Though it was nothing fancy, it sure felt nice to have healthier hair and be rid of all those creatures living in there.


It was a very interesting salon experience from the moment I walked in and discovered that the girl who was about to cut my hair only speaks Laotian/Thai and some Vietnamese. Me on the other hand, I speak Vietnamese some Thai and English. Once again, body gestures, pointing and laughing has saved the day. The only thing I understood when it came to describing the kind of hair cut I wanted was when she asked me if I want to look like a Korean pop star…I laughed and gave her the go. After a couple hours of silly mixed conversations between Vietnamese/Laotian/Thai and some English; I still had hair on my head with no dead ends (my only expectation) and her showing me a photo of her son: “das my son, he planking……”

Frankly I still don’t understand this “planking” lingo, so I was completely lost. I kept saying to her, “huh? excuse me? what language?” and she’d repeat…”ya, my son! he planking!” and I said..oh he’s naked? ..sleeping?! ” uncertain if she was using a Laotian/Thai or Vietnamese word that I didn’t understand. After the 20th time I finally understood, “OH!! PLANKING!” Her son…planking. Hilarious.


AFTER the hair cut I also discovered from the manager that she does not usually cut hair and for that reason, I can have the hair cut for free. WHAT the…..anyway, if this was a year ago I’d be pretty upset but of course I found it funny and gave some money to the sweet gal. Yep, a whole $6! 2 bucks more than what the hair cut was supposed to cost 😛

Learning how to bake apple pie from scratch and stealing recipes from Di Thao (auntie Thao) in Vientiane. Had the opportunity to stay with a friends’ relative in Laos and…..reconfirmed how much I miss my own mama. Woke up to Di Thao baking beautiful apple pies on Sunday morning. This amazing woman is originally from Laos, lived in France for some years and returned home. She speaks Laotian, French, Vietnamese, Thai & English so needless to say I had a little trouble stealing all her written recipes but she was very kind to share and let me in on some of her secrets. A Good Sunday.




Hanging out in good company.
I’ve been very fortunate to have a handful of friends from back home pass through Bangkok this past month. It’s always comforting to see familiar faces and a pleasure showing them around this city that I adore!

A night out in Bangkok. Friends from back home (bay area, California). There is something very special about reuniting or really befriending acquaintances in an entirely new environment. Great conversations, good vibes and unforgettable memories 😉


What better way to discover any place than by cycling/walking. A dear friend of mine, Michael from Bangkok Vanguards organized a 75km charity ride through Bangkok, dodging through the city’s traffic, along dusty highways, incredibly scenic canals, caught a river taxi through to Koh Kret Island, through historic temples and arriving at Baan Pakret Children’s foundation.


Our Crew


Some of the kids at the orphanage. It was a very nice reward to visit the foundation during our bike ride. We had the opportunity to bring toys and candy for the kids and hang out with them for a couple hours. I wasn’t sure what to expect upon arriving at the orphanage but  I must say that with the joy of sharing a little bit of happiness also came a lot of sadness. I was blown away by the amount of children who are without parents, a family,  love and affection. This experience left a bittersweet feeling inside but it’s great to know that they have a safe place to stay with food and help to search for their family. If you are ever in Thailand and would like to visit or volunteer at an orphanage, please pay them a visit at Baan Pakret Children’s Foundation in Nonthanburi province. (they do not currently have a website in English but msg. me if you’d like more details)


A date to Ayutthaya with an old friend who has moved to Hong Kong for the past year, Cathy. We’ve known each other for more than a decade without really “knowing” each other. Was a great time briefly recapping our lives and discovering all our commonalities. Always beautiful to see how traveling molds us and being able to relate experiences with others.



Speaking of traveling. One of my dearest friends’ I’ve made in Bangkok, Ta Pa Na. He is a humble design guru who has helped me a lot in developing my ideas for Oimei Co. Well, he has just received a scholarship to study his master’s in Fashion Management in Milan. He has long dreamed of studying in Europe and is now grasping the opportunity to do so. This is a drawing he made of me and what he knew of me in our brief four month friendship!! Surrounded by some of the wonderful people I met during this journey and hints of Oimei Co. Ah, this guy is amazing! Such a thoughtful gift -_-


When we are down, wrecked & worn. Beauty surrounds us. Look with eyes wide open, see the beauty and be grateful. I am grateful.

Back to work I go 😛 Next post will be details about our campaign. Progress, next steps, thank you’s…everythingggg. We appreciate the continued support! Thanks for all the love!

Advertisements

Sleepy Laos

Jacqui’s visa was about to expire so a few of us decided to cross the border with her to get it renewed…so, without an itinerary we were off to Laos for 4 days (Jacqui, Frida, Jess, Kathrin, Fanny, Mattieu and I) Naturally, with no advanced planning we arrived at the train station and tickets were sold out so, we headed to the bus station and began our 40+ hours spent on the road through Thailand to Vientiane, Vang Vien, Luang Prabang in Laos and back again. Needless to say, we were beyond exhausted by the end of our trip but our journey together was well worth it.

Four days venturing through a beautiful country with great company. My only gripe yet again is that we definitely needed more time but of course school got in the way again :p

Fanny from back home is traveling through SE Asia for a few months and upon arrival in Bangkok I dragged her along with us to Laos. Fanny graduated last year, worked for a bit, gathered some funds, quit her job, sold her car and got herself a one way ticket to Asia…..what for?!?! To travel.

Go Fanny!!!


After the 6 of us reached a compromise of how much time we wanted to spend in Vang Vien participating in Laos’ official sport – TUBING…we agreed on a mere 3 hours before heading to our next destination.

Tubing in a few words: Magnificent scenery, Brown river water, buckets of alcohol, rave paint, rope swings, bruises, water slides and a hangover. – 3 hours of memorable madness!




Streets of Vang Vien. stunning!

Complete change of scenery the following day.

Arrived early a.m. in Luang Prabang the following day, took a nap and freshened up for a day of bicycling around this insanely charming town.

Visiting historic Laotian Temples

beautiful mosaics at Wat Xieng Thong

Cafe Lounging & indulging

Magnificent Kwang Si Waterfall


lifetime friends.

Shimmering rice fields

Panoramic view of Luang Prabang & Mekong @ Mount Phou Si

Back to Vientiane (capital of Laos) for a few hours.

Did the usual touristy stuff..wandered around in the hot hot heat to check out some historic landmarks, had ourselves a yummy laotian lunch then straight to a cafe after for cappuccinos and Scandavian pastries…we don’t mess around when it comes to food! 🙂

This city itself was actually not that interesting so half a day was perfect before heading back home…sweeeeet home. Bangkok!

A main road in Vientiane



A few thoughts on Laos:

  • It’s true. Laos is a slow paced country. verrrry verrrrryyy sllllllooooow. For god sake even the name of their currency “KIP” means sleep! and their “hello” is “Sabaii dee” which is equivalent to relax in Thai. But no complaints here…I enjoyed the more relaxing pace and the general calmness (I guess the chaos of Bangkok has gotten to me just a tad).
  • Another country colonized by the French means – BAGUETTES! I think we all had baguettes coming out our pores in the heat. yummy!
  • Lime stones, rice paddies, lush landscape, unspoiled nature..simply beautiful.
  • Ice cold beer lao. mmmm
  • Young Laotian/Hmong girls. Faces rich with experience and compassion. More mature at age 15 than I’ll ever be.
  • Fascinating night market in Luang Prabang with gorgeous hand crafts..where the shop keepers would rather be sleeping than bargain with you. Right, I’m in Laos.
  • My trip this time was just a teaser. I will definitely return to this country again in the future.

Lovely Country!