Tall falang returns to Canada

outside in the snow

23 days have gone by since I’ve last seen the country I called home for almost 7 months.

Though I’m not physically in Laos anymore, I mentally feel like I am. Good thing I have so many happy memories to think back on and occupy my mind.

I’ve put off posting on the blog since returning because I just haven’t found the words. I still don’t feel like I have, but want to share a few thoughts with you all.

So here I am, a Canadian on home soil once again.

The first few days back were brutal- shock, stress and sadness waved over me. The word that best describes how I was seeing everything those first few days: ORGANIZED!

Wait…people actually stop at red lights here?

Wait…there’s a garbage and recycling system?

Wait…there’s a grocery store with everything you need?

It’s been an interesting transition back, one that is much harder than anticipated, all because I loved my experience so much. Sure, I could potentially go back, but it would never be like it was. And that’s the hard part to swallow. C’est la vie. 

On the bright side, I’ve heard the phrase “You’re so tall,” 80% less since returning. People still want to make sure I’m aware of the fact, you know, in case I didn’t know.

I’m already getting ready for another plane ride…Edmonton, Alberta here I come! I can not wait to spend a few weeks with my sister and friends. It’s going to be awesome!

On that note, friends in Laos throw a bucket of water on someone for me (Lao New Year, I don’t typically throw buckets of water on people), and friends in Canada…pray for sunshine 🙂


16 people I don’t want to live without

Relationships make or break times abroad.

The following 16 people have marked my experience abroad in such a powerful way. Thank you all for your friendship, love and laughs.

nila and marielle B&W




Vim, Peta, Sam, Hannah and Chelsea
Peta, Vim, Sam, Hannah and Chelsea
alyssa and I black and white
mark black and white
the gang
John and Sindhu

Blessed and grateful.

I’ll stop here before I start crying 😉


Let the good times roll

A little bit of this,  a little bit of that.

A few tears and a heck of a lot of laughs, these past few weeks have been amazing.

Here are some pictures!

town hall.jpg
Us Canadian interns presented at our weekly “Town Hall” on Monday morning. Reflections, hopes and thank you’s were shared…Tears galore!


marielle and Alyssa
So lucky to have met Alyssa in Laos 🙂
soccer team last game
A farewell football match with the team
baci ceremony 4
Baci ceremony! These ceremonies are used during important events or occasions such as marriages, farewells, welcomings, etc. It has become a traditional custom to Laos and does not tie into religion.
baci ceremony 2
An offering is placed in both hands (eggs in this case) and people tie strings around your wrists while sharing thoughts, wishes and hopes. A mix of laughing and crying going on in this picture.

baci ceremony 3

baci ceremony
A long string is passed around and held while chants are sung. Such a beautiful ceremony.
Lunch with coworkers/friends
Night out to celebrate Ashley’s birthday!! Danced the night away
My coworkers and friends that guarantee laughs everyday.

I went back to grade 5 for a day

IMG_0883Do you consider yourself a creative person?

Creativity is defined as a phenomenon whereby something new and somehow valuable is formed.

In today’s world, there are so many platforms that exist to create music, photos, videos, art, etc. But basic creativity in everyday tasks remains, and I find it easy to assume being uncreative when not doing something extravagant.

The thing I love the most about Communications is the creative opportunities it provides in every day tasks. I am constantly relying on innovative ideas to captivate readers, viewers and sponsors. How am I going to tell this story? How am I going to catch the viewer’s eye? These are questions I ask myself every day.

I was recently asked to speak about creativity to a group of grade 5 students from a school in Vientiane. They are working on different projects and invite guest speakers to share ideas, opinions and perspectives with them.

We talked about the way to keep creativity alive, boundaries, motives and more!

I asked the students to take 2 pictures:

One picture had to include the sky, something red and something about themselves.

The second picture had to be about something creative- whatever creative might look like to them.

Check out their photos!



No boundaries creativity:


Pretty great right?

The students concluded that boundaries restricted their creativity and it didn’t feel as authentic as it could be without guidelines.

Going back to primary school for a day was fun, but I definitely like the whole adult thing way more.

Thanks for reading!




How Laos made me into less of a cook

Perk no.120382 of living in Laos= being able to eat out for the same cost as cooking.

I have loved trying new foods all around Vientiane and have found my favorite places to eat. A perfect mix of western food and Lao food has kept my stomach happy and satisfied.

I’ve taken photos over the past few weeks of some food I’ve eaten so I could share with you all (and maybe make you a little bit jealous 😉 ) and for me to have a reminder in the future of what foods I enjoyed here.

No photos of food I make, that’s not exciting. ha!

Try not to drool!

Cafe vanille crepe
Potato, goat cheese and caramelized onion crêpe. Oui svp.
vegetarian restaurant
Vegetarian veggie stir-fry
korean bbq
Korean BBQ- not sure how I feel about them…
dees cafe
Some of the best fried spring rolls in town @ Dee’s Cafe
banana chips
Banana chips are my new favorite snack! Nice alternative to my obsession over chips.
crispy pork sweet and sour
Lao Kitchen knows how to do a sweet&sour crispy pork
Under the mountain of crushed peanuts lies a pad thai that I’ve had more often that not for lunch. It’s SO good. And the weirdest part is that it’s served at a little restaurant beside a gas station.
Ai Capone makes really good pizza and has a three course lunch meals for only 58,000kip! Got this black pizza the other day (tastes the same) with mozzarella, eggplant and onions. Delicioso!

Peter asked me what foods I am most excited to eat when I get back to Canada. My exact answer was this: “I am going to get home from the airport and eat Boursin cheese on rice crackers with a jar of hummus ready for dips. All of this will happen as I am sitting in my hot tub outside.”


P.S. Happy Women’s Day!


This is what I did at 5am

marielle marathon

That Luang is a place of worship, prayer as well as a tourist attraction.

On the morning of March 6th 2016, it was where thousands of people filled with adrenaline gathered to participate in the first ever Vientiane International Half-Marathon (21km, 10.5km or 5km).

Hundreds of yellow t-shirts floated below the dark sky of a Vientiane morning, illuminating the kilometres ahead of them.

starting in the dark

I had anxiously been waiting the race countdown for weeks- and so was everyone in Vientiane.

My 10.5km race was filled with excitement, concentration, self-doubt and perseverance. I just kept telling myself: Just go. Just keep running. Just keep moving your legs. It helps keep my focus.

I think I may have talked about my dad’s soccer coaching technique before on this blog, and I’m going to repeat it. He coached my competitive soccer team and kept hearing the words ‘I can’t‘ from the girls. So, he got these bright yellow t-shirts made with the words “YES I CAN’ written in huge block letters. We wore those shirts every practice- seeing those words on each others’ shirts made us believe.

Today, I didn’t need those words on my shirt because I knew I could. I had learned from my dad how to believe in myself and not let self-doubt take over my thoughts. (tearing up, love ya dad!)


I crossed that finish line- and my oh my did it feel AMAZING!

Up on that award stage went incredible athletes who finished in impressive times. I was taking photos of my friend who won 1st place in her age category when all of a sudden I heard “In 4th place is Marielle Hossack from Canada”.


I turn my head around so fast and look at my friends like ‘did you hear what I just heard?’. ‘GO GO GO!’ they tell me.

I go on stage and accept the award for 4th place in my age category! AHHHH!!!!!

getting my award

Proud is an understatement for how I feel about everyone from World Vision Laos who participated in this event. This race has brought us staff closer together and I am grateful for it.

Half-marathon…I’m coming for you next!





MTV Cribs ft.Laos

The homes are massive, and so are these people’s egos.

MTV Cribs; ever heard of it?

It’s an American tv show that visits the homes of celebrities that live in million dollar mansions. From home movie theatres to olympic size pools, these homes leave you dreaming about what you would do with a few millions to spare.

For the past few months, my friend Peter has been living in a huge house here in Vientiane by himself, with very little inside. (coincidental lease opportunity-won’t get into details) He’s moving out tomorrow so with some friends, we shot our own version of MTV cribs and it was/is hilarious!

Check out the video!


Hope you enjoyed it!




Des légumes pas chers et pas mal bons!

J’arrive sur mon vélo à mon marché habituel.

Je souris et dis “Sabai dee”, en recevant le même accueil de la dame qui me sert chaque semaine. Elle me sert un plateau sur lequel j’empile des légumes; onions, carottes, ail, laitue, patates, etc. Tout est frai, tout est local.

fresh veggies

Un sac de plastique rempli de légumes peux me coûter 5$. S’il y aurait ce genre d’aubaine au Canada, est-ce qu’il y aurait plus de mangeurs de légumes?  Moi en tout cas, j’en mangerais plus!

J’aime faire des soupes aux légumes et des stir-fry. Ma soeur est sûr de rire à ce dernier plat comme je suis reine des stir-fry…c’est si facile à faire, je ne peux m’empêcher!

fresh veggies 2.jpg

plat de légumesregarde aux légumes

Le Laos importe peu de produits internationaux, alors c’est facile manger de la nourriture traditionnelle.

Par contre, c’est bien énervant quand le goût de chips me pique (ce qui est souvent) et que le sacrifice monétaire doit être fait!

Ce marché va me manquer!

*Niveau de stress modéré en écrivant ce message blog à cause des nombreux experts de la grammaire (cough*enseignantes* cough) qui visitent ce blog. Vive les migraines de la langue française!


Hot pot soup+ a video!

One steaming hot pot of soup on a steady fire, and a whole lot of goodness cooking up inside.

You slip your shoes off, sit on the cushions around the small tables and wait for a guy with iron hands to bring you a boiling hot pot of soup. From there, you add everything.

My friend Peter showed me his blog and I found these hilarious videos he made of himself in Peru a few years back. Thought I’d give it a shot and try to capture a few moments on video here and there to share with family and friends.

Hope you enjoy it!

(I don’t know why I threw up a peace sign in the first shot, so just go with it. ha!)


Crossing the finish line

that luang.jpg

Six years since I’ve crossed a finish line in a sprint.

Sometime ago in primary and secondary school, track and field was what I loved. I still love it, but somewhere in between university and work, it just hasn’t been in the cards.

Until now!

I love organizing events that bring people together, especially for a good cause. I heard about the Vientiane International Half Marathon in early January and suggested to my communication team that we gather staff from our office and participate as a team! They said YES!

15 sign-up sheets later and we’ve got a team running to stay healthy and to raise awareness for child protection, through the End Trafficking in Persons program. It has been so much fun these past few weeks seeing where everyone is in their training and going for runs with each other. Sports really do bring people together. (And it seems like that’s what everyone is talking about in Vientiane. This small town I tell you, so easy for the word to get around!)

Back to ETIP; this program focuses on on prevention, victim protection and policy advocacy to eliminate trafficking into exploitative and abusive situations. Asia Pacific is the region with the most trafficking victims. The ETIP program works in Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Here is the website if you want to read more about it!

I will be running the 10.5km race on March 6th and am so looking forward to it!

Our team has set up a fundraising page, check it out! If you want to donate to help make a difference, don’t hesitate to do so!

I hope all my Canadian friends and family are staying safe in this crazy snow storm that is taking over headlines across every media channel!!