Returning home from Thailand for about a week now, I’ve come to reflect a lot about my identity and my surroundings. As I compare my experiences, I am reminded everyday how lucky I am to have a proper toilet, air conditioning, transportation, and an education. I have been telling my friends and family about how coming home from Thailand has transformed my outlook on how I want to lead my life and take care of the people I love around me. Thailand was a true eye-opener for me in appreciating what I have now, and taking advantage of what I have offered to me each day. Visiting my parents made me realize how special small talks are and cooking with my mom in the kitchen again made me realize how special these moments are to me as I continue to learn and reflect on my experiences in Thailand.
My Thailand experience really made me appreciate who I am, and where I come from. I am so glad that I have gotten this experience to learn my family history and appreciate what makes me Hmong. It was also interesting to not feel like a minority in Thailand because it felt like I belonged there. Having a sense of belonging and being able to truly be Hmong in Thailand made me feel more comfortable and have a closer connection to the things we were learning each day. To come back home and be a minority is a little different because I am now questioning if every act or service I get is because of my race in America.
I don’t quite know yet if I would return back to Thailand at this moment, but I am glad I got something meaningful out of this trip as I hoped and anticipated for. Thailand will always have a place in my heart as I move forward. I will always remember the friendships I’ve made a long the way, the struggles, and mindfulness, and the place my ancestors once called home.