January 28, 2009

Where Do You Feel At Home?

Posted in life, transgender at 10:14 pm by Michael

I was back in my hometown of Wickford, Rhode Island recently for the weekend with Anh and Samwich. We went to visit my mom after I had been in Boston for work.

I’ve been back probably five or six times in the past year.

Just about every place else that I go, I have no problem at all feeling at ease – at work – out and about – whatever. I don’t feel self-conscious.

Today I was in a business meeting with a group of customers from Japan. No problem! I still know how to be culturally polite!

However, turn me loose in my hometown, where I grew up from third grade, and I’m a mess.

The local pizza place that I absolutely *love* (Filipou’s) – I even remember the phone number by heart still (401-294-4737) – I almost freeze when I call to place my order.

I went to middle school with Tim, who’s place it is. I went there all the time. I remember when my dad died, the day of his funeral I ordered a pizza to share with Anh and some of my close friends (I’ll never forget that Hillel flew out from Seattle to RI for one day to be there for us…). I walked in to pick up the pizza and Tim asked how I was.

“Well, my Dad passed away, and today his funeral.”

“I’m sorry to hear that. Have a baklava. Give my best to your mom.”

It was sweet actually. You had to be there.

Back to the weekend, I call for the pizza.

4-0-1 2-9-4 4-7-3-7

“Hello, Filipou’s”

“Yes, I’d like to order a small pizza with meatball and peppers and a meatball grinder”


“Uhhh….. Wallent?”

(It had always been “Mike” before)

“20 minutes.” Click.

I was relieved that it was cold, and that I was wearing a thick coat when I went to pick it up. I hate to admit it. I feel like I’ve let myself down – not being honest…

I’m not sure why.

Maybe it’s because I have so much history there. Creating a new identity is easier when you are less known.

We moved from Sammamish to Seattle right before I transitioned.

At work, I moved to a new team right before I transitioned.

Work is also easier because honestly, most of the time, I’m “The Boss”… power does make it easier.

Back in Wickford, I’ve got lots of history, but no position.

We’ll be back in March. Improvement is needed.

Megan needs to order a pizza.


O Ya – Oh Yeah!

Posted in food at 9:36 pm by Michael

La Ratte Nigiri

La Ratte Nigiri

If you are in Boston, and if you like sushi (or are willing to try sushi), if you have one dinner, go here.


Anh and I are big sushi fans. We have had the fortune to try sushi from a lot of places – Seattle, New York, LA, Las Vegas (yuk) and of course Tokyo.

Even given that, probably the most memorable experience has been at O Ya.

Its non-traditional – one of the funkiest things they serve is “La Ratte potato chip” nigiri style (in the foreground of the picture). La Ratte is a type of potato made famous by Joel Robuchon with his whipped potatoes Robuchon. (If you go to any Joel Robuchon restaurant – you MUST have them – world famous).

Here, they create a La Ratte potato chip, and serve it nigiri style with a little black truffle and truffle oil. Sounds absurd, and it is.

Dessert was a roasted fois gras on top of a sweet rice roll with a little bitter chocolate on top. I can’t even explain.

Make a reservation.


Get the chef’s menu.