All posts tagged: Janit Von Saechao

My Grandmother’s Garden

My chubby, dirt-stained fingers reach into the bag of old pinto beans found at the back of my grandmother’s bottom kitchen cabinet. I drop two into each of the freshly poked holes towards the corner of the weed-riddled grass plot in our backyard. Sloppily, I scoot dirt back over them, drench the soft earth with hose water staying long enough to see it soak into the soil. “Aiyoooooooo!” Grandma shouts at me to come downstairs. Tells me to hurry up, says there’s something I need to see. “Mangc gaax naaiv!” My small bare feet smack the tacky linoleum floor as I race to her side. Under the shadow of her pink garden hat I see her beaming. She opens her hands to reveal seven strands of green beans striped purple, maroon, red She cooked them that night for dinner — first, vegetable oil in the pot then salt minced garlic thai chili and seven green beans as she bragged on the phone about my newfound, natural gardening ability Grandma’s hands always made things grow. From …

Spoken Words: Hopes and History Passed Forward

One of my most favorite childhood memories were the nights I got to sleep with my “Gux Taaix” (great grandmother). I would curl up in her full-sized bed, tuck my little body in right next to her, pull the covers up above my ears, and ask if she was ready to “gorngv gouv” or story tell. She almost always said yes. What I remember most in those moments, was how these stories; more like fairy tales, made me feel. My highly active child imagination craved the comfort and familiarity of her voice but even further, I admired her ability to captivate me with nothing but her spoken words. As I grew older, I began to realize that this remarkable talent she had was not just specific to her, but something that was a result of years of tradition, something that is also inherent within me. Iu Mien and Khmu people have always carried our stories with us. In some ways, it’s hard not to feel that these stories are only small pieces informing a much …