All posts filed under: Next Generation

Lao Life: Food is the Ultimate Social Experience

It is a blessing to be able to appreciate youth at a young age. It is a blessing to be able to taste good food while your taste buds are still fully functional (assuming you have stellar ones to begin with). I spent my wonderful teen years in Laos; living the life of a poor vagabond, rich in experiences. I knew a life where happiness came from the company of good friends and a table decked with good food. Everything was cheap and simple because we were all broke and bumming off of our parents, anyways.  We were truly happy. In 2017, $10 could feed a group of at least five! We did not have shopping malls filled with brand name shops or the money to spend in “hi-so” (expensive/luxurious) restaurants but we had sunsets on a river’s bend and heaven at a roadside food stall. My friends were an eclectic bunch: from humble farm boys to business owners, from the very young to the very old; my requirements were not age or background specific, …

Living Iu-Mien and Khmu: The Route Forward, Back Through Time

This is the first in a series from Janit von Saechao about discovering her Iu-Mien and Khmu roots. I haven’t always been open about my identity as a Khmu and Mien person. I remember as an elementary school student, when teachers and peers asked what my ethnicity was, my instinctive reaction was immediate deflection. This was a conversation I hated having. The comments of, “what are you?” and “where are you from?” drew feelings from my child self that I wasn’t equipped to handle. The person asking never knew what they were getting themselves into and I was never really ready to explain. So I resorted to replying with saying I was Lao or Thai, even as I knew that these were not my truths. There were various reasons I chose to misidentify. In honesty, some of it was intentional. I wanted to belong to something that was already understood, something that others could conceptualize without me having to scramble in search for words to communicate the complexity of my peoples’ stories. After all, how …