It’s been a minute since I hopped on WordPress and used my brain and willpower to write. A big part of my hiatus was probably a deep desire to take a break from writing after the constant reading/writing and procrastination as a grad student. Other reasons include pure laziness and a bit of “writer’s block” (quotation marks because I ain’t even a real writer). I basically lost the momentum to keep up with this blog because it takes a lot of work to post stuff that no one asked for, haha. But hey. It’s late July and I’m here to talk about a few of the cool things that happened back in June. Disclaimer: this is just your average highlight reel.
June 1: Yang Graduation Party in MN
Kicked off the busy month with a wholesome reunion with some of my favorite UW-La Crosse alum! I pulled a solo mission on a (busy) midnight Greyhound bus from Milwaukee to St. Paul to celebrate the academic achievements of Jason & Kiab and the Yang siblings. Before the graduation party, I was able to spend some quality time with Birthday Gurl Maria at Bonchon Chicken. I loved the Spicy flavor for the wings and the takoyaki was so good! And the rooftop mimosa at Libertine (right across the street) was a great follow up to the meal.
By no surprise, the Yang Family’s event at the Hmong House was jam-packed with relatives and friends who wanted to celebrate their success. I was so impressed by each graduate’s speech delivered in fluent Hmoob. It was so great to see so many familiar faces and obnoxiously cheer on Jason & Kiab in between car repairs 😉
Reminds me of how this UWL fam used to hang out together in the basement of Cartwright (DC) to study and eat. We shared meal swipes with each other and played night games like “Sardines” at Myrick Park. I’m so glad most of us can still make time to reunite during special occasions like this. As we transition into new roles and responsibilities, I pray that we will always have celebrations and life events to all be together…because it’s just not the same doin’ 2-lip by myself. I’ll always need help kho tsheb!
June 3: First day of my new job
Starting any new job can be intimidating, especially when you just finished up grad school and you’re still not sure about how to act in any professional setting. During my Masters program at UW-Milwaukee and throughout my job search, I knew that I wanted to pursue multicultural student services. As a pre-college kid and Upward Bound alumna, I am inspired to serve and work with young people of color & marginalized populations. The few jobs that I found listed in this category only exist because of the people who came before me; students and faculty/staff members of minority backgrounds have fought to create specific positions that did not previously exist at any predominantly white institution. I absolutely stand on the shoulders of giants and I’m so grateful for God’s timing and being surrounded by supportive colleagues who helped me with my resume, cover letter, and interview process.
The individual who served before me worked in this role for 15 years and my current coworker has been in this office for 22 years (since the beginning). As an “infant” who has only been in this new position for a little over a month, I am still learning the role and trying to establish healthy work habits. Overall, I will be success coaching first-year college students, organizing college visits for Southeast Asian-American (SEAA) middle/high school students, and outreaching to SEAA families and local organizations to recruit students to UWM. If ya know of someone who needs connections at UW-Milwaukee, please don’t hesitate to reach out. My UWM email is email@example.com.
June 6-9, 2019: #PajaloretteParty
Yours truly came up with this clever hashtag to capture the eventful and unforgettable trip to Las Vegas, celebrating the last single days of Paja! There were 13 sexy ladies who attended: a mix of family members and close friends who I got to know better. We stayed at the Treasure Island hotel, which conveniently also had a pho restaurant on the first floor! Treasure Island is also located right across the street from a Starbucks, Walgreens, and Sephora. With the help of a couple promoters, we attended a pool party at “Tao Las Vegas” and then had access to a party bus ride to the infamous Las Vegas sign during the night life. The second day, we attended a bigger beach party at “Encore Beach Club”, where we saw the Chainsmokers perform. I would highly suggest that you bring: enough cash for the entire weekend to avoid ATM fees, an effective facial sunscreen, comfortable walking shoes, a reusable water bottle, a waterproof fanny pack or phone case, and snacks for the airport. If you’d like to get more details of the trip, please feel free to message me privately becuz yall know what happens in Vegas truly does stay in Vegas, haaha 😉
June 15: #LorGradParty
Last fall, my dad brought up the idea of throwing a big graduation/blessing party (khi tes) for me and my siblings. The timing for a party felt right since Brother #4, Txhij, had just completed a prestigious medical degree at UW-Madison earlier that year and I would be finishing my Masters program by May 2019. This Vam Kuam Lauj dude (my dad lol) basically told us that we needed to make this happen because a party for his kids was one of his dying wishes and we needed to help make sure it happened within his lifetime. There were actually a lot of high-strung emotions in the planning process of this event. As adult siblings, we questioned whether or not we even got along well enough to handle this family event. Most of us no longer lived with my parents, some of us had young kids and we all had full-time jobs. Communication and accountability was a huge struggle for me and my siblings but somehow we were able to make it work on June 15, 2019.
Together, we reserved the venue, sent out invitations, managed our budget, created a dinner menu, reached out to family members for support, hired a live band, chose our main speakers, put together decorations, and got my mom to stop running around for a second to put on a formal dress for the first time in a long time. We didn’t know what we were doing but we knew that my parents’ graduation celebration needed to be as special as possible.
We were blessed with around 600 guests and we only ran 1 hour behind schedule (Hmong time)! My favorite part was hearing my mom’s brother, Dab Laug Vam Pov, speak on behalf of my mom’s side of the family. She immediately got emotional because her brother’s voice is an exact replica of my her late father’s. I guarantee that my grandpa would’ve given a great, long-winded speech if he was still with us. I know it really meant a lot to my mom to hear her Dag Laug’s words for us.
A massive thank you to everyone who attended, seriously. My family and I appreciate all the helpers who came to chop meat, cook food, set-up the decorations, take pictures, perform and speak, and simply come to share a meal and cup(s) of beer with us to celebrate the results of my parents’ love and sacrifices for their children’s education. I was so grateful and happy to have seen the joy and tears of joy from my mom and dad #LorGradParty
This year is already more than halfway over. My main goal for 2019 has been centered on accomplishing monthly goals and To Do Lists, which have included life events and celebrations like the ones I mentioned above for June 2019. The bullet journal system don’t play when it comes to reaching small goals and following through to plans! I hope you’re all doing well and making the most of your summer/year. Go drink some water when you done scrolling through this post. Drop a cute comment below before you exit if you got a couple more seconds.