Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Connection/ Blog #3

My trip to Thailand has been insightful as I learn about the lovely culture of the Thai people. The beauty of the architecture and the kindness of the Thai people is something I will remember. As a cool breeze alleviates the warm temperature of Chiang Mai, I reflect on my trip and my personal quest of finding a connection to the Hmong people of Thailand.
I visited the Hmong New Year celebration outside the city of Chiang Mai hoping to find some sort of connection to my Hmong ancestry. My experience at the Hmong New Year shocked me because what I found was something more than I can ever imagine. I remember how nervous I felt reminding me of my first day in Kindergarten.  The vast open space, crowded parking lot, various vendors and their booths, and the wide array of people in traditional and modern clothing painted the mosaic of the Hmong New Year in Thailand.
After getting a feel to this foreign but familiar scenery, I talked to some of Hmong people at the New Year. To my surprise and the elderly Hmong woman I was talking to, our Hmong identity remains strong and intact. The only notable difference was the power and privilege that came from different our countries. The elderly lady I talked to noted how lucky I was to be able to see Thailand and celebrate the New Year there and how she would never be able to do the same. I never saw the privilege of being an American because of my family history but here in Thailand I knew it existed.  Feeling grateful and down-hearted from our conversation, I know that I am truly lucky.

For the first time, I felt home in a foreign country. Although I did not know the elderly Hmong woman, I felt a connection that could not be described. As I slowly piece the puzzle to finding my cultural identity, I know that home is where the heart is and Thailand is part of that home.  

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