5/22. Each day spent in Thailand has been a roller-coaster of emotions, observations, impressions, and outcomes. I have felt excitement and fun as well as discomfort and confusion. The most specific experience that has me comparing life here to life at home was our visit to the Hmong Village in Chiang Dao District. Immediately what I noticed were the style of homes, next, as we climbed the mountain more in the van, I noticed the nature and views. My thoughts throughout our stay changed drastically as we explored more and got to know some of the locals.
The home where I was raised is in Minneapolis and while it may be considered small compared to some of my neighbors and friends, it would seem large and excessive to some of the Hmong villagers. Many of the homes we drove past were very small and some in pretty rough condition. My immediate reaction was that the village was all low-income, and while some may be, I have come to learn that there homes do not reflect the amount of money they make or their ability to work hard. This is different from many places in the U.S. as so many homes truly do reflect how much it’s owners make. However, when I thought more about it, my grandparents also choose to live very simply and grow food in their own garden and live in a smaller home. This connection was neat to make between my grandparents and some of the Hmong villagers as they are both extremely different people raised in not-so-similar areas of the world.
Overall, I came to find so much beauty in the culture and the area they lived. I thought to myself when we made it to the top of the mountain “wow- why would you need anything else if you had this view??” The nature and surroundings were breathtaking and my heart felt such joy from the beauty. If the Hmong have their community, their family, their religion, their pride, and their mountain I can see how simple happiness can come to their lives. I look forward to comparing this experience to our next Hmong village visits.