Elena Robertson's blog

You Know Nothing [About Fat Shaming], Jon Snow

May 28, 2014

The time has come to talk about body image in Vietnam.

As of late, many of the blogs/websites I follow have posted articles about fat-shaming and body acceptance in America. As I do not currently live in America, I thought it pertinent to discuss body image and fat-shaming in Vietnam. My first point is: America has nothing on Vietnam. Nothing. All of the skinny, waif-like girls whose perfect hair and widening thigh gaps send [white, because that's what I am familiar with, as I am one] Americans into anorexic spirals have absolutely nothing on the body-image culture of Vietnam. The...

Oh. You Don't Seem American.

May 28, 2014

"You don't seem American. You're cool."

"No way, you're not American!"

"But you're basically Canadian anyways."

"You're nothing like other Americans."

"I don't believe you."

On May 5th, I returned from two weeks' vacation in Thailand rested, on the verge of being alarmingly tan and questioning my nationality more than ever. Being an American is tricky--you can't be openly patriotic, because everyone hates you. It's easy to fall into the trap of going along with the America bashing, but America bashing with...

This Side of Paradise - F. Scott Fitzgerald

This Side of Paradise

March 05, 2014

"And he could not tell why the struggle was worth while, why he had determined to use to the utmost himself and his heritage from the personalities he had passed...He stretched out his arms to the crystalline, radiant sky. 'I know myself,' he cried, 'but that is all.'" This Side of Paradise F. Scott Fitzgerald

I've been back in Long Xuyen exactly three weeks as of today, and, as of tomorrow, will officially have been cancer-free for one whole month. Not a bad first two months of 2014, even if we did get off to a rocky start.

I guess first I'll talk about...

That Time I Fell Asleep and Woke Up on The Coast of Cambodia Instead of the Mekong Delta

January 16, 2014

[Note: I do not have any images from this nightmare, but this serene image represents the antithesis of this horrific journey from transit hell.] 

After a wonderful day/night in Otres Beach, I hopped on a bus to Phnom Penh, where I would be meeting my mom’s good friend/my hero/role model/coolest woman I know for a few days of mothering before heading back to Long Xuyen.


The journey to Phnom Penh was unremarkable.


My mom’s friend, Kath, works for PATH and is the woman I hope to be in 30 years.  Long story short, she is...

Livin with Salmon-ella Ella, Ella, Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay, Ay.

January 16, 2014

Morning 5, Koh Rong aka Paradise: I woke up, mid-dream about my cat back in America, to groggily feel a warm being next to me in bed.


I leapt out of bed, grabbed my phone and searched my death trap of a  bed for the culprit.  I soon discovered it was not, to my great relief, any sort of poisonous being, but a small cat. A small, flea ridden, bed hog of a cat.  Had I known the physical agony this cuddly monster would cause me in the coming days, I would have...

Thyroid Cancer Blows, But At Least I'm Learning to Cook, Right?

January 14, 2014

Warning: This discusses food. I hate hearing about other people’s food issues/dietary restrictions, so feel free to skip. The jist is that I can’t eat any of the food I came home to eat and am being forced to cook. LAME.

December 23rd: D-day. Or should I say T-Day. No, no, not Turkey Day. Thyroidectomy Day. Second times the charm, as they say.  I stomped into the hospital hours before the crack of dawn (here in the PNW, the sun rises around 8:30 and sets around 4:30. Depressing), ready to give my birth date about 40 times and answer endless...

Thanksgiving: A Time to Celebrate Rampant Consumerism and Genocide Memorials

January 13, 2014

Thanksgiving. The beginning of the (American) holiday season: a time to join hands with family and friends, stuff yourself with loads of crap food and give thanks that you were born in the first world, all while ignoring the fact that this holiday does, basically, celebrate a genocide. Not nearly as bad as Columbus Day, but it’s probably up there in terms of blatantly insensitive American revisionist history. To add insult to injury, I don’t like most of the food served at Thanksgiving, which is why I have successfully evaded traditional Tgiving celebrations for the last 3...

Phnom Penh

100 Miles to Phnom Penh

January 10, 2014

My trip to Cambodia got off to a comically disastrous start: my favorite professor from college had come from Australia to Vietnam to visit me, and we were going to Cambodia together for a few days before I headed south for a tan and he west for the temples of Angkor.  Having never traveled in SE Asia before, I was a little apprehensive as to how he would react to the reliable inefficiency and discomfort of international buses.  Having never actually been in charge of travel plans for another human being before, I was apprehensive that we would wind up killed, maimed or, worst of...


November 25, 2013

Hashtags are a thing people do in a lot of different ways: facebook, twitter, instagram, texting and, most of all, trolling. Hashtags are so dumb that they're funny. I literally say the word 'hashtag' in real life.  According to Thought Catalog/The NY Times/every journalist who has ever written anything about our evidently disastrous generation of Millenials, we have such short attention spans that we can only pay attention for pointless listicles that make gross generalizations about people based on age or location (that, let's be real, are usually at least a little...


November 05, 2013

Sonder: n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.