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Who is Smokey?

Why should you care about Smokey? First some backstory...


I've always adored cats. While I understand some people's preference are dogs, I appreciate the independent affection of my cat — she enjoys my company but doesn't rely on me excessively. It would be pleasant if she consistently responded to my calls, but I'm aware that she does so only when it suits her current mood. I can't have it both ways.

Additionally, a cat requires less upkeep than a dog. She self-grooms, doesn't require daily walks, and instinctively knows where to use the bathroom without any training. Generally, she's also quieter than a dog.

That all changed in June of 2021

After experiencing the unique personality of ragdoll cats through my friend Kaitlin's cat Lucky, which she acquired in June of 2020, I felt compelled to get one myself. I was fortunate to find Smokey, my first ragdoll. Smokey was a bargain at 1500 RMB (around $235 USD then), a significantly reduced price due to a minor deviation from the standard ragdoll appearance; otherwise, she would have been around $700 USD.


See the first video above with Smokey I.

And it changed again in July of 2022

In June of 2022, I relocated to Medellin, Colombia and explored options for bringing Smokey with me. However, the journey would have been stressful for her and costly. Smokey was already in the caring hands of my friend Holly in Kunming, and I wasn't even sure if she missed me. Ultimately, I decided to let Holly adopt Smokey, providing her with a new, loving home alongside Holly's sister and mother.

In Medellin, I discovered my new kitten, Smokey II, when she was just eight weeks old. She cost around $650, a price I was more than willing to pay. However, when I moved to Bogota on December 6th, 2022, Smokey II couldn't join me immediately. Fortunately, my friend Laura in Medellin was glad to look after her. Later, with assistance from my friend Carlos in Bogota, I was able to take a two-day drive to Medellin and back to bring Smokey II to my new home in Bogota.

In May of 2023, I realized that relocating to the West had been a misstep for me; my heart belongs to Asia. Having already visited Vietnam five times, I decided it would be my new permanent residence. Laura had found it difficult to part with Smokey II, and the prospect of moving her from Colombia to Vietnam posed similar, if not more challenging, obstacles as with Smokey I. So, Laura was relieved and happy to learn she could take Smokey II back. She and her boyfriend undertook the long drive from Medellin to Bogota, a full day's journey each way, to reunite with Smokey II. Graciously, Laura even compensated me with half of the $650 I had originally spent on the kitten.

See the second video above with Smokey II.


And it changed again in June of 2023

Keen to avoid my previous oversight of not thoroughly exploring Colombia before moving, I was more diligent about evaluating cities in Vietnam to find the best fit for me. I began with Hanoi in May 2023. After conversing with various locals, I decided to explore three other cities: Da Lat, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), and Da Nang. During my three-week stay in Hanoi, I took a two-day trip to Da Lat. After comparing the two, I concluded that Hanoi was a better choice for me than Da Lat.

I arrived in Saigon on June 23 and spent four days discovering the city and meeting friends from Next, I flew to Da Nang, where I spent another four days exploring and connecting with more Couchsurfing friends. Despite certain perks in both Hanoi and Saigon, Da Nang outshone them, ultimately emerging as my preferred choice.

During my two-week stay at an Airbnb just 50 meters from My Khe Beach, I engaged the services of various real estate agents and finally discovered my ideal residence on the 31st floor of the Hoang Anh Gia Lai LakeView Apartments. I moved in on July 12th. Informing my Airbnb host, Dong, of my desire to find a ragdoll cat, we visited a pet store that he found together on July 13th. That's when I first held Smokey III. He contentedly stayed in my arms for over ten minutes, purring the entire time. Surprisingly, he was priced at only $215.

See the third video above with Smokey III.

All three Smokeys have been my daily life teachers...

Smokey continually reinforces the idea of always loving the moment now. It's true that he doesn't get to play the games we humans like to play of seeing how we could have the future be different. But he is a master of the now. We adults can easily allow our addiction to trying to make the future better and to avoid a worse future, so that we end of not loving and enjoying the nows as they flow through us. Smokey is a daily living example and reminder to keep myself present to loving now. See Kids and cats: our gigantic gurus.

He's also a paragon of being happy and able to "do nothing," sometimes for 30 minutes or longer. See Undoing something.

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