My Hmong “Struggles”

You’d be surprised at how often I get asked what my ethnicity is. Although it usually comes out more along the lines of “What kind of Asian are you?” like I’m a flavor of a delicious treat, I’ve gotten it enough to understand where people are going with the question. The conversations are always smooth until I say I’m Hmong. That’s when things take an interesting turn. 

  1. "Oh! So you’re from Mongolia." | No, people from Mongolia are MONGOLIAN. 
  2. "M-U-N-G?" | H-M-O-N-G. Silent “H”. And, no, I’m not from Mongolia.
  3. "Where are you from?" "Minnesota." "Where are really from?" "Born in Minneapolis, raised in St. Paul." "Um, where are your parents from?" | My parents are from Laos and, no, I’m not Laotian just like I’m not Mongolian. Come on, let’s think for a minute. This launches the explanation of how Hmong people don’t have a country, we’re from southeast Asia, etc. Then the circle continues.
  4. "Oh! You’re Hmong like the people in Gran Torino." | I didn’t all of a sudden become Hmong after that movie was released. Also, thanks for the mainstream Asian stereotypes, Eastwood.
  5. "What do you speak?" | Hmong and English. No, I will not speak Hmong on your command. 
  6. "What do Hmong people eat?" | I like Chipotle.
  7. "You’re Hmong, so can you speak Chinese?" | You’re German/Swedish/Norwegian all mixed and born in America, can you speak Russian? Yeah, didn’t think so.
  8. "Where’s Hmong?" | ………

What One Year In Oregon Has Taught Me

I’ve been an Oregon resident for over a year now. The adjustment was tough at first, if I’m being honest. The Minneapolis/St. Paul area of Minnesota is what I’ve known most of my life, where there’s no such thing as normal weather and people (supposedly) stretch every “O”. Now that I’m a year into this Oregonian thing, I’ve picked up on a few things.

Oregonians are explorers.

Oh, where’s that hiking trail? There’s a hot spring there? How many miles did you walk? Oregonians are very curious and interested in what’s around them. I’ve noticed many of people in Oregon always hiking a new trail, discovering a new river head, or biking to a new destination. Oregonians explore. I can dig it.

Speaking of biking, they love it.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked if I own a bike. I’ve seen more bike lanes between Eugene and Portland alone than anywhere else. Again, I can dig the green living and love for Mother Nature. 

Breweries on breweries on breweries.

Oregon is a beer lover’s Heaven. Not only do the numerous breweries have amazing microbrews but they also have exquisite food. What more could I want?

Yo, dog.

People in Oregon love their four-legged friends. As a dog lover myself, I noticed this right away when I moved to Oregon. Residents take their dogs everywhere and everyone welcomes man’s best friend. Win.

Rain… What rain?

It’s a part of PNW living. 

hmongthrills:

Tell Them We Are ‘The Hmong’ -a short and sweet documentary (8 minutes)

"My kids, when I look at them, they are like Americans. Their generation acts like your typical American kids. They’re not scared of what they do.  They believe they can do it. They’re not scared like us. My kids’ generation, they learn more the American way.”

These are my parents and they’re so awesome! I miss them! Wouldn’t be where I am today without their full support!

hmongthrills:

Tell Them We Are ‘The Hmong’ -a short and sweet documentary (8 minutes)

"My kids, when I look at them, they are like Americans. Their generation acts like your typical American kids. They’re not scared of what they do.  They believe they can do it. They’re not scared like us. My kids’ generation, they learn more the American way.”