Going Meta at the Mega Banga Mall

UPDATE: I do not, DO NOT have dengue fever. In fact, I have almost completely recovered, except for a few sniffles and coughs here and there. Thanks everyone for your concern and good tips! 🙂


Me writing this post, sitting in the corner (of course) of the Ikea food court in the Mega Banga Mall in Bangkok, Thailand on Jan. 24, 2013. (Photos by Bjorn Karlman)

It’s Thursday. When I was growing up , that meant going to the mall (big ups to the Glendale Galleria!), eating dinner there, reading the newspaper with my parents and opening mail. Yes, we opened our mail at the mall. We also people-watched, played “guess who’s the tourist” and exercised (read: a lazy wandering that somehow always ended with a free sample at See’s Candy store).

We always sat in the exact same spot: at a table for four by a pillar on the raised inner court. I mean always. If others had the impudence to be sitting there on Thursday night, my dad would make us sit at a nearby table from which he would mildly, but blatantly, stare at the offenders until they got up and left.

It got to be such a tradition that years later, even when I wasn’t at home, conversations like this one were not unique:
“Hey, I saw your parents on Thursday,” a friend would say.
“Oh, where?” I would ask foolishly.
“It was Thursday, so at the mall obviously. You know, sitting at their table in the food court.”

Because we were there so frequently, we began to recognize the other mall regulars: purple lady (she dressed head-to-toe in said color); small man in the black suit and fedora; and my favorite mall maintenance worker, Sam, an elderly Chinese man who never smiled or said a word to us, but would sweep under our table and clean it when he saw us coming.


The main entrance to the Mega Banga mall in Bangkok, Thailand, seen here on Jan. 24, 2013, is indeed bangin’.

I loosely carried on that tradition even when I moved to Northern California. On my dinner break, my husband and I could be found most evenings walking around the Chico Mall (read: a lazy wandering that usually ended with a stop in the food court).

And now, halfway across the world, in Bangkok, Thailand, I am sitting in a food court. In the Mega Banga mall. On Thursday.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I wonder if that’s a human thing. I’m sure nostalgia plays a part in my pursuance of certain behavior patterns, but I bet the need for routine is in there somewhere, too. The desire to make the unfamiliar a little more familiar.

My husband showed me a great post on Vishnu’s Virtues in which the author speaks of the need to embrace change. I heartily agree. I believe there is no better catalyst for growth and character development than change.

But sitting here, in a mall, on Thursday, makes me happy.


8 thoughts on “Going Meta at the Mega Banga Mall

  1. So glad to hear you are feeling better! Sounds like it was a wicked wallop but it seems like it left almost as quickly as it came. Don’t understimate the prayers that are going up for you guys! Reading your post makes me miss See’s candy which was my family tradition every Christmas.

  2. I am sure prayer works and I know that many are praying for you. Don’t forget that sometimes it is necessary to seek medical care as well as God may work through trained professionals. Don’t just lie there and expect the worse to happen!

    • Too true, Inger! Help comes in all shapes and forms. Plus, I believe there is always something to be learned from someone else—it would be a shame not to benefit from other people’s knowledge!

  3. I love your blogs, Jammie. Keep me on your list. I was in Bangkock years ago. They certainly didn’t have anything as modern as this mall. Betty Vail.

    • Thanks so much Betty! I’m glad you like them — that means a lot coming from an English teacher! And I am constantly amazed by the malls here. Bangkok really is a shopping town.

  4. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have found this blog!! REALLY! Jammie how could I have missed the other, better, smarter half’s take on all things Karlman!

    Looking forward to keeping up. Someone who includes an Ikea photo and talks of families opening mail at the mall – wait, did you guys ever sleep there too? (just wondering in case you lived at the mall at you didn’t realize it growing up. hahahahah) Yes, bloggers whose parents open mail at the mall is my kind of blogger!

    You can always embrace change – for example, changing the day you go to the mall:) ?

    • Vishnu, you seriously make me laugh. I’m glad you found the blog, too (you leave the most awesome comments :D). And even though Bjorn may not be “heard” on this blog, he’s definitely seen (he takes about 90 percent of the pictures).

      We never lived at the mall, but I would have loved it, especially after seeing “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” (—> using pennies from the fountain as income? Ingenious!)

      For now, I’m just going to embrace location change, but a Thursday night at the mall is forever. 😀

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