Let me explain.
When I said my wedding vows nineteen years ago, did I think my marriage would end at a Greyhound bus station in Green Bay, Wisconsin on the night of a Donald Trump rally?
I was visiting my soon to be ex-husband in Door Country, Wisconsin, it being a slight commute from my home in Kunming, China. We had grown apart, physical and everything else. …
Almost two years ago, I made the decision to file a mid-life divorce, a decision I enjoyed making as much as an appointment for a coloscopy.
But my husband didn’t leave me in suburbia with the keys to the storage unit. He left me in China, in a quaint village of six million while he moved back with his parents in Wisconsin.
Translation? My divorce spans two continents and thirteen-time zones and fluctuating currency exchange rates.
Because of my peculiar living situation, I had the choice to file for divorce in one of three states: Illinois: where lawyers are more…
I was on the other side of the world when the news hit, in the Mangkok district of Hong Kong, in a hotel room about the size of my first cubicle at Leo Burnett. I wasn’t doing touristy things or eating dim sum with this guy. I was sick, bedridden and the news on the television made me sicker.
It was coverage of the Las Vegas shootings.
I was tòng bù yù shēng (痛不欲生 ) or overwhelmed with sorrow.
It was awful. I was held hostage. Either I watched the breaking news or an Australian cooking show featuring crocodile quesadillas…
My mind goes back to the early 1970s, to Watervliet’s old Junior high School, otherwise known as the Zoo. My mom went to high school there and kissed her first boy friend– in the gym–all glitzed up for prom night. Then my Uncle Norman got hung out of a window by his classmates as a prank, which nearly gave his teacher having a heart attack.
I tried to remember these things as I wanted to disappear in my 7th grade social studies class, where I was severely bullied. Notes were being passed by the boys snickering in the next row…
When Life Gives You Butt Beans
My name is Ginger MacDonald or 麦静洁, which translates into Pure and Peaceful Hamburger Bun when you put it into Mandarin Translators. I know this because I lived in Kunming, China for four years. It’s a quaint village of six million people on the fault line of the old China and new, where English is the new currency and modern high rises are being built by men wearing rice hats with wicker baskets on their backs.
That’s where I was the spring of 2014, the day before my fifteenth wedding anniversary, when my husband…
I tried my best not to stare at her hair plugs.
“I’m trans gender.”
“Oh really?” My acting was bad as the doll-like holes on her forehead but her voice was water to my parched ears. We were in an English language desert, the Thai Immigration Bureau in Bangkok, located a three hour bus ride from anywhere familiar, as was the story I was about to hear. The chatty fifty-five year old Muslim woman applying for a retirement Visa used to be an Amish man. And I had fifty-five million questions.
“What state did you grow up in?”
I didn’t know what to say when a friend lost her second son to suicide. Losing one was tragic enough. But two? That was more twisted than a plot Stephen King could dream up. Living in Asia made it hard to wrap my arms around the globe to give her a hug.
Pain of that magnitude would take Gods of all kinds to help wipe the tears. I vowed to light incense at every temple I came across in Asia, from those with blinking lights and offerings of Red Bull in Vietnam to those with long eared Buddhas in Yunnan…