July 10, 2017
I was fortunate to get a full week off from my graduate assistantship during the first week of July to spend some time to actually enjoy my summer — honestly, I’ve been pretty emotional over the past couple months so it was ideal to be able to do summer without stressing or crying. I’ve basically been transitioning to a “new” lifestyle which has consisted of moving out of my parents’ house while trying not to feel guilty for leaving my baby brother… and then quickly shifting my energy into finding furniture and various bits&pieces to make my new apartment feel more like home, while also making sure I don’t forget to feed myself at the end of the day. Thankfully my parents and Charles have made the process a lot less painful. It took some adjusting, but I think I’m easing into a manageable routine.
Ennywho, I’ve been itchin to draft up a new blog and share some pretty basic things that I’ve been doing lately. Then again, they are the things I probably would’ve been doing for the entire summer if I still lived in my hometown. Here’s a compilation of 7 mini blog posts:
MNJ4 Tournament: $5 reentry, No Gatorade/Coke/Energy drinks, & Lots of Football
For the past three summers, I’ve been spending my 4th of July weekend in Como Park to cheer on my boyfriend’s Hmong Flag Football (#HFF) team. He’s been playing with The Villagers since he was about 15 years old and grew up with a lot of the guys on the team and I know it means a lot to him to play at the biggest Hmoob sports tournament of the year. For someone like me who hasn’t invested in too many Hmoob tournaments or know a lot about football, I’ve really learned a lot about HFF. For instance, my main responsibilities are: to make sure Charles gets to the fields on time for a 7am game, provide water for him and his teammates on the sidelines, and occasionally nap in the shade when they’re not playing. Lolol luckily I’ve also become friends with many of the “Villager Wives/GFs” and we can keep each other company during downtime and on the sidelines as the water girls. Thumbs up to the new park renovations + convenient food court set up as well as the new variety of food choices. Thumbs down to the Lao Fam for using this event to, yet again, prove their passion for capitalism.
Bee Grills Food for Us While We Sit Around and Talk about Childhood
Charles’ brother Bee invited us to chill and grill out by the lake on the 4th of July. He even bought a brand new grill and marinated steak ahead of time for the occasion. It was a really sunny and warm day & after eating a couple rounds of steak and drinking Summer Shandy, we waited for our other friends to show up and we eventually moved to an area with more shade. Since I’m still getting to know some of Charles’ friends better, I started asking basic questions like, what their first jobs were and about the scores of their drivers test. We somehow got into talking and laughing about the crazy things we did that got us into trouble by our parents. Our parents had some creative-ass ways to whup us – but all that tough love really taught us the meaning of self-discipline, showing respect and not feeling entitled to have everything. Most of our younger siblings ain’t never had to face the end of a flyswatter or dodge a khauj tsiav or cry until they had to swallow their breaths in between heavy sobbing! #NotSayingThatWhuppingIsAcceptable #PlzDontBeatYourKids
Perfect Night to Ua Teb nrog Kuv Niam / Garden Time with My Mumma
My mom’s favorite season is probably summer. I think she chooses to spends hours at her garden because it’s her little haven where she can get away from triggering things that causes stress. She likes being able to “exercise” and sweat from the cardio from ncaws nroj / weeding. She talks out loud to her plants, encouraging them to grow quickly so she can have fresh vegetables: “Me zaub, me dib, me taub, me txiv lws, kav tsij loj loj nawb!” Every year my mom tries a new method to repel mosquitoes (she’s used dryer sheets attached to her hats, vanilla extract, peppermint-y Thai oils, burning incense) … and this year she’s been burning old cardboard egg cartons and placing them on the ground near her to detract the bugs. When I came home that day from Milwaukee, I accompanied my mom / “ua luag” to the garden because I felt guilty for moving away and not being able to help her. (And for always being lazy and never having the desire to help when I did live at home). She tells me to wear her garden clothes and reminds me to make sure that I don’t have any bare skin is showing so I don’t get bit. This was the perfect night to be at the garden because the sun about about to set and there was a cool breeze from the soon-to-be rainstorm that was coming. I helped clear out some weeds and took pictures of her because she says that no one is ever capturing her when she’s working hard. I really wish I had a way to remember all the small conversations my mom and I have when we are at her garden together. I always think about whether or not I will be able to carry on her farming techniques/legacy in the future. For that and so many other reasons, I am incredibly lucky to have a hardworking mother who provides fresh vegetables every summer and freezers filled with peppers, green beans, lemongrass, and zaub in the winters.
Yeeleng’s Surprise Visitors
This past school year, I worked as a substitute educational assistant (EA) for special education in the Holmen School District and I got the pleasure of a. being Yeeleng’s substitute and b. meeting his wonderful teachers and EAs. They’ve all been so kind to our family and always say such nice things about Yeeleng, even though I know that he’s a handful at school. For his entire Kindergarten year, I was responsible for bathing him and feeding him breakfast in the mornings, packing his lunches, waiting for him to get dropped off after school, and staying in close contact with his teachers. So of course I had to invite them to stop by and hangout with us during the week I was home. Yeeleng’s face was completely priceless when he saw his teacher coming through the door – he was so happy!! Both of his teachers commented about him getting taller and how he’s already starting to lose the baby features in his face. Both have offered to take him out to the pool or park before summer ends. Even though I will always have Yeeleng Withdrawals, I have no doubt that he will be well-taken cared for when he’s around his teachers once he goes back to school. They always asked questions and accommodate for our family whenever possible. One of his aids even refers me as the Hmoob name my family uses for me at home (Laus Maiv) when she’s talking to Yeeleng. We are so blessed to have the special education program in our school district and I can’t wait to come home to see how much more he’s learned.
“You still hangout with people from high school?!” UHPARRENTLY.
I met up with friends from high school and we drank in a beer tent at a local festival called “Catfish Days” while we listened to live country music covers. For some people, it might seem like a dreadful thing to see certain faces from the class of 2011, but I think it’s super entertaining, especially with Tanner, Kelsey, Katie, and Nick. We all got together for a mini reunion and we were also joined by some of their coworkers and friends from college. It’s always great to expand from the original circle of friends that we had and meet the friends of our friends. Funny enough, we also ran into other people who we graduated with – familiar faces who were definitely not in our clique, but are still nice enough to say hi and have a conversation. Although I’m not a lover of country music, I still had a fun time socializing and playing wing woman. Until next time!
Yeeleng’s First Time at the Pool!
Let me just start this part off by giving praise to all the parents who make parenthood look easy. I decided to take Yeeleng and our niece Maliyah to the pool and meet up with our first cousins. It took a lot of coordination to get two kids out the door without forgetting the basic essentials. We had to stop by Wal-Mart to pick up swimming trunks and swimmer diapers for Yeeleng so I had to quickly bring them both in and out of the store. Once we were parked outside of the pool, my immediate concern was to get Yeeleng changed into his pool gear in the car and he wasn’t havin’ it… (clearly, wasn’t thinkin about the fact that we could’ve just done all of this in the dressing room area). I was so excited to see Yeeleng’s reaction when I first carried him into the shallow area of the pool. He was making his excited face and looking around at all the other kiddos who were splashing and swimming after each other. I held him in my lap facing me the whole time; he seemed really nervous to stand in the water on his own when I tried to suggest it but our cousins came over and played with him as we just waded in the shallow parts and he was laughing the entire time (cutest thing ever). At one point, the lifeguards had us all take a break from the water and I sat him down on the lounge chairs and he kept making sounds to let me know that he wanted to go back in the water.
(Anutha) Hmoob Wedding – Congratulations Lor and Avon!
It’s a simple fact that people my age are starting to settle down, get murried, make babies, have full-time jobs, etc. I’ve been to a total of five weddings this summer (I think…I’m starting to lose track haha) and it’s been a really fun time celebrating for these couples who are courageous enough to start such a big part of their life! Crazy that I’m already reaching this point of my young adulthood. P R O P S to y’all and yall’s families for all the hard work that is put into your special day. Being a guest at Hmoob weddings has really opened up my eyes to the kind of wedding that I could potentially have one day. Many of my friends have older sisters and aunties who do cute things like carve their names into watermelons, make those little coconut desserts, and set up a hand-crafted floral backdrop for a photobooth – you know? As someone who does not have older sisters, I can’t imagine how blessed y’all feel to have those important people who are willing to make your wedding as picture-perfect as it can be. Whether the wedding is Americanized or Hmoob, big or small, sunny and humid or rainy and wet, I am so happy and honored that I was there to experience the wedding ceremonies and receptions and socialize with other guests – lol, definitely a bonus that we get to catch up with family and friends and take advantage of a reason to look nice for photos. Congratulations to Avon and her husband Lor for tying the knot!!
July 26, 2017
PROCRASTINATION IS REAL. By the time I publish this post, it has taken me over 2 weeks to finish it. Grad school is gonna be sofun. If you were actually interested enough to scroll through this post and get all the way down here: I appreciate you. Don’t forget that it’s the little things in life that make it more worthwhile. K I’ll stop sounding cliché now. Thank you for reading 🙂