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"Valerie," the woman at the front desk said, "the orange one died." She said it with a smile on her face, in the way that Thais always have a smile on their face. Even when they're telling you that someone you care deeply about is dead. And it makes it confusing to understand. Just like when you answer the phone at work to someone named Jennifer, who you assume is the Jennifer in operations who you've been doing web work for, and she tells you that dad has died and you wonder why she's telling you this. Until you realize that it's your sister...

"It's easy to be happy," Suwat said, handing over his bicycle. "Just ride, I know the way." I mounted the bike at 12:30 in the morning and pedaled down the hundreds of years old street. Sometimes I rode slowly, carefully, making small circles, trying not to fall. Sometimes I rode really fast, as fast as my legs could move, letting the wind catch my hair. I always rejoined my friend....

I returned to Thailand, two months later, via a ten hour layover in Singapore where I arrived at one in the morning, found the 24 hour Burger King, and then attempted to sleep in the airport. It was a horrible sleep interrupted by security who wanted to check my boarding pass. I then spent one night, going to bed entirely too early, in Bangkok before heading back to Chiang Mai. I wanted to spend my last month with friends, in a place I love, not over-exerting myself. And I needed to spend a lot of time catching up with work....

I am an awesome carton of unicorn milk. It was a little awkward being back in a place where I knew I'd be seeing a guy who had slept with me and then ignored me every day. I kept trying to work up the nerve to tell him I wanted to talk, just for a bit of, I don't know, closure, I guess, but I didn't. Sometimes I'm just the same old me....

Sometimes a friend mentions that she is craving something. And sometimes it makes you crave it too. And so you go to three different stores until you can find it. Get way too giddy when you walk down a store aisle and see it staring back at you. Pick it up, along with all of the ingredients you need. Go back to your friend's place. Turn on the hot plate. And make magic....

Fourth of July at Coney Island has become my tradition. I wake up early, make my way to Surf and Stillwell. Stand in the heat for hours. Witness more than a few people who have come to be friends scarf down double digits worth of hot dogs for ten minutes. Celebrate on the boardwalk with a couple of beers. Indulge in excessive drinking while watching the ESPN recap at a bar. I've made it to New York, and the Nathan's Famous hot dog eating contest, every year for the past four years. I couldn't imagine not being there. So, I had...