As yall know, I am a lover of lists. Here are 25 things I have learned in the past 25 years

  1. My family will always have my best interest in mind

  2. Hmong OGs will usually have something to say about my physical appearance (“too skinny, too much acne”, etc.)
  3. My parents were tough on me for a reason
  4. Feeling uncomfortable fosters growth
  5. There is more than one way to do something: think outside the box
  6. God will always have three answers for me: “yes”, “not yet”, or “I have something better”
  7. Friendship breakups can be just as painful as romantic breakups
  8. “Yuav tsum xav tias koj ua tau ces koj yeej ua tau.” – Mom
  9. Studying abroad will inevitably change the way a person sees their life and the world
  10. Time is a precious concept: it is just as important to value other people’s time as much as I value my own
  11. “You never know if you don’t ask.” – Nikotris Perkins
  12. It is okay to move back home after graduation
  13. “The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know” – Albert Einstein
  14. We can never win an argument over the internet
  15. It is possible to forgive myself and move forward from a mistake
  16. Trying new things can make regular weekends feel longer
  17. “Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.” – Mark Manson
  18. Self-reflection is empowering. It is a skill to be able to understand and apply constructive criticism
  19. It takes practice to be a good host
  20. Social media is created and designed to hack my brain into wanting to use it more
  21. My mentality about the meaning of life is not fixed. I am not who I was 5 years ago
  22. Crying can help
  23. It is important to know when to shut up, don’t interrupt when others are speaking
  24. My partner for life also needs to be my best friend
  25. I need to brace myself for the inevitable: the hardest and best of times still have yet to come

This process and cycle of learning and adapting and growing is endless – what are core lessons would you like to share with me as I venture the next 25 years? Please leave a comment/reply below!

A big shout out to my mom for giving birth to me back in 1993 when my family first entered the United States as refugees. What a scary thing to trust American doctors and Western medicine to make sure your first-born daughter is brought into the world safely.  Eternally grateful for the trillion things you and dad have sacrificed in the last 25 years.

Happy birthday Pajtsua



30 thoughts on “1993.

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  1. I am so late but I LOVED this. What a great idea and great insight shared. I have recently taken up this new mantra that seems to help me navigate through the challenges life throws at you: “When things get tough, how can you add grace? How can you add ease?” It’s simple and straight forward but allows you step back and see your situation as something that can be managed with little acts of adding ease in the way you know how to. Hope that makes sense. Love you and miss you. Celebrating your 25th year around the sun from afar 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m definitely late. My bad. I just moved cities and schools in Korea. But enough about me and let’s talk about you.

    I think I’ve always liked you. I don’t quite remember when it began since we have video footage of ourselves in diapers and running around, but it must have started sometime then. It was just how you did things. I couldn’t help but admire your charisma, original ideas, and creativity. Maybe because it was something I knew I was lacking in. Sure I guess as a kid sometimes the admiration was jealously, but it was mostly the former because of your attitude. I knew you were these ways not because you wanted to prove who was smarter or better, but because you are simply charismatic, original and creative.

    I’m proud to call you my cousin, niece, sister, friend etc. Whenever I read the quote about how we are only as good as those who we keep around us, I’m glad I have people like you who immediately pop into my head. Happy 25th♡

    Liked by 2 people

    1. 여동생 여동생! Oh gosh thank you for taking time to read my lil blog post in the midst of your move! I hope things have been a little more settled since we last spoke. “We are only as good as those who we keep around us” has been true for me as well – and you are someone I cannot imagine without. You such such kind words! I guess, as a kid, I never really “won” in contests/competitions or anything so maybe I just used my naive attitude and excitement over nothing to be excited over SOMETHING (aka Disney channel, Hello Kitty, writing in my diary)

      I love you, Tshia. Thank you for being a gift in my lifeee ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful as always Pa Choua. A mentor of mine said this to me when we celebrated my 25th birthday, “May you always have enough.” I didn’t understand it then, because naive me thought, but I want more! Lol. Having “enough” has stuck around to keep me grounded and thankful for all I have and all that will come. ♡ It leaves me never asking for more than I need and never wanting more than I can ask for.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This is perfect. I am adding that to my favorite quotes. Mai Zia, I am so so happy and grateful for your never ending support since I started sharing my blog, please know that I am following in your footsteps and trying to show support for other local artists, photographers, authors, and anyone who needs to know that someone cares about their work. Ua tsaug rau koj txoj kev txhawb nqa! #enough

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Omg! I love this so much!! You’re so inspiring!

    Something to share would be to live the little things before the big things. It’s nice to look at the big things but the little things matter more.

    Well, happy birthday! And I hope you best! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for the birthday wish & for taking time to read my blog. And yasss to your wisdom about the “little” things. I couldn’t agree more. I hope Madison has been treating you well, Kasheng. We will need a double date this summer!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy birthday!!!

    I think the hardest lesson for me to learn is accepting and being honest with yourself. I’ve always let people weigh in their opinion far more than I should. I’m still learning how to listen to myself without being influenced by others.

    I love you and I hope you have a wonderful week!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. *cries* thank you, roomie. You have come a long way; this lesson has definitely been true and applicable in my life for the last couple years. The brutal truth is really difficult to own sometimes and you’ve always been able to apply other people’s opinions accordingly to best fit your life. AND I LUV U

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Happy Birthday, Lady!!

    You are wise beyond your years!

    I look up to you so much! You have such an awareness of who you are, while also an evident respect for others. You are a rare find, girl, and I am blessed to know you!! I hope you have the best birthday ever!!

    Xoxo 💕

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Happiest of birthdays to you, Pa Choua. I just wanted to encourage you with this Bible verse:

    “Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.”
    Psalm 27:14

    I’m not sure if you’re where you thought you’d be at 25. I know I’ve questioned myself many times on whether I felt I’ve accomplished what I wanted to at this particular part of my life. But isn’t this verse a great reminder to stay strong and wait patiently for God to do what He has to in your life? I think a lot of people, myself included, consider “strength” as taking action and doing something. However, just giving yourself time to wait is strength in itself. So, if this is a season for you to wait on the Lord, don’t think of it as demeaning, but see yourself as being strong in God. Praying for a wonderful 25th year of life!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nouqu, I really appreciated this Bible verse and insight from your personal experiences. As I am slowing down on my walk with God during grad school, reminders like this re-motivate me to start reading again and building my faith. I do trust in His timing and I know I am loved with people like you in my life. I continue to look up to you and pray for your growing family! Happy belated birthday to my lil man Nova too! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Happy birthday! I am always continuously learning more whenever I read your blogs! Hope your days are filled with just happiness & love. ♡

    Life doesn’t have stages. For example: going to school, graduate, find a job, get married, have kids. You can do life anyway you want & it won’t be wrong. Always stay good & kind. Lub ntuj always know so don’t worry when ppl run their mouths. Life won’t go as you’ve planned it to be. It’s okay. Just enjoy it. Love & take care of your body. It is a vessel and works so hard to heal & care for you. Do the same back to it. Sometimes meeting ppl a second time changes your first impression of them. So give ppl or really anything a second try lol. Glad I did cause I love you now! Getting older is scary but such a beautiful process. So enjoy & celebrate your birthday every year! Afterall it is a celebration of yourself & your mommy. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahah! Omg thank you for giving me that second chance/second impression. Mai Der, you inspire me and your realness reminds me that there is more to life than negative people and their negative energy. Your simple and common pieces of knowledge are things that I should probably already have embedded in my life, but today, I needed the reminder. Thank you my love! #25

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Happy Birthday, Babe! You know, when I’m doing this that means that it’s very special or important! I’m on my 15 minute break Lol, I literally did read all your 25 points. Anyways, my word of wisedom is to live by these three words—>LIVE. No matter how tough and crazy life is, never give up and always think about your parents and the scarficies that they overcame to get you to where you’re now. LAUGH. Always smile and laugh like no one is watch. LOVE. Always spread love, it makes the world a more happier place. We learn, we grow, and we move. A lot has changed, and with the statement of, “blood is thicker than water,” is not a true statement for me. Don’t dwell on the past because the good will always win. Don’t even focus on the future just enjoy the present! Love you, and I hope Charles spoils you for a quarter of your life. ❤️


  10. Great to see you continue to improve yourself as I am doing the same. Two lessons that I’ve recently adopted and have to share with you is that:

    “The world doesn’t give us what we want, it gives us what we deserve.”
    “If the journey wasn’t challenging, the destination wouldn’t be rewarding.”

    Happy Birthday and all the best to you and your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Happy Birthday Pa Choua!

    Thank you for sharing 25 things you’ve learned in life, yet so far. I’m excited for all the great things you will do and accomplish in this lifetime.

    Here’s to conquering the mf world. *cheers

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Happiest birthday to my BCF ❤️ There is always one thing I go by. “I never lose. I either win or learn.” That way you will always enjoy things in life 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Happy Birthday friend!!!!!!!! So many wishes for you today!!! Goodness, there’s so many things to say and wise words to share but I’m glad that we learn together as we age. Hoping for a blessed day for you today!!! Thank you for your friendship and happy quarter day to you!!! 😍

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Try not to get caught up in thinking of “where you are suppose to be”. The statement is a double edged sword and is something I have struggled with. I am constantly told/think, both in a professional and personal setting, that I must reach this goal by this time or I will be stuck in one way or another. There is no set path for life that you must follow or some written rule that you must achieve a certain thing by a certain age. Just do you and try not to get wrapped up in what others think and expect. The other edge of this is that sometimes “where you are suppose to be” is a thought that is meant to motivate or be a push to help you realize your goals in a timeline that might scare you. In summary, what I am trying to say is do not let others/precedented expectations make you feel you are not succeeding, but also do not let your comfort zone and fear delay achieving your goals. Sometimes a push from others is needed, even if it is poorly worded.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lishy! Thank you so much for taking time to share this with me. I totally agree with your thoughts on “where I’m supposed to be” – I try my hardest not to fall into comparison with other people our age and I have found that it makes me so much happier going at my own pace. Your words are appreciated, thank you again! Let’s meet up in Milwaukee sometime this summer plzz

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Hi Pach ! I have just left a comment but it didn’t work… Ok let’s try again !

    First I wish you a very happy birthday. I loved your list and especially the simplest bullet points (like crying can help and trying something new on weekends). Here are some points of my list that I can share with you :
    – smallest life pleasures are always the best
    – It is ok if you don’t go to the party
    – getting rid of guilt is great
    – studying abroad is amazing and to some point you will be willing to go back there and see all of these great persons again 🙂

    I wish you again a nice birthday and all the best for the wonderful years to come 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My sweet Jeanne! It was such a great surprise to receive this comment message from you. I miss you dearly, thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge and experience. I definitely agree with all your points, especially about the small life pleasures and not going to the party! I hope the next 25 years allows me to have at least a few encounters with your beautiful face. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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