Any of these memories could be shared with kids growing up around the world, to be honest. These were the pieces of advice from the Asian adults around me that stuck in my mind well into adulthood.
Most of my childhood memories center around the kitchen and food, helping my mother prepare meals for guests. This was how I learned to cook and how I learned you could put your caring and love into your food to feed the people who mean the most to you. This was how I learned to make people welcome in my home.
I post a lot of my most often-cooked recipes on the website of my alter-identity, PJ Schnyder and I have to admit, I tested out a lot of recipes to decide on what my heroine, Maylin was going to cook in Hidden Impact.
The Thai traditional utensils are a fork and spoon. I learned to use these to eat most meals. It’s a pet peeve of my mother’s whenever she watches the much-loved (historically inaccurate) musical, The King and I.
Chopsticks are for noodle soup dishes, many of which are of Chinese origin.
I also learned that it was okay to enjoy something, no matter where it came from, but respect its history.
My mother spent time with me and my siblings as children, letting each of us take turns reading a page, or a chapter, as we had story time together. We grew up on Laura Ingalls Wilder and Folktales of Thailand and the Ramayana.
We learned that children grew up differently in different places. And that places had a broad spectrum of beliefs and mythology. Mythology, from any culture, was an adventure for us.
My mother and father were called into a parent-teacher conference when I was in 1st grade. They were told they should immediately stop me from speaking Thai. The teacher strongly believed growing up bilingual was confusing for me.
My parents respectfully disagreed. They also helped me learn to speak English only in public and let me speak Thai at home or when I was visiting family in Thailand. They didn’t pressure me. They didn’t make me.
I learned to love languages as a result.
Parents, friends of the family, even now as an adult some of my parents’ well-meaning friends will ask if I’ll take my life sciences “day job” career to finally become a doctor.
When they were growing up, a doctor was a well-respected person in society and made enough income to live a comfortable life. Being a doctor, helping people, was the best future they could wish for a child with opportunities available to them.
This Thai commercial featuring a young boy growing up to be a doctor makes me cry every time:
HIDDEN IMPACT by Piper J. Drake
Meet the men of Centurion Corporation—an elite group of mercenaries who will go to any extreme to complete a mission…even risk their hearts. A new high-stakes series by Piper J. Drake
He’s not the hero she’s looking for
As part of the elite Centurion Corporation team, military-veteran-turned-mercenary Gabriel Diaz is a natural defender. He’ll do anything to ensure a mission is successful. Anything but get emotionally invested—he learned the hard way that can be deadly. Easy bodyguard jobs in between the more challenging missions are all he’s interested in now.
Maylin Cheng is desperate and running out of time. Her younger sister has gone missing but no one seems to take her concern seriously. Her last hope lies in asking an aloof bodyguard for help. He dismisses her outright, but all that changes when she is almost killed in a not-so-accidental hit-and-run right before his eyes.
As Maylin leans on Gabriel, she begins to rely on him for more than just her safety. But as their attraction grows, so does the danger surrounding them. When the elaborate web they’re trapped in unravels, Gabriel will do anything to protect them. Even if that means putting his heart in the crosshairs.
Book one of the Safeguard series