Good News!!!!

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Hey guys!  I received some really good news last night and I thought it only right to write a quick post to share it with you guys.  If you’ve followed the podcast & blog for a while, then you will know that Tom hasn’t been home to the U.S. for Christmas in about 9 years.  This year , thanks in no small part to my new job, I decided to make my way back home to Alabama for the holidays.  I also really wanted my partner to join me on the trip to finally visit my home, and also to take the scary step of meeting the in-laws.

Soooo, last month we started the process of trying to get him a tourist visa to visit the U.S. and it was quite an arduous task.  There was a mountain of paperwork needed for him to even apply.  Then, with the knowledge that he might not even get it, we prepared all the necessary documents from here and at home thanks to the support of my family.  He went to the U.S. embassy last week for his visa interview and fortunately for us, it went really smoothly.  It is often difficult for Thai citizens to get American visas due to a variety of reasons and we were more than a little nervous.  However, I’m proud to report that he received his passport back in the mail yesterday with a 10 year multiple entry tourist visa to the America.  I did a little happy dance when I got the news, and now i’m really excited to make the journey home with my partner at my side come December.

I’ll be having a quite weekend here in the Thai countryside, so you can definitely count on a podcast in the next couple of days.  I’m planning to revisit something I talked about in the first or second episode as they don’t seem to be available for download anymore.  A few of you have requested the background of my journey that led me to live in Thailand, so I’ll take some time in the next podcast and talk about the how and the why that brought me to live here.  Sooooo, till the weekend much luv from very wet southern coast of Thailand! :-)

Happy 4th: Patriotism and the Ex-Pat…

Firstly, let me wish each and every one of my American listeners, friends, and family a VERY happy 4th of July!  I searched around the Youtubes for another version of “the Star Spangled Banner” to use this year but honestly just couldn’t find a better version than this one.  Her voice carries so much power when she sings it and the song has never once failed to move me to tears whenever I hear it.  So please give it a listen and remember there is a very patriotic ex-pat living here in Southeast Asia.

You know, I’ve never been terribly comfortable with the word “ex-pat” and how it is used as such a broad general brush to paint each and every non-native person living within a country.  If anything, I’ve become more and more patriotic each year i live abroad.  I am thankful for the country of my birth and the opportunities in life given to me solely because I’m an American citizen.  I can travel to most countries across the globe with a minimal amount of hassle, where as many citizens of other countries have to endure long and frustrating visa processing experiences.  I was given free education up till the 12th grade, in which I was taught to think independently and question my reality/experiences constantly.  So, no matter how long I’m away or how far I travel, the good old U.S. of A. will always be my home sweet home.  I wouldn’t give it up for anything!  Much love to you guys out there and I hope you have a wonderful 4th!

T.I.T. Podcast Episode 15: Progress and a Victory for Hope!

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Is everyone out there still celebrating?  I know here in Bangkok we’re in shock with huge smiles on our faces at the historical significance of this tremendous victory for anyone who has ever dared to hope for something better.  There are not really any show notes for this little T.I.T. cast I did yesterday evening but I had to put together a little something to mark the occasion at the election heard round the world.  I sincerely hope you enjoy and I got some nice emails and even a voice mail so Tom in Thailand will be back over the weekend with a more organized show for sure.

Meanwhile, email me at tomnthai@gmail.com, comment on the blog or you can call my voice line and leave me a message.  A new age has finally come after nearly a decade of waiting!

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Happy 4th of July From a Patriotic Ex-Pat…

A very warm Happy Fourth of July to you out there where ever and when ever in the world this finds you today. It is an extremely hot late Friday afternoon here in Bangkok, and my 4th of July is just about to start winding down. Now, I have a little confession to make to you guys out there today, and it is one i’m not ashamed to admit. Tom in Thailand is actually an EXTREMELY patriotic person deep at heart, and the sweet 4th of July wishes I received today made me more than a little homesick and nostalgic.

I chose this version of our national anthem to celebrate our country’s special day, as it never fails to give me goose bumps. I know Whitney is beyond tragic at the moment, but she honestly does the best job singing the anthem in my opinion.  I sat here and had a good heart lifting cry listening to it earlier from missing everything that is home. When you live abroad as a foreigner you are immediately labeled as an “ex-pat” or “ex-patriot” which is a label that has never set well with me. It sounds like i was once patriotic, but divorced my patriotism when I made the choice to move abroad. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. I have found that living abroad in a developing country has made me even more patriotic than when I was living at home. As Americans we take a lot for granted, and you only realize that not everyone in the world has the things we have. Imagine growing up in a country without any social services at all…no welfare, no social security, no food stamps. Imagine if you suddenly had to pay a quarter or half a month’s salary to afford to send your child to a school. I’ve seen children packed into an un-air conditioned room writing on the floor cause they don’t even have desks. I’ve seen people living in tin shacks next to filthy ditches and railroad tracks. I’ve seen people who cook, go to the toliet, and shower in the same water filled ditch next to their tin shacks.

When you travel abroad and see these types of things, it makes you thankful for the things you had growing up as an American. However, dont’ get me wrong as I know our country is not perfect, and I’m the first person to agree when I hear a valid criticism. We have our faults, but on this 4th of July far away from home I’m sitting here hoping everyone enjoys their holiday for those who cannot. Watch some fireworks and have some barbecue today for me and all your fellow Americans abroad. I’m missing home something fierce today, and I sure could use the good thoughts! Have a great weekend and speak to you again soon!

I like the comparison…

Good morning, afternoon, evening or night depending on where and when in the world this may find you. A very very Happy Thursday to you one and all and thanks so much for stopping by to have a visit. I stumbled into the office this morning before 8AM to catch up on some editorial corrections for a friend over the necessity of my coffee, and one of my co-workers came walking in to give me a bright “good morning.” Then purely out of the blue she tells me she’d been watching Ellen and started telling me about this interview with John McCain. So, naturally I came home from work to have a watch. I really liked the comparison she makes at the end of the clip and agree with her. The quite disagreement still feels like being shown to the back of the bus. Anyways, have a quick watch if you haven’t already seen it, and I’ll try to be better at posting over the weekend.

Haute Couture Huh??

Happy Saturday to all my readers where ever you may be and where ever this finds you. I think no matter how old I get or where I work I will always look forward to the weekends. I have noticed that my co-workers and I measure the work week by ‘sleeps’ leading up to the weekend. Are we the only ones in the world that do this? I highly doubt it, but anyways it is Saturday here and I’m feeling quite content sitting here in my laziness feeling like a sloth.

Anyways, I saw something yesterday at the gym that I wanted to talk to you guys about today. I was on the stair machine sweating one out, watching the rows of flat screen televisions mounted in front of the cardio equipment. Keep in mind that I’m just that gay, so naturally my eyes migrated to the one tuned to the ‘fashion’ television station where various emaciated teenage girls was stomping down various runways. Now, the things I am about to express are probably going to get me in trouble with the pink mafia.  However, I can’t help but call it like i see it sometimes because I noticed more often than not, the clothes being paraded were nothing short of hideous.  One girl in particular I noted was wearing a dress made entirely of bright red overlapping curtain ruffles and had half the skeleton of a basket perched atop her head. I wondered who would spend thousands on a dress like this and then actually be seen in public? Who buys dresses like this and where do they wear them? I just don’t understand why anyone would want to parade around wearing something cut from a brothel’s curtains or look like the play clothes in the Sound of Music. How many people really know what Haute Couture means? It is a french word that literally means high sewing or high dressmaking. In the fashion world it refers to the making of exclusive custom fitted fashions for the elite of the world.   However, doesn’t this remind you of the childhood story called “the Emperor’s New Clothes“?

Now, before I go on let me confess that my glasses are Versace, and that I have lingered in front of the Hugo Boss window more than once in my adult life. So I’m not exactly an ignorant uninitiated observer on the issue. I think it is important to look good and we live in a world that definitely judges us on how we present ourselves. So, all you would be Miranda Priestly types can just back off. However, I think it is time someone has to be the little boy from the Emperor’s New Clothes and say what everyone is really thinking. Have a great weekend ahead and thank you so much as always for stopping by! Don’t be afraid to comment!

Songkran Exiles…

Hey folks!  Well, i’ve been sitting here and have tried for the better part of the afternoon again and again to get onto the youtube website without any success at all.  I know I had promised you guys a video clip of the insane holiday madness that is called ‘Songkran’ here in Thailand, and I’ll just have to try again later.   As you are already aware, I’ve no wish to participate in the 3 or 4 day holiday event going on right now when the whole country descends into an anarchy of drunkenness and  water gun fights filled with stagnant klong water.  However, I cannot simply chose to abstain from the festivities going on around me if i venture out in public.  Those of us wishing not to partake in water fights must bunker up in our homes till Sundown when the water fights and festivities end each day.  After that most revelers are to drunk to accost anything but a porcelain throne, but not that I’m bitter old queen or anything.  Do i sound bitter?  :-)

No, I actually don’t mind staying in as I can quite happily keep myself occupied inside all day with writing blogs for you wonderful people, watching movies, or playing WOW.  It is EXTREMELY hot here since April is the height of summer, so you are sweating within seconds of merely walking out the door.  Speaking of movies…I’m sitting here writing and passively watching the movie “Castaway,” with Tom Hanks simultaneously.   I actually watched the tail end of the movie last night  and thanks to the repetitive  nature of movie channels it is on again.  It is ok though, as I really enjoy this film.  I relate to the main character in a way much the same as i relate to Bill Murray’s character in “Lost in Translation.”  I live out my life here in Thailand isolated from the world around me and thousands of miles from my loved ones at home.  Now i know what some of my readers are thinking, and especially one reader in particular.  You would say, “but Tom! remember you choose your life” and “you choose to live in Thailand” and that’s true to some extent.  However, life isn’t that cut and dried.  Do you really think we choose all the important things in our lives such as who we love?  Do you make the conscious decision at some point in time to say to yourself…”Hey, I think I will love this person starting now, at this point in time.”  No of course not.  What would you do if i shrugged my shoulders and said you had to between love and geography?  You should ask yourself how good are your empathy skills?  :-)

So…I sit here in my semi-self imposed exile somewhat by choice and somewhat by fate.  I do miss my home with all my heart, but I also love my partner very very much.  So what choices do I have then?  The U.S. isn’t going to welcome me home with partner in hand anytime soon, despite the progressive nature of laws in other western countries like Australia, Holland, or the U.K. that do treat ‘all’ their citizens equally.  So, until my country reaches a place that grants me equal rights like heterosexual citizens, I will do my best to live positively in the country here that I’ve adopted as a second home.  There will always be things about Thailand that i don’t like or find annoying but who’s to say it wouldn’t be the same anywhere.  Gosh, where did all that come from, huh?  Anyways, much much love to you and thank you so much for stopping through to have a read.  I appreciate the little bit of time you’ve spared and please please don’t be afraid to comment.  Till next time I hope this finds you well, wherever this finds you!

Where have the Republicans gone???

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Told you i’d be posting a lot more this week.  So I’m sitting here having a bit of marmalade on toast with my coffee and watching CNN.  I’m not sure why, but I only like to sit and watch CNN in the mornings when I’ve just woken up over a bit of breakfast.  Occasionally I might turn it on at night if I’m doing a bit of ironing, but most of the time I seek viewing entertainment elsewhere.  I thought I’d take a stab at politics today, though I’ll be the first to admit that It’s not a topic I enjoy.  I usually avoid talking politics like the plague, as my fear of confrontation is usually to strong to allow healthy discourse on controversial topics.  However, that’s what this is all about, right?  I started this blog to help me find my voice so why not throw a bit of controversy out there.

It is funny yet strange to turn on CNN here in Thailand and the only news stories that are running deal with American politics.  Lately, stories about the presidential race are taking up the majority of air time on news channels here and across Asia.  The CNN we have here originates from Hong Kong and serves the Asian community with their dose of western news.  The first news story to greet me this morning was of course more Hillary and Obama.  Something about someone being accused of plagiarism or something, and even though I was watching….I wasn’t paying close attention.  I was thinking about how that’s all I hear on the news.  It’s a constant loop of Hillary and Obama over and over and over.  It seems like once the primaries are over, that’s It…..we’re done.  The race seems to only be between the 2 Democratic candidates if one watches the news to get their information.  McCain and the rest of the little old men running for the Republican nomination don’t seem to be getting a fraction of the coverage from the media.  Where are the Republicans?  The only Republicans I know these days are like the mean sad little toadies you would see following around the bully at school with their head down laughing with the bully, all the while hoping not to get hit themselves.  Who do they have to look forward too?  McCain?  He is even older than Reagan when he took office at 69.  Do you really think he’s going to be in touch with the current needs and issues.  I know the last thing on earth I would want to do if I reach 70 is take the helm of control and take the responsibility of leadership for America.  Think about it?  Would you want to even take the CEO position at your place of employment at 70?  It just doesn’t sit well with me, though i will be the first to admit I’m a bit biased.

Following the endless stream of Clinton/Obama stories, I got to watch everyone’s favorite leader give an address from Africa.   “W” the train wreck is apparently “touring” Africa at the moment and was giving an address of support for Kosovo declaring independence from Serbia.   They were showing scenes of him hugging native villagers, while looking very casual in his ethnic colored shirt and it made me think.  Seems “W” is getting the most out of his last year as President and making sure to get those long extended exotic vacations out of the way before his term is up.  If your going to do a ‘tour’ of African nations, then might as well do it on the tab of taxpayers, right?  I mean its not like the U.S. is suffering under financial problems, right?  Anyways, I don’t want to ruin the rest of my day with these thoughts of failed administrations so I will close this entry here.  Much love as always and see you very soon!