Where most ‘normal’ childhoods are defined spatially, mine is defined in a much more squishy temporal way.

“Where are you from?” is not an easy question for someone with an absurd childhood.

Kim Laos 1967

I’m 54 at this writing, happy, healthy, and living in San Diego. I was born in Newport Beach, California, but beyond getting from grandma’s house to the beach across the street, I know absolutely nothing about my home town.

For some people, answering the question “Where are you from?” is a no-brainer. “Wichita, Kansas,” you might say; or “Albany, New York.” For me, the answer is more of a “Whellllp, it’s complicated.”

I left California when I was three to traipse the globe. My late ex-step-father was with the Agency for International Development, and my ex-husband was with the International Monetary Fund. Between them, I managed to live in

  • Vientiane, Laos
  • Taipei, Taiwan
  • Bangkok, Thailand
  • Saigon, Vietnam
  • Accra, Ghana
  • Monrovia, Liberia
  • Kinshasa, Zaïre
  • France
  • England

To me, this was a perfectly normal life, in the same way that the kid from Wichita thought her childhood was normal. I mean, didn’t everyone live this way? All of my friends did.

For years, though, I avoided talking about my nomadic ways. In pre-Anthony Bourdain and Other Wondering Celebrities days, talking about my favourite restaurant in Chiang Mai or favourite beach in Vietnam didn’t go over well with your average non-expat American. In my older and wiser years, I’m embracing the absurd and venturing into “Where I’m From” land.

I’m now a pharmaceutical lawyer with my own practice. I am a companion to five cats (IT WAS AN ACCIDENT!) and a horse.

After much e-stalking, I finally found my very first boyfriend, who it turns out will be my very last husband.

I garden, read (a lot—we don’t get television, but that’s a blog topic for later), work, and ride. I make jewelry, but seldom wear it anymore, so I give it away. I also knit, but we live in San Diego, so I mostly give that away, too!

Most importantly, I try to have fun in whatever I do. I am chronically cheerful, and I laugh frequently and often inappropriately. After so many years living in developing countries, I am acutely aware that any day I don’t have to walk a mile for a glass of water is a good one.

It’s working for me so far.