“Who I really am”

Before applying to the Thailand study abroad program, my expectation was to take the traveling opportunity to discover and identify my true self-identity. After 6 years of leaving home, Laos, I have been adapting and associating with American culture that has shifted my way of living life in two different world. For instance, I have to speak English most of the time when I am in school and outside my house. The only time that I can practice Laos’s language was at home and surrounding by my sibling and family members. I eat American Food instead of Laos’s food in majority time of life that living in America. I used to just walked to school while I was a kid in Lao, but now I have a car for my own and can go anywhere I want. The whole theme of my life has been moving from local way of living to the industrial that is giving me so much of resources and opportunities in life. So,
            Coming to Thailand was the greatest opportunity for me to explore how Thailand people living their life locally in order to help me fine my root and heritage identity. Especially living in homestay with the Thai local family helped reminding me so much how I used to live my life in Laos. For instance, the family served me meals that locally simple and delicious, which I haven’t had for so long. I had “shrimp paste paper” with eggs that reminded well of what my parents used to cook for me when I was a little kid. At night, I got to sleep on the hard floor with a thin mattress and cover by a mosquitos net which helped me thinking of how I used to sleep at home in Laos. Even though using squad toilet has become my biggest concerned and challenge, but it made me realized how much I am slowly losing and forgetting my self-identity.

            Also visiting different local places in Thailand has helped me realized where I came from. Especially when we went to visit Mekong village at Chiengkong province. At Mekong village, I have seen a river that symbolized how my family used it to escape from Lao communist soldier to Thailand. My auntie has told me how she fled from Laos to Thailand through Mekong River in order to come to America. It was a painful and memorable experience of our family generation that neither of us will forget. If it were not because of my auntie I wouldn’t have the opportunity to come to America and earn a higher education. Looking the Mekong River today and then, I was seeing the mother river that is so valuable and resourceful to all Lao, Thai, Hmong, and other countries a long the river. But knowing how dams creation is destroying our mother river has made feel emotionally hurtful and useless. As one of Laos younger generation who have a better opportunity in education than other Laos people, what can I do to help preserve this river and our country. This is my journey that I have to continues discover and un-wrap in order to see who I really am.

3 thoughts on ““Who I really am””

  1. Mongkon,
    I love how you connect this whole trip back to your identity and roots! I agree with you that sometime we tend to forget how we used to live or how we got to where we are now because of the opportunities we get. But I think being in Thailand have helped us to never forget our roots.

    The squatting bathrooms were rough at first for me too but eventually I got used to it and complained less throughout this trip. I think that if we all could be more open to adapting to an environment and culture the world will definitely be a better place.

  2. It was such a gift to have you as part of the group, Mongkon. I was so glad to hear you speak at our final meeting and now read your post because I was actually not sure of what was going on in your head and heart until then. Now it has become clear! I'm so glad that you connected to the "mother" river, the Mekong, and discovered how it fits within your family story.

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