I look back on my life and observe different stages -from being a young child to a fully grown adult- and the houses in which I lived that connect my years together.
I was born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, and I grew up in a warm household with an extended family. I got to see the way things were during in the generation of the old Thailand, when it was making its transition from the Old Thai ways to the New Western modernization.
I got to run among all sorts of trees in a large compound on the left bank of the Chao Phraya River, where I lived with my parents, their parents, all my uncles and aunts and their families, and many hired hands.
I lived in the old world, where the air was clean, the people were smiling, and their days revolved around food-making.
Eventually I grew up, and we moved from our wonderful home to the right side of the Chao Phraya, where it was busy and crowded. My second home also sat upon a large piece of property, although not as large as the one I had left. There were fewer trees, and I couldn’t climb any of them.
No more clean air. People were not as friendly, and even their dogs barked more loudly. There was less hired help -since the upkeep of the houses and the lawns required much less work- and I therefore had fewer friends with whom to play. I was longing for my first home.
Then, my parents thought it was time to build their own house, away from the extended family, and I moved again. This time, I was separated from my loving grandparents.
I was devastated, and just before I started liking our first independent home my parents sold it, and we moved to an even bigger house. At least there I had a beautiful wall-sized waterfall, decorated with big rocks and trees, in the right corner of the house. –A place where I would go when I needed to get away.
Then -what a surprise- we moved to the biggest house of all. This one was next to a man-made lake and the first tee: I now lived in a private golf community. In fact, the 1974 World Tournament was held there. Since the house was so big, my parents tried desperately to make it feel homey for me and my sister. They planted large fruit trees everywhere in our new big beautiful yard, and smaller flower plants and shrubs on the rest of the property. Plus, there was a large vegetable garden along the steps leading down to the lake, not to mention hundreds of orchids everywhere.
Then, they sent me away to America. I moved into a small house with a big beautiful sun room and a yard that was so green, surrounded by large trees. It was a beautiful house.
After I went to college, although I went back often to visit, I still felt homeless. I moved into my first apartment during my junior year, and as a graduate student I moved into a condo. These were in Hartford and Farmington, CT, respectively.
I soon moved down to a larger condo in Stamford, CT, where my son was born. I didn’t stay there for long, though: when my son was only three months old, we moved to Bangkok.
There, we lived in a home office. Naturally, we used it as both home and workplace. The first floor area was used for my voice teaching studio, and we used the second and third floors as our living quarters. My children numbers two, three, and, four were born there. This building was located in a row of home office units within a residential-commercial zone. It was never quiet there, but we soon grew used to the street noises. Still, I longed for a less busy space.
During our thirteen years in Thailand, we bought two pieces of property, thinking we would eventually build and move out of the home office. Somehow, that never happened.
My last big move took place ten years ago. I returned to my hometown outside of Thailand- Easton, Pennsylvania.
Who knows if we will stay; but for now this is our home, where my children have spent the rest of their own growing-up years.