All posts filed under: Expats

My Uncle, My Inspiration

We’re on a long road, navigating low hills and wet fields, when I finally hear my beloved uncle’s story. The end of the road is Luang Prabang for a business trip. With my life in Laos coming to a close and acceptance finally hitting me, my emotions decide to dance erratically between an Olympic sprint and some major marathon. Upheaval and migration does that, I guess. Three years of turbulence and injustice gush out of me, pouring out in a sloppy, slushy rant. My uncle continues to drive. He stays quiet for a time before turning to me and, with a steady look, begins to tell me about his humble beginnings. “Listen kid, you ain’t got it so bad and you’re going to realize that one day.” Those simple words coupled with that calm gaze of his settles my electric youth down, immediately. “I was born down south, the second son to a Jek (Chinese) mother and a Keo (Vietnamese) father. They were dirt poor immigrants who came here with nothing. My dad somehow got …

The Lao Diaspora Through the Eyes of an Expat

I remember it being a day brimming with possibilities. True to mark, it should so happen through the greatest of chances, that I met Ms. Julia Sophia Zimic* later that day. Julia is a Brazilian-born Austrian expat living in Luang Prabang, operating a guest house and jam-making business. She also has a strong interest in the stories of the Lao Diaspora Community, having worked several years in Germany with refugees, helping them acclimate to their new lives. It’s the middle of the rainy season and the sky is in a constant state of gloom. My uncle has to go up to Luang Prabang for a business trip and lets me tag along. It is dusk by the time we arrive in Luang Prabang. After checking in to our guesthouse, we freshen up and part ways for the night; my uncle going to meet with some friends, and me once again, with no clear destination in mind. Alone, I wander about the small historic town, passing by old haunts. Dusk might be this city’s best time …