How Vientiane Became an Analog for the World


I complained about the weather, walked the backstreets, and ate cheap.

This time the bus was a large, cyan blue thing with leather sleeping berths and cotton blankets. Upbeat folk music and the neon lights mounted above every bed gave the whole thing a strange feeling — as if I had somehow fallen asleep in a gaudy Lao nightclub. But none of this is to say that the overnight journey to Vientiane was uncomfortable. It wasn’t. It was like sleeping on a very peculiar southbound cloud.

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Hi-nice-to-meet-you-do-you-have-a-husband?


“Do you have a husband?”

These five words form a question that causes me to tense up like a deer spotted by a hunter.

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Essay, Vitae, Resume


Life isn’t your resume.

Floating around in the gray matter beneath my skull are 750+ shape-shifting Chinese characters, 350 lingering GRE words, a dozen grad school application statements and essays, two timezones, assorted emotions, mixed feelings, and a baffled sense of being.

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Gambling on an Experience


When I found the position with the ELCA as a global missionary I almost lost my breath in disbelief that such a job would exist.

The description was exactly what I had studied as an undergrad at CLU. The job was in one of my favorite countries I visited when I studied abroad with SAS. The organization was through a church that I am proud to be a part of. It was a dream job.

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Both


With less than two weeks until departure, I start to see the value in letting things happen.

If there’s one person I’d follow blindly to my own undoing, it’d damn well be Professor Chang. This genuinely caring woman took her time in advising me about the thrill of life in the world’s largest city, but quickly followed up her comments by insisting that I watch myself around drink and Shanghainese women. I’ve been warned — it’ll just be schoolbooks and a recently developed proclivity to gambling for me then.

I better explain.

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